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Definition Of Self-Care Let’s dispel a common misconception: self-care is not synonymous with complacency or selfishness. Self-care means taking care of oneself to be healthy, to be well, to do one’s job, to help and care for others, and to do whatever one needs and wants to accomplish in one day.
You’re right if you think you’ve heard more about self-care by now. An indicator: according to Google Trends, the number of searches for “personal care” has more than doubled since 2015. Up Arrow Right
Paula Gill Lopez, PhD, associate professor and chair of the Department of Educational and Psychological Counseling at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, says the essential for self-care is obvious. “We have an epidemic of nervousness and depression,” she says. “Everyone feels it.”
Self-care is portion of the answer to how we can all well cope with daily stressors, says Kelsey Patel, Los Angeles-based wellness expert and author of the forthcoming book Burning Bright: Rituals, Reiki, and Self-Care to Heal.
Burnout, anxiety and stress. It’s the stress of work. It’s the stress of trying to save up with the pace of everyday life, which technology has accelerated more than ever (think of the number of emails flooding your inbox each day). “People feel more alone and less able to relax and slow down. Which makes them more anxious and overwhelmed by even the simplest tasks,” says Patel.
“It could be everything that floats your boat, anything that makes you smile,” says Dr Gill Lopez. “Anything that makes you feel loved, even if you take care of yourself.”
There are different categories of personal care:
- Take care of yourself emotionally, like talking to yourself, taking weekly bubble baths, saying “no” to things that cause unnecessary stress. Permitting yourself to take a break, or planning a weekly coffee with a friend.
- Take care of yourself physically, like prioritising sleep, having an exercise routine you can follow, and choosing healthy, nutritious foods over highly processed foods.
- Take care of yourself spiritually, such as attending a church service, spending time in nature, meditating, incorporating regular acts of kindness into your day, or keeping a gratitude journal.
What Is Self-Care, and Why Is It Serious for Your Well-Being?
Various organisations and researchers take a health-focused approach to defining self-care. Medical care”.
By this definition, self-care includes maintaining good physical health, including hygiene and nutrition, and seeking medical care. These are all the steps a person can take to manage the stressors in their life and take care of their health and well-being.
Therefore some researchers have taken a similar clinical approach. A 2010 study published in the JBI Library of Systematic Reviews defined self-care as “the set of activities one engages in throughout life daily”, focusing on health promotion, disease prevention and management of problems.
What Counts as Self-Care and What Doesn’t
So there is no way to say precisely what counts as self-care, as everyone’s definition is their own.
Courtney emphasised that it brings you more sustained joy in the long run. And while there are plenty of examples of self-care that seem to walk a fine line between health-enhancing behaviours and self-indulgence. Therefore self-care doesn’t have to be about filling your schedule with great experiences or d activities that cost money. (although it is certainly possible).
Consider a manicure or massage, or other spoiling activity. That may sound indulgent, but if the exercise helps you relax and set aside time for yourself, that counts as self-care, Amsellem says. So if weekly manicures or monthly spa days are beyond your means. So there are plenty of other self-care practices you can adopt.
“Self-care doesn’t have to cost anything; it’s just about doing things you love. And many things that we enjoy or are happy with don’t cost anything,” Amsalem says. “Going out and breathing deeply, for example, might be the greatest act of self-care.”