Lifestyle Wellness

What Is Self-Care And Why Is It Important?

Are you confused with what the actual definition of self-care? Many are even though the term sounds incredibly simple.  The truth of the matter is, self-care encompasses an uncomplicated yet multi-faceted meaning. In the simplest of terms, it is care provided by you, for you.  

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For many of us, the first thing that comes to mind is sitting in a massage chair at the salon while receiving a much-needed pedicure.  But let’s take a moment and think outside the box here and discover what all “self-care” really entails.

Benefits of Self-Care

Let’s talk about how balancing your output and input would affect your quality of life.  If your output is greater than your input, you are probably not functioning at your fullest capacity.  This is similar to putting only enough gas in the car to get you to your next destination. 

Coffee, bagel, weight, clock

When you practice self-care, your tank remains full for you to be able to fulfill the demands each day.  When your balance is achieved, you achieve the following benefits.

Mental Clarity

Your brain needs pampering to function properly.  It requires nourishment, rest and stimulation to keep them firing on all cylinders helping you to think clearly and being able to focus.

Healthier Immune System

When you are taking care of your body, your immune systems get a good boost of goodness to keep fighting.  Your immune system requires proper nutrients much like your brain.  But it also requires rest and rejuvenation to fight off the nasty cold and flu season.

Increased Physical Endurance

Have you ever heard the saying “A body in motion stays in motion”?  It’s pretty simple really. Proper maintenance is key for anything to go further and last longer.  

Improved Self-Esteem

When you feel good, you feel good.  Creating time specifically devoted to self-care provides the perfect avenue to steer clear of negative self-talk and beating ourselves up.  Instead, you are moving in the direction of better health, which boosts confidence and self-esteem.

More of You to Give

Being well-versed in self-care might seem a bit selfish, but it’s the complete opposite.  Self-care replenishes your resources to be able to give. You can’t give away what you don’t have, right?  I have learned this early on that I need to be able to take care of myself before I can take care of others.

Related Post: 13 Simple Self Care Ideas For Busy Moms

Types of Self-Care

The incredible impact a self-care regimen can make on your life should be clear.  The next question in discovering all about self-care is the types and how each can benefit your whole being.  Remember, this is all about you taking care of yourself. 

coffee, book, reading glass

So what types of self-care are there?  Let’s take a look:

Psychological

Mental health is probably the least talked about yet one of the most crucial aspects of daily living.  Depression and anxiety run rampant in our society and we are barely willing to acknowledge it, let alone take steps to overcome and even prevent it. 

Activities for psychological self-care involve two things:  1) at least one of the five senses (touch, smell, sight, sound, and taste), and 2) being in the moment. 

Try things like closing your eyes and truly enjoying the scent of a candle, listening to some soothing music, or getting outside for some sunlight. 

A massage with essential oils is another great way to be in the moment and truly relax.  The main objective here is to be still, not overstimulated and be in the moment. 

Emotional

Some of us have the tendency to shove unpleasant emotions down so far we don’t have to deal with them.  This is especially true for us busy moms as we want to remain as the strong person everyone goes to. Self-care involves dealing with those emotions, allowing them time and space to process, and then moving forward. 

For emotional self-care, journaling, talking to a counselor or trusted friend, and singing songs representative of your current emotion are great ideas. 

Spiritual

You don’t have to be religious to get in touch with your spiritual side.  For self-care in this category, you could try positive affirmations, reading self-help books, visit a religious or other services, or spending some time in nature.

Physical

Our bodies are the only vessel we get in this lifetime.  And yes, exercise important, but think about the bigger picture.  Getting physical is an excellent way to burn off steam along with those extra calories. 

Cross-fit might be great for some, while others might be a little more comfortable taking the dog for a walk.  It can be in a gym or outside, in a group or alone.  Whatever works best for you and your fitness level.  

