Practicing self-care isn’t a new concept, but the meaning of it has evolved over the years but especially in 2020. As a coach, facilitator and speaker, the subject comes up quite often either when I’m working with Vida Aventura clients, facilitating workshops, or having casual conversations with friends. In such instances, self-care is most often associated with things like hot bubble baths and fresh manicures, a day at the spa, or taking a refreshing walk outside to reconnect with nature.
Of course, all of these ideas are great, but in particularly stressful times (like what we are experiencing now), self-care is a means of survival. And it goes much deeper than most of our go-to solutions.
Why Self-Care Now
According to a recent survey from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, stress and anxiety is surging in 2020. Almost 50 percent of Americans between the ages of 18-29 said they’ve experienced symptoms of anxiety and depressions this year. And among those surveyed, women, Black and Latino Americans were more likely to be affected.
In addition, more than 8 in 10 Americans (83%) say the future of our nation is a significant source of stress, according to the American Psychological Association’s most recent survey report, Stress in America™ 2020: Stress in The Time of COVID-19, Volume Two. The previous high was 69%, reported in 2018 as part of APA’s annual Stress in America survey.
What Self-Care Really Means
Practicing self-care these days involves much more than pampering. Rather, it’s more about setting boundaries, practicing gratitude, tuning in with your mind and body to monitor your physical and mental states, and decreasing your risk for stress, anxiety and even cardiovascular disease.
Here are four great resources that will help you understand exactly what self-care is, why it’s important, and how to practice it in your daily life. And if you are interested in how leaders can help teams practice self-care, or if you’d like to know how self-care can improve productivity and your own leadership skills, give us a call – we’d love to help.
1. In 2020, Self-Care Is Becoming A More Radical Act
This article published on Huffington Post explains that, “ … taking care of ourselves now requires real and uncomfortable work.” Part of the solutions include identifying and acknowledging your feelings, limiting exposure to news and social media, and recognizing when your emotions need extra attention. Read the full article here.
2. What Self Care Is – And What It Isn’t
What exactly is self-care? In this PsychCentral article, self-care is described as, “… any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.” Read the full article here.
3. What “Self-Care” Means Right Now, According To Experts
When in doubt, listen to the professionals. Refinery 29 asked three psychologists to share their best self-care tips. Among them were to practice mindfulness and meditation, exercise, focus on good nutrition and balance “You Time” with caring for others. Read the full article here.
4. Self-Care Isn’t Just Good For You—It’s Also Good For Your Productivity
As this Forbes article emphasizes, self-care is not only necessary for our physical, mental, and emotional health, it also has a direct impact on productivity. “While the causes of stress differ from person to person, the effects are the same when stress builds up. These can include insomnia, restlessness, fatigue, upset stomach, muscle tension, irritability, social withdrawal, substance abuse, and a lack of motivation. There can be long-term effects, too, from obesity to cardiovascular disease to mental health issues like depression and anxiety.” Read the full article here.
If You Need Help
Vida Aventura knows how difficult this year has been. We are continuing to safely and effectively work with leaders, teams, groups and individuals in creative and impactful ways. Staying connected and practicing self-care as leaders, teams and organizations is more important than ever, and we want to help you do this successfully. Give us a call – let’s do this together.