Understanding and Appreciating Self-Care

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45% of Americans lie awake at night due to stress, a 2018 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association has found. The good news, however, is that the concept of self-care has also been making its way into our lives over the past few years.

Defining self-care

The concept of self-care actually started way back in the ‘70s, but there are more tools focused on self-care now such as the Headspace meditation app, the Forever 35 podcast, and the Girls’ Night In newsletter. But with all the noise that self-care has created over the years, it’s easy to stray from what it really means to practice it.

Nowadays, experts have clearly defined self-care. According to the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s clinical health psychologist Helen L. Coons, self-care refers to the actions people take that revolves around the different aspects of their life such as physical, mental, and even professional, that shows the way they care for themselves. 

Having defined what self-care is, it’s equally important to emphasize what it isn’t. Many people, specifically women, sometimes think that self-care is a selfish act. Dr. Coon says it is actually the opposite because when women take care of their selves, they actually become in a better disposition to take care of others not only at home but also at work and in the community which they belong in. Self-care doesn’t mean making things alone but doing small efforts with a purpose.

Appreciating self-care

The lack of self-care can lead to fatigue and other stress-related complaints.  If we put caring for ourselves on top of the list, we are more energized to do the important things.

In 2016, Alisha Ramos started her passion project, Girls’ Night In, a weekly email newsletter that shares wellness tips, reads, and memes.  At present, she has 120,000 subscribers. Ramos says that the newsletter aims to create a balance between staying in and finding time to bond with people you genuinely care about.

Kate Spencer and Doree Shafir, the people behind the popular podcast Forever 35, started their bi-weekly episodes because of their mutual interest for skincare.  In their podcast, they share that self-care is not only about doing things that you need to spend money on.

Self-care encompasses a broad range of self-prioritizing actions. It’s a concept that some cannot fully comprehend and appreciate, but it’s definitely here to stay.