Why self-care is important for your health

If you've never had a self-care routine, now may be the time to start one. September is Self-Care Awareness Month, and doctors say developing a routine can be beneficial for both your physical and mental health.

September is Self-Care Awareness Month. And if you’ve never had a self-care routine, now may be the time to start one.

It can be beneficial for both your physical and mental health.

“Self-care is anything that we kind of deliberately do or refrain from doing with our own well-being in mind, anything that promotes our own physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual well-being. It doesn’t really have to be more complicated than that,” explained Dr. Matthew Sacco, a psychologist for Cleveland Clinic.

Sacco said self-care should be intentional, meaning you should make sure to set time aside in your normal routine. It also doesn’t have to be something demanding or expensive.

He said what does matter is that it makes you feel good or relaxed. Some examples include going for a walk outside if you enjoy nature, taking a bubble bath, journaling, socializing with friends or meditating.

It can also be something physical, like working out or eating healthy.

He said self-care is not about being selfish, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. It allows someone to take some much needed time for themselves.

“So doing this kind of work thoughtfully, in a very planned way, it is absolutely a vital part of us on an individual level being more effective in the world around us. And I will often say, especially to women, you got to be -- it’s the oxygen mask on the airplane analogy. They tell you that when you get on, you got to put it on yourself first, before you help others,” said Sacco.

Sacco said developing a self-care routine can take time in some cases, especially if you’re trying to get used to new habits. Try not to feel pressured to meet a certain expectation or deadline.