Self-care is a term that comprises activities aiming to protect one’s health and well-being and promote happiness. This practice helps reduce the adverse effects of stress, depression, and anxiety, eliminate frustration, increase energy levels, and improve focus and attention. According to Scott (2021), self-care refers to “a conscious act a person takes in order to promote their own physical, mental, and emotional health” (para. 4). As a rule, individuals do not seek medical consultations and use the available information and their own knowledge for decision-making. This paper aims to discuss self-care and its importance, describe common self-care strategies, and identify effective techniques that would work best for me.
Self-Care and Its Importance
A modern person’s life is often challenging, hectic, and stressful. Self-care practices play an essential role in handling all the pressure and maintaining physical and mental health. Research shows that stress is associated with significant adverse effects on the human body, preventing normal functioning and leading to disease development. In particular, Leaf (2020) emphasizes that “uncontrolled thoughts and emotions run rampant through our brain, creating neurochemical chaos that can make us anxious, affecting our ability to think clearly and process information” (p. 7). In this regard, self-care techniques can reduce burnout, increase resilience, and contribute to one’s ability to make effective decisions and maintain healthy relationships.
Unaddressed tension can result in unhealthy eating habits, lack of sleep, alcohol and substance use, inactive lifestyle, and medical conditions. Study findings by Dalton and Hammen (2018) demonstrate that “depressive symptoms, and chronic and daily stress, … were significantly associated with a composite score of daily maladaptive health behavior engagement” (p. 863). In this regard, it is critical to take care of one’s mind and body to control the lifestyle and its long-term effects on health.
An important aspect of self-care practice is that it differs for everyone and cannot be generalized. Common examples of personal care activities include taking a bath, reading, going for a walk, or eating a healthy meal (Leaf, 2020). At the same time, people have different needs and priorities, which shape their understanding of self-support. For instance, making the bed can be considered either looking after oneself or a chore, depending on one’s personality. Overall, everyone can engage in self-care activities as there is no need to invest significant amounts of time or money in looking after one’s mental and physical health.
Various self-care strategies can improve a person’s physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being and contribute to their success in different areas of life. According to Scott (2021), looking after one’s physical health is a pivotal part of a self-improvement plan. Common techniques include ensuring a healthy sleep routine, keeping a balanced diet, being physically active, maintaining personal hygiene, and having routine checkups and screenings (Leaf, 2020). Mental self-care is another critical aspect that aims to promote one’s psychological well-being. In this regard, the following strategies can be used: reading, journaling, watching movies, going on walks, or attending museums (Leaf, 2020). Furthermore, a person can look after their mental health by dedicating time to hobbies, being creative, engaging in yoga or meditation, and practicing self-compassion, mindfulness, and acceptance.
Social self-care strategies help maintain healthy relationships with family and friends. They can include socializing, going on dates, attending events, and spending time with loved ones, pets, friends, and colleagues. Emotional self-care is crucial to coping with stressors and negative feelings (Scott, 2021). Common techniques are talking to a trusted person or a counselor, using affirmations, practicing gratitude and breathing exercises, handling emotional triggers, and setting boundaries. Finally, spiritual self-care strategies involve connecting with nature, praying, attending a church, volunteering, meditating, or doing yoga.
Best Self-Care Strategies for Me
My self-care plan would include strategies that address my needs effectively and reduce the negative impact of stressors on my well-being. According to O’Neill et al. (2019), students can benefit from practicing self-care as it contributes to “academic success and career longevity” (p. 141). Based on my current lifestyle, activities, challenges, and stress level, I can identify the main areas of my life that need improvement: mental, emotional, and social. Therefore, I would prioritize such self-care strategies as taking time for myself to relax, read, journal, go for a walk, meditate, or be creative. Socialization is another essential aspect of my plan since I strive to improve my relationships with family and friends by spending time together and attending events. Furthermore, emotional self-care techniques would include keeping a gratitude journal, doing breathing exercises, and setting personal boundaries. These strategies would work best for me since they address my current needs as a student and can help reduce academic stress, promote well-being, strengthen interpersonal relationships, and improve my emotional health.
To conclude, self-care is a broad term that describes practices for improving one’s health and happiness. This approach is important to handling stress and its adverse consequences, preventing disease, and reducing burnout. Everyone can practice various self-care strategies for physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual health every day. By investing time and effort into self-support, one can overcome life challenges effectively and contribute to success and personal development.
Dalton, E. D., & Hammen, C. L. (2018). Independent and relative effects of stress, depressive symptoms, and affect on college students’ daily health behaviors. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 41(6), 863-874. Web.
Leaf, C. (2020). 101 ways to be less stressed: Simple self-care strategies to boost your mind, mood, and mental health. Baker Books.
O’Neill, M., Yoder Slater, G., & Batt, D. (2019). Social work student self-care and academic stress. Journal of Social Work Education, 55(1), 141-152. Web.
Scott, E. (2021). 5 self-care practices for every area of your life. Verywell Mind. Web.