Practicing self-care goes far beyond embracing trendy rituals like face masks, yoga, and bubble baths. Self-care can be anything from nourishing your body with wholesome foods to simply sitting in the sunlight for a few moments a day. Whatever self-care means to you, it’s an essential mental health tool.

Self-care plays a critical role in helping to manage stress, increase energy levels, and reduce the risk of various illnesses. Integrating acts of self-care into your daily routine can have a profound impact on both your mental and physical well-being—which go hand in hand.

Particularly if you are prone to mental health challenges, making time for yourself will significantly improve your ability to cope and thrive.

What is self-care?

Self-care is exactly what it sounds like. It means designating parts of each day to do things solely for yourself. Whether it’s going for a mid-day walk or setting aside a few minutes for a morning meditation, prioritizing self-care is critical to your overall quality of life.

In short, self-care is all about looking after yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally. Self-care encompasses small things you can do deliberately, and lifestyle changes you can make more broadly, that will lead to a happier and healthier you.

Know yourself

Self-care starts with self-awareness. It’s useful to have a solid understanding of who you are as a person and what your unique needs are. Knowing yourself means having the ability to identify the things in life that calm and fulfill you, and conversely, the things that trigger you.

The first step on the road to increased self-awareness is identifying your needs and areas in your life that you would like to improve. In what circumstances do you feel your best? And in what circumstances do you feel your worst?

At YMI, we firmly believe in the value of knowing yourself. Our survey—which was designed by an expert team of psychotherapists, doctors, and data scientists—can give you the answers you’re looking for to better understand yourself. It integrates a technology known as electroencephalography (or EEG), which can help detect the likelihood of developing several psychiatric disorders. Knowing whether you are prone to these illnesses will enable you to take the necessary steps to prevent and treat them.

Why does self-care matter?

The health benefits of self-care shouldn’t be overlooked. Having a consistent self-care routine can help to:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Ease stress
  • Bolster resilience
  • Enhance energy levels
  • Minimize burnout
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Improve overall happiness

Self-care is essential

Many people wrongly view self-care as selfish.Self-care isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. Flouting the importance of self-care could lead to exhaustion and mental health challenges, thereby making it more difficult to navigate your personal and professional life.

Some degree of self-care is not a want, but a need—and that’s true for everyone, regardless of your mental health status.

Finding the right self-care practices for you

Of course, self-care is different for everyone; what might relax one person could trigger feelings of anxiety in another. That said, there are several self-care practices that are important for all people to abide by, including getting sufficient sleep, committing to some form of daily exercise, and eating a balanced diet.

Types of self-care

Beyond eating, exercising, and sleeping, self-care comes in many forms. Self-care is often divided into the following categories: physical, mental, practical, social, spiritual, and emotional.

  • Physical self-care: Our bodies and our minds are inextricably linked. Physical self-care encompasses ways in which you fuel your body, including resting, exercising, taking medication as needed, and eating well. Evening rituals, such as sipping a hot herbal tea or drawing a bath, can also soothe the body, thereby soothing the mind.
  • Mental self-care: Whether it’s speaking to a therapist or reading a book, mental self-care includes anything that feeds and calms your mind. Fuelling your brain, either through watching a movie, scanning a newspaper, or playing a card game, can help to keep your mind stimulated, sharp, and healthy.
  • Practical self-care: For many people, completing mundane tasks can be cathartic and stress-relieving. Something as simple as decluttering your closet is considered self-care, and it can have a meaningful impact on your mental clarity.
  • Social self-care: Humans are meant to interact with one another. Socializing is an important self-care practice, as it can do wonders for your overall happiness. Setting aside sufficient time each day to interact with friends and loved ones will instill a sense of closeness and comfort. Although everyone has different social needs, it’s important not to neglect relationships in your life and build time into your schedule to foster meaningful bonds.
  • Spiritual self-care: Tapping into your spiritual senses—be it through meditating, attending a religious service or going to a yoga class—can be a powerful self-care tool. Spiritual self-care is all about grounding yourself and developing a stronger sense of meaning and purpose in your life.

Self-care isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Sometimes, it takes a bit of trial and error to determine what works best. In any case, there’s nothing selfish about self-care, and allotting time to take care of yourself is an essential part of living a healthy, wholesome life. It’s time to take self-care seriously.