The Buzz: Self-Care

What’s the buzz?
Self-care is the latest wellness trend that may improve both mental and physical health

What does the science say?
As a culture, Americans are overworked, overextended, and stressed out. Research shows that stress, lack of sleep, and a sedentary lifestyle can be just as detrimental to health as a poor diet, if not more. In our constant quest to find a shortcut to better health through the latest and greatest fad diet or detox, we may be missing out on something that could actually make a bigger difference: something as simple as taking a few minutes a day to focus on ourselves.

At its core, self-care is about making your health a priority. It’s about reducing and preventing stress, which can improve both mental and physical health. It’s an all-encompassing wellness term that takes into account emotional, physical, and mental health. The movement recognizes that “me time” isn’t selfish in the negative sense; instead, it can make you a more productive employee and better partner, parent, or friend.

A quick internet or social media search might give you the impression that self-care is only for the privileged or that it’s just another hippy-dippy health approach. There is no right or wrong way to practice self-care: it looks different for everyone. But self-care isn’t really about days at the spa, yoga retreats, or drinking expensive tonics from your local juice bar (though those can be nice and do equal self-care for some).

If this concept is new to you, here are five simple ways to practice self-care:

  1. Get in bed 30 minutes earlier than you usually do to allow for more time to sleep.
  2. Take 20 minutes to move your body in a way that feels good to you.
  3. Do five minutes of deep breathing when you wake up or before bed. Try this 4-7-8 breathing technique to relieve stress.
  4. Drink a cup of herbal tea without distractions.
  5. Eat a healthy breakfast to start your day off right.

What’s the takeaway?
Self-care can play an important role in overall health. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, and fitting it in definitely should not add stress to your day. Choose things that fill up your “happiness cup,” and know that everyone’s version of self-care looks a little different.

Read more about free ways to practice self-care or about the history of self-care — it’s not as new as you think!