The Importance of Self-Care

We all hear the importance of self-care and finding the medium between the work-life balance but how many of us take time for ourselves and our wellbeing?

In this blog post, I want to share the importance of spending time trying to develop healthy activities around self-care. Let’s first define what self-care is then I will describe why I find it to be important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Self-care can be defined as the process of taking any intentional actions to care for your physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing.

I am sure that we all have good intentions of trying to carve out enough time in our week much less per day to try to engage in activities that will promote healthy living; however, in today’s fast-paced lifestyle, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to take time away from the office to practice self-care.

Self-care is important part of my life because I have found that if I do not spend time trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, my work and my personal relationships with others will become much more difficult to give energy and time to.

This practice become evident to me when I was working on suicide prevention especially when every person I talked to required so my energy and complete attention and when, after months of work, I began to dread going into work. It was not that I hated what I was doing and it wasn’t that I found my work to be unimportant, it was because I was not replenishing my emotional wellbeing to be totally present at work.

I’m sure that we all have had a friend who has been needy throughout our lives and who always seems to be taking from us. How does this make us feel after years of friendship? In my experience, it is super difficult to maintain friendships with these types of people. This can happen in our personal lives or it can have an impact on our professional career. We all want to avoid burnout so let’s prescribe certain activities for self-care that can be used to combat work fatigue and burnout.

It is very important to plan time throughout the week to spend on self-care. Although it might not seem as important compared to work responsibilities, we must reconsider the importance of not practicing self-care and what implications it may have upon our personal and professional lives.

Once we have set time in our week to spend on taking care of ourselves, it is important to adhere to this schedule. For the emotional side of self-care, we can engage in meditation or any forms of therapy that increase emotional awareness and connectivity. For physical wellbeing, it is important to maintain regular exercise and eating habits.

We have all experienced the negative side-effects of missing lunch and not eating regularly and the implications that is may have on our interactions with others. Even if we are super busy with work and meetings, it is important to nourish our bodies with a small snack to improve cognitive functioning and wellness.

Last, it is important to maintain regular sleep habits. In today’s fast paced lifestyle of work, graduate school, and family life, the adherence to regular sleep patterns may be difficult to achieve. We have all experienced those weeks where we have deadlines to be met and exams which may have kept us awake until the early morning hours.

This is not only harming our emotional side of our brain but it hinders cognitive functioning as well. Thus, maintain healthy sleep habits can be crucial to being 100% at work and in our personal lives.

 Self-care is important because it can reduce burnout, compassion fatigue, and stress. Learning to adhere to a self-care schedule can have positive implications both in your professional and personal life.

Try to incorporate a few of these suggestions and see what positive implications they may have upon your quality of work, your daily commitment to work and others, and your overall happiness and you may be surprised at how much everything will change once you take care of yourself. 

Stephen Bachman