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Three Reasons Why Self-Care is a Must

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

I recently made a huge decision and moved from Los Angeles, CA to New York City. I had been living and working in the Los Angeles area for seven years and found myself at a crossroads. I completed my PhD in November 2022 (hooray!) but had no work opportunities floating my direction for work.

Of course, there were work opportunities, but none that were right for me at the moment. While I expected to go directly into a teaching position, I found enough reasons to understand now isn’t the right time. The last year has been incredibly stressful, as I spent the first half of the year searching for jobs and getting passed over for those jobs. Midway through the year I made a decision to apply for a position out of state. More like as far away from California as possible. I applied for a postdoctoral position at Columbia University in New York City and was accepted.

All of this to say, that self-care has been my saving grace this past year. I have done some things (alone and with loved ones) to really pour into myself. My hope is that this blog (and future blogs) will encourage you to do the same.

The World Health Organization describes 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 worker. Self-care is meant to make one feel good from the inside out, which means self-care practices will likely vary between individuals. Here are three reasons why self-care matters:

1. Self-care can help with stress management and reduce likelihood of disease. Exercise is just one example of self-care. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, walking just 30 minutes a day can improve your mood and your physical health.

2. Self-care practice may improve compassion fatigue. A study among nurses who were provided mediation before and after their work shifts found that meditation improved compassion fatigue and resiliency. Compassion for others is essential in our personal lives also, as loved ones made need varying amounts of support throughout their lifetime.

3. The focus is on you! Self-care is all about doing what makes you feel good. Plan that outing with family or friends. Go on that hike. Cross off something on your bucket list. Self-care tasks should leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on whatever life throws at you.

Photo courtesy of Max van den Oetelaar

Self-care is more than necessary, it’s essential. Carving out time for yourself allows you to pour into others and be more productive in your work. It can also improve your mood and protect your physical health.

Self-care will look different for everyone. Spend some time asking yourself what are things you’ve done which bring you peace or happiness? Once you identify these things, start scheduling time out for them.

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