Self-care is not selfish. It is necessary to nurture your relationship with yourself in order to manage your health and wellness. Self-care means taking care of oneself so that daily tasks can be accomplished such as going to work, taking care of children, and most importantly, being healthy. Actions of self-care do not need to be luxurious or indulgent, but rather they can simply be mundane things that make you happy. Some people practice self-care by taking a relaxing bath at the end of the day or reading a book before bed. Check out our list of the 5 best benefits of self-care.
- Helps fight fatigue
One of the most popular self-care practices is establishing a proper sleep routine. It can be easy for life to get in the way of good sleep, staying up late to reach deadlines, or waking up super early for work, but it is important that rejuvenating sleep is attained to maintain a healthy wellbeing. One study showed that by extending the hours of sleep by just 1 hour a day for a week for healthy individuals, major results of reduced fatigue and increased vigor were achieved. To read more about the health benefits of sleep and why a sleep schedule should be incorporated into your self-care routine, click here.
- Helps boost motivation
Motivation can be one of the hardest things to attain and one of the easiest things to lose. Self-care can make it easier for you to become motivated and reach your goals because when you feel good about yourself, you believe anything is possible. One study showed that individuals who had a goal-centered, motivated, mindset were more likely to reach the study’s objective of maintaining blood pressure within normal limits by performing the necessary actions to manage it. This study proves that self-care not only boosts motivation but consequently, also boosts health. The chemical messenger and hormone known as dopamine is released in response to motivation, reward, and pleasure. Dopamine further improves health by helping increase mood, sleep, learning, and attention. To read more about how to increase fitness motivation, one of the hardest motivations to reach, click here.
- Heals your relationship with yourself
The whole purpose of self-care is to create a healthier relationship with yourself. But what does a healthy relationship with yourself look like? The answer is increased self-esteem. Self-care gives you a confidence promotion in which you learn to take better control of the choices you make and you receive greater fulfillment in the actions you choose to partake in. One study showed a significant relationship between self-care and self-esteem in the elderly population which arguably, is the population that needs self-care the most due to the number of health problems that can result at an older age. Feelings of self-esteem such as pride can help release serotonin which is a chemical messenger in the body responsible for a wide variety of body functions such as digestion, wound healing, sleep, bone health, and sexual health. Some simple ways to begin building self-esteem are to start saying “no” more which helps you learn assertiveness and to recognize what you are good at.
- Decreases anxiety and stress
Practicing self-care has been used for decades to help manage symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. A survey from 10 different countries reported that the most common self-care practices to manage anxiety and depression were taking herbal or dietary supplements, mind-body therapies such as meditation, and some exercises. When we are doing activities that make us calm and feel content, our “happy chemicals” are released from the brain. One of these happy chemicals are called endorphins which are released in response to pleasurable activities such as exercise, massage, and sex. Endorphins have been shown to decrease depression, anxiety, improve self-image, and contribute to weight loss.
- Strengthens social connections
By becoming confident in yourself and taking care of your own needs first, you are able to meet the needs of others and strengthen social relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. Oxytocin, the love chemical, is released when we feel love and friendship with others. Low oxytocin levels have been linked to depression and even autism spectrum disorder. Some self-care practices that naturally increase oxytocin levels for improved mood and better health include exercise, massage, music especially when sung in groups and giving hugs or cuddling. So grab a friend or family member, and start practicing self-care together because working with someone you care about might be more beneficial than being alone.