Today — and every July 24 — is International Self-Care Day, an event created to remind people of the importance of self-care as a foundation of health.
The day was created by the International Self-Care Foundation, an organization headquartered in the UK that promotes what it calls the Seven Pillars of Self-Care: knowledge and health literacy, mental well-being, self-awareness and agency, physical activity, healthy eating, risk avoidance or mitigation, good hygiene, and rational and responsible use of self-care products and services.
Massage franchise company Massage Envy commissioned a survey of 2,000 people to dovetail with International Self-Care Day this year. The results show that receiving massage is a popular self-care service among American consumers. Do you have a healthy relationship with self-care? Find out here!
Effects of Stress
In the survey conducted by OnePoll, four in five people wish they had more time for self-care, according to a statement from Massage Envy, and time is the biggest impediment to self-care for over half (54%) of Americans.
“A quarter of Americans aren’t taking enough care of themselves and squeeze in self-care less than once a week,” the statement read. “Many admit that self-care only becomes a priority when they’re in desperate need of it like, when under stress (49%) or in need of time alone (41%).
Eighty-two percent of respondents said stress affects their physical health. Major stress-related effects include:
• Lack of sleep (59%)
• Headaches (59%)
• Short temper (47%)
• Lack of appetite (45%)
• Muscle tension (44%)
• Back pain (37%)
• Upset stomach (30%)
• Heartburn (24%)
• Skin problems (24%)
What is Self-Care?
The most common activities Americans identified as self-care included:
• Exercising (56%)
• Napping or sleeping in (40%)
• Time alone (38%)
• Taking a bath (38%)
• Stretching or yoga (36%)
• Meditation (36%
• Getting a massage (36%)
• A relaxing meal or drink (34%)
• At-home skin care (33%)
• Reading (30%)
• A facial (27%)
• Physical therapy (27%)
• Mental health therapy (25%)
• Manicure or pedicure (24%)
• Cooking (23%)
• Exercising (56%)
Massage’s Role in Self-Care
Overall, 48% of respondents said they had gotten a massage after experiencing muscle pain or tension or as a treat for themselves.
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.”
Results found the three most frequent ways respondents deal with pain:
• Doctor consultation (52%)
• Stretching (37%)
• A massage (34%)
Despite the variety of self-care practices American adults engage in, nearly six in 10 Americans admitted they don’t get enough sleep while stressed. Thirty-nine percent revealed they forget to eat properly and instead reach for junk or fast food over a healthy meal.
On top of that, 37% don’t drink enough water while stressed and 34% said they’ve neglected their physical and mental wellness.
According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America report, which the APA has commissioned since 2007, Americans are stressed about the future of the nation and report that the current political climate is a significant stressor.
More than two-thirds (69%) of Americans say the nation’s future causes them stress, up from 63% in 2017. About one-quarter (24%) of Americans say discrimination is a significant source of stress.
Additional, common stressors are climate change, mass shootings, sexual harassment, income, work, personal debt and housing instability.