Self-care may be a trending term in recent years, but it is not a new concept. Nor is it an exclusive practice solely for the wealthy or people with an excessive amount of time on their hands. Self-care is simply the practice of taking care of yourself to preserve and improve both your physical health and emotional well-being. Though most forms of self-care are free, those that do cost money are likely to be affordable. Regardless of how much you do or do not pay, self-care activities can have a wealth of benefits. Below are just a few of them.
1. Self-Care Activities Can Improve Your Physical Health
Many self-care activities involve changing your diet for the better and incorporating exercise and mediation into your daily routine. These changes often translate to improved muscle tone, increased bone mass, better heart health, more energy and other measurable benefits. These benefits, in turn, trigger the body’s relaxation response, which can help to lower stress levels.
2. Self-Care Can Help Reduce Anxiety and Depression Levels
Common forms of self-care include taking warm baths, meditating, listening to music and going for walks. Each of these activities triggers the body’s natural relaxation response, which, in addition to reducing symptoms of stress, can also reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
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3. Self-Care Can Boost Self-Esteem
When you treat yourself like you matter, you will begin to feel as if you do, too. Though it’s important to always know that you matter, if you ever feel yourself questioning your value or worth, take a few moments for yourself. Thinking positive thoughts while engaging in a relaxing activity may be just what you need to gain a new perspective that allows you to look upon yourself with more kindness. In fact, studies show that people who regularly engage in self-care activities have higher levels of self-esteem, are better able to achieve their self-improvement goals and can more easily overcome setbacks.
4. Self-Care Makes You a Better Friend and Loved One
Too many people believe that to be a great parent, child, spouse, significant other or what-have-you, they must bend over backward to do things for others. Sadly, these people often run themselves ragged to the point where they are unable to give their best to anyone.
If you want to give the best version of yourself to the people near and dear to you, you need to take care of your own needs, too. Imagine if, for every five things you did for someone else, you did something for yourself in return. Though the ratio may seem off, such a system may result in you treating yourself kindly several times a day, which can open your eyes to just how much you do for others and how little you do for yourself. Little rewards — whether in the form of an extra cup of coffee or a five-minute reading session — can also help you look forward to lending a helping hand, rather than viewing it as just another thing you have to do. All of this equates to more positive energy to lend to friends and family.
5. Self-Care Can Help Preserve Your Mental Health
Each of the aforementioned benefits works together to produce a single priceless outcome: preserved mental health. With so much to stress and worry about these days, your mental health is an invaluable asset that you want to protect at all costs. Fortunately, when you engage in self-care, the price is minimal to non-existent.
If you have yet to prioritize self-care, now is the time to change that. By taking just a few minutes of your day to show yourself some love and appreciation, you can experience a world of benefits.