Self-care has been quite the buzzword over the past few years. I am sure you have seen it all over TikTok, Instagram, and even Facebook. For those on the internet, self-care seems to come naturally—their lives are perfectly set up to pamper their skin, do their nails, or even take a relaxing spa day. And while, yes, I am absolutely delighted that these social media influencers are carving out time to take care of themselves, I can’t help but wonder how others seeing these videos feel, knowing they may not have the time, funds, or energy to participate in extravagant acts of self-care. Participating in self-care can significantly impact your mental health.

Self-care is important for several reasons: Self-care can improve emotional well-being and productivity, prevent burnout, enhance personal relationships, increase resilience, and improve overall quality of life.

  • Emotional Well-being: To improve your emotional well-being, you should carve out time for some self-reflection and processing. It helps individuals understand and manage their emotions, fostering emotional resilience and a healthier outlook on life.
    • Small Act: is to “check in” with yourself. A quick “check-in” can be simply asking yourself, “What am I feeling? And what do I need?” I would encourage you to look at an emotion wheel and pick out an emotion that best describes your current emotion. After identifying the emotion, attempt to identify a need. For example, “I am angry…. I need food.” Write it down—or don’t! It’s your small act!
  • Improved Productivity: Consistently participating in small acts of self-care can enhance productivity throughout your day. Well-rested and emotionally balanced, you will be better equipped to handle challenges and perform effectively in your personal and professional life.
    • Small Act: If possible, throw a small ten-minute dance party in your office at work. Dance before work. Not a dancer? Listen to a song that brings you joy and excitement. Not a music person? Get up from your desk and take a quick lap around the office.
  • Prevention of Burnout: Continuous stress and neglecting self-care can lead to burnout, characterized by physical and emotional exhaustion. Have the words, “I am just so over it today,” ever crossed your mind while at work or at home? You may be experiencing burnout.
    • Small Act: Get a healthy and nutritious snack. Take some time to nourish your body and give your mind a break!
  • Enhanced Relationships: Similar to preventing burnout, when you take care of yourself, you are better equipped to create positive social relationships. This includes family, friends, and colleagues. Being in a good mental and emotional state allows for more meaningful connections.
    • Small Act: Take ten minutes before interacting with others to check in with yourself. Take some time to do something for yourself! Put on some perfume, cologne, lotion, chapstick, or even makeup! Show up for yourself before showing up for anyone else!
  • Increased Resilience: Self-care builds resilience, enabling individuals to bounce back from challenges and setbacks. It provides a foundation for coping with life’s ups and downs.
    • Small Act: Practice positive affirmations. “I am healthy. I am strong; I am brave. I am willing. I am fearless. I am capable. I am worthy. I deserve respect. I deserve the love that I give freely to others. I am kind to myself.”
  • Quality of Life: Ultimately, self-care contributes to an improved quality of life. It involves making choices prioritizing health, happiness, and fulfillment.
    • Small Act: Make that doctor’s appointment you have been putting off. Buy yourself flowers. Declutter an area in your home. Move your body—go on a hot girl walk.

It’s important to note that self-care is a personal journey, and different strategies work for different people. It can include activities such as exercise, meditation, spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, getting enough sleep, and setting boundaries to prioritize your well-being. The most important part of a small act of self-care is that you are participating in the self-care activity because it brings you joy. You should not base your self-care on how you see others caring for themselves.