In today’s fast-paced hustle culture, the idea of self-care and making time for yourself often gets pushed to the back burner. Many times, it can be neglected entirely. Whether you are a busy parent, working professional, or student, your everyday commitments have a way of encroaching on every waking hour of your schedule.
Constantly doing everything for everyone else or keeping up with all of your school, family, work, and life responsibilities without taking time for yourself is a recipe for burnout.
Sometimes, self-care gets a bad rap. Some may consider taking time for themselves to be selfish or self-indulgent. On the contrary, self-care and mental health go hand in hand. When you make a conscious effort to care for yourself, you’re also making a choice to be healthy. (Because we all know feeling the end-of-your-rope sensation of burnout is anything but healthy.)
What is Self-Care?
To put it simply, self-care is taking care of your mind, body, and soul by doing things that promote your well-being and reduce stress. Taking care of your mental health through self-care positively affects all areas of your life. When you feel content and less hectic inside, you’re better able to take care of others and your responsibilities.
Self-care isn’t just soaking in a tub or taking yourself out for sushi. There are actually five different types of self-care you can practice.
- sleep (adequate sleep, not minimal)
- healthy food
- setting healthy boundaries with others
- creating and relying on your support systems
- positive social media
- communicating with others
- spending time with others
- asking for help when you need it
- doing activities that mentally stimulate you
- learning about things you’re interested in
- staying proactive about your mental health (therapy)
- spending time alone
- connecting with nature
- engaging in fulfilling spiritual practices
- stress management
- healthy ways to process emotions (emotional maturity)
Practicing self-care reminds you and those around you that your needs are valid and are a priority.
Despite what hustle culture may tell you, running yourself ragged isn’t something to strive for. Instead, strive to live a full and vibrant life by taking care of your mental health.
Importance of Self-Care
When you neglect practicing self-care, you are neglecting yourself. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Well, that’s referring to self-care. It’s saying if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t effectively take care of anyone else for very long.
Of course, this doesn’t mean when you choose to do something for yourself you’re choosing yourself over someone else. It just means you’re being mindful of your own needs. Practicing regular self-care helps you develop a stronger understanding of what you need when you need it, and where to set your boundaries.
Self-care can also:
- reduce stress and enhance your quality of life
- improve your overall well-being
- help you manage daily life stresses like school, challenging interpersonal relationships, and an uncertain future.
- have positive effects on your physical health like lowered blood pressure, reduced muscle tension and pain, and improved concentration
- increase your body’s production of “feel good” hormones oxytocin and serotonin
As you can see, the importance of self-care goes far beyond making sure you’re not overwhelmed all the time. When you set aside time for yourself, you improve your mental and physical health.
Challenges to Practicing Self-Care
If you are embarking on a new commitment to practicing regular self-care, you may be met with some common challenges.
- Not enough time in the day
- Feeling guilty and selfish for taking time for yourself
- Lots of schoolwork
- Thinking you have to take bubble baths and get into yoga when it’s not your thing
- Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of losing “all that precious time” every day or week
While it may be challenging to find the time to practice self-care, it’s important to be gentle with yourself and remember why you’re doing it in the first place. (Say NO to burnout!)
You don’t have to spend a ton of money or hours a day on self-care. Even just saying “no” when someone asks you to help with a fundraiser because you know you don’t really have the time is a way of putting yourself first.
Just like any other habit you try to break (putting yourself last), it takes time and practice. But the more you check-in with your own needs and take time for yourself, the easier and more automatic it will become. Before you know it, you’ll be taking care of your mental health through self-care every single day.
One of the Greatest Self-Care Practices: Talking to a Professional
Because self-care and mental health go hand-in-hand, one thing that could help you make and stick to a self-care routine is talking to a mental health professional. The fact of the matter is, that even if you try your best to practice regular self-care, you may still feel overwhelmed, especially if you don’t have a strong support system around you.
Talking to a therapist is an excellent way to get a third-party view of your situation. A qualified mental health professional can be a sounding board and provide therapeutic interventions like mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, thought restructuring, and meditation. They may also be able to provide community resources that can benefit you on your journey to taking charge of self-care and mental health.
How Dayrise Wellness Can Help
If you are a teen or young adult or looking for a qualified therapy practice who can help them learn better self-care routines, our team of high-quality therapists is here to help. Here at Dayrise, we don’t focus on your teen or young
adult’s mental health struggles. We focus on what’s possible.
In their emerging adult years, teens and young adults can struggle with trying to keep up with school, sports, friends, relationships, and social media. So it’s easy to understand why they would also struggle with knowing how to practice positive self-care and take adequate time for themselves.
Our team of mental health experts takes a holistic approach to help adolescents through their mental health challenges by focusing on their whole selves, not just what’s troubling them.
So if you’re in the Chicago area, give us a call. We’d love to help you and your child achieve a healthier, more vibrant life.