Why Is Self Care Important for Well-Being?
Learn about the different types of self care and various activities to improve well-being in this comprehensive article.
What Is Self Care?
Self care is a phrase you probably hear a lot. In fact, according to Google Trends, searches for “self care” have doubled since 2015. But what does it actually mean? Self care is taking care of oneself to promote health and well-being.1
Self care looks different for everyone, as we all have different needs. But generally, it refers to engaging in specific activities that will improve physical and mental health. When we practice these care strategies, we can improve our lives in many ways. We can decrease stress and anxiety, improve our physical health, and feel more capable of reaching our goals in life.
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Is Self Care Selfish?
Some people may associate self care with self-indulgence, but it’s important to recognize that doing things that are good for you is not selfish or self-indulgent. In fact, engaging in activities that help you feel better and promote well-being positively impacts those around you.
Why Is Self Care Important for Well-Being?
Self care isn’t just about having the occasional bubble bath; it involves routine interventions to improve mental and physical health and well-being. The importance of one’s well being is substantial, and research shows that employing a good routine offers genuine health benefits. Some of these benefits include:2
- Improved mental health, such as reduced depression and anxiety
- Improved resilience, or the ability to bounce back from hard times
- Reduced stress
- Increased energy
- Increased happiness
- Stronger relationships
- Reduced burnout
When we understand the importance of self care and regularly follow a routine, we reap the benefits listed above. Through these benefits, we can prevent diseases, better cope with illnesses, and live in better health.
Types of Self Care
Self care is multifaceted, with four types to understand and invest in: emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental care. These will be detailed below.
Emotional care may involve setting boundaries, speaking with a friend or therapist about your struggles, or making time for relaxation each day. You may also utilize a hobby or activity as an outlet to healthily process emotions.
Physical care involves getting enough sleep each night, exercising, and choosing nutrient-dense foods over fast food or other unhealthy, processed foods. It also includes going to the doctor regularly and taking medications as needed and prescribed.
To improve your spiritual care, you can pray, meditate, attend church, or spend time in nature. You may also take up gratitude journaling, which can increase your appreciation for life, the people around you, and what you have.
Taking care of mental health can involve practicing self-compassion and positive self-talk. Mental care can also include things that keep you mentally stimulated, like reading a good book, watching an inspiring movie, working on puzzles, or learning a new skill.
Self Care Activities
If you’re not used to investing in self care and well being, it may feel strange at first to devote so much time to a self care routine. But remember, taking care of yourself is not wrong or selfish. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the benefits of these activities.
If you don’t enjoy exercising, it’s understandable that you may avoid it. But exercise offers many benefits, such as:3
- Reduce the risk of disease
- Weight management
- Improve brain health
- Boost mental health
One of the best tips for exercise is finding an activity that you really enjoy. Swimming, kayaking, yoga, and even dancing are all forms of exercise that you may enjoy more than traditional forms of exercise like running or weight training.
It can be difficult to eat healthily, especially if you have a busy life and tend to eat whatever is most convenient. However, the benefits of a healthy diet are innumerable. Similar to exercise, a healthy diet can:
- Improve your immunity
- Reduce your risk of disease
- Increase your lifespan
People who get enough sleep are sick less often, find it easier to maintain a healthy weight, have a lower risk for serious diseases, perform better at school and work, and even get along better with others.4
Allow yourself time to do the things that you enjoy and make you feel relaxed. This may include reading, journaling in a planner, hiking, baking, or just watching TV. You may also enjoy relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditative body scans. When you’re in a state of relaxation, your nervous system can better regulate bodily functions like breathing, heart rate, digestion, and blood pressure.
It’s common to overlook socializing as a part of one’s well being. Isolation can wreak havoc on mental, physical, and emotional health. Research shows that regularly connecting with others can improve mental and physical health, lower the risk of dementia, and possibly help you live longer.5
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- High blood pressure
- Withdrawal symptoms from nicotine, alcohol, or opioids
- Sleep quality
- Eating behavior
Develop Your Self Care Plan With Ripple Ranch Recovery
If you haven’t spent much time on these practices, you may not know where to start. The good news is that Ripple Ranch Recovery can help you build a self care plan that allows you to reconnect with yourself as you recover from addiction.
At Ripple Ranch Recovery, our highly qualified team utilizes a mix of evidence-based and holistic therapies to create a personalized treatment plan that meets your individual needs. You can feel confident knowing that treatment at Ripple Ranch Recovery works, as 85% of people who come to Ripple Ranch successfully complete treatment.
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- 4 https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/healthy-living/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep
- 5 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-mild-cognitive-impairment/201606/the-health-benefits-socializing
- 6 https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation-and-mindfulness-what-you-need-to-know