Written By: Allie Yasenchack, M.S. / Client Delivery Manager
You may have heard the phrase “you need to invest in yourself,” but what does this really mean? Why take the time to invest in ourselves?
The regular practice of self-care can have many rewarding benefits for our overall health and wellbeing. September is National Self-Care Awareness Month. An entire month dedicated to reminding us that it’s important to prioritize ourselves! Whether you believe it or not, you are the most important person when it comes to the life you live, and taking time to focus on yourself in some positive way is important for maintaining your health and happiness.
Self-care can be divided into different categories such as mental, emotional, physical, environmental, spiritual, social, and recreational. Just as every individual is unique, so are our needs. What may be important to one person’s self-care routine may not be a priority for another. Common self-care practices include intentional breathing, laughing, therapy, going to yearly doctor appointments, decreasing screen time, journaling, and exercise. Ultimately self-care is open to interpretation and allows us to identify holes in our health routine and fill in those gaps. Self-care can often be perceived as time to de-stress and relax from life’s busy demands.
Let’s face it, life can be chaotic. Between the demands of our home, work, social lives, and everything in between, it is easy to understand why self-care can be easily overlooked. We tend to put ourselves and our needs on the back burner and practice little to no self-care while life’s stressors put more and more pressure on us.
A common misconception is that self-care is overindulging or a selfish practice. However, when done correctly it is necessary for living a healthy life and to be able to present your best self to your work and home life. Self-care has been shown to reduce stress, foster resilience, boost self-esteem, and lead to better relationships. By choosing activities that bring us joy and a sense of peace we can help restore the balance in our lives as we promote healthy habits while creating a wellness routine along the way.
Many people claim that they don’t have time or energy to engage in self-care practices. The key is to start small. Think of some activity now, or as a kid, that allowed you to “escape from the real world”. Maybe it’s a sport, a good book, talking to a friend, cooking a new recipe, or so on. Start small and try implementing this one self-care practice into your week. You want to choose something that makes you feel good and empowers you to take time for yourself. As we learn to take and allow time for ourselves, we can grow and try to incorporate new ideas. Over time you will find a routine that allows you to love, improve, and care for yourself along the way.
Having a healthy relationship with yourself makes such a positive difference in your well-being. Be kind, loving, and patient with yourself. We are all human and need to allow ourselves adequate time to recharge our batteries. Taking the appropriate time to love and care for ourselves allows us to build resiliency, combat burnout, and feel safe and comfortable in the world. By investing in self-care, you can be the best version of yourself. Not to mention by taking care of yourself, it allows you to be a better asset to those around you.
A regular self-care activity I have successfully incorporated into my daily routine is lighting one of my favorite candles before bed and reading a chapter or two of a book. It started as just reading a few pages before bed and has evolved into something I look forward to doing daily.
If you don’t know where to start, try some of the examples of habits listed below to get started on and inspired to finding your self-care routine, to ultimately be the best version of yourself possible.
Some Healthy Habits to Promote Self-Kindness
- Set small self-goals
- Write down things you are grateful for
- Remind yourself you are human
- Remind yourself there is no such thing as perfection
- Take little breaks throughout your day
- Ask yourself how you feel
- Remind yourself you matter
- Ask yourself what you need right now