You’ve got a to-do list that is kilometers long. A packed schedule that looks almost impossibly full. About a gazillion family members, friends, colleagues all relying on you. Social obligations up the wazoo.
“There’s no bloody time for self-care!”, I hear you yell.
I get you. I was you.
But here’s the thing – self-care isn’t something extra that you only do whenever you have the time (which, let’s be honest, is never). No, it’s something you have to make time for. Because it’s vital to your life, your identity, your happiness.
Look, I know what it’s like to make huge mental leaps to justify not practicing self-care. I still fall into this line of thinking from time to time. But I encourage you to spend the next few minutes with me here, and give me a chance to change your mind.
Keep scrolling to find out the 12 benefits of self-care that will help you improve your life and show up as a better version of yourself, one day at a time!
Why self-care is important
In my mission to help women find balance, clarity, and purpose in their busy lives, the topic of self-care is something that comes up a lot. Unfortunately, it’s mostly because it’s something we know we should do, but don’t do a lot!
When practicing self-care is simply not a part of your routine, it can be tough to figure out where to start with self-care. That’s why it’s a good idea to explore what are the different types of self-care.
Self-care sometimes looks like taking a walk. At other times, it looks like taking a bath. No matter what self-care is important to you at any given time, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s vital to your well-being. Self-care is doing things to make you feel good both in the short-term and in the long-term.
Unfortunately, just knowing why it’s important won’t help you figure out how to do it!
My FREE eBook “100 Quick And Easy Self Care Ideas For Busy Women” contains self care ideas that only take 5 to 15 minutes to do. It’s a great way to make sure self care practices are a part of your day! It contains examples for every category of self-care. If you have no idea where to get started with self care, this eBook is the first step in figuring it out.
You’ll also receive a free bonus printable – the Self Care Checklist – where you can list your favourite self care activities. Hang it somewhere visible so you always have a handy list whenever you’ve got a few minutes to dedicate to self care.
Still need a little more convincing on why self-care is important? Keep scrolling!
The 12 benefits of self-care
So how can self-care help you? These twelve ways are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of self-care and how self-care has helped me. But these are the main perks that keep me hooked on self-care every day!
Here are the benefits of self-care that you need to know:
1. Self-care enhances your creativity
The relationship between stress and creativity is surprisingly complex. Research has found, however, that a moderate amount of stress is better for your creativity compared to really low or really high stress.
As a creative, I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes stress helps me achieve peak creativity. Some of my best work has happened under high stress. However, it’s simply not a sustainable approach in the long run!
My creative energy shouldn’t come at the cost of my mental health, and that’s where self-care comes in. I find that committing to self-care has resulted in more consistent creativity, instead of brief spurts of it due to stress.
I firmly believe this is a more realistic, sustainable, and balanced way to approach my creative work.
2. Self-care boosts your immune system
Practicing self-care – especially physical self-care – has the direct impact of improving your health and boosting your immune system.
Things like eating your vegetables, drinking more water, and physical activities are all acts of self-care that have the benefit of making you feel good in the short-term while supporting your long-term health.
You know that saying, “Prevention is better than cure”? Consider self-care a form of prevention. It’s just another way for you to protect your health and prevent health issues in the future.
3. Self-care makes you more resilient
Building resilience is something that can really only occur over time. Unfortunately, resilience is often forged through hard life lessons. Self-care is important in this journey, it’s a way to soothe your soul after facing a challenge or experiencing a trauma.
More importantly, your self-care practice will help strengthen you in preparation for future challenges too. Emotional self-care, in particular, has helped me develop resilience.
From setting healthy boundaries to practicing positive affirmations, I’ve found that emotional self-care has helped me become more mindful of how I respond to challenges and has helped me back myself more.
Life won’t be without challenges, I know this. But with self-care as part of my daily routine, I have the strength to withstand anything life throws at me!
4. Self-care improves your relationships
Practicing self-care helps you show up as the best person and partner you can be. Prioritising self-care has made me a much better spouse, I can tell you that much!
When I really invest in my own self-care, I have noticed much lower levels of resentment and annoyance. I’m just in a much better mood – and therefore a lot more fun to be around – when I’m feeling fulfilled and content. Who could’ve guessed it??
Not only that, but I’ve found practicing self-care together has done wonders for my relationship with my partner. We started doing yoga together in 2020, and it still remains one of my favourite things to do to bond with him!
5. Self-care makes you more productive
Much like creativity, the relationship between stress and productivity isn’t as linear as you’d think. It’s actually a bell curve! Too little stress or too much stress can actually hinder productivity. So you’ve gotta pull a Goldilocks and find a level that’s just right.
Self-care will help keep your stress levels in check. More than that, it will sharpen your focus, boost your cognitive abilities, and increase your productivity. So if, like me, you sometimes find it hard to justify taking time out from work for self-care, remind yourself that it will actually make you better at work!
On another note, I am personally quite fixated on efficiency and productivity, but I’m also (obviously) very passionate about self-care and balance. So it’s been interesting to find that self-care practices like goal planning, to-do lists, and brain dumps have directly impacted my productivity too.
