People are Making Self-Care a Priority After One of the Most Stressful Years Ever

Seven in 10 Americans (73%) were more conscious of needing self-care in 2020—and 69% plan to do more self-care in 2021 than they did in the previous year, according to a new survey.

The poll of 2,000 Americans examined respondents’ self-care habits and the possibility of whether they see themselves investing in self-care more in the future.

Results found two-thirds of people (67%) agreed that the personal self-care routines they developed during the pandemic have become a permanent part of their daily life.

When asked which activities they consider self-care, 47% said at-home spa rituals were their go-to—as revealed by the survey, which was commissioned by wellness software company Vagaro and conducted by OnePoll.

Other popular activities included going to an actual spa (41%), getting a manicure/pedicure (36%), and getting a haircut (34%).

Visiting a spa was especially popular with respondents ages 18–23, with 55% considering it self-care. Meanwhile, respondents aged 56+ disagreed, with 47% saying outdoor exercise is their preferred form of self-care.

According to the poll, three-quarters of Americans surveyed believe self-care can relieve stress and will try nearly anything to get their stress relief.

Respondents have tried coloring books, cleaning, and impromptu dance parties—as well as yelling and, in one respondent’s case, “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!”

Another respondent said they relieve stress by, “Swimming across my ponds with alligators.”

Some of the more commonly cited stress relievers for people included at-home spa rituals (40%), getting a manicure/pedicure (30%), exercising outdoors (28%), and working out in a gym (24%).

“There’s an inevitable correlation between stress and self-care,” said Fred Helou, CEO of Vagaro. “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.”

In 2020, the average person only had 65 minutes per week dedicated to self-care.

In good news, 45% of respondents see themselves having more time per week for self-care in 2021.

People are willing to go pretty far in order to have more ‘me’ time. A third of Americans would be willing to move (35%), sell a personal belonging (33%), and even give up their favorite food (30%) for more of it.

The survey also revealed that nearly three in five (59%) will only practice self-care if they feel stressed. And more than seven in 10 (72%) like to use self-care as a reward after a long, tough week.

For 64% of respondents, self-care provides a much-needed boost to their self-confidence. More than two-thirds feel more productive (67%) and happier (71%) after taking time for themselves.

The research also suggests some things are best experienced in-person. 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%) are 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,” added Helou. “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.”

At-home spa rituals 47%
Visiting the spa for treatments 41%
Getting a mani/pedi at a nail salon 36%
Getting a haircut at a salon/barber 34%
Home hair treatments 34%
Exercising outdoors 33%
Working out in a gym 31%
Getting hair colored at a salon 30%
Taking a fitness class of any kind 29%
Meditating 28%
Buying new clothes or grooming products 26%
Socializing outside the home 24%
Outdoor exercise classes 22%
Cleaning and decorating my home 22%
Talking to a therapist 22%