You have probably heard that self care is important – maybe from many people. But if you feel confused about why self-care is important, this makes sense. It’s not always clear why exactly it matters so much to take care of yourself.
In this article, you will learn four key reasons why self-care is essential.
Self Care Impacts Your Entire Life
Part of the reason it can be confusing why self-care matters is that it impacts every aspect of your life – truly!
The way you take care of yourself impacts not only your health but your relationships as well. Let’s dig deeper into why self-care has the power to help every part of your life.
Reason Why Self-Care is Important #1: You Have More Energy and Feel Physically Better
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to concentrate when you’re sick or in physical pain? When your body is out of sorts, it can feel like everything else in your life is too. Your physical health is the foundation of your whole life.
A lack of physical health makes every moment harder. Self-care allows you to try to combat this by caring for your physical needs such as getting enough sleep or drinking enough water. This keeps your immune system up and allows you to feel more energized.
You are Unstoppable
Ever notice how when you get a good night’s sleep it can feel like you can conquer anything that gets in your way?
Self-care allows you to feel this way consistently rather than it being a stroke of luck! When you create a self-care practice you get to feel empowered and in charge of your life because your physical body has what it needs from you to run smoothly.
Reason Why Self-Care is Important #2: You are Happier
Have you ever noticed how short your temper may be when you’re hungry? Or how overwhelmed you feel when you’re exhausted?
It’s true for all of us that our physical body dictates how emotionally stable we feel – this is a part of being human. Research shows your mood is negatively impacted by hunger, tiredness, and even slight dehydration.
We all feel anxious, overwhelmed, and dissatisfied at times. It’s part of being human; however, self-care acts like protective gear against life’s ups and downs.
You Have More Control Over How You Feel
When you are well-rested, hydrated, and nourished, you can cope with disappointment or setback with more ease. You are naturally able to put things in perspective more when your cup is full. You can see your options and take things with more stride.
For example, when you are hungry getting stuck in traffic will feel more like a crisis than if you have a snack in your car with you.
This makes all the difference in the world!
Reason Why Self-Care is Important #3: Your Relationships with Others are More Harmonious
You have probably heard you can’t pour from an empty cup. What this means is that if you’re aren’t taking care of yourself, you have nothing left to give others including those you love most.
Have you ever noticed yourself snapping at someone you love because you’re tired? This happens to most of us! Research shows poor sleep leads us to be less appreciative of our partners.
Caring for yourself prevents you from accidentally hurting your loved ones because you’re depleted.
Show Up as Your Best Self
When you feel good and your cup is full, you naturally have more to give those you love. You can be more present and truly listen when they speak. You are able to give others more grace when you feel better. For example, if you feel physically well, which self-care helps with, you can let things go that aren’t that important to you like your partner forgetting to put their clothes in the hamper.
Rather than being critical, or resentful, you are able to treat others – especially those you love – with the respect, love, and appreciation you want to show them.
This is why self-care isn’t selfish – in fact, it’s one of the least selfish things you can do.
Related: Why Self-Care is Not Selfish
Reason Why Self-Care is Important #4: You Love Yourself More
You may have an already loving relationship with yourself yet, you may benefit from even more kindness towards yourself. Key signs that you may benefit from caring for yourself more to improve your relationship with yourself are:
- Not knowing who you are anymore (or feeling as if you never did),
- Striving to be perfect in any area of your life i.e., how you look, your work, your relationships,
- Avoiding setting boundaries in relationships because you fear abandonment or rejection, and
- Having a loud inner critic who often tells you what you’re doing “wrong”
If you relate to any of these signs – or know that you could be kinder to yourself in general – the practice of self-care will help.
Self-Care Leads to Self-Love
The practice of self-care enables you to learn how to truly love yourself since love is a verb.
When you cultivate self-love through self-care, and the boundary setting necessitated to prioritize yourself, you naturally like yourself more. Learning how to commit to taking care of yourself, breaks the cycle of working hard for others’ approval and then later feeling exhausted and resentful.
How to Self-Care
Now that you know why self-care matters, it’s natural to still feel uncertain about how to start. As a therapist for over a decade, one of the most common missteps people make when starting to self-care is being overly ambitious. For example, they may want to go from not exercising to going to the gym 5 days a week. This is admirable yet may not be realistic to go from nothing to being so structured at the gym.
Typically, when this happens, people will be able to keep up this advanced self-care plan for a couple of weeks but then give up altogether. This alternative to this is to create a sustainable plan you build to over time.
Every Little Bit Counts
Your self-care practice can start with a habit that takes as little as a minute (face washing or breathing deeply). The best plan is to pick one small thing you want to do for yourself daily and build a habit around this for a few weeks. Once this feels more natural then add in another small but loving activity for yourself. You may follow this the same method to commit to other activities over time.
These should still be simple activities; not time-consuming or expensive ones so that your plan is sustainable.
On this blog, you will find the ultimate beginner’s guide for how to self-care. Six concrete steps to create a plan that works for you are outlined in the article, “How to Self-Care – 6 Simple Self-Care Strategies.”
It’s recommended that you read this article for more support on creating your plan.
Figure Out Your Why
To keep your commitment up to practice self-care, it’s helpful to figure out why you are starting this practice to begin with. Did any of these reasons that self-care is important resonate for you? For example, maybe you noticed that you’re often irritable when you come home because you’re so tired? If so, maybe you’re committing to self-care to be kinder to your loved ones?
Tapping into this why helps you stay committed to your practice – even when you don’t feel like it. You could even come up with a mantra to help you such as, “It’s more important to me that I’m kind to my loved ones than I stay up late watching the shows I like.”
You are Capable of Changing Your Life
In most people’s lives, they have at least one area they’d like to improve. Self-care has the potential to help you have your best life because how you feel emotionally and physically is the foundation of all other aspects of your life.
You are capable of creating a self-care plan that works for you and feeling the best you’ve ever felt!
About The Author
Krystal Mazzola Wood, LMFT is a practicing relationship therapist with over a decade of experience. Currently, Krystal sees clients at her private practice, The Healthy Relationship Foundation. She has dedicated her entire career to empowering people to heal from unhealthy relationship processes. She does this by teaching the skills and tools necessary to have a life filled with healthy and loving relationships.
This passion led her to write her best-selling books and create courses. Her books, The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle and The Codependency Workbook: Simple Practices for Developing and Maintaining Your Independence have helped many people heal.
Her third book, Therapy Within Reach: Setting Boundaries, will be released September, 2023.
If you have any personal dating or relationship questions, Krystal is happy to provide advice using her expertise and compassion. If you feel comfortable, feel free to leave any questions in the comments of this post. Otherwise, you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or DM her on Instagram. Your name and any other identifying information will always be kept confidential.
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