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Lifestyle

Why is Self-Care Important?

Pen Orla O’Callaghan Glasses 3 min read

Self-care is something that many people struggle to prioritise. There is a misconception that self-care is selfish, but this could not be further from the truth. Self-care is a crucial part of looking after yourself, as well as others.  When you practice self-care you produce positive feelings, which boosts motivation and self-esteem leaving you with increased energy to support yourself as well as your loved ones.

Self-care starts with tending to your own needs. Read on to learn about ways to build self-care into your day and the benefits of doing this. 

Self-care can help you manage stress 

While small amounts of stress is a healthy way to motivate you to get a task done, constant stress and anxiety can have an adverse effect on your mental wellbeing and physical health. Self-care habits such as connecting with a loved one or practicing meditation cuts down the negative effects of stress by improving your mood and boosting your energy and confidence levels.

Self-care can help your relationship with your partner

Maintaining interests of your own helps to strengthen your relationship with your partner. Relying solely on your partner to provide all your supports and to meet your every need could potentially put a huge strain on your relationship. It’s better to maintain interests outside of your relationship to create a sense of independence and help you harbour confidence. All of which lead to improved mental health.

Self-care can help your physical health

Self-care starts with looking after your basic needs. It is not just about your mental health. It’s also about caring for your physical self, by eating healthy, prioritising sleep and exercising regularly.

Here are our top 7 daily self-care habits that anyone can practice:

  1. Get outdoors and wrap up. Don’t let the weather stop you.
  2. Meditate or do deep breathing for five minutes.
  3. Eat fruit and vegetables.
  4. Listen to your body. If it aches check if you need to attend a doctor.
  5. Choose to spend time with people who make you feel good.
  6. Learn to say ‘No’.
  7. Speak to yourself kindly.

 

If you don’t have time. Make time. All the while being a better role model for your family, colleagues and friends.

Michelle Obama once said: “When I get up and work out, I’m working out just as much for my girls as I am for me, because I want them to see a mother who loves them dearly, who invests in them but who also invests in herself. It’s just as much about letting them know as young women that it is okay to put yourself a little higher on the priority list”.

If we can leave you with one message it is this, it is not selfish to practice self-care. Just like on flight demonstrations, it’s right and necessary to put your own oxygen mask on first before you can attempt to tend to anyone else.

Remember all laya healthcare members over 16 can use our 24/7 Mental Wellbeing Support Programme for advice from our team of qualified and experienced psychotherapists covering areas like counselling services, legal services, financial services and consumer advice, mediation services.

Orla O’Callaghan

Orla O’ Callaghan is the Occupational Health Advisor on the laya healthcare health and wellness team. She qualified as a Registered General Nurse from the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) in 2009 and worked in London for three years. She graduated with MSc in Occupational Health from NUIG in 2012 and completed a traineeship with the European Agency for Safety and Health at work following this. She has a keen interest in workplace health promotion and in particular mental health awareness. She is currently studying counselling and psychotherapy in CIT. Although she lives in Cork her heart belongs to Co. Clare!