It’s no surprise that self-care has become such a trending topic of late. In an increasingly connected world, with global fear and political unrest on the rise, we’re all searching for a safe place and a brief respite from the constant flow of information. More than that, we’re realizing that it’s much better to take care of ourselves at home and avoid the doctor’s surgery than to ignore our health until a problem arises. A weekly face mask, an unplugged breakfast, or regular scheduled time off may seem like silly luxuries, but in reality, self-care is an essential element of living a healthy and happy life.
Traditionally, healthcare has been the realm of doctors and nurses with unquestioned tests and prescription medications, but the world is rapidly shifting towards a different outlook. Perhaps because of the information revolution and the new availability of medical research to the public, we’re beginning to opt for preventative healthcare in the form of self-care instead of just hoping we don’t fall ill. And the switch is paying off! The University of Chicago recently found that people who practice self-caretend to spend significantly less money on hospital bills and formal medical services.
WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
The type of self-care we’re talking about is so much more than just keeping a ‘grateful list’ or occasional face-mask selfies. Self-care is creating space for yourself to think, to relax, and to accept yourself as you are. In fact, it’s a form of emotional hygiene and it should be as important as personal hygiene! When personal hygiene became common practice, life expectancy rose by 50% within just a few decades. Imagine how things might change if we gave as much importance to self-care as we did to washing our hands after going to the toilet?
MILLENNIALS AND SELF-CARE
One of the best groups at giving this level of importance to self-care has been millennials. Despite often being slated as selfish and lazy, millennials are the biggest cohort striving to improve and take care of themselves They not only spend the most on self-care products & services like workout regimes, self-care apps and life coaching, they also make far more commitments to personal improvement than any other generation.
Much of the millennials self-care commitment comes back to the internet, social media and increased awareness, but not only as a mode of escaping the negativity of modern media. The growth of social media and inter-connectedness has also created a much more accepting generation. Where once we may have labelled someone with a mental illness as crazy or lazy, now we understand the reasons behind this and encourage them to practice self-care as a mode of treatment.
HOW TO PRACTICE SELF-CARE
But self-care doesn’t have to be complicated! It can be as simple as taking 10 minutes to do something indulgent before bed, or be a little more difficult, like signing up to regular exercise classes. After all, self-care is simply the act of creating healthy, everyday rituals to keep oneself feeling healthy and energized.
With increasingly busy schedules becoming the norm, people committed to self-care are often taking time at the beginning and end of each day to really focus on themselves. In the mornings, you could try dry-brushing with a natural oil, followed by a hot shower and a good breakfast to kick start your day. Then after a day of rushing around, try to create a ritual that will help slow your thoughts and lure you to sleep. Drink a cup of warm, organic chamomile tea, do a few light stretches with some quiet music playing in the background, and massage any tired muscles with a natural moisturizer. Or you could simply take a bath before bed using lavender bath oil to relax your muscles. It really is as easy as this!
You can also practice self-care rituals throughout the day, like brief moments of mindfulness and meditation. If you notice a beautiful scene, give yourself a moment to take it in. If you’re feeling stressed, put your thoughts on hold and focus on taking deep breaths. This is especially important in breaking the cycle of negative thoughts.
In his TED talk, psychologist Guy Winch talks about the dangers of negative thinking and rumination, and these mindfulness practices will help keep your thoughts positive. Distracting yourself for 2 minutes is all it takes to prevent yourself from focusing on whatever is stressing you out in life, so you can move forward productively with your day.
Self-care doesn’t have to be difficult, but more than ever it’s becoming an essential part of life. Whether you’re a busy working mum, a student pulling all-nighters to get your assignments in, or an office-worker who can never seem to get out of work on time, implementing self-care practices will help you to live a longer, healthier, happier life.
Looking for natural products to implement in your self-care routine? Leaf Juice offers a full range of plant-based skin-care and body products that can get you started with self-care the consciously healthy and responsible way.