6. Self-care allows for time out from your busy life
Modern life has made us all competitors in the Busyness Olympics. It’s almost like if we’re not running at 100% every waking hour, we’re not doing enough. Not only is this approach unsustainable on an individual level, it’s also not setting a great example for future generations.
I’ve recently discovered the amazing concept of Niksen, which is known as ‘the Dutch art of doing nothing’. Believe me when I say I found the entire idea completely abhorrent at first! However, I promise you, finding pockets of time to do absolutely f*ck-all has been life-changing.
If the concept of doing nothing is far too radical for you, then self-care gives you an opportunity to take time out while still doing something. It’s an excuse to just slow down a bit, but still feel like you’re making use of your time.
7. Self-care helps you better manage stress
None of us are immune to experiencing stress. There are stressors in every facet of our lives, and sometimes you have no control over them. What you do have control over, is your response to it.
When you can’t manage your stress, there are real mental and physical effects that can impact your health and wellbeing for a long, long time. Even in the short-term, I know that I definitely find it almost impossible to manage stress when I haven’t been practicing self-care!
Self-care plays an important role in stress management. Practicing self-care makes you more resilient, and helps you develop healthy coping mechanisms to handle stress in your life. Being consistent with self-care also acts as a constant reminder that you need to be compassionate and forgiving with yourself.
8. Self-care boosts your self-esteem
In a world where women are constantly told we’re not enough, loving ourselves – just the way we are – is a radical act of rebellion. Self-care is self-love. It’s sending a message to yourself that you are worthy of love, care, and respect.
Self-care is firmly linked to confidence and healthy self-esteem. Ever since I started really prioritising my self-care, I find myself now unconvinced by the lies that I’m told daily – that I need to be thinner, taller, fairer, different, better.
Nope, I’ve recalibrated my self-love meter and found that I’m actually perfect just the way I am. And let me tell you, my friend, this realisation has changed the way I look at everything, but particularly the way I view myself!
9. Self-care models healthy coping techniques
When you commit to self-care, you are putting a message out in the world: It’s okay to tend to your needs.
It may seem like it doesn’t need saying, right? But how many of us find it difficult to justify self-care sometimes? It’s like we convince ourselves to deny this basic right to self-care, but we don’t even know why we’re doing it.
I don’t want that for my children. I want my kids and peers to see self-care as the done thing. It’s just what you do as part of a healthy lifestyle.
“Of course I’ve been practicing self-care, Mum. I couldn’t be a good parent, partner, and member of my community without it!”, I imagine them saying to me during our holographic video chats when they’re my age.
But even in the short term, I’m aware that modelling self-care for my own peers and even older relatives has made an impact. It’s like my own acts of self-care gives them permission to commit to self-care too. And that can only be a good thing.
10. Self-care makes you more intentional
It’s interesting – I’ve found that scheduling in my self-care activities makes me more intentional in how I spend my time. For a long time, I convinced myself that self-care wasn’t as important as anything else on my schedule, or that I just didn’t have time for it.
I was telling lies!
The truth is, making self-care a habit has shown me that I actually do have time to commit to my own growth. It’s shown me that maybe I could spend less time on things that don’t make me happy, and commit to activities that do!
11. Self-care helps you develop healthy emotional responses
Like most people, my mind sometimes wanders back in time, and I cringe at the terrible ways I responded during a conflict or challenge. I forgive myself now, knowing that the overwhelming shame is a sign of growth, but I want to be able to do better if I come across a similar situation!
That’s where developing healthy emotional responses will help. It’s not about removing emotions altogether – that’s not healthy either. It’s about having reasonable responses that contribute to your wellbeing.
Activities for emotional self-care – including journaling, self-forgiveness, and positive affirmations – have all made me much more mindful of my emotions and how they impact the way I respond to conflicts and challenges.
12. Self-care helps you stay present
Do you find your mind drifting to past mistakes and failures? Or do you sometimes find yourself constantly grinding and hustling for the future?
We are often so obsessed with the past and the future, we forget to live in the now. Being present in the moment is a gift. It’s about feeling connected to yourself, as you are right now. There’s an acceptance there that brings peace and tranquility, a cure for the fraught mind.
My anxiety often results in me constantly nitpicking my past and worrying about my future. It’s been eye-opening to realise that this doesn’t have to be my constant state of being. Self-care has made me more introspective and present.
If this is something you want to achieve too, mindfulness activities like meditation, yoga, and journaling have been some of my favourite self-care activities to discover these moments of reflection.
Improve your life with self-care
Who doesn’t want to be happier, more productive, and have better relationships? Practicing self-care will help you achieve all that and more. Start prioritising self-care today to see it for yourself!
Want to practice self-care but simply don’t even know how to start doing it? I totally get it. That’s why I’ve collected 100 super quick (like, under 15 minutes) self-care ideas and put them into a free eBook. Subscribe to my email newsletters to get your FREE copy: