The importance of making self-care priority


Putting yourself first, experts say, doesn’t only mean taking care of yourself. With multiple responsibilities and tight schedules most people have, Celestin Karangwa, a physiotherapist, says one might forget or simply fail to get time to look after themselves, something that can have a negative impact on wellbeing.

He says it is important to recognise that self-care is part of a healthy and happy lifestyle and notes that self-care includes looking after yourself both mentally and physically.

From a medical point of view, Karangwa says self-care refers to individuals taking charge of their own health which includes everything— from making healthy lifestyle choices to taking an active part in managing long-term conditions.

He, however, points out that contrary to what many people think, self-care doesn’t involve lots of time commitment and it doesn’t have to cost you.

For instance, Karangwa says, this could be simply taking a bath, taking a walk outside, or eating healthy. In a nutshell, he says it is all about making a commitment to putting yourself first as far as your wellbeing is concerned.


According to Emmanuella Mahoro, a psychologist, the more we take care of ourselves, the better we can cope with our hectic lifestyles. She says that all of this gives the body the opportunity to build its defences against all kinds of negativities.

A big part of self-care is committing to looking after your body and becoming more attuned with its needs, which is all about improving physical health.

When it comes to physical health, Dr Francis Kazungu, a general practitioner, says it could be all about brushing your teeth, exercising more, or getting enough sleep every night.

He says the most important aspect is that people should know that self-care is about looking after one’s physical and mental health.

Dr Kazungu says self-care helps in reducing stress and anxiety. This, he says, can be achieved by making time for relaxing activities, such as listening to music, practicing yoga or meditation, or simply taking a walk.

“Any activity that makes you feel more relaxed can help to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety and lift your mood,” he says.

Mahoro points out that self-care can also help boost your self-esteem as well as calm your nerves, and taking time to relax and look after yourself can have a positive impact on the way you see yourself.

She says that studies have found that people with higher self-esteem find it easier to deal with setbacks and are more likely to achieve goals of self-improvement.

Also, she points out that self-care also protects mental health, as this includes making changes to priorities; and, self-care can help to manage mental health issues and might even prevent them from getting worse.

“To improve mental wellbeing, taking the time to care for yourself both mentally and physically is really important,” she adds.

Karangwa notes that self-care can also lead to better relationships, adding that the happier and healthier one is, the more they can give to a relationship.