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Importance of Self-Care

What is self-care?

Self-care is any action you take to improve your mental or physical health. It is a form of stress management that includes everything from a 5-minute reading break to a 5-day vacation.

How does self-care influence health?

Self-care is often viewed as pampering, but it is an essential part of your well-being. When we don’t take care of ourselves, it is more difficult to manage responsibilities. Feeling overworked increases stress, reduces productivity, and puts a strain on relationships. Simple acts of self-care can improve your focus and positively influence how you interact with others.

Tips for better self-care

Self-care should not be forced. The activities should make you feel refreshed, energetic, and motivated. Find what works for you. While some may feel better after a 30-minute run, you might enjoy a hike, a massage, or reading a novel instead.

Choose activities that you can do right away. If you put it off or make promises to do it later, you may never find the time to do it. Choose an activity you can do the moment stress begins to build. For example, if you can’t leave the office for a walk, shut the door, and stretch for 10 minutes.

Make it simple. Self-care doesn’t have to be lengthy or expensive. Prepare a cup of hot tea. Take a 20-minute nap. Perform strength exercises for 10 minutes. Set the timer and read a novel for 15 minutes.

Unplug. You might underestimate the influence screen time has on your health until you take a break from it. Emails and social media notifications keep you on edge with the constant need to be accessible and responsive. Avoid associating your self-care activities with screen time. Instead, set time limits for when you’ll check email, or turn off all devices while you read.


Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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