Most popular self-care activity in each state

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It’s the time of year where temperatures drop, pumpkins are all around, and the holidays are right around the corner. As Americans hunker down for the winter months after a busy summer, taking care of themselves becomes increasingly important.

At Within Health, we wanted to know Americans’ favorite self-care activity. We also surveyed more than 800 Americans to ask if they make time for self-care, what it looks like for them, and how much time and money they put into taking care of their mental and physical health.

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The most popular self-care activity in each state

self care graphic

The most common self-care activity across the United States is journaling. Journaling can be therapeutic because it allows us to express ourselves and process feelings through writing them down. Journaling was the top self-care activity in 35 out of 50 states.

Journaling was also the most common top self-care activity in major U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Boston.

The top self-care activity in Alaska is exercise, which makes sense considering all the outdoor activities available in the mountainous state. Those in New Mexico also turn to exercise as their top form of self-care.

Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana, and Maine have yoga as their top self-care activity. The same goes for Miami, Florida. Taking a relaxing bath is the top self-care activity in Delaware and West Virginia, while sleep is the most relaxing activity for those in Idaho and Georgia.

United States of self-care

self care graphic

There’s nothing but good news when it comes to Americans making time for self-care. In fact, 92% of Americans make time for self-care every week, and spend an average of six hours per week each engaging in self-care activities.

The most common self-care activities that Americans do are sleep, listening to music, drinking water, relaxing, and going for a walk. The other good news? 6 in 10 Americans feel like they have enough time and money for the self-care they need.

Self-care doesn’t come cheap. From therapy to massages to acupuncture, the costs can add up every month. On average, Americans spend about $90 a month on self-care. You can’t put a price on good mental and physical health, and it’s important to invest in yourself.

When asked what their single favorite self-care activity is, most Americans say exercise, going for a walk, sleeping, watching a comfort TV show, and listening to music.

self care graphic

The holidays can be a particularly stressful time of year for many Americans, due to financial pressure, spending time with family, traveling, and general tiredness as the year winds down.

Over half (52%) of Americans say they feel more burned out during the holiday season, and almost 1 in 3 (31%) engage in more self-care activities during the holiday season.

Even though it can be hard to maintain consistent self-care during the holidays, it’s clear that Americans need to make more time for taking care of themselves. Half (50%) of Americans find it hard to make self-care a priority during the holidays.

“As the holidays approach, give yourself the gift of self-care!” Within Health’s Primary Therapist Katie Piel says, “Mindfulness is one quick way to give your mind and body a break during the whirlwind of the holidays and it doesn’t have to add extra time in your day. Engaging in mindfulness as self-care is an easy and free way to increase your peace and decrease your stress.”

“Try this: as you are moving through your day, think about your five senses. Focus on the experience of tasting your favorite morning beverage. Put on a playlist you enjoy in the background. Find a moisturizer you love and take a moment to experience the sensation and scent as your moisturize post-hand-wash. Notice beauty in your surroundings.” Piel adds.

As you sit down to plan your holiday festivities this year, remember to block off time for self-care. Find what works for your schedule and your budget, and schedule in time to take care of you. Remember - you can’t pour from an empty cup! Katie Piel adds: “Leaning into self-care will help you get through the holidays with energy to spare for 2023!”

Methodology

We analyzed search volume for 49 keywords related to self-care, including ‘healthy meal self care’, ‘walk self care’, and ‘podcast self care’, for all 50 states and the top ten most populous cities in the United States. We analyzed this keyword volume data from January 2022 until August 2022.

In October 2022, we surveyed 801 Americans about their self-care habits and preferences. Respondents were 49% male, 49% female, and 2% transgender or non-binary. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 77 years old, with the average age being 37 years old.

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected]

Fair use

When using this data and research, please attribute by linking to this study and citing https://withinhealth.com/

Disclaimer about "overeating": Within Health hesitatingly uses the word "overeating" because it is the term currently associated with this condition in society, however, we believe it inherently overlooks the various psychological aspects of this condition which are often interconnected with internalized diet culture, and a restrictive mindset about food. For the remainder of this piece, we will therefore be putting "overeating" in quotations to recognize that the diagnosis itself pathologizes behavior that is potentially hardwired and adaptive to a restrictive mindset.

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