The Importance of Self-Care and The Benefits. You Are a Priority Too.
Adult life is incredibly busy, and we have so many tasks to juggle that we often disregard the importance of self-care and putting ourselves as a priority.
There’s such a stigma when it comes to self-care, with the idea that it’s being selfish, but that is far from true. This misunderstanding is often why our own needs become neglected, leading to burn out and mental health effects. The fact is self-care is far from selfish and is essential to our overall well-being. True self-care isn’t about pampering yourself with spa days or shopping sprees. While those things feel nice, it’s more than that. Self-care encompasses any action that you take that helps nourish your mental health, physical health, and overall wellbeing. Self-care is incredibly important in your life and this post will cover the benefits and provide examples of self-care.
Why is self-care important?
Some people unfortunately misconstrue self-care as selfish, but it is far from that. Note that when you give adequate self-attention to your wellbeing, others may significantly benefit from you. How? When you are able to take time to reinvigorate yourself, you become a better version of yourself that is able to be more present and available for others. Here are some further benefits of developing a good self-care practice.
Helps to improve your productivity:
When you say “no” to things which make you extend your duration there and begin making time for other things that matter more, life becomes more wonderful and amazing.
Improves resistance to disease:
Studies suggest that self-care activities activate your parasympathetic nervous system, thus keeping your body in a rejuvenating mode and developing more resistance to illness and disease.
Better physical health:
When you significantly practice better self-care, you are more likely to be immune to the common cold or flu. Stress deeply impacts our bodies’ ability to maintain a healthy immune system and fight sickness. Self-care can help reduce stress, thus helping strengthen your immune system and illness-fighting response.
Being good to yourself regularly and meeting your personal needs helps your body send a positive message to your subconscious, thus discouraging negative self-talk.
Self-care includes a lot of brain engagement and stimulation within our interest areas. Therefore, continuous exercising of your brain on what you are passionate about helps you understand yourself better and sometimes sparks a personal or career change.
It helps you be compassionate to others:
Being genuine and good to yourself helps to “fill your bucket.” Think of the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” We can give to others better when we are whole and complete ourselves.
Some mental health benefits of self-care can include reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Ways that self-care helps reduce stress:
Stress is a common thing worldwide. It has no age limit and does not know the rich and the poor. Therefore, developing a robust and healthy stress response can serve you all your life. The only way you can succeed is by practicing good self-care. This will help improve your physical, emotional, and mental health, thus preventing and managing stress.
Some of these acceptable self-care practices include.
· Sleeping regularly.
· Eating a healthy diet.
· Relaxation practices like massage
How self-care helps reduce anxiety:
Self-care practices like walking for around 45 minutes a day while working through a problem, jogging, lifting weights, or walking can significantly help mitigate several anxiety symptoms when they arise. Good self-care practice can prevent anxiety before it starts, as opposed to being put in a position to cope after the fact.
According to a study by the National Institute of Health (NIH), self-care books based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) also boost the quality of life in anxiety patients.
Also, meditation can alleviate anxiety and assist with staying present in the moment, rather than getting lost in thought. When meditating, you should focus on your breath, body sensations, or the observations of the setting around you. This allows you to be in better control of your thoughts, evaluate your thoughts and ideas as they enter your mind, and develop more of a non-judgmental stance to the life around us. All of these benefits of meditation work together to decrease anxiety.
How self-care helps reduce depression
Depression is a universal and severe mental health condition that causes extreme sadness, which negatively affects your motivation, behavior, health, and quality of life. Self-care is a very important part of treatment for depression. This can include:
Admitting you have a problem: this is always tough for people struggling with depression; however, it is the first step towards getting better. Part of admitting the problem also involves admitting that it is not your fault. Accepting depression can be a challenge and one that you do not have to face alone.
Setting realistic goals: completing even small goals when you are depressed is a huge achievement. Focus on the little things like getting dressed in the morning, hygiene, eating a decent meal. All of these can add up to achieve your larger goals in managing mental health or obtaining personal success.
Prepare your daily schedule: preparing a plan will help structure your life and make time for basic and more in-depth self-care strategies. By creating a simple schedule, we are able to make time for tasks we enjoy (like reading, cooking, spending time outside), tasks we must complete (cleaning, hygiene, work), and time to engage with our support system. All of these are integral parts of managing and treating depression.
If any of the tips in this post interest you, such as meditation, thought management, or being more accountable to our self-care needs, it is important to know that you can utilize therapy as an important part of the journey, especially if you are struggling with depression or anxiety. Now you know how self-care can impact your life. What are you waiting for? Start today, making these baby steps today, and see yourself rise and become a healthier person.
If you’re in Illinois and looking to explore therapy as a method of making yourself a priority and practicing self-care we have over 30 therapists in Champaign IL, as well as Urbana, Tuscola, Charleston, Mattoon, and we offer Teletherapy in Illinois. Our client care team is available to help get you set up and answer any questions.
About the Contributor
Proofed and Verified by: Erica Aina, LCSW
Mandy is a creative and multi-passionate marketer. She is responsible for supporting, developing, and executing strategic marketing campaigns. She works on all marketing pieces for the company from the life of the website, email marketing, social media, and outreach to support brand awareness around all things Elliott Counseling Group offers.
Erica is the Clinical Supervisor and one of many therapists at Elliott Counseling Group. As the Clinical Supervisor she supports clinical growth, oversees protocols, and provides mentorship, monitoring, support, and supervision to therapists. As a therapist, she specializes in trauma work, depression, children/teen issues, and crisis management.
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