Self-care is an effective way to stay healthy. Research has shown that putting a self-care routine into action reduces stress, improves well-being, and boosts happiness, even lowering your chance of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Practicing self-care is also one of the most enjoyable ways to invest in your health, because it’s all about doing something you love. It doesn’t have to take much time. Self-care can be as simple as reading a book or taking a bubble bath. The point is that you do something that’s simply for yourself.
Why is self-care so important?
Juggling everyday work, social activities, and family commitments take a lot of energy. That makes it hard to make healthy choices like exercising or eating something nutritious. When people don’t set aside time for themselves, it can also cause their stress levels to rise, diminish their sleep quality, and put them at higher risk for depression.
COVID-19 shined a spotlight on the vital importance of self-care. As individuals struggled with a host of pandemic-related challenges, including isolation and uncertainty, many turned to self-care for help managing their physical and mental health.
One study found that, in 2020, 73% of Americans were more aware that they needed to incorporate self-care into their lives. It’s a trend that shows no sign of ending with the pandemic. Of the study respondents, 71% predicted there will be a collective prioritization of self-care over the next five years.
Self-care is an important tool, because it restores your energy and boosts your mood, so you feel great. When people feel great, and when they invest time and energy into themselves, they make better, healthier decisions.
Avoiding burnout through self-care
Many people have felt the encroaching symptoms of burnout. It could be in your relationship, your job, or while participating in an activity you once enjoyed—if you feel worn out, pessimistic, or stuck, you may be experiencing early signs of burnout.
And burnout is a major issue for people across the globe, one that saps their energy, productivity, and joy. A recent Asana study found that 70% of participants experienced burnout at some point in the last year.
Self-care is an excellent tool in the fight against burnout.
“It can also help you replenish and reenergize to prevent you from hitting a wall. It helps with self-appreciation, so you re-learn what you love and appreciate about yourself. When you take care of yourself, you’re a happier, healthier version of yourself.” —Cheridan Bryant, Vera whole health coach
Examples of self-care practices include:
- Getting adequate rest and nutrition
- Spending a night out with friends
- Drinking plenty of water
- Enjoying nature and the great outdoors
- Writing in a journal
- Participating in a creative activity
Start your self-care journey in 3 easy steps
Ready to get started integrating self-care into your routine? Here are a few simple steps to set you on the path to a fruitful and healthy self-care practice.
- Step 1: View the list above and choose something to try, or come up with a self-care activity that excites you or speaks to your personal interests.
- Step 2: Take a moment during your self-care activity to check in and pay attention to how you feel. If it makes you feel better, that’s great—you can move on to the next step. Otherwise, try a different activity until you find something that works for you.
- Step 3: Incorporate your self-care activity into your typical routine. The benefits of self-care are most abundant when you do it regularly. So, don’t be shy. Set aside time and do something for yourself today.
If you’d like support, please reach out and talk to a Vera whole health coach about self-care practices, benefits, and strategies. At Vera, health coaches are trained to help patients manage stress, re-energize, and integrate meaningful self-care into their lives.
Vera Whole Health is now part of apree health, a new healthcare organization dedicated to delivering a person-centric system of care with world-class experience, improved outcomes, and lower costs.
Editor's Note: This is an updated version of a post originally published on November 5, 2019.