NEW YORK — For many people, taking care of friends and family leaves them with very little time to care for the person who often needs it the most — themselves. Thankfully, a new survey finds more than seven in 10 Americans (73%) were more conscious of needing self-care in 2020. In fact, 69 percent plan to do more self-care in 2021 than they did in the previous year.
Commissioned by wellness software company Vagaro and conducted by OnePoll, the new survey asked 2,000 Americans to examine their self-care habits and the possibility of whether they see themselves investing in self-care more in the future. Two-thirds of respondents (67%) agree that the personal self-care routines they developed during COVID-19 have become a permanent part of their daily life now.
When asked which activities Americans consider self-care, 47 percent say at-home spa rituals are their go-to. Other well-received activities include going to an actual spa (41%), getting a manicure or pedicure (36%), and getting a haircut (34%). Visiting a spa was especially popular with respondents between 18 and 23 years-old, with 55 percent considering it the best form of self-care. Meanwhile, respondents over 56 disagree, as 47 percent say outdoor exercise is their preferred choice.
Self-care and stress relief
According to the research, three-quarters of Americans believe self-care can relieve stress and will try nearly anything to achieve this goal. Again, respondents cited relaxing activities like at-home spa rituals (40%), manicures and pedicures (30%), exercising outdoors (28%), and working out in a gym (24%) as the best stress relievers.
Americans have also tried coloring books, cleaning, impromptu dance parties, and even yelling to ease their 2020 tension.
“I would tear my way through two pints of ice cream while doing a deep conditioning hair mask, a gel sheet mask on my face, and an acid foot peel while chilling with my furbaby watching horror movies. So relaxing!” one respondent explains.
“There’s an inevitable correlation between stress and self-care,” adds Fred Helou, CEO of Vagaro, in a statement. “Many people get so caught up in day-to-day responsibilities that they don’t prioritize time to take care of themselves, however, placing importance on activities that encourage relaxation can make you better equipped physically, mentally and emotionally to face life’s daily stressors.”
Finding more time to care in 2021
Forty-five percent of people see themselves having more time per week for self-care in 2021. For comparison, Americans averaged 65 minutes devoted to self-care in 2020. Moving forward, a third of the poll would be willing to move (35%), sell personal belongings (33%), or even give up their favorite food (30%) for more self-care time.
Nearly three in five people (59%) will only practice self-care if they feel stressed. More than seven in 10 (72%) like to use self-care as a reward after a long, tough week. For 64 percent of respondents, self-care provides a much-needed boost to their self-confidence. Two in three people feel more productive and 71 percent feel happier after taking time out for themselves.
The research also suggests, for some things, nothing beats an in-person experience. Half of Americans are waiting for the pandemic to end before visiting the salon for a haircut or hair color treatment. Nearly as many (46%) say they’ll be more than ready to visit the spa for a wellness treatment.
“While self-care isn’t a new concept, the lessons learned over the past year emphasize the importance of prioritizing it,” Helou says. “Businesses who provide self-care activities should be conscious of safety measures as many of their customers are currently seeking wellness and beauty treatments in-person to feel happier and more productive. Once restrictions are lifted, salons, spas and gyms should be prepared to see an influx of clients, as research shows self-care isn’t just a pandemic fad.”