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Self-care is a term you probably see in plenty of headlines, but often, it seems like one of many health and fitness-related buzzwords. The way that this term is included in the content you scroll past can make it easy to ignore, but self-care as a practice should be an important element of your life.
Let's cover what self-care is, where the concept came from, why it matters, the various types of self-care, and how to incorporate self-care routines into your life.
Self-care includes any action that enables one person to take care of himself or herself. It's the process of keeping oneself healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally, though there are additional self-care pillars to examine as well.
Taking care of oneself, whether times are currently good or bad, is essential in order to enhance a human's sense of well-being.
Taking care of oneself isn't new. People have been participating in self-care for millennia, though it looked a little different in ancient times than it does now. Ages ago, self-care was a simple act that encouraged rest, recreation, and eating as well as possible.
Not so many decades ago, though, many people had to put their needs on the back burner in order to survive in a difficult world. In the 1950s, the term self-care started appearing in personal care products, but in the 1960s, much of the positivity surrounding self-care waned. Preventing illnesses and preserving one's health was seen as unnecessary, and instead, many people only considered their health when something was wrong.
Mental health considerations were especially neglected in this time period, and it wasn't until well after the Vietnam War that self-care and the pursuit of mental well-being started drawing attention again.
People of the millennial generation started putting more focus on caring for themselves than their parents' and grandparents' generations. As a result, this focus has brought the art of self-care back into practice in a significant way.
Part of what prompted the most recent interest in self-care has to do with the changing balance between one's work life and personal life. After the recession in 2008, millions of people became overwhelmed when trying to make ends meet in the face of economic hardship. Adults were obligated to work tirelessly for less pay than they needed and deserved, until the economy improved. Working to the point of exhaustion became praiseworthy and society started accepting working well over full-time hours as normal.
As the millennial generation and those in Gen Z grew up and joined the workforce, these individuals sought alternatives to healthy living. As such, they made efforts to promote a better balance between work life and personal life. The stress associated with struggling to keep bills paid despite working at least full-time hours weighed on both mental and physical health. Because of this, younger generations sought to take better care of themselves so that they became better able to work with the challenges of everyday life.
The world has become more health-conscious in recent years. As modern medicine and technology evolve, we're given more and more opportunities to improve ourselves. Humans are living longer now than ever before, and to make the most out of our longevity, many people find it sensible to take care of themselves. After all, what's the point of living longer when you're sad, tired, or in constant pain?
Self-care is popular in today's world because it helps enhance the human experience. By taking steps to maintain our quality of life and ensure that we're living as our best selves, self-care promotes the opportunity to enjoy life in any way we please.
There are several types of care included under the self-care umbrella. Each type focuses on a certain element of the human experience and seeks to improve upon it. Let's briefly explore them.
The physical aspects of self-care aim to improve the physical body's well-being. This can be done through adequate rest, exercise, and diet. For example, an individual might work on their physical self-care by getting eight hours of sleep each night, staying hydrated, exercising moderately a couple of times a week, and absorbing the right nutrients from a well-managed diet.
Mental self-care focuses on the well-being of the mind. People who practice mental self-care routines do their best to be mindful and examine their emotions through meditating, journaling, and exploring their own feelings and thoughts in productive ways.
Emotional self-care is similar to the mental aspect mentioned above, but the emotional aspect focuses on feelings rather than thoughts and behaviors. This type of self-care aims to help people find healthy ways to cope with stress or other negative emotions. Boosting one's emotional well-being might involve taking part in activities that inspire good feelings, like watching a movie or listening to music.
Humans are naturally social and the way we interact with others can have a significant impact on our well-being. Social self-care involves connecting with others in positive ways. This could include spending time with one's family, attending an event with friends, or even taking part in an after-work gathering with colleagues.
We are all only one heartbeat away from eternity. God gave us his son Jesus and all of the life instruction we will ever need in the Bible for those who choose to seek Him and believe his Word.
Our environment can be defined as the landscape that surrounds us. This can be in our homes, workplaces, or outside. To improve environmental self-care practices, it might be helpful to clean and declutter your home, organize your workspaces, or help clean up in your community.
Recreational self-care is the fun element of self-care. This part of the practice aims to ensure that work and personal life are well-balanced. Recreation could include resting at home, practicing a fun activity at home, or getting out of the house often enough to take part in hobbies.
There are plenty of ways an individual can develop a self-care routine, and because each person has unique needs, there's no definite right way to start a routine. The main goal is to adopt better lifestyle choices, which you can do through an array of approaches. Let's take a look at common examples of self-care routines.
Focusing on what you need is the key to a great self-care routine. This might be a little different for each person, but thinking about your self-care goals is critical. You may, for example, want to get in better shape. You might want to reduce your anger or anxiety. You might want to focus on learning new skills. Each of these are great goals to pursue.
Next, find reasonable things you can do to improve the way you feel. Your self-care routine should contain steps that you can do each day without the activity feeling like a chore. You might try:
As you perform the tasks outlined in your self-care routine, it's good to be mindful of the effect these tasks are having on your sense of well-being. Do these elements of your routine help you feel more grounded, centered, and in control? Do you find yourself more at ease, more energetic, or more enthusiastic about life? If so, your routine is working.
If not, don't fear. There are always ways to adjust your routine so that you can focus more on problem areas in your life. Your routine doesn't have to be set in stone, and changing things up is a normal part of continuous self-care.
Making healthy lifestyle choices should not be a practice only reserved for individuals who are sick or injured in order to promote recovery. Everyone should have some sort of self-care routine in place to help them live healthier, more fulfilling lives.
Your self-care routine doesn't have to mirror anyone else's. Simply examine the elements of your life, think about what you'd like to improve upon, and take the steps you need in order to accomplish this improvement. Any act that helps you take care of yourself is an act of self-care, so don't let the term push you away from your healthiest life. It's always a good idea to pursue greater health and happiness.
Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.
Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.
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Faith Hoffman has spent 23 years in business practices, research, and customer relations for brand products and national companies. Lengthy hospital stays for auto-immune disorders, including the onset of heart and liver disease, led her to research the benefits of quality all-natural supplements and the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
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