The Importance of Self-Care
According to the Global Self-Care federation website, self-care is “the practice of individuals looking after their own health using the knowledge and information available to them. It is a decision-making process that empowers individuals to look after their own health efficiently and conveniently in collaboration with health and social care professionals as needed.” In the field of mental health, there is a lot of talk about self-care but I would like to take a moment to discuss what self-care is and the benefits it can provide.
As can be seen from the definition above, the concept of self-care is broad but informative. There are many activities that are commonly associated with the practice of self-care. Activities such as meditation, exercising, spending time in nature, creative endeavors like writing, crafting, painting, and art are a few examples of things that people do to practice self-care. Self-care can also be something as simple as establishing good boundaries at work and choosing to leave on time. The work will be there for us to finish tomorrow.
The practices of self-care don’t tend to be difficult to do if we are intentional. It is easy enough for most people to take a walk or sit down for a few minutes to journal. The difficult part is to be intentional and deliberate in our practice of self-care. Setting aside the 10 minutes at the end of the day or in the morning to engage in a self-care practice can be both difficult and rewarding. It can prove difficult to actually engage in the practice, rewarding once done. If we make self-care a priority, we can eventually establish new habits that are beneficial to our overall well-being.
Some possible benefits of self-care:
Decrease in anxiety
Are there negative consequences for those who do not practice self-care? Or those who might practice self-care occasionally but not regularly? Not necessarily. A brief explanation might be helpful. A person who ignores or does not prioritize self-care practices may see negative effects related to general well-being as well as mental health. They may experience issues related to sleep, mood, difficulty concentrating, feeling tense, among other things. They may experience these things because they are not practicing self-care or for a variety of a multitude of other reasons.
This is not to say that people who practice some form of self-care do not experience any of these things. Most of us will get a bad night of sleep from time to time, have a difficult day where we cannot focus, or be in a bad mood once in a while. Ideally, if we have a regular self-care practice, these things will occur less often. We will also have ways of keeping them from getting worse if we sleep poorly for a few nights or we are becoming more irritable and need to destress.
I hope that you will consider making self-care a priority. Self-care will not fix every problem we face in life, but it will help smooth out some of the bumps you might be facing. A quick search of self-care techniques or practices will provide a wealth of information and resources that are well beyond the scope of this post. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to each other. I wish you all nothing but the best!