I was always made to feel that if I did something for myself that was restorative, relaxing, or just fun, I was irresponsible and selfish. Whatever helped me to destress was considered frivolous and, therefore, not allowed. As a result, I neglected myself and downplayed the things that mattered to my well-being and self-care. Thankfully, I have since kicked that nonsensical idea to the curb, realizing that my self-care is exceedingly essential and most definitely relevant because, in the words of L’Oreal, I’m worth it.
And that’s the point; we are all worth taking care of ourselves. If we don’t practice self-care, we run the risk of having poor mental and physical health. Studies have shown that people who do not effectively manage the stress in their lives experience premature aging (1). Unmanaged stress can also lead to a host of other chronic health issues, like cancer (2), Alzheimer’s, and dementia (3). Therefore, self-care is imperative for detoxing and destressing ourselves so we can have healthy, happy lives.
Now I’ve heard many people say they don’t have time to take for themselves because their lives are just too busy. They have projects to do, laundry, housecleaning, a pile of dishes, taking their kids here, there and everywhere, working, and so forth, so self-care is not practical or possible. I’ve even had some people tell me that relaxing is a waste of time. What a load of codswallop! All of those to-dos can wait, and relaxing is time well spent.
By practicing personal self-care regularly, stress becomes more manageable, we develop resiliency and our quality of life increases. And self-care can be any number of things. For example, napping (yes, please), reading (for fun), gardening, hiking, spending quality time with family or friends, walking, doing a hobby, journaling, praying, or just sitting outside listening to birds singing. The point is to do something that gives you some peace and calm. (Side note, a study was conducted that showed listening to birds singing makes people feel happy. So I regularly stream a site called mynoise.net, with actual recordings of birds singing. It really does make you feel happy. Whenever someone asks about the birds, I tell them I’m manipulating them into a good mood. Lol).
Practicing self-care doesn’t have to be time-consuming (unless you want it to be) or complicated or expensive. It just has to be something that you find to be cathartic and enjoyable. Make practicing self-care a non-negotiable by doing it often, too. You matter; your health and well-being matter, so if you take care of yourself, then you’ll be able to take care of who and what matters to you.
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Note: I receive no compensation for any of these suggestions.