Why Self-Care is Important and How to Practice It, Right Here, Right Now

Usually the coined term “self-care” brings to mind bubble baths and face masks. And amazingly, the “self care” industry has grown to become a $10 billion industry that includes candles, skincare, nice smelling soaps, and even “self-care kits.” According to Oxford Dictionary, self-care is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.” Thus, “self-care” can be used as an umbrella term for anything that makes you feel good while also taking care of yourself.

Self-care is important because it is an act of self-preservation. Self-care allows us to keep in touch with ourselves and listen to our bodies. When you take a moment or two to slow down, relax, and breathe, it gives your brain a chance to maybe say, “Hey, wait. Maybe I’m not doing alright; maybe I am stressed.” And that way you can take the steps you need to from there to de-stress. Practicing self-care is a great way to spend those rare moments of free and alone time efficiently, instead of perhaps napping longer than you should or overeating.

So what are some ways of practicing self-care? Well, unfortunately, self-care is not a one-size-fits-all glove; it’s different for each individual and can be complex or simple. However, I can leave you with some suggestions that aren’t the stereotypical bubble bath or face mask:

 

Make a home-cooked meal:

Cooking (or baking) is a great way to take your mind off of things and allows you to focus on something else (you!!) for a bit. For an even better experience, try to load up on fruits and vegetables, as they are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Additionally, add spices, herbs, nuts, and seeds, and limit your use of added sugars. (Although sometimes your mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies are just really needed...)

 

Saying no:

If you feel like you’re swamped with coffee and brunch dates, homework, papers, due dates, and overwhelmed with friends, try saying no as a form of self-care. Saying no to plans isn’t selfish or rude, it’s refreshing to be in touch with yourself to understand when you’re too exhausted and need some time to yourself.

 

Meditation:

If you’re looking to truly get in touch with yourself through your form of self-care, meditation is perfect for that. The best thing about meditation is that there are a variety of techniques to practice, and you can meditate for as long as you feel necessary. There are many guided meditation apps that will help you as a novice, like Brightmind, Calm, and Headspace.

 

Exercise:

If you don’t like sitting around at home and are still looking for a method of self-care, try getting out and about! Exercising releases endorphins, and even just going for a brisk walk can lighten your mood and make you feel better. Some other ways (besides just lifting weights) include rock climbing, kayaking, or a workout class like spinning or yoga.