Self-care has a crucial role in your physical, mental and emotional health. It’s a vital part of supporting yourself as a human and ensuring you can enjoy your life. But self-care is much more than just bubble baths and manicures – it’s taking responsibility for all areas of your life and giving yourself what you need to thrive. So, why is it so important for your health?
What do we mean by self-care?
It’s anything that will help you live well and have robust physical and mental health. That could include any of the following:
- Moving your body regularly – Humans need to move for fitness, mobility, and enjoyment. Just 30 minutes a day can make a big difference to how you feel mentally, as well as your physical strength.
- Nourishing yourself – Food is fuel and pleasure, and we are designed to enjoy it as both. Learning how to nourish yourself with nutritious food, stay hydrated and minimise consumption of anything that might hurt your physical or mental health (e.g. alcohol in excess) is all part of a healthy self-care routine.
- Take responsibility for your life – Setting goals and priorities, understanding your self-imposed limits and barriers and ensuring that you’re not making your issues someone else’s problem are all part of self-care. That could look like learning how to do your finances or getting therapy to help with anger issues. Self-care makes us feel strong and safe, and it’s impossible to do that if you don’t know how to help yourself.
- Learn how to switch it off – Being able to relax is a vital skill – as important as being able to power through, be disciplined and push yourself. If you’ve got into a position where relaxation doesn’t come easy, there is plenty you can do about it, from taking up meditation to downloading a mindfulness app.
- Feel your feelings – What we resist persists, so a big part of self-care is making space for your feelings, even the hard or ugly ones. Emotions are temporary, and all will pass; it’s when we try to stop having certain feelings that we tend to get stuck in them.
- Stay connected to others – Whether it’s your biological or chosen family, it’s important to have people around you who will support you. Sustaining these connections is as much self-care as working on your physical health.
Why is self-care so important for your health?
Because it impacts almost every aspect of how we experience life – and how we feel. As you can see from the above list, everything, from how fit you feel to how socially connected you are and whether you are aware of your feelings and how you function, can be affected by how your self-care.
Self-care is fundamental to all our health. If you want to be there for the people you love, make a difference in the world and live fully, then it has to come first.