The Importance of Self-Care

If I’m being honest with myself, self-care has never really been a priority in my life. But, according to Daniel E Joan, Yoko Ibuka, and Louise Russel, my lack of self-care is not uncommon. The results of their study showed that just 6.6% of adults aged 25 and older engage in health-related self-care each day.

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For someone like myself and many other people, chronic illness is something we deal with daily, but it’s not just important to support our physical bodies. Self-care includes mental health, which can also impact physical health.

What is self-care?

Moira Lawler explains self-care as a “means [of] taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, you can be well, you can do your job, you can help and care for others, and you can do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day.”

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Self-care is about helping yourself live your life to the fullest. For example, I practice yoga to help myself move through my life with a better attitude and less stiffness. Yoga, for me and many others, is a form of self-care.

Self-care isn’t just something that has to do with your body. We often think of self-care as getting a manicure, spending the day at the spa, or working out at the gym, but self-care takes on other forms too. For example, I cannot work in a dirty and cluttered space. Part of my self-care routine is keeping my space clean and tidy.

What does self-care have to do with finance?

The connection between self-care and finance may not be obvious at first glance, but something I’ve learned through my own personal finance journey is that financial well-being is a form of self-care. Getting your financial house in order is a form of ensuring your safety and your future self’s stability.

Oddly enough, my self-improvement journey began with decluttering. I realized that my life was filled to the brim with people, objects, and pursuits that I didn’t love. These relationships, things, and activities wore me out because they did not align with my values and the goals I had for my life.

Financial well-being is very similar in that we often spend money on things that do not align with our values. The world will tell you that you need to dress in designer brands, you need to drive a sports car, you need to live in a huge house, and you need to eat at the fanciest restaurants. But do you really need those things? Some people do value those things, but it’s important to recognize that what you value may not be what someone else values.

As I’ve become clear on my values, I’ve found that I can shop for clothes at Goodwill because brand new clothes are not important to me. My diet is important to me, so I will spend more money on healthier foods at the grocery store. I don’t love eating out, so I spend most of my time with friends at my apartment or at one of my friend’s houses.

When you get clear on what’s important to you, you free up mental space to focus on those things. Some people will criticize you or call you insane for pursuing only the things that make you happy. For example, my friends and family think I am crazy for wanting to sell my car to purchase a $1,000 beater instead—but I never even wanted my current car. My family talked me into purchasing a nice car (that came with a hefty car loan), but they are not the ones who have to live with my decisions—I have to live with my decisions, and let me tell you, I regret buying my nice car. It’s not something that’s important to me. This is not to say that a nice car should not be important to you. If you want a nice car, by all means, buy a nice car. The point is to spend time and money on what matters to you the most and letting go of the rest.

Self-care is not selfish

One of the reasons we may avoid self-care has to do with our tendency to be selfless or try to be selfless. Taking time for ourselves may feel selfish and again, other people may criticize us for spending time on ourselves.

We may also avoid self-care because it slows us down and makes us take a look at ourselves in the mirror. This can be hard if you don’t like yourself. Truth be told, I often treat myself like someone I hate. This sounds harsh, but how many times have you said something to yourself that you would never dream of saying to someone else? Self-care can be really difficult because it does require us to pause and take a look at ourselves.

The more you do this, though, the easier it will become.

So, next time, when you feel run down or stressed, listen to your body. Listen to yourself. The world is constantly telling us we need to hurry – to rush from one thing to the next, but that is simply not true.

Lewis Howes interviews Grant Cardone, an extremely successful author and speaker, on podcast #1077, “5 things poor people do that rich people don’t.” Grant says that making money didn’t come from working himself into the ground. He also says that he gets more sleep and spends more time with his family than the average person. Success and financial well-being does not come from over-working yourself. In fact, most highly successful people will tell you that working harder rarely moves the needle. You need to work smarter and more strategically. Have you ever wondered how wealthy people can afford time to take vacations in nice places? They take time for themselves to recover and take breaks.

Many successful people, such as the podcaster and financial expert, Shannah Compton Game will tell you that success comes from mastering your mindset, mastering your thought life, and mastering the art of strategic moves.

Self-care can help you move from a place of hurriedness and unpreparedness and stress to a place of thoughtfulness and readiness and calm, which will help you achieve well-being in other areas of your life.

Self-care is about gratitude

My mindset is usually one of scarcity. One of my biggest fears is becoming homeless because no one wants anything to do with me, including my place of employment, my friends, and my family. I realize this is an extremely irrational fear. My employer likes me and appreciates my work. My friends and family love me and would house me if I ever fell on hard times. My fear, however irrational, tells me something about myself: I have an issue with scarcity. I feel as though I am not enough and I do not have enough.

This way of thinking makes me panicky and restless. It harms my thought processes and makes me feel like I have no options. In reality, there are numerous options available to me—always. There are numerous options available to you too. We just need to calm down and allow ourselves to expand our perspectives enough to see those options.

In conclusion, self-care makes us slow down and appreciate what we have—our bodies, our space, and our loved ones. Self-care may look different to you, but I can guarantee that, engaging in self-care will help you improve every area of your life. Without self-care, success in any area of your life will be more challenging and probably much less rewarding.