Starting a self-care routine is your best bet for not only combating isolation, anxiety and burnout, but actually shifting your default mode to happy, healthy and centered.
As it turns out, taking care of yourself is a lot easier said than done. Humans are susceptible to all sorts of influences, some of which run contrary to their well-being. Addictive technology, substance abuse, unhealthy eating, low self-esteem, giving too much of yourself to others. Unfortunately, there’s no vaccine when it comes to life’s vices, but a daily self-care routine may be the next best thing.
The self-care trend has gained steam in recent years due to the growing belief that your physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health are interrelated. And that self-care requires a more measured, holistic approach to be successful. In other words, if you’re booking the occasional spa day as a Hail Mary pass to keep your sanity intact, you’re probably missing the self-care boat.
So what is self-care, and why is it important? Well, it’s everything you’re consciously doing to be the best version of yourself and achieve a sustainable balance. There’s no precise recipe, but the payoff is undeniable—an all-around more gratifying existence.
Wondering if a self-care routine is even worth the time and trouble? We sure think so at Baby Foot, but read on and decide for yourself. Here are six compelling reasons for creating a self-care plan.
1. The global pandemic has elevated the importance of self-care.
Self-care was already getting plenty of attention when the coronavirus upended the way we live and interact with each other. Now the topic is surging as Americans struggle with a shrinking social sphere. We’re spending most of our waking hours at home and less time in person with friends and extended family members.
In a matter of months, self-care has evolved dramatically. Now it’s less about beauty tips, dietary guidance and fitness routines and more about developing a survival guide for inner peace and stability. It’s no longer optional. Instead, self-care feels like a must.
Almost immediately, the American Psychological Association and other mental health organizations were sharing self-care tips for the new normal. Stay connected. Limit news consumption, or so-called “doom scrolling.” Practice mindfulness. Cut yourself some slack. And, you guessed it, stick to a routine.
2. Self-care has a way of making you more focused and productive.
A big part of self-care is decluttering our minds—and our calendars—to free up mental space and make time for pursuing our passions. To be clear, life’s stressors were here well before COVID-19, and they’ve always been a formidable foe.
The stress epidemic is taking a very real toll on us, throwing lives out of whack and threatening to sabotage our self-care efforts. Stress can trigger a number of physical, mental and emotional health issues or, even worse, burrow in and become a constant adversary.
Do you have trouble recalling specifics from yesterday or even an hour ago? A solid self-care routine sets the stage for clearheadedness that’s a portal for productivity. Setting aside more alone time to organize your thoughts and manage those fleeting minutes will increase your concentration and comprehension. Finding your focus is nice, but sustaining it is even better.
3. Self-care helps you pinpoint, manage and alleviate stress and anxiety.
Having a doctor, family member or friend suggest you need to do a better job managing stress can be downright infuriating. Stress is ever-present, and there’s no foolproof strategy for banishing it from your life. That’s where self-care comes in. Think of it as your anti-stress defense system.
To milk the military analogy a bit more, there’s a war going on in each of us. It’s called battling stress for a reason. Self-care can help you search for and destroy—or at least repel—your biggest stressors. Fighting stress with stress is an unwinnable arms race; opt instead for self-calming practices. Intentional breathing and focused attention are the keys to de-escalation. Turns out Bruce Lee had it right all along.
While sipping a cocktail or smoking a cigarette may seem like a self-calming practice, those quick fixes can translate into unhealthy habits that run counter to the spirit of self-care. Effectively managing stress requires a mix of short- and long-term strategies. Find the ones that work well for you and incorporate them into your self-care routine checklist.
4. A self-care routine normalizes your needs and removes the guilt.
To some, self-care may seem more like self-centeredness than centering one’s self. Here’s the truth: Self-care isn’t selfish. Prioritizing your well-being is a good thing, so don’t let guilt derail your self-care plan.
Self-care and selfishness are distinctly different. Guess who’s best suited to meet your needs? Yep, you. There’s nothing wrong with taking steps to make sure those needs are met—as long as you’re not excluding, harming or ignoring others. Remember, the objective is to be a better person who gives more of themselves to others, not less.
Speaking of giving, moms have to be careful not to let the caretaker role consume them. A recent study by Birchbox found that most moms don’t have—or aren’t able to make—time for themselves. And when they do sneak in a little self-care, they feel guilty.
Make self-care the norm and say goodbye to your reflexive guilt. By initiating and sticking to a self-care routine, you set the expectation that your wellness shouldn’t take a backseat to everyone else’s.
5. A deliberate approach to self-care will help you clarify your priorities.
Clarity is one of the biggest benefits of self-care. An honest assessment of your lifestyle will reveal which tanks are running on empty. A customized self-care routine enables you to refuel and keep those levels from dropping too low down the road.
So what does balance look like to you? Maybe you need the endorphins from regular workouts. Or dedicated “me” time to try adventurous new things like the Baby Foot Exfoliating Foot Peel. Pro tip: don’t forget the Moisturizing Foot Mask. It’ll keep your feet fresh and hydrated after a peel. Perhaps a standing lunch or dinner date keeps you connected to your closest friends. Self-care can include just about anything, so figure out what you need more of in your life and hatch a plan for getting there.
Give self-care the attention it deserves. Build your routine in the same way you might sit down and plan your financial future or list your professional goals. In the end, you’ll have a clearer view of what matters most.
6. Be a self-care superhero and inspire others to start a routine of their own.
When you’re doing self-care right, people around you will take notice and even inquire about your routine. Be forthcoming and share your best self-care ideas with anyone who asks. What’s working for you could benefit others struggling to regulate life’s stressors.
Whether it’s meditation, relaxation, some type of creative outlet or all of the above, your self-care rituals have the power to inspire. Think of self-care as a gift that could be as life-changing for others as it has been for you. And the more we take care of ourselves and each other, the healthier and happier we’ll all be in the long run!