Life’s seemingly endless procession of work, home, family, and financial obligations can make you feel trapped in a treadmill. When your schedule gets hectic, it’s easy to deprioritize self-care in favor of other, more urgent tasks. The idea of putting yourself last may seem practical and even altruistic, but self-care cannot be postponed indefinitely. Here we’ll look at the importance of self-love to physical and mental health, and suggest a few self-care practices you can put into action today.
January 2023 is Self-Love Month, a time to highlight the self-care tools and activities that help us recharge our minds, refuel our bodies, and inspire our souls. But it may surprise you to know that the concept of self-love is relatively new. In the 1890s, William James wrote extensively on self-esteem, but it wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s that the idea of self-love took center stage. In the 1960s, with the world reeling from two world wars, more sociologists and anthropologists began to look at self-love as a path to greater cooperation and peace.
In the 1970s, as the link between self-care and physical and mental health became clearer, companies began incorporating self-care into their advertising messages. Today, self-love and self-care are essential parts of a healthy lifestyle, with many employers offering improved working environments and more flexible schedules.
What Does Self-Love Look Like?
For you to be at your best, your body, mind, and spirit should be at their best too. Let’s look at a few ways you can make self-love an important part of your self-care regimen. Self-love comes in as many forms as there are people. The important thing is to identify the activities and habits that nourish you and to make them part of your daily routine.
Here are just a few ways you can get started…
Nourish Your Body
Nutrition affects every part of our lives—including our ability to think effectively and stabilize our mood even in times of stress. Without essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, our bodies cannot perform at their best. Look at the food you eat, and examine their nutritional value with a critical eye. Eliminate “empty calories” and include more “superfoods” in your diet. The benefits are not only physical. A healthy diet can improve mood and help maintain emotional resilience.
Feed Your Soul
Doing something that nourishes your soul can seem challenging, or even self-indulgent, but if you’re not feeding your core creative self, you’re not bringing your best self to your interactions with others. Find the thing that draws you to it—it could be music, art, cooking, pottery, or running—as long as it brings you joy.
Honor Your Time
These days it seems more difficult than ever to save a little time for yourself. Plans encroach, and the unexpected arises, and soon you find that the time you set aside for self-care has gone. So you put it off and tell yourself it’s okay. This time, try something new. Defend your time, as though it were a healthcare appointment… because it is! The time you spend de-stressing and refueling will make you a better worker, spouse, sibling, and friend.
Rest Isn’t Laziness
In today’s hustle culture, it’s easy to believe that the only way to get ahead is to work nonstop. The truth is that overwork (and its associated stress) is bad for your physical, mental, and emotional health. They can result in hypertension, digestive issues, and disturbed sleep. If it helps, think of it this way—rest is how we let our bodies and minds refuel so they can handle future tasks with confidence.
Celebrate Your Wins
Maybe you just got promoted at work, or closed escrow on a new house. Why not celebrate your wins with a party, a night out, or a mini-vacation? Acknowledging life’s victories is a great way to elevate your mood and to build connections with others.
Benefits of Effective Self-Care
Much of who we are as people is decided by genetics before we’re born. Genetics influence our confidence and our self-esteem. They separate the go-getters and they have a voice in how we handle adversity, including grief and loss. Maintaining a healthy diet can ensure your body of the nutrients it needs for physical strength, mental acuity, and emotional resilience.
Developing self-esteem can help us build our “emotional immunity,” making us more able to handle adversity and to adapt to change. It may be tempting to think of “me time” as self-indulgent but consider this: nothing functions at its best without care, not your business, not your car, and not you. So why not take the time needed to nourish your whole self?
Self-love has also been linked to a reduced risk for suicidal ideation and self-harming behaviors. Those who practice effective self-care regimens see benefits to physical health, mental functioning, and emotional adaptability.
At Key Assets Kentucky, we understand the importance of creating a holistic health plan that supports your physical, psychological, and emotional wellness. We also know something about people. That’s why we feel self-love and self-care are so important. By helping clients build healthful self-care habits now, we hope to improve their long-term health.
Have questions? Our team is waiting to hear from you!