The Importance of Practicing and Maintaining Self Care

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Although it’s very easy to put work ahead of leisure, caring for ourselves should always be a
priority. Luckily, the concept of self-care has gained traction recently. Self-care refers broadly
to acts that are under our own control and done voluntarily that help our health in some way
– they are acts we generally enjoy doing, and that bring us pleasure or joy. There are plenty
of ways to practice self-care, and everyone’s different – what will work for one person might
not work for the next.
In an increasingly stressful world, self-care can help us to live happier, more relaxed and
more fulfilled lives. Although it might seem counter-intuitive to slow down and focus more on
looking after ourselves rather than focusing on upcoming deadlines or looming exams, self-
care can help to both prevent burnout and increase motivation by giving us a chance to
decompress and think things over with a clear mind. The following self-care practices will
give you an idea of how to get started:

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Social self-care
If you’re stressed, it can be easy to cancel plans and outings with your friends to get more
work done. However, being around friends and family will provide you with a chance to take
your mind off things that are causing you stress. To practice social self-care, you might like
to call a friend to catch up or go for a walk together, spend some time in a relaxing place
around other people or write a friend a letter.
It honestly really helps to care for yourself, and to talk to other people! When I was studying,
I spent months staying up late during most weekdays so I could study and polish my essays
and assignments. I wanted my writing to be just right. When my friends called me to go out
sailing or shopping or even just walking in the park on the weekends, all I wanted was to
politely decline and curl up in front of the television with bags of sweets.
Thankfully, my family helped me to see that I need to take a break not lying down, and I got
out of bed (after a nice sleep-in, of course) to move around. My friends were always very
understanding, and I found that when I talked about my struggles about getting enough
sleep, nearly everyone else I knew was in the same boat!
When you care for yourself by getting out and being social, even just once or twice every
couple of weeks, you’ll have precious time not to worry about studies or work or anything
else eating at your mind. Talking to other people will give you perspective on your problems
so that you can tackle them head-on.

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Mental health self-care
Always keep your mental health a top priority, as neglecting it can have serious adverse
effects in the long term. To care for your mental health, try activities like mindfulness and
meditation. Focusing on the present is one very efficient stress-relieving activity that gives a
person time to focus on things other than the problems at the back of their mind.
To relieve stress, try timed breathing exercises, reading for leisure, and thinking of things
you are grateful for. However, one of the most effective activities to help calm your mind,
lower your stress hormones, promote creativity and even help you fight depression is
spending time outdoors . For the most relaxing, positive experience, try walking barefoot
when the temperature is comfortable – your mind will learn to be better balanced, and you
will love to feel the ground directly beneath your feet.

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Physical health self-care
Taking care of your physical health will make you feel your best inside and out. Stress
wreaks havoc on your skin, so develop a skincare routine that will both nourish your skin and
help you relax. Choose products to soothe your skin, such as an evening hydrating mask
followed by a multi-nutrient oil to keep a healthy glow even in stressful times.
Eat fruit and vegetables daily and cook healthy, nourishing meals to eat. When you eat,
focus on and fully appreciate your tasty food rather than distracting yourself with your phone
or television. Exercise regularly in whatever form you prefer – swimming and cycling are
excellent options for a fulfilling workout that will make you feel great. Celebrate your body
every day and think about all the amazing things it is able to do.

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Why is it important to maintain self-care?
Even in our busy lives, practicing and maintaining self-care should not be forgotten. Self-
care can improve your overall well-being and decrease anxiety levels and depression – and
should be considered just as important as fulfilment through work.
Don’t judge yourself too harshly and try not to compare your appearance or even the way
you think with other people; we all have our own faults and are on our own journey to feeling
and becoming healthier. Participate in activities that bring you happiness , and don’t always
worry about setting an end goal for things such as going outdoors – sometimes, you can just
go outside for fun and enjoy the warm sun and soft grass under your feet.
Care for yourself all the time, not just when you start to feel stressed. When you first care for
yourself, you will be able to look after other people too and live with a well-balanced,
optimistic outlook.

Johanna Cider is a New Zealand-based writer who is passionate about living a positive,
healthy life. She loves spending time in nature to escape from all the noise and chaos of city
life. You can find more of her work here .