It will soon be that time of year when it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself, especially when your to-do seems to never end. We’re all guilty of it. A study published in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling concluded that individuals that engage in self-care practices are less likely to face burnout and are more resilient when dealing with stress. Self-care is an essential lifestyle approach that checks your emotional and mental health. Caring for yourself means taking the time for your own interests and remembering to relax. Throughout the day, we are subjected to stress and anxiety that drains personal well-being. Being in tune with our emotions enables us to be kinder to ourselves.

In her TED talk, “Self-Care Made Simple”, Susannah Joy Winters states that self-care is an imperative practice that provides people with much needed breaks. Winters also points out that physical and emotional stress impacts the immune system, energy levels, and emotional well-being and that restorative practices are the mechanism for providing essential rejuvenation.

Not sure how to begin?

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends incorporating self-care into your daily routine to improve overall health and well-being and they mention how small steps have a big payoff. Begin by creating a self-care action plan and set aside time for activities that you like to do. At first, set enough time aside for one restorative activity per day. Integrate your self-care action plan to begin nurturing emotional needs. There are many examples of self-care plans available online.

Ways to practice self-care are limitless. Examples are engaging in physical activity like yoga, jogging, biking, visiting the gym, and walking. We can free ourselves of distractions and focus on things such as being present, journaling, deep breathing, or meditation. Take advantage of weather permitting temperatures to spend time in nature and unplug from electronic devices. Seek out social connections by visiting with friends and family, calling someone to catch up, speaking with a counselor, or writing letters. Relaxing can take many forms like listening to music or podcasts, organizing and cleaning personal spaces, or baking. Feed your creative side through crafting, reading for fun, or trying something new. Lastly, energize and refresh by getting enough rest, taking a nap, or allowing yourself to do nothing.

Join Live Well with EIGHT at STATE

Support your well-being by participating in Live Well with EIGHT at STATE, a free incentive-based program supporting Illinois State University students, staff, and faculty. The EIGHT at STATE initiative emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach to well-being by intentionally focusing on eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational.

Engaging with Live Well is simple—participants will record day to day activities that align with one or more of the eight dimensions over the course of the program as a way to track progress. Activities recorded accrue points and participants become eligible to win prizes.

Additional emotional wellness resources