The Origin of Self-Care: The Fascinating History and 3 Huge Ways It Can Help You Right Now

Creating a self-care routine has arguably never been more important. With quarantine and social distancing reaching month two in many states, a lot of us are finding ourselves mentally foggy, stressed out, and exhausted.

If self-care is the last thing on your to-do list right now, we get it. Some of us are taking care of energetic kids while also attempting to work full-time, others are struggling with job losses and worrying about sick friends and family members. Hear us out, though: Self-care doesn't have to be complicated, and it may just be the thing that helps you find a little sanity in the chaos.

We’re here to provide you with simple steps you can take to create a custom routine that feels authentic and true to your needs. Here's everything you need to know.

Where did self-care come from, anyway?

Before creating a successful self care plan, it can be helpful to understand what this practice truly is and where it originated from. Sure, face masks, reading by candlelight, or taking a hot bath can be self-care, but at its core self-care is a radical act of love for yourself. The ideology behind what may seem like a modern luxury actually originated in the 1950s as a way to describe a set of activities that patients could enjoy as a way to preserve their physical independence. 

A decade later, this practice was introduced to individuals who were exposed to pain or trauma on a repeated basis, such as firefighters or healthcare professionals. It was during this time that recommendations for outside of physical exercise were shared, including meditation, yoga, socializing with others, and art therapy. 

Needless to say, the importance of self-care has grown stronger with each passing year as academics and medical professionals learn more about the benefits it provides. Here are the top three ways self-care can help, especially right now.

Emotional healing

Our newsfeeds are constantly inundated with news, widespread fear of the unknown, and unanswered questions, so it only makes sense that our nation’s anxieties and stressors have heightened. We’re all craving a little peace of mind and a longing to gain a sense over our lives again.

Self-care cultivates community connection

Self-care doesn’t necessarily mean enjoying an activity alone. Any act that allows for stress management and overall well-being is encouraged! Thanks to services like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, we can connect with those we love even during a time when connecting with our loved ones in person isn't an option. Divulging our thoughts with those experiencing the same situation can be therapeutic. 

Self-care can help with establishing routine

In a time of chaos and uncertainty, being able to lean on a routine gives us a much-needed feeling of control. Creating a self care routine allows us to segment our days with ordinary tasks or indulgences that bring value to our lives. 

If the term "self-care" conjures up images of bubble baths, an expensive skin-care routine or an escape to a tropical island that you can't physically take right now, rest assured — self-care doesn't have to be what it looks like on your Instagram feed. 

Because we're all so different, actually benefitting from self-care starts by figuring out what it means to you. To create a self-care ritual of your own, simply follow these steps:

  1. Evaluate. What habits do you currently use to navigate tough situations? Write out a list of all of them, both positive and negative. 
  2. Identify your needs. Think about your psychological, emotional, spiritual, social, financial, and workplace wellness. What do you need to do to achieve success in these areas? What is currently lacking that is leaving you unfulfilled?
  3. Determine blockers and areas of improvement: Reflect on the items you’ve listed in items one and two. What is currently blocking your self-care needs? What can be eliminated or replaced?
  4. Design your self-care plan. Now it’s time for the fun part! List out activities or strategies that can be done daily, weekly, and monthly to help you achieve the best version of yourself. 

We’d love to hear how you’re taking care of yourself during this time. Comment below or join us on Instagram to continue the conversation. And as always, make sure to subscribe to Silk + Sonder today for a guided self care journey designed specifically for you. 

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