Social

People thrive on social interaction.  The introvert in me might disagree at times, but there is an innate level of satisfaction in creating long-lasting and substantial bonds with other people. 

two friends drinking coffee

There are many ways to engage in social self-care:  Support groups, brunch with friends, attending a social group meeting like a book club, or volunteering your time at a school or non-profit organization. 

Related Post: 35 Top Inspirational and Motivational Life Lessons

If you are an introvert like me and being around people isn’t your thing or it gives more angst than relaxation, try reaching out to someone via email or engaging in online forums. 

Prioritize Yourself and Take Action

We’ve gone over the five main areas of benefits and five main types of self-care, but how do you really get in there and decide what’s right for you?  Understanding the why of self-care is only the beginning. Hopefully, this knowledge will be enough to inspire you to actively incorporate some self-care into your life.

First and foremost, you need to make self-care a priority and not an “if I have time” activity. Take some time to evaluate and remember, this is about you!

This is for your own personal enrichment and well-being.  You have to invest in yourself to reap the rewards.  And you are definitely worth the investment!

Here are 3 questions you should ask yourself:

  • What makes me happy?
  • What do I enjoy doing?
  • When do I feel my best?

Get to know yourself.  Discovering yourself is part of the whole process.  If you’ve always wanted to try ballroom dancing classes but have never given it a chance, go for it.  You’ll discover psychological, spiritual, physical and social self-care activities by learning a new dance.

Based on your answers you’ll find the right direction for your self-care routine.  

Remember that no two people are the same and each person’s self-care rituals are going to be a little different than the next.  And that is perfectly okay.  

Simple Self-Care Ideas

In practicing self-care, you get to enjoy a little pampering, take better care of yourself (inside and out) and reap the many benefits like those listed above.  There really isn’t a downside to self-care. 

Here are a few simple self-care ideas to help you get started:

  • A walk, jog or run being mindful of being outdoors and all its beauty
  • A 5- or 10-minute morning meditation to get the day started
  • Listen to your favorite playlist, podcast or audiobook
  • Get out with friends for drinks
  • Get out with friends for a painting class
  • Take a pottery class.
  • Eat something green every day
  • Write in a journal
  • Read an inspirational book
  • Join a fitness class
  • Get a massage
  • Get a manicure and/or pedicure
  • Zone out in a bubble bath with candles and soft music

Self-care is limitless and it’s as individual as you.  If you enjoy watching a romantic comedy and helps you stop overthinking and relaxes you, go for it.  If you’d rather go for a walk/ run to help you get centered, by all means, do that.  Whatever your heart desires.  This is about feeding your soul so you can be the best version of yourself

Schedule Your Self Care Time

Now, here is the tricky part, and many of us are quick to come up with the “no time” excuse when attempting to implement a self-care plan.  The fact of the matter is, if you don’t make time for yourself, eventually your time for others will diminish.

sneaker, water bottle, laptop and planner

There will simply be less and less of yourself to offer if you aren’t refilling your self-care tank on a regular basis.  Many self-care techniques take only a few minutes, while others might involve more time.  It’s entirely up to you and your schedule, but don’t make the crucial mistake of denying yourself altogether.

Meditation can take as few as 5 or 10 minutes when you get the hang of it.  A 10-minute walk?  Surely there are TEN minutes in a day you can spare.  Let’s put it into perspective on how easily we cheat ourselves out of self-care with lame excuses. 

How often do you pick up your phone to check social media or email?  If you don’t know how much time you spend on your phone with mindless activities, there are apps to track it.  You might be shocked at the results.  I know I am guilty of this.

How much time do you spend in front of the TV?  On a break?  Driving?  You can incorporate self-care techniques in ALL of these time slots you’ve made available for other activities.

Related post: Why I Choose Fitness?

Follow Up and Reassess

After you’ve started your self-care plan, go 7 days straight and then re-evaluate.  Many recommend a month, but that’s a lot of days to carry on with something that might not be working, or forgotten altogether.

What are you looking for on your follow up?  Pay special attention to how you feel after you engage in something for self-care.  Does the scheduling need to be adjusted? Or does the activity itself need to be switched out for something else?

