When it’s cold outside, you put on a jacket. If your feet get wet, you put on dry socks. If you touch a dirty surface, you make sure to wash your hands. When it comes to caring for our physical health, being mindful of the things that can make us sick is almost ingrained into our behaviors.
But what about our mental health?
Enter the rising popularity of self-care. The phrase itself may seem like a trendy way to say you’re drinking a glass of wine on a weeknight or going to bed early on the weekend, but it’s actually code for something much deeper. At its root, self-care is a holistic way to be more in tune with one’s self, fostering between engagement, overall wellness, and self-love.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule about what qualifies as self-love and what doesn’t, but what’s easier to gauge is the positive impact self-care can have – and not just on your mood. For a better look at the relationship between self-care and professional success, FitRated surveyed over 1,000 people to understand how most employees practice self-care and the impact it can have on their jobs. The results were enlightening.
What Does Self-Care Look Like?
On the surface, self-care may seem like a passing fad, but in reality, its popularity is overwhelming.
Compared to 32% of employees who said they don’t practice any type of self-care, 68% acknowledged making some effort to self-care during a normal workweek. While roughly a third of people said self-care was something you had to work hard enough to earn, their efforts might not be in vain. One in three people not practicing any type of self-care throughout the week also admitted to feeling burned out from their jobs.
With more than four days a week self-caring, on average, the most popular forms of self-care included physical wellness (exercising and eating healthy), interpersonal self-care (spending time with other people), and mental self-care (solving puzzles or reading).
Professional Impacts of Self-Care
If self-care sounds like something that younger generations would be champions for, you might need to reset your expectations. Millennials were the least likely to dedicate time to mental or spiritual self-care but also the most likely to be burned out at work.
Regardless of age, you may still be able to take advantage of the benefits of self-care when it comes to your career. More than 4 in 5 workers practicing self-care said those efforts decreased their feelings about work burnout, and more than 2 in 3 said their career success had been positively impacted by those efforts.
Getting the most out of your self-care routine doesn’t mean committing to a major upheaval in your everyday rhythms, either. Yoga was the leading example of self-care that led to both increased focus and relaxation, while hair treatments and taking a bath helped people find motivation at work. Looking for a promotion in six months or fewer? People polled said skin treatments, hair treatments, and practicing gratitude were the things to do the trick.
While only 1 in 4 workers said their jobs encouraged them to prioritize self-care, people working in these caring cultures were nearly 20 percentage points less likely to say they experience burnout on the job.
For some people, a workplace culture that encourages self-care isn’t just nice to have, it’s a necessity. Twenty-seven percent of people acknowledged having quit a job in the past because it didn’t seem to encourage the mental wellness of its staff. Another 26% of people started working remotely to increase their time for self-care, and 20% of people (including 23% of millennials) changed jobs to make time for themselves.
Taking Time for Yourself
Self-care can look like anything, from taking a long bath at the end of the day to making time for exercise during the workday and eating healthy. It doesn’t matter what helps you feel more focused or relaxed; it only matters that you take time to identify what works best for you.
And remember, self-care isn’t just about finding a way to unwind after a particularly rough day (or week or quarter) at the office, it can be about finding the motivation to succeed – and maybe even getting a promotion along the way. As this FitRated survey found, self-care is caring for your career, too.
In summary, self-care is crucial for your life. You need to do things that bring you joy and fulfillment.