Contrary to a common misconception, self-care is not the same as being selfish. When you are selfish, you tend to take from others to satisfy your own desires. Your sole focus is yourself. You don’t care about anyone else. On the contrary, self-care is something that you do without the intention of taking away from others or putting your own wants and desires ahead of other people. It is not a practice of living in self-indulgence either, but a means to protect your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Whether it is spending an entire day doing something that you enjoy, saying no to things that make you feel overwhelmed, or taking a walk when you feel down, self-care habits nurture you. They restore whatever is lacking to make yourself whole again so you can be the best version of yourself. If you are hesitant to practice self-care, here are several reasons that may change your mind:
It Helps Reduce Stress
Stress is a natural part of life. A little of it can help you perform better and commit to your responsibilities. However, when not properly managed, stress can be overwhelming, and it affects your physical and mental health. You can experience insomnia, migraine, headaches, anxiety, restlessness, and fatigue. Long-term stress can also lead to cardiovascular diseases, depression, and other severe medical and mental health conditions.
Because of all these harmful consequences, stress management is of utmost importance. This is particularly true if you’ve recently received treatment from a drug rehab in Boston or a similar addiction center elsewhere, as stress can be a major addiction relapse trigger.
To reduce stress, practicing self-care is key. Simple things like listening to music, journaling, practicing meditation, and reaching out to others can do so much to calm you down and relieve stress.
The key is finding relaxing activities that you enjoy and giving yourself time to carry them out without feeling guilty. When you start paying attention to your needs and begin finding ways to address them, you will find it easier to manage stress.
It Improves Physical Health
A large part of self-care involves observing habits that will help you stay physically healthy while providing you with enough energy to live life to the fullest. When you practice physical self-care, you commit to exercising regularly, maintaining a regular sleep routine, eating a healthy diet, and taking a rest or seeking medical help when needed. Caring for your physical well-being also involves listening to your body more attentively and responding to its signals accordingly. Considering that all these things protect your body and prevent the onset of severe medical conditions, it is easy to realize why self-care benefits your physical health.
It Allows You to Help Others Better
You may not realize it, but neglecting your needs and putting yourself last just to be able to care for the important people in your life is counterproductive. How can you assist a struggling friend or attend to a sick loved one if you are hungry, if you are overly stressed, or if you lack sleep?
Like how those airplane safety videos tell you to wear an oxygen mask first before assisting someone in need, you can only assist others well if you help yourself first—and this is true in many other aspects of life.
When you practice self-care, you keep your body and heart full. Every time you eat healthily, get adequate rest, and do things to address your needs, you are equipping yourself with the necessary means to give more to your family, friends, and those in your community. Essentially, you can share yourself more fully because you don’t feel tired, anxious, bitter, or unhappy.
Makes You Feel Good
Why do you take considerable time and energy to pick out the best gift for someone you love? You may have numerous reasons, but they will all boil down to the fact that you want to make them feel happy. After all, having someone who pays attention to their needs and desires makes others feel good. So, why not extend the same courtesy to yourself?
Practicing self-care is just you taking the time to find ways to experience joy and satisfaction. Whether it is giving yourself the occasional time off to recharge or getting a decent meal instead of eating lunch at your work desk, taking care of yourself will always make you feel good.
Sends the Message That You Matter Too
A significant part of self-care involves setting boundaries so you can protect your overall well-being. That means saying a firm no to extra work that could stress you out or make you lose several hours of sleep. Instead of repeatedly sacrificing your needs and wants to do things for others, you do what is best for you. When you refuse to sacrifice your well-being and start caring about yourself, you remind others that your needs and wants matter too—not just theirs.
Hopefully, the benefits of self-care discussed above are enough to encourage you to start loving yourself more. Again, acknowledging your needs and building concrete habits to address them don’t necessarily mean adopting a “me, me, me” attitude; instead, it’s simply giving yourself the solicitude and respect you deserve. So, stop hesitating and feeling guilty. Take that dance class you always wanted, soak in a bubble bath tonight, finish that book you have set aside, or do whatever it is that makes your physical, mental, and emotional cup brimming.
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