If you aren’t really getting the vibe you expected from weekly pedicures, switch it out for a 30-minute audiobook session at your favorite park.  You won’t know what works and what doesn’t until you try it.

The key here is to keep an open mind and be aware of whether your self-care plan is providing the benefits you expected.  It’s okay to switch things up.  If you aren’t a creature of habit and want the exact same routine, you don’t have to do that.  Do what works for you and your lifestyle! 

Female hand holding a pen and writing a plan in a planner

Self-care isn’t meant to be difficult.  It’s supposed to be satisfying and a means to refuel and recharge.  The important thing is that it benefits you, that you are taking care of yourself inside and out!  

Self-care isn’t about anyone else; it’s about you and restoring your mind, body, and spirit.  It is about carving out time to rejuvenate your life and live a more purposeful and meaningful existence.  It’s about you! So take care of yourself!  

What are you planning to do to take care of yourself?

Let me know in the comments below.

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coffee , weight and clock

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46 Comments

  • Reply Vanessa l Existence as I Know it February 17, 2020 at 6:36 am

    Self-Care is really underrated. People forget they can be functional in any social aspect as long as they are feeling well emotionally, physically and spiritually. Thank you for sharing these tips!

    • Reply Lina February 17, 2020 at 4:37 pm

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      • Reply Beatriz February 20, 2020 at 12:20 am

        Love this post! It is incredible how we neglect ourselves sometimes:) thanknyou

  • Reply Valentina February 17, 2020 at 6:41 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I “knew” about self care but I didn’t know what it actually is and what it includes. So thank you for explaining it and opening my eyes. Now I understand it a lot better xx

    • Reply Lina February 17, 2020 at 4:38 pm

      I am glad it helped you!

  • Reply Olivia February 17, 2020 at 6:51 am

    Wow what a great post, I’m focusing on self-love/care in my FB group! Definitely sharing…thank you☺️

    • Reply Lina February 17, 2020 at 4:38 pm

      Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Angela Sedlak | Mean Green Chef February 17, 2020 at 9:00 am

    Great list of ideas to take care of yourself, meditation and working out are tops on my list! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  • Reply Cindy February 17, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Self care is so incredibly important. Thank you!

  • Reply Syedah Shifa February 17, 2020 at 9:48 am

    It’s a well-written, nice and informative article with great tips.

    • Reply Lina February 17, 2020 at 4:38 pm

      Thank you.

  • Reply Christina Siwik February 17, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Nicely written. It is very similar to one I posted on my blog in January. Great minds think alike.

    • Reply Lina February 17, 2020 at 4:38 pm

      Yes, great minds do think alike 🙂

  • Reply Angela February 17, 2020 at 10:21 am

    A must read – we can only help and care for others if we are in a good healthy place ourselves!

  • Reply Kendra February 17, 2020 at 11:15 am

    This is such a great post! So many think of self-care as bubble baths and spa days, but it’s so much more. I’ve been really focusing on personal emotional development this year for my self-care journey. It’s been so fulfilling!

  • Reply Angie February 17, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Self-care is a much needed yet overlooked aspect for many people. Great information and suggestions on how to get started.

  • Reply Stacey Billingsley February 17, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Great info! There are so many times during the year that I know I’m not taking care of myself physically so I can get everything done. I always feel better when I get back to me. I do better balancing emotional care, but sometimes stress can zap that, too. Being mindful of self care helps to keep the balance.

  • Reply Beth Shields February 17, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks for this post. I am a retired healthcare professional who spent her life taking care of those in dire need, then took care of my mom as she was elderly and ready to pass, a single mom as well and now I find myself at a place where self-care is a hard discipline to put into practice. But I am excited about having a blessed opportunity to do just that. And you are correct – self care (scheduled and practiced) allows you to keeping caring for others and you enjoy it more! Appreciate how you have broken it out. And easy read.

