Why Self-Care is Critical (Always, and Especially During COVID-19)

The term self-care has risen sharply over the past five years. But if the term itself conjures up images of incredible luxury, or even selfishness — a newer version of "Treat Yo' Self" in a different package — to you, you might not know exactly what self-care actually is — and how much it matters.

The Importance of Self-Care

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The World Health Organization defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider." So self-care goes beyond its luxury reputation: in fact, prioritizing self-care practices, put most simply, means prioritizing your health.

And self-care isn't just a bubble bath, a few deep breaths, or a call to your best friend either — though we highly recommend all three. Instead, a true self-care regimen means getting creative about, and then prioritizing, the self-care ideas that will work best for you.

During a global pandemic, more than ever, you want to do whatever you can to boost your immune system, and while that starts with a healthy lifestyle, you'd be surprised how much self-care practices can impact your physical and mental health — in other words, your overall health.

Below, we've split some suggestions into mental health and physical health. Consider this your self-care to do list (and one you might actually be motivated to complete!)

Mental Health

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First, be sure to continue all mental health basics: get enough sleep, water, and time with loved ones (even over Zoom!) to ensure that your emotional health is in good shape. Make sure to remember your own needs, because you can be stronger for your family members if you've taken care of yourself. Whatever you do on a regular basis for stress management, make sure you're continuing those practices.

Maybe you already have a great relationship with a psychotherapist — many are taking remote appointments right now. Maybe you have a best friend who you can always rely on to bring you back to yourself. Or maybe you have some other tried-and-true techniques to boost your self-esteem and ensure your relationship with yourself is a healthy relationship.

Whatever is working for you right now, during the pandemic, keep it. Strategies that aren't? Toss them.

And if you need some new inspiration, consider the following:

If you don't yet have an established relationship with a psychotherapist (or even if you do!), consider investing in the MindWander subscription box. MindWander's carefully curated self-care items and therapy-inspired workbooks are designed to decrease stress and anxiety. Curated by a Ph.D. therapist, Mindwander's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy workbooks are filled with exercises for decreasing anxiety and stress while increasing positivity. Says the creator, "Our self-care products remind you to slow down and use your skills."

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A similar but distinct offering is TheraBox, another self-care subscription box. Each box includes one research-inspired therapeutic activity to wire your brain for more joy plus 6 to 8 self-care wellness goodies to reduce stress & enhance your life. Why not add Therabox to your growing list of self-care strategies?

Mental health of course expands far beyond traditional therapy. Take a look around your current environment. Is it clean, decluttered and cozy? Studies show if it's not, it may be stressing you out.

Taking good care of yourself? That's self-compassion, and that's prioritizing your health.

Physical Health

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Of course, the mind is tied intimately to the body: when we don't move our bodies through regular exercise, get enough sleep, and eat a healthy diet, we start to falter on all fronts.

Even just taking a few, deep breaths — a physical act — can have a profound impact on your mental state. (Try this Breathe Bubble from Calm, which allows you to follow along. Best 52 seconds you'll spend today, we promise!) Maintaining your physical health can help with stress management, which helps when your to-do list is still growing, despite the pandemic we're all fighting outside our doors.

We said something about a bubble bath before, right? Well, your skin is your largest organ, and caring for it via a hot bath can have a profound impact on your state of mind. That's where The S Soaps box subscription comes in. Full of handmade self-care products created to soothe away the stress into a time of bliss, each month's box includes small-batch soaps for relaxing and resetting.

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If you want to take your physical relaxation even further, consider the Hemp Crate Co. subscription box, filled with all things CBD. If you've been curious about exploring CBD and its potential benefits, this is the box for you. Choose from a variety of genres in box (we're particularly fond of the Health & Wellness option), and trust that you're getting educational material about CBD in each box, too.

And speaking of your skin — how is it surviving under pandemic stress? Modern Skyn Apothecary can help with all-natural, quality skincare delivered at an affordable price each month. All of their products are cruelty-free, organic, handcrafted, and currently enjoyed by many. Treat yourself, or a loved one, to some much-needed relaxation.