Habits can be good or bad, depending on their beholders, characteristics, and consequences. Healthy habits are beneficial, productive, and have a positive outcome since they can contribute to a balanced life if chosen appropriately.
According to Collins (2005), self-care is the ability to balance one’s personal, professional, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs to live a balanced, energizing life that helps one deal with daily stressors. This definition of self-care does not mean being selfish or self-indulged rather, it means balancing different domains of life to ensure that you care for your mind, body, and soul.
Moreover, according to McGarrigle and Walsh (2011), creating a sense of well-being through self-care and balancing one’s personal, professional, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs is called wellness. Therefore, concentrating on wellness also means concentrating on overcoming and successfully managing the demands of personal and occupational life.
As personal preferences and habits play an important role in regulating the life of an individual, they can be helpful in this regard if chosen wisely. This article will present how healthy habits can contribute to self-care and wellness practices.
Understanding the challenges
However, there come some situations that curb and challenge the incorporation of good self-care practices and healthy habits into a daily routine. The impediments may include personal or social factors. Some of them are discussed below:
Lack of time and busy schedules
In the 21st century, time has emerged as one of the major barriers to maintaining the best self-care practices. After a full day’s busy schedule, it becomes difficult for people to engage themselves in activities that are healthy and beneficial for them.
Maintaining job performance and a healthy family and personal life is becoming challenging, and people struggle to thrive.
Activities that hold significance in the eye of the beholder should be considered for practice. For example, if a person sleeps more than eight hours, he can cut down on his sleep time and can easily participate in physical activities or self-care activities like meditation, etc.
Guilt and societal pressures
Blames and projections by others may make a person liable to guilt. Guilt involves regret and tension for the practiced behavior. When a person participates in activities that are atypical, even though they are beneficial for a person, they are targeted by others.
People consider unique traits as deviance and stress others for compliance. People need to learn to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy patterns to follow and unfollow, respectively.
For instance, when females participate in camping and hiking activities, they are labeled as tomboys by society. They are forced to shun those activities. The best self-care practice in such a case can be to evaluate the practice based on the emotions involved and its outcome.
Lack of knowledge and awareness
Another challenge in maintaining healthy habits and self-care routines can be a lack of awareness. People may assume that drinking two liters of water can be replaced by fizzy drinks and cycle rides can be replaced by bike rides. As these practices are also tagged for low social class, relating them to their lack of resources, people should consider the consequences of behaviors and activities instead of labeling the behaviors and activities.
If practices hold positive consequences, then they should be practiced and endorsed regularly, and the replacement of unhealthy behaviors should also be searched. Awareness of good self-care practices should be spread, and help should be provided to those struggling in this regard.
People are aware of the fact that sitting for a long period of time can lead to back and neck pain, but they are less likely to be aware that it can also lead to reduced cognitive functioning and gained weight. Offices should allocate some time for physical games or provide their employees with some membership for sports clubs for their physical health.
4 Best self-care and wellness practices
In spite of challenges and hindrances, self-care and wellness can be incorporated into daily life through some efforts. Following are some of the best practices:
Mindset and attitude
Self-care best practices should be embraced as a need rather than a luxury. For instance, a skincare routine should not be considered a luxury but a necessity, and people should find some time in their day or week for it. If people take self-care as a preference and incorporate it into their daily life assertively, then their attitude can be helpful for others too.
When best self-care practices are considered a luxury and not given any priority, then these practices are rarely given importance and are usually ignored during busy schedules. Important tasks are considered essential, but unimportant tasks are mostly postponed by people with hectic routines.
Self-care methods need to be part of the way of living. As even during air flights, it is announced that in case of emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then help others. People should keep the mindset of giving priority to themselves first for a balanced life.
Planning and scheduling
Daily life activities should be scheduled realistically, and preference should be given to those tasks which hold impact and importance. Today’s world is fast-paced, and humans need to balance their work and personal life.
In a hurly-burly routine, self-care practices should be part of daily drills and should be executed sincerely. They should be given as much importance as other daily life activities.
Scheduling can help in staying focused and avoiding distractions. For example, if drinking water on an empty stomach is a habit of an individual, then following it for the long term will include it in the mental schemas of the day’s activities.
Seeking social support
For the sake of self-care, individuals should seek support from friends and family members. For example, if a person is getting late for work and breakfast is part of his diet plan, then he may request his family members to prepare breakfast; and he may return this favor on some other day.
Such practices can also help in strengthening the social bond with others and can act as a model for others. Thus, it can help in spreading awareness about self-care practices. Similarly, on a hectic office day, tasks like printing, etc., can be delegated to anyone else to stay focused on other important tasks.
Use of technology
People may use mobile applications or planners to track their plans and schedules. It will be helpful in staying updated and accountable. As mobile apps are easily accessible to check, people will not have to remember the details of activities. For example, alarms can be set for drinking water or counting footsteps through apps can help provide a clear picture of daily walking routine.
Strategies for successful integration
By employing the strategies below, individuals can effectively incorporate healthy habits and self-care into their daily lives, fostering a healthy lifestyle.
Start small and build momentum
Nike’s motto says, “Just do it,” while Mark Twain’s quote is, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” The first step towards whatever you want to do is by taking a small step of action, and if you have an option, consider the harder one. It will inculcate a sense of accomplishment and help build momentum.
Momentum can be created through small achievements and thoughts of being productive. For example, on a lazy day, making the bed can be an achievement that can lead to cooking breakfast and taking a shower, etc. When these activities become part of routine and preferences, then an individual can find room for other activities that are enjoyable and challenging.
Finding activities that resonate
Personal interests and passion help individuals in keeping themselves productive. People need to identify their interests and should participate in them. Every individual identifies himself with the activities which are enjoyed by him more than others.
These activities help them keep fresh and energetic on hectic days. If these activities are healthy, too, then it is the cherry on the cake.
People should explore a variety of self-care activities depending on their personalities and try to find which works best for them. For example, introverts may find painting fascinating, and extroverts may like to socialize by joining social clubs and societies, etc.
Creating a holistic routine
Balance is one of the most crucial aspects of self-care—a state which reflects satisfaction or fulfillment in several important areas with little or no adverse impact in other domains. It can help in managing all aspects of life effectively, and people who balance their life efficiently participate and enjoy their life activities instead of just doing them.
For an ideal balanced life, people should split their day into three equal parts, each having eight hours. People should try to delegate eight hours of sleep, eight hours for their work, and eight hours for themselves.
During eight hours for themselves, people should prioritize their mental health instead of thinking about others. One should participate in such activities which provide them with peace of mind.
Even during work time, they need to practice self-care methods for healthy functioning. For example, giving rest to the eyes, if they work with computers and go for a few minutes walk every hour in case of desk jobs.
Prioritizing self-care and wellness is a long journey that faces varied challenges, but once it is successfully incorporated into a daily routine and becomes part of life, then people appreciate their choice. People just need to be consistent with their healthy habits and self-care practices.
This also helps individuals regulate all aspects of life. So, when self-care is practiced, it transforms into a healthy lifestyle.
If you would like to see more resources on personal life management, check out the Personal Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Personal Science Labs today.
Photo by Kate Branch on Pexels