  • Reply Holly February 17, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    Great advice and tips! Self care is so important so you can stay well…you can’t help others if your aren’t well yourself!

  • Reply Jenny February 17, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Great details article on a topic that is very powerful but most often people underestimate how important it is.

  • Reply Lisa Manderino February 17, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    I love all the ideas! I will start a 7 day plan and see how it goes.

    • Reply Lina February 17, 2020 at 4:36 pm

      Let me know how it goes!

  • Reply Leslie W. | lesliewblog.com February 17, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    Self care is so important. I’ve dedicated the month of February to self care on my blog. I agree with everything you have written here ! Great job!

    • Reply Lina February 17, 2020 at 4:36 pm

      How awesome! And Thank you.

  • Reply Tricia Snow February 17, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    I agree.. when I am burned out I have far less to give. It changes you when you do not take care of yourself.

    • Reply Lina February 17, 2020 at 4:37 pm

      So so true!

  • Reply Tiffany February 17, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    All wonderful tips! We have to remember to focus on ourselves first!

  • Reply Debbie February 17, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Self care for me is setting boundaries (my clients want me available on demand) and a bubble bath! 🙌🏻 🛀 😁

  • Reply Lucy February 17, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    thank you for the reminder for us to take care of ourselves. Sometimes it’s hard when we are the ones used to caring for others but we have to remember that we won’t be able to if we don’t care for ourselves first!

  • Reply Candy February 17, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    I agree self-care is so important. Thanks for the great ideas.

  • Reply Cathy February 17, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    A lot of great information for self-care. I am struggling lately to find the time for self-care, we have moved my elderly Mom in with us and all I can focus on is her care. I think things will be more balanced after a period of adjustment. Thanks for the good tips!

  • Reply Jennifer February 17, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    Some great ideas. It’s important to have some you time.

  • Reply Charlotte February 18, 2020 at 5:31 am

    This makes me want to take a long walk out in nature! Relaxation and taking care of ourselves is something most of us don’t do enough of.

  • Reply Suzan | It's My Sustainable Life February 18, 2020 at 9:23 am

    Wonderful list & suggestions! Daily yoga, meditation and a good soaking bath are all my favorite ways to express self care.

  • Reply Sydney Delong February 18, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Self care really is so important! Thank you for all this advice!

  • Reply vanessa February 18, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Very fine points! We sometimes forget to take care of ourselves because we get so busy taking care of others. I like walking to clear my head and for the cardio and I encourage my office staff to join me. We call it our non-smoke break.

  • Reply Noelle February 18, 2020 at 10:34 pm

    These are great tips. I just had a massage today, and it felt great! I need to focus more on things I can do daily for self-care.

  • Reply Angie Emde February 19, 2020 at 6:31 am

    Having had burnout, I agree that self care is so important. I find time every day a few times a day to enjoy some of the suggestions like walking and journaling. Emotionally I find mindful walking great way to destress after a busy day and between caring for others at work and giving to the family at home. Self care is energizing.

  • Reply Divine February 19, 2020 at 6:46 am

    What a great post. Enjoyed reading this, you really shared great tips and insights on self care. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply Jenna February 19, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Such a great list of ideas! Being a mom to 4 boys, I’m always busy and self-care definitely comes last. I’ll have to start putting a little more priority on self-care now though!

  • Reply Christina Furnival February 20, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    I love that you spoke about the various types of self-care, including mental health!

    • Reply Lina February 21, 2020 at 6:38 am

      Thanks Christina! It’s so important.

  • Reply Brianna February 24, 2020 at 8:18 am

    This is very helpful, I like how you were thorough about all the different reasons why self care is beneficial. Thank you!

    • Reply Lina February 25, 2020 at 5:08 am

      Thank you for stopping by.

  • Reply Lisa February 25, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    It’s so easy for life to get the best of us and we forget to take care of ourselves. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Reply LaTersa Denise February 28, 2020 at 6:28 am

    some great tips now that working out part always get me

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