School, job, house chores, family issues, an important assignment which should be done urgently… At times, we get so caught-up in our daily tasks and responsibilities, that we may absolutely forget about having a break and devoting some time to the most important person in our lives: ourselves.
We prioritize things in a way where our emotional needs are put at the very bottom of a to-do list, because we genuinely believe that it will be of no harm if we, for example, do not buy ourselves that little thing which brings us joy, or do not listen to our favourite song in the morning because we are too busy.
What we may not realize is that this is a form of neglect, and that neglect of our emotional well-being has a negative impact on our productivity and quality of life.
Dr. Matthew Glowiak, a clinical faculty member in Southern New Hampshire University, has claimed that engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, relieve stress, increase happiness, and more.
Thus, having even small self-care rituals on a daily basis can significantly transform our lives for the better, and here is why:
Self-care is one of the ways of self-love.
Have you ever felt that warm feeling in your chest or that energy rush in your body as soon as you did something caring for yourself? By for instance applying a hydrating face mask, have you noticed the uplifting effect on your mood? Or when you bought a smartphone you had dreamed of?
Self-care is cherishing our existence and giving ourselves the things our hearts desire without causing great harm. It is a way of saying that we deserve to be loved and taken care of. By doing so, we indeed practise self-love.
Self-care might take different shapes and forms, it can be anything which is healthy, relaxing or joyful: a hydrating face mask, massage, ASMR video, smoothie, favourite snack, shopping therapy, music, meditation, films, books, sport, drinking enough water, having a shower, anything. It is an individual’s choice of what self-care routine to have. Overall, it should be something that meets our emotional needs and makes us feel, at least, a little bit happier.
And you may wonder ‘What emotional needs do I have?’ That’s actually another reason why a self-care routine is significant: self-awareness.
Self-awareness is consciously knowing and understanding of one’s own feelings, motives, character and desires. Once we are self-aware, we are able to better communicate with others, to manage our emotions in a healthy way, and to live according to our wants, i.e. to live merrily.
In order to reach a certain point of self-awareness, an individual should spend more time observing their own emotions and feelings. One of the best methods is frequently asking the question ‘How am I feeling?’ during the day, and trying to name this feeling, which will result in a deeper understanding of one’s emotional state.
As soon as we recognize the feelings we have, it becomes easier to identify what we want and need.
Lastly, self-care helps to build up resiliency.
Resiliency, according to the licensed therapist Kati Morton, is the ability to manage any crisis or upset and come back to the baseline quickly, meaning that life’s ups and downs don’t throw us off for that long.
So, the stronger resiliency is, the faster recovery from difficulties will be. Therefore, by regularly paying attention to and investing time in our emotional health, we’ll be able to build a stronger foundation.
Let’s imagine a situation when we are exhausted, after working hard for a long period of time, putting off our emotional and, even, some physical needs. If any problems occur in addition to the already present exhaustion, we are more likely to have a mental breakdown.
Taking a break, drinking a cup of coffee, or simply breathing fresh air on a busy day has a much more beneficial influence than we realize. Those are the times when we show appreciation and remind ourselves of the joy we are able to have. That is why a regular self-care practice is so crucial.