Every single day our phones vibrate constantly with notifications. Our To-Do lists grow consistently. Furthermore, we try to jam pack in activities into every single minute. We live in a world that is always on the go and the level of stress that incites is significant. Self-care has become somewhat of a buzzword. It is used by professionals to describe the importance of looking after and improving mental and physical health. But “why self-care is important” is still a question we hear over and over again. And how can we be mindful of our own input and efforts to care for ourselves properly?
What is self-care?
The direct definition of self-care is ’the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health’. It involves taking an active role in the protection of your own well. This includes being and happiness, consistently and also at times of high stress. The demands on us increase on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, looking after ourselves becomes a second thought and often one associated with a lack of productivity. We focus instead on tangible things we can achieve and mark off as done. That email that needs to be sent or the project that has to be completed, for example.
Why is self-care so important?
In recent years, the research into self-care and it’s short and long-term benefits have continued to pop up. A study of medical students in the US showed that practising self-care regularly significantly reduced the impact of common complaints in this industry, namely high rates of burnout, anxiety and depression. Another review published in 2019 in the International Journal of Nursing Studies found that taking time to look after oneself resulted in improved well-being, lower morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs.
The argument against self-care is limited, at best. It is a way of managing stress to ensure we don’t become entirely depleted from both physical and emotional exhaustion. By altering the way in which we see our ‘free’ time and instead, using it to shift your mental energy. As it shut down negative thoughts can have a significant impact on your overall help. It allows you to focus entirely on what you need at that moment, meeting your most basic needs and ensuring you can perform at your best.
Restores natural energy resources
No matter how resilient of a person you consider yourself to be, no one can pour from an empty cup. When we’re faced with stressful and demanding situations, our energy levels get depleted. The pressure sitting on our chests can get to a point where it almost feels physical. Alternatively, where it is impacting other areas of our lives. Taking time to practise self-care in a form that suits you replenished these energy stores. Much in the same way that drinking water replenishes the moisture within our bodies.
Restores a level of patience
An ever-increasing To-Do list and growing list of responsibilities places such stress on us that our patience begins to wear thin. Especially if things don’t go our way or projects take longer to complete because of unforeseeable situations. As a result, we begin to snap and become irritated quicker. Self-care forces us to take a step back from these demands. Rather to focus in on the things our body needs right now and re-set. We’ve all been there where every comment from a colleague or email sends our irritation levels sky high. Self-care practices give us the means to reset back to our original levels. Irritation, especially continuous or extreme, can also be a sign of depression. So catching it early is a beneficial way of preventing more serious mental health conditions down the line.
Builds better resilience
Mental resilience is the ability of someone to adapt to situations that are adverse or highly stressful. Having good mental resilience helps when faced with unexpected challenges. As it allows you to pause, plan and act upon structured methods to achieve a positive end result. If you are able to see emotions and feelings for what they are and not allow the worry-cycle to spiral. It will help to reduce feelings of anxiety, loneliness or grief. Self-care affords you the time to take a step back. Moreover, to build a strong mental state and properly process emotions in this way.
Ways to practice self-care
The wonder is self-care is that it is entirely individual to every single person. The activities and space it takes one person to reset will be entirely different from another. And to find the right means for you, identifying the things that bring you small doses of happiness is a good place to start. 10 ways we practice self-care here at Malée include:
- Having a well-planned and researched skincare routine using products such as our Verdure Conditioning Body Cream and award-winning Verdure Conditioning Body Scrub.
- Drinking a minimum of 2 litres of water per day. This not only helps with mental clarity, it keeps your skin nourished too.
- Getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night, where possible. Sleep affords your body time to regenerate, heal and repair itself.
- Exercising or moving our bodies every single day for at least 30 minutes – Yoga is a brilliant option for calming down the mind!
- Keeping our home and working spaces clean and organised.
- Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and fibre.
- Saying ‘no’ to events and people that bring stress or negative energy into our lives
- Spending as much time outside as possible. Vitamin D is vital for healthy brain function and insufficient levels have been linked to depression and other mental illnesses.
- Using aromatherapy to bring down stress levels. Scents such as lavender and orange are said to help cut through feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Meditation. Taking a few moments to shut out all external stresses and focus solely on our breathing does wonders to reduce stress.
Self-care is important in this busy and modern world, for keeping us calm, relaxed and able to deal with stressful moments. Taking the time to focus in on ourselves, applying names to our emotions and doing the things we enjoy are all ways we can create a happier and much more enjoyable life.