Most People Agree That This Self-Care Practice Outweighs The Rest

Self-care is more than just another wellness trend: it is a crucial practice that encourages health and happiness for the body, mind, and spirit. Southern New Hampshire University reported that self-care is extremely important for preventing difficulties like depression, anxiety, and burnout, but these practices are often put on the back-burner when people get busy and life becomes stressful. In reality, those moments in life are when self-care activities are the most important. You function at your best when you are listening to the needs of your body and your mind. Self-care can even make us better people by encouraging self-love, internal validation, and empathy (via Psychology Today).

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to self-care: it is as individual as you are, based on your personal likes, dislikes, and the needs of your body — but some activities are more popular than others. With so many ways to practice self-care, we wanted to find out what activity people enjoy most when they need to relax and de-stress. A survey conducted by The List asked 573 individuals what their favorite self-care activity was, and the results were surprising. 

Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show with this self-care technique

What comes to your mind when you think of self-care? Are you being pampered at a luxury spa with a face mask and a massage? Are you stretching at your favorite yoga class? Maybe you're decompressing after work with a glass of wine and your favorite book. According to The List's self-care survey, a majority of people say watching their favorite TV show or movie is their perfect self-care activity. Our survey found that 32.98% of people prefer unwinding while they catch up on new episodes of their favorite show over activities like meditation, journaling, cooking, and taking a bath. Physical activity was close behind with 23.73% of the vote, which is also an important self-care practice — but we have to admit, going for a jog isn't as fun as finding out who gets eliminated on this week's episode of "The Bachelorette."

Not only is watching a movie or a television show entertaining, it can also help you mentally decompress after a long day. Dr. C. Vaile Wright told Healthy Women that watching television is "a good stress management tool" that is "easily accessible and convenient" for people. Sometimes, the best cure for stress and anxiety is curling up on the couch with a weighted blanket and reruns of "The Office," at least for a little while. Dr. Wright encourages people to moderate their self-care screen time by throwing in some physical and social activity into your self-care routine as well.

Self-care myths you might be guilty of believing

Some might claim that relaxing and throwing on a Netflix original isn't really self-care because they claim it's not "productive." But this is a total myth — any self-care practice is productive if it fulfills the needs of your body and your mind.

According to The University of Toledo, the main pillars of self-care are mental, physical, and spiritual/social. Physical self-care can look like daily exercise, hygiene practices, and eating nutrition-rich meals (did you know some foods can actually make you calmer?). Mental self-care can be anything that relieves your mind of stress and allows you to take a break from responsibilities: things like reading a book, playing video games, or watching your favorite movie. Spiritual and social self-care allows you to break from isolation or routine and connect. Whether connection happens with friends, family, or a higher power is up to each individual.

Another myth is that self-care is selfish. Phycologist Stephanie Grunewald debunks this myth, saying, "Being selfish means there's a desire to take from others, often to their detriment... Self-care is a means of restoring your own energy, which promotes healthy physical and emotional well-being," per Restorative Counseling Chicago. Taking a moment for yourself doesn't mean you are ignoring the needs of others. In fact, once you allow yourself to be mentally, physically, and spiritually/socially fulfilled, you can be your very best when you carry out your other duties at home, at work, and in your relationships.