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Self-care appears to be a real double-edged sword. While many wish for more, new research found that 62 percent of Americans feel guilty for taking time for themselves.
A new study of 2,000 people examined self-care habits and its preventers and found that four in five people wish they had more time for self-care.
The most common activities Americans identified as self-care included: exercising (56 percent), napping or sleeping in (40 percent), taking a bath (38 percent) and getting a massage (36 percent).
The survey, conducted by OnePoll commissioned by Massage Envy, revealed time is the biggest impediment to self-care (54 percent).
As a result, a quarter of Americans aren’t taking enough care of themselves and squeeze in self-care less than once a week.
Results found that women are more likely to participate in self-care in order to give themselves a “mental break,” whereas men were more likely to do the same because they require a “physical break.”
Many admit that self-care only becomes a priority when they’re in desperate need of it like, when under stress (49 percent) or in need of time alone (41 percent).
All that stress and tension people experience on a daily basis can have a tangible negative effect. Eighty-two percent of respondents said stress affects their physical health.
Lack of sleep and headaches (both 59 percent) tied as the biggest stress culprits with a short temper (47 percent), lack of appetite (45 percent) and muscle tension (44 percent) rounding out the top five.
When it came to other physical stress-related ailments, women were found to be 40 percent more likely to blame an upset stomach (cramping, constipation, etc.) on stress than men.
Beyond the body’s natural reactions to stress, people are apparently not helping themselves as effectively as they can based on their choices.
Nearly six in 10 respondents admitted they don’t get enough sleep while stressed. On top of lack of sleep, 39 percent revealed they forget to eat properly and reach for junk or fast food instead of a healthy meal.
Thirty-seven percent don’t drink enough water while stressed and 34 percent said they’ve neglected their physical and mental wellness.
“We live in a world that makes finding time for self-care difficult, while normal everyday activities like sitting for prolonged periods of time or commuting wreak havoc on our bodies," said Kathy Collins, Chief Marketing Officer at Massage Envy. “That’s why we are working to make self-care convenient, affordable and accessible.”
With stress having such a major impact on people’s bodies, many search for solutions to their aches, pains and muscle tension.
Results found that a doctor consultation (52 percent), stretching session (37 percent) or massage (34 percent) were the most frequent ways people tried to deal with their pain.
Forty-eight percent said they have gotten a massage after experiencing muscle pain or tension or as a treat for themselves.
“Self-care isn’t just for special occasions or periods of extreme stress,” Collins added. “It’s something you should do regularly to keep your body working.”
1. Stress 49%
2. I need a mental break 41%
3. I need time alone 41%
4. I need a physical break 40%
5. I am feeling overwhelmed 38%
6. Work commitments 35%
7. It is part of my routine 29%
WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
1. Exercising 56%
2. Nap/sleep in 40%
3. Time alone 38%
4. Bath 38%
5. Stretch/yoga 36%
6. Meditation 36%
7. Massage 36%
8. Relaxing meal/drink 34%
9. At home skin care 33%
10. Reading 30%
11. Facial 27%
12. Physical therapy 27%
13. Therapy (mental) 25%
14. Manicure/pedicure 24%
15. Cooking 23%
SYMPTOMS OF STRESS
1. Lack of sleep 59%
2. Headaches 59%
3. Short temper 47%
4. Lack of appetite 45%
5. Muscle tension 44%
6. Back pain 37%
7. Upset stomach 30%
8. Heartburn 24%
9. Skin problems 24%