What Is Self-Care and Why Is Your Health So Dependent on It?

First, let’s dispel a common misconception: self-care does not equate to selfishness or self-indulgence. Self-care entails looking for oneself in order to maintain good health, perform at work, assist and look after others, and do all of the tasks you need to complete in a given day.

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You are correct if you believe that self-care has been discussed more recently. One sign is that, since 2018, searches for “self-care” have almost tripled, according to Google Trends.

Self-care is clearly necessary, according to Paula Gill Lopez, PhD, an associate professor at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, in the department of psychological and educational consultation. “Depression and anxiety are on the rise,” she claims. “It is felt by all.”

Wellness consultant Kelsey Patel, based in Los Angeles, says that self-care is a part of the solution to help us all deal with everyday challenges more effectively. Workplace stress is to blame. It’s the pressure to keep up with the speed of life, which technology has made ever faster (consider how many emails arrive in your inbox every day). According to Patel, “people are feeling less able to relax and unwind, which makes them feel more anxious and overwhelmed by even the simplest tasks.”

What Is Self-Care and Why Is It Important for Your Overall Health?

When defining self-care, a number of organizations and scholars use a health-oriented perspective. “The ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health worker” is how the World Health Organization defines self-care.

This concept encompasses all aspects of maintaining physical health, such as proper cleanliness, eating habits, and seeking medical attention when necessary. It encompasses all the actions a person may do to handle stresses in their life and look after their own health and wellbeing.

Analogously, other researchers have used a clinical approach. According to a 2010 research, self-care is “the set of activities in which one engages throughout life on a daily basis,” with an emphasis on fostering wellbeing, averting sickness, and dealing with emergent problems.

Self-care was defined as “the self-initiated behavior that people choose to incorporate to promote good health and general well-being” in a 2018 research. The study’s authors also mentioned the need of coping mechanisms for handling work-related stress in addition to maintaining good health.

Researchers released a self-care framework in 2019 to emphasize that self-care encompasses not only the actions people take on their own to maintain their physical and mental well-being, but also the ways in which people engage with healthcare providers and systems to address these issues. Thus, self-care include things like getting vaccinated, making an appointment for a cancer screening, or taking prescription drugs on time. However, healthcare organizations and providers also have an impact on how successfully people follow these self-care practices. Stated differently, a multitude of elements and individuals impact an individual’s capacity to practice self-care.

Definitions of self-care have started to focus more on overall welfare and on identifying and attending to one’s own needs as the practice has gained popularity. A licensed psychologist located in the greater New York metropolitan region, Marni Amsellem, PhD, defines self-care as “anything that you do for yourself that feels nourishing.”

“It could be something intellectual, spiritual, physical, practical, or something you just have to get done,” she adds. It could also be something soothing or soothing.

As a pillar of self-care, health literacy is defined by the International Self-Care Foundation as follows: every action you take to improve your comprehension of the health information you require to make informed decisions about your health and well-being is also considered self-care.

In order to practice self-care, you must ask yourself how you’re feeling emotionally, psychologically, and physically. While some utilize self-care as a coping mechanism for upsetting news items, others engage in it as a daily way to stay happy. For each person, self-care means something different. Self-care habits will vary from person to person, and you may even find that your personal concept of self-care changes over time. Dr. Amsellem states, “What is self-care for you one day might not feel like self-care another, and what is self-care for someone else will probably differ from someone else.”

Regular self-care might help you present yourself in the best possible light. According to Amsellem, “we are better able to react to the things that go on in our lives when we are regularly taking care of ourselves.” “We do it in order to sustain positive well-being.”

Self-Care Types

Anything that makes you smile or floats your boat might be the answer, according to Dr. Gill Lopez. “Anything that helps you feel loved, even if it’s just self-care.”

Self-care falls into a few distinct categories:

Emotional self-care practices include self-talk, regular bubble baths, saying “no” to things that stress you out, allowing yourself to take breaks, and scheduling weekly coffee dates with friends.

Physical self-care includes things like making sleep a priority, starting a regular exercise program, and selecting wholesome meals over processed ones.

Spiritual self-care may take many forms, including going to church, being outside, practicing meditation, scheduling regular acts of kindness into your day, or maintaining a gratitude notebook.

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About the Author: VyVy Aneloh Team