Before we start, it’s important to shoot down one popular misconception right now – self-care is not defined as textbook narcissism or self-indulgence. Rather, self-care refers to taking comprehensive care of yourself, to be better across all spheres of life. Be healthy, do your job, help and care for others, and do all those things you always wanted to. That’s what you can achieve with proper self-care. This practice has a lot to do with how we manage to cope better with the daily stressors we face.
As technology has turned up the speedometer at the pace of daily life, the stress of keeping up in the race has also increased manifold. Hence, a major part of self-care comes down to managing your mental health. Today, social media not only forms one of the key stressors we face, but also distorts our ideas and definitions of self-care. It is important to first understand self-care better, along with its dos and don’ts, if we are to inculcate it into our daily lives.
Inarguably the world’s apex body on all things related to health, the World Health Organisation or WHO has defined self-care as, “The ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health-care provider.”
In simple terms, self-care means to practice looking after your own health with the information and knowledge available to you. It is a process of decision making that can empower you to look after your overall well-being more efficiently, while reaching out to health and social care professionals whenever needed.
Good self-care involves a number of day-to-day practices. These include:
If you implement the above practices in your routine and start practising it regularly, you will start to see a threefold set of benefits soon.
Self-care can provide you with a range of simple yet effective healthcare tools at your hands. It will save you time and effort, as you will be able to take preventive measures against a number of health conditions simultaneously all by yourself. Effective self-care will allow you to address the basic needs of your mental and physical health before they go off track and removes the hassle and effort of having to visit a doctor for every hiccup. Thus, self-care is the best practice to start living healthier.
Self-care can empower you to take your overall health and wellbeing into your own hands. While this can be a scary thought at first, with time, you’ll grasp the incentive to improve your quality of life. Our bodies give us subtle but certain signals about any rising health issue. Self-care can teach you how to pay better attention to such details and improve your health before it spirals down. As such, self-care plays a vital role in helping you prevent certain ailments and improve the recovery time for others. It forms a critical part of your well-being throughout your life.
Self-care can help you cope with the rising costs of healthcare prevalent globally. Investing in self-care in the short term allows you to save considerably in the long run by not having to rush to a hospital for every nuisance. Further, self-care helps the overall healthcare industry by easing the workload of strained healthcare systems, thus allowing them to assign their resources more efficiently. Practising self-care and staying healthy will also ease the burden of having to pay for expensive health insurance policies. You can cut down on the premium costs as you won’t have to tap into your insurance that frequently.
A huge truck speeding at over 70 kmph brought screeching to a halt, surely there was some damage? That was the condition of the world when the COVID-10 pandemic struck. As we recovered from the deep wounds, we also pondered over the lessons learnt during the pandemic. Along with changes in the wider healthcare industry, our definitions of self-care also took a turn. We saw increased mental health awareness, less stigma about feelings like depression and anxiety, and a common regard for problems faced in isolation. As social media acted as a major socialisation outlet during the pandemic, people’s adaptability to digital platforms also improved.
We started recognising the stronghold of the internet on our mental and physical health, and started defending against ills like harassment, abuse and trolling on social media. Beyond the mental recovery, we also had a better understanding of our health and how to fend for ourselves against various diseases and illnesses. This also helped to recover from financial losses as we could budget our healthcare spending better in our hands. In this way, people began to take steps for improving themselves and the elusive concept of financial well-being was added to the broader self-care spectrum.
Financial self-care is the type of self-care which focuses on your financial wellness. Just as traditional self-care activities involve practices to look after your physical and mental health, this helps you to find the best means of managing your finances and improving your financial stability. Paying your bills, worrying about debt, and being unable to save more leads to financial stress which can drain us emotionally.
It acts adversely on our physical and mental well-being. Hence, this long overlooked factor is starting to get its due importance. Self-care goes hand in hand with our money. The first step that by which we can improve our financial health is by examining how we think and act about money, and then improving it in the following ways.
Set reasonable goals to improve your financial health. Compare your income against your compulsory expenses (monthly bills, EMIs, etc.) and see where you can begin saving. Having a financial plan for your future is the first step in your journey of financial self-care.
Honestly, impulse spending does more harm than good. Start being more mindful about how you spend by keeping tabs of your daily transactions. Focus on key areas of cash spending to better realise how, where, and how much you can cut down on.
Conventionally, experts advise to always have 3-6 months of savings stored up to get by in case of any emergency. Don’t surrender in the face of such a target; instead, start small. Save wherever you can, be it a few hundreds, the idea is to form a habit.
Practising financial self-care helps not only your mental health but also your physical health. It helps you build a positive money mindset, i.e., what your thoughts, ideas, and opinions about money are. This will promote you to shape your spending and saving patterns better. This in turn will promote your mental health. Thus, self-care helps if you try to focus on what you have and develop a positive mindset about your finances.
Every investor has the opportunity to invest in both traditional and alternate investment methods. With planned investments, you can reduce the risks and go for assured returns. Simultaneously, remember to financially secure your health as part of your self-care plan. Right from an early age, buy a comprehensive health insurance policy to secure yourself against the burden of high hospital bills and medical expenses.
In today’s world, it is vital to remember that self-care includes more than just your mind and body. It expands to your finances, as they are a major contributing factor for your stress and happiness. Take care of your finances to safeguard against unforeseen problems in the future. When you prioritise your financial self-care, you can also regulate your physical and mental ailments better.
Instead of spending on every major and minor disease, you can choose a comprehensive health insurance policy to cover for them. Similarly, with investment tools like fixed deposits, mutual funds, and even newer alternate schemes, you can save more, thus achieving your self-care goals more efficiently.