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Self-Care Matters - Here’s Why
Over the past few years, the term “self-care” has increasingly been adapted into daily parlance. That being said, the definition of self-care can be somewhat vague. Self-care refers to the time, energy, and focus one puts into their overall well-being. The essence of self-care is knowing when your mind and body needs certain things. For example, knowing your limits and understanding when you need rest. Placing an importance on self-care has a wide range of positive physical and mental benefits. If you want to learn more about why self-care matters (and how to practice it) keep reading.
Recognizing (and Respecting) Your Limitations
Being able to recognize your personal limitations with regards to emotional strain and stress can make you less susceptible to burnout and mental anguish. Learning to recognize what your body needs and doesn’t need is the cornerstone of self-care. If you know staying out late will make you feel stressed in the morning, is it really worth it? Because you are unique, do not use others as your model for setting limits. While one person may be able to stay awake all night and feel okay, this might have a number of negative effects on you. Instead, focus on what makes you feel healthy, in control, and happy. The more you reflect on your limitations, the easier it will be to identify them.
Understanding Work and Stress
Work is one of the main sources of stress and anxiety. Endless tasks, deadlines, and various work pressures can make people feel emotionally drained and physically exhausted. If you work a particularly demanding job, you likely experience stress levels that are higher than average. Chronic stress at work has a number of health consequences and can even contribute to substance abuse disorder. Drinking and drugs are frequently used by individuals seeking a relief from chronic workplace stress. While these activities may relieve stress in the short-term, they almost always enhance it down the road. Healthy coping mechanisms such as eating healthy meals, getting exercise, and spending time with friends can help reduce stress without the consequences.
Doing What You Love
Developing healthy coping mechanisms involves participating in activities that make you happy. If your day consists of work, TV, and sleep, you are more likely to experience stress, depression, and anxiety. Taking time out of your day to do what you love adds immense value to your life. In fact, hobbies can even reduce workplace stress! The best part, you can do any hobby you want. Whether it’s running, swimming, knitting, or cooking, you will likely feel happier and healthier as a result. Doing your hobby with a friend or social group can also be a great way to combine socializing with an activity.
Getting Enough Sleep
If you are not getting enough sleep, you’re not alone -- sleep deprivation impacts approximately 37 percent of 20- to 39-year-olds. After a restless sleep (or no sleep at all), you are more likely to feel lethargic, agitated, and disoriented. Long-term sleep deprivation can play a role in heart disease, obesity, and a weakened immune system. Your body needs sleep to repair cell damage, so if you’re not sleeping, your body and mind are unable to do the tasks essential for survival. Exercising daily, limiting electronic usage, and reducing stress can help ensure that you get enough sleep. If you have been unable to get enough sleep for more than a few days, ask your physician about the possibility of a sleep disorder.
Self-care doesn't have to be an ambiguous or confusing concept. Recognizing your limitations, reducing stress, doing what you love, and sleeping can help set you on the path toward physical and mental well-being.
A guest post by: Brad Krause