Self-care has become synonymous with everything from nature and baths to eating doughnuts and drinking wine. But we’re not here to tell you what it means to take care of yourself, which is what makes this study so interesting. Instead, we asked more than 1,000 people who actively practice self-care what that means to them.
Our primary question was this: Does self-care impact a person’s career and professional life? The short answer is yes, but not always in the ways you might expect. Certain types of self-care were more successful at boosting career paths, while some employees felt their offices didn’t encourage enough self-care for them to stay. Whether your self-care is more emotional, physical, or spiritual, a voice similar to yours has likely contributed to this study. Read on to see what they had to say about what self-care has done for their working life.
Styles of Self-Care
Most people said they practiced self-care and were consistent with it: 68% said they practiced self-care an average of 4.4 days each week. But don’t be hard on yourself if you feel you’re less consistent –recall that self-care can mean anything so long as it’s in the name of caring for yourself.
But self-care is also a privilege, as it was much more likely to occur among workers who earned more than $47,000 than those who earned less. These higher salary earners dedicated more days to physical and interpersonal self-care. Things like exercise aren’t always free – the average gym membership runs an average tab of $58 per month – but they’re not a necessary part of physical activity. Joining your local running group or enjoying a walk with friends are free ways to get your body moving. Journaling, prayer, and reading are other low-cost ways to look after yourself, as well.
Practicing self-care was worth it for almost everybody who tried it: 83% said it decreased their feelings of work burnout, and another 68% said their career success had been positively impacted. People who made it further up the ladder, such as managers and supervisors, were even 13 percentage points more likely to feel this way.
Consistency Is the Key to Care
Those who kept up with their practice consistently were even more likely to have better results at work. Consistent self-care practitioners felt productive at work for 25 minutes more each week than those who practiced more sporadically. Recall also that increased productivity is usually a sign of happiness, as well.
Productivity wasn’t always the goal, however. For other aspects like relaxation, focus, motivation, or even getting promoted, certain forms of self-care worked better than others. Those who consistently practiced yoga said they were more relaxed and focused at work. On the other hand, skin and hair treatments were most likely to be associated with quick promotions. People deemed attractive –which are perhaps a portion of this group getting skin and hair treatments – have long been thought to obtain special treatment at work, which could include fast promotions. Or it could mean these forms of self-care are particularly motivating, as hair treatments were also the most common among respondents feeling motivated at work. Even Forbes insists, “Hair matters.”
Self-care and work were even more closely related for an unlucky 13% who often thought about work during their attempts to practice self-care. For this group, meditation or mindfulness may help in letting go of unwanted or distracting thoughts. Managers may need this type of practice most, as they were more likely than employees to think about work during self-care.
When workplaces cared about self-care, they thrived – workers were half as likely to feel burned out – but this, unfortunately, wasn’t very common. Only 1 in 4 said their offices encouraged self-care among their workers.
Some workers were willing to quit a job that didn’t offer self-care encouragement and understanding, and 27% actually did. Baby boomers were the most likely to feel this way and most often left their positions when they didn’t encourage self-care. But quitting wasn’t the only route; some respondents took remote positions to find more time to care for themselves. Without a time-consuming commute, which takes an average of 52.2 minutes each day from working Americans, remote workers may be able to find more time in their schedules for a little self-love. Remote workers are also reported to be more productive than their in-office counterparts, which may compound and provide them even more of a window for self-care. Baby boomers were again the most likely generation to start working remotely to have more of this time.
Working for the Care
The numbers don’t lie: Self-care is a truly beneficial thing to the American workforce. Employees practicing self-care demonstrated longer bouts of productivity, better focus, and an increased ability to relax at work. And when employers encouraged this behavior, employees experienced a lower tendency to quit or leave the office.
One of the most tried-and-true approaches to self-care is exercise. Taking care of the physical body can produce visible as well as less tangible mental results, both at work and beyond. If these benefits sound like something you’re interested in giving yourself (and your career!) rely on FitRated.com, where all of the necessary equipment you need for your next great workout is only a few clicks away. Experts and patrons review each product and every type of budget can be accommodated, so head to FitRated to get started today.
Methodology and Limitations
We surveyed 1,001 workers who practiced self-care about their self-care practices and work experience. For respondents to be included in our data, they were required to be employed full time, complete the entire survey, take the survey only once without multiple attempts, and pass an attention-check question in the middle of each survey. Participants who failed to do all of these were excluded from the study.
Of all respondents, 53% were women, 47% were men, and less than 1% identified with a nonbinary gender. Forty-eight percent of respondents were millennials (born 1981 to 1997), 37% were from Generation X (born 1965 to 1980), and 14% were baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964). Generation Z (born 1998 to 2017), the silent generation (born 1928 to 1945), and the greatest generation (born 1927 or earlier) were excluded from the study. The average age of respondents was 40 with a standard deviation of 11 years.
The data we are presenting rely on self-reporting. There are many issues with self-reported data. These issues include, but are not limited to, selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and exaggeration. In finding averages of quantitative values, we removed outliers so that data were not exaggerated.
Fair Use Statement
Sharing knowledge is another form of caring for yourself through caring for your community. This data and information are free to share, as long as their purposes are noncommercial and you link back to this page.