The words self-care are completely cliché these days. Unfortunately, the self-care industry is over saturated, people constantly search for the next best thing to help them feel better, and the treat-yourself mentality is more the rule than the exception. As a result, self-care has been drained of its original intent and is instead, IMO, used by companies and influencers to prey on people’s vulnerabilities, make sales, and push products. It’s concerning from a mental health standpoint because despite the billion-dollar self-care industry, loneliness rates are at an all-time high. And people’s mental health is suffering, with young adults ages 18 to 25 in the U.S. experiencing the highest mental health conditions, followed by those ages 26 to 49, and adults ages 50 and over.
So, why isn’t self-care having more promising effects on people’s connectivity and mental health?
My guess is that the way self-care was originally construed is not how it is interpreted today. So, let’s go back to the roots of self-care.
Self-care is defined by the World Health Organization as the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness or disability with or without the support of a healthcare worker.
- The actions we take to prioritize and promote our health and well-being
- Things we do to stay physically and mentally healthy
- Ways of managing challenges and stressors
These definitions are open to interpretation, and so many activities, purchases, products, trips, etc., can be considered self-care. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
But self-care, through a mental health lens, takes on a different shape.
From a mental health lens, self-care includes the purposeful choices you make to prioritize and promote your mental health now and in the future.
This implies that in the present, only some decisions are about immediate gratification, while other wants and desires are sometimes delayed to promote your health in the future. Delaying gratification requires self-control and clear goals around how you want to feel in the future. It’s a complex topic that involves a lot of self-reflection to determine how you can feel good in the face of stress and challenges, now and in the future.
So, this summer, the newsletters will focus on self-care from a mental health perspective.
Be sure to follow along to take advantage of all crucial tips!
In the meantime, take this month to reflect on your self-care routines and how they relate to mental health.
- What are some of your routine self-care activities?
- Do they prioritize and promote your mental health? (And if not, that’s okay, just be aware of it for now)
- What other strategies do you use to manage your emotional well-being?
- Have you thought more about the emotional banking model from last month’s newsletter?
- How do you currently handle stress and challenges?
- How would you like to approach stress and challenges?
- What things, specifically, cause you to feel stressed and overwhelmed?
- There’s no one size fits all approach to self-care
- What works for you at one point in time may not work at another because life changes and we all change too
- Self-care is an ongoing process
- It’s essential to assess the effectiveness of your routine over time so that you can make tweaks when needed
Stay tuned for more mental health self-care information.