Study finds people are too busy and guilty for self care (let’s change that)

Too busy and guilty for self care

If you’re in the business of helping others take care of themselves, a valuable message you can send out into the world is that it’s OK to take some time for self care. Busy people need to know this is OK. Moms and dads need to know it’s OK. Potential spa customers who are too busy, or who feel guilty about taking a moment of “me time” need to know that it’s OK.

People need to be reminded that caring for oneself actually makes you better equipped to deal with all of the challenges life has to offer, and to care for those around you. It makes you a better YOU.

This is Spa Executive’s takeaway after reading a recent study showing that people’s relationships with self care are complicated and fraught.

Duty to others gets in the way

Self care – like a trip to the spa – is something we should all be making time for. But the study found that many struggle with feelings of guilt over taking some time for themselves and that duty to others often gets in the way, particularly for women.

For the study, Birchbox and Kelton Global surveyed over 1,000 people in the U.S.A. to gauge attitudes and behaviors towards self-care.

We know we need it but we don’t have the time

Eighty-nine percent of people agree that “even just a few minutes of ‘me time’ can make a world of difference,” but 40% of people say they rarely have time for it. Moreover, only 35% of people say they consistently and routinely make time for self-care, vs. 62% who approach self-care in a more sporadic manner.

Respondents said they feel overwhelmed and burnt out. Sixty percent of people often feel “overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done,” while 51% say that they often feel burnt out.

Men are better at taking time for themselves than women

Moms are more likely to feel both overwhelmed (66% vs. 53%) and burnt out (54% vs. 43%) than dads. But, despite this, more men than women actually make time for self care, (39% vs. 32%) and men are more likely to block “me time” off on their calendars (34% vs. 26%).

Parents as a whole are more likely to feel they don’t have time for self-care than people who don’t have kids (45% vs. 32%). And parents are also quite likely to feel guilty about taking time for themselves (39% vs. 26%).

Sixty-seven percent of people said that they consistently put others ahead of themselves. Thirty-three percent feel guilty about taking time for themselves, and women feel guiltier than men (37% vs. 30%).

More findings include:

  • Gen Zers are most likely to feel burnt out (73%), followed by Millennials (57%) and Gen Xers (54%), while Boomers and up are less likely to feel burnt out (39%).
  • Just over one in five (21%) have let guilt get in the way of taking time for themselves.
  • Single people are more likely to regularly make time for self-care than people who are married or in a relationship (42% vs. 30%).
  • Nearly half (45%) of city dwellers say that they rarely have time to care for themselves. Fewer people in small towns and rural areas say the same (39%).

What we define as self care

When it comes to what we call “self care,” looking after our bodies is our main focus, along with beauty and grooming rituals.

  • 74% of people say self-care means taking care of their bodies.
  • 74% associate fitness and exercise activities with self-care.
  • 72% associate beauty or grooming rituals with self care.

These grooming rituals include:

  • Taking a bubble bath or hot shower (50%)
  • Carrying out their beauty or grooming routine (37%)
  • Having a spa day (30%)
  • Getting a manicure or pedicure (30%)
  • Putting on a face mask (21%)

Communicating the benefits of myriad forms of self care is key. Be it the incredible health benefits of a walk in nature, a sauna, or a massage. Or the amazing stress relieving effects of meditation. It doesn’t always have to be an entire spa day.

Communicate to your guests and potential guests that everyone should take some time for themselves.

They deserve it.