Why are good habits and self-care so important?

How to implement self-care in your daily routine and why it's so important...

We have all heard that we need to have good habits and take better care of ourselves, but truly why should we? What does it matter whether we get five or eight hours of sleep, eat healthily, or have fast food for dinner every night?

What are the three components of self-care?

Take sleep for example why do we need to get seven to nine hours of sleep? I mean it's fun, sometimes, to pull an all-nighter, although I would struggle for the next week. So what really goes on while we sleep? Apparently, our body and brain work hard to repair themselves during those hours of sleep. The muscles that may have been torn or damaged during the day are worked on and our stress levels decrease because the hormone cortisol is not being released into the body. Our brain stores new information and gets rid of that toxic waste that we no longer need. Sleep also helps to regulate our mood and increases our sense of overall well-being and yes to do this we need seven to nine hours a night.

Exercise is another important activity that does SO much for the body. Studies have shown that if you engage in some sort of cardio workout for 20 minutes it will reduce your anxiety by 75%. That is huge in my opinion and for people that experience anxiety what a relief it would feel even to reduce your anxiety by half of that. It also helps to control our weight, combat disease and other health conditions such as strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers, boosts energy, and promotes better sleep. 

Eating healthy - well what can I say, if we eat healthily then we want to be healthy. But what are the benefits? The obvious one is sustaining a healthy weight, which in turn means a lower chance of developing diabetes. Then there is lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduction in heart issues, oh the list goes on and on. Yet why do we not engage in these healthy habits?

Implementing Self-Care

 The CDC looked at 400,000 over 21 to see how many people are currently not smoking, doing regular physical exercise, not drinking alcohol, or only in moderation, maintaining normal body weight, and getting enough sleep at night. Only 6.3% engaged in all five behaviors, 24.3% engaged in four behaviors, 35.4% in three, and 24.3% engaged in only one. And 1.4% engaged in none of the behaviors. So why are we not able to be one of the 6.3% that engages in all of these activities?

One theory is the influence of instant gratification. Let’s face it we love to see or receive a reward instantly after we have exhibited what we consider positive behaviors and we truly do not like waiting around for it. Yet think about healthy activities such as eating, exercising, and getting enough sleep. The trouble with these three things is that we do not see improvement for a while, and therefore we are less likely to engage in them. So it would seem that the key is to stop looking at your short-term goals and start thinking about your long-term goals. Ask yourself this, do you want to live a quality life when you get older or not and what does a quality life mean to you? Maybe you too could be in that 3.6%