The Importance of Self-Care for Improved Vitality

No one else can or will prioritize your well-being the way you can. It's necessary to make sure you are looking out for yourself so that you can feel your best. That's why self-care is vital for your physical and mental health.

Neglecting to practice self-care can have severe consequences on your physical health, mental well being, and overall livelihood. It can make it more challenging to do things you usually enjoy doing and can often translate into making you less available to the people around you. 

In this article, we'll talk about the importance of adopting a consistent self-care practice, and give you simple self-care tips that you can start doing right now.  

What Happens When You Don't Prioritize Self-Care?

It's no secret that the more you take care of yourself physically and mentally, the healthier and happier you are. But did you know that a lack of self-care can impact not only your mental health but your physical health as well? 

When you fail to incorporate self-care into your daily life, it can start to feel like you are on autopilot. You may feel unusually stressed, which can cause physical and mental health problems. The negativity can also begin to affect the people around you. When you're not at your best, it's more challenging to care for others and support the people you love. 

The younger you are, the easier it is to bounce back from bouts of unhealthy behavior like bad eating habits, drinking, or lack of exercise. But as you get older, those habits (or lack thereof) will compound, making it more difficult to break the cycle and incorporate a healthy self-care routine into your life. The good thing is, it's never too late to start prioritizing taking care of yourself. Even though it might take more time to find the right activities to make you feel your best, you can start a self-care routine at any point in your life. 

Here are a few tips that you can start practicing today to help you feel better, live longer, and promote overall vitality in your life. 

Simple Self Care Tips 

Create a space for yourself 

Section off a room or area in your home that makes you feel good. Incorporate items that bring you joy, and make sure it is well lit and ventilated. The purpose of this space is to serve as a sanctuary for you to feel good about yourself and motivate you. On the wall,  hang a vision board containing pictures of your ideal life, combined with images of good times you've had. You can also use this space to motivate you into doing things that you've always wanted to do like yoga, painting, or pursuing a hobby you've put off. 

Do a DIY Massage 

You don't need to go to a fancy massage parlor to get the benefits of relieving some of the tension on your body. There are a few DIY massage techniques that you can do yourself to relieve some stress and loosen up tense muscles. 

Foot massage - Grab a pair of socks, a small ball like a tennis ball or golf ball, and find a comfortable chair to sit in. Then place the ball underneath your foot and roll your foot back and forth from heel to toe while applying firm pressure on the ball. You might notice certain parts of your foot feel painful or tender when you apply pressure. Work out these knots by rolling your foot in small circles until the pressure lessens. Repeat on each foot, 2-3 times. You can also try this exercise standing up to add even more pressure on the balls of your feet. 

Neck rub - Using three fingers, apply pressure to the back of your neck, where your neck meets your shoulders. Hold fingers there and apply pressure for about ten seconds. Release your fingers when your neck muscles release some of the tension they're holding. After releasing, roll your shoulders forward and backward to get the blood flowing. Repeat this up to three times. 

Glute massage - Start seated on the ground with your knees slightly bent. Position a small ball like a tennis ball or golf ball under your right glute and place your hands on the ground behind you. Lift your right leg off the ground and make small circles with your glute, rolling the ball under you. Notice where there are more tender areas and place more pressure on those areas. Switch to the opposite side and repeat 2-3 times on each glute. 

Hand and wrist massage - Place your fingers on your wrist as if you're taking your pulse and apply slight pressure while moving your fingers side to side. You can also use your thumb to apply pressure to your wrist and slowly work your way up the wrist into your palm. Apply pressure to the center of your palm in a circular motion, or until you relieve some of the tension in your hand. This is working out the deep tissue in your hands and wrists that carry a lot of stress from using the computer and phone. Once you've massaged your hand and wrist, slightly pull on each of your fingers to give them a good stretch as well. 

Drink infused-water 

Dehydration can seriously affect your mood as well as your body physically. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day to stay hydrated and replenish your body with fluids. Drinking water doesn't have to be boring. Turn hydration into a self-care activity by adding some seasonal fresh fruit to your water to sweeten it up in a healthy and refreshing way. 

 Go Outside 

Take advantage of warmer days and spend time outdoors whenever you can. Your body thrives on vitamin D to keep your bones healthy, and sunlight can help boost your mood and give you natural energy. Take a long walk or sit outside with a good book. As long as you're getting fresh air and a bit of sunlight, there's no wrong way to connect with nature. Just don't forget the sunscreen! 

Unplug

While sometimes, self-care can mean curling up on the couch and watching your favorite movie, too much time on technology, especially social media, can cause low self-esteem and can make you lose all track of how long you've been sitting in one place. Take intentional action to unplug and spend some time away from your phone or computer doing something you enjoy or exploring a new hobby. 

Self-care may seem like a buzz word these days, but it's so much more than face masks and bubble baths. When you invest in self-care, it creates momentum and motivation for you to continue to make improvements to yourself. Taking small steps to take care of yourself can spark a passion within yourself to start taking care of other aspects of your life. 

Sarah Aboulhosn