As the nights become darker and shorter, many of us begin to neglect ourselves, becoming run down and more susceptible to nasty, stubborn colds. Additionally, levels of depression tend to rise during the winter months, also referred to as seasonal depression. Therefore, it is imperative that we practice self-care for our mental and physical wellbeing.
What is self-care?
Self-care can be understood to be the practice of actively protecting one’s well-being and happiness, particularly during periods of stress. The idea of self-care became popularised on social media, in which face masks and relaxing baths became the blueprint. However, recently this narrative has been challenged and tried to be changed. The idea that ‘self-care is more than just a face mask’ has become more prevalent and many people agree that self-care is so much more than that. Therefore, an updated definition of self-care removes the priority on physical self-care, but now places importance on emotional and psychological as well. Thus, the idea that self-care is anything you do to remain physically, emotionally and psychologically well, was created.
Why is self-care important?
With increased numbers of anxiety and depression, wellness experts believe that self-care is a beneficial tool for coping with daily stressors in life. This ranges from work stress,to financial stress to relationship stresses. During the winter period, energy levels are already lowered and we are less likely to invest in ourselves as much as we should be, which results in additional stress and low moods.
When surveyed, 64% of respondents believed that self-care can boost their confidence, and therefore improve their mood and mental wellbeing. Additionally, 42% of single individuals make time for themselves in comparison to 30% of people in a relationship. This suggests that people become dependent on others and it could be inferred that people lose their sense of independence and don’t prioritise themselves as much as they should. Moreover, 67% feel more productive after practicing self-care and 71% say that they feel happier. Thus, it is evident that self-care can be highly beneficial and positively impact people’s mental wellbeing and emotions.
Self-care can be separated into emotional (practices that care for your feelings and emotions), physical (practices that improve one’s physical health or appearance), and spiritual (practices that nurture your soul).
- Exercise. This one might seem obvious, but everyone knows that moving your body is not only good for physical health but also for your mental wellbeing. It was also found that people who exercised between two to eight hours per week throughout their lives reduced their risk of an early death by 29% to 36%.
- Diet. Similarly, cleaning up your diet is a simple way to improve your physical wellbeing. Eating a diet filled with more servings of fruit and vegetables was found to be associated with a lower risk of mortality, especially from health-related issues. The B.fresh Care Package is an easy and convenient way to introduce more fruit and vegetables into your diet, whilst also improving your skin, immunity, gut health and more.
- Sleep. Sleep allows you to rest and recover. Getting enough sleep is important for mental focus, memory, managing stress, energy levels and maintaining a healthy body. Additionally, findings show that less than 7 hours a night was linked with higher mortality rates.
- Practice mindfulness. Whether it be meditation or journaling, acknowledge what you are feeling and write it down, or speak about it with a friend. It is important for our mental wellbeing to not keep struggles and stresses to ourselves and let them build up until they become a bigger problem.
- Spend time doing something you enjoy. This could be meeting a friend, getting a massage, listening to your favourite music or going for a walk, the list goes on. Find something to make you smile and that makes you feel good.
- It’s okay to say no. Some things cause unnecessary stress which can be avoided by just saying no. Whether its taking on too much for your schedule, or surrounding yourself with negative people or situations, this can heavily impact your emotions and mental wellbeing. Allowing yourself to be in situations that hurt you or stress you out, is not self-care and is more detrimental than good!
To summarise, self-care is significant in maintaining good mental and physical wellbeing. We have also explored self-care beyond the realms of face masks and pampering, and although taking care of your physical self is important, so is nurturing your emotional and spiritual self. Therefore, self-care should include a combination of practices which nurture all physical, emotional and spiritual aspects in order to maintain a well rounded individual.