Americans are getting creative with self-care routines in 2021

·3-min read

More than 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 new research.

The survey of 2,000 general population Americans, commissioned by wellness software company Vagaro and conducted by OnePoll, examined their self-care habits and the possibility of whether they see themselves investing in self-care more in the future. Results found more than two-thirds of people (67%) agree personal self-care routines they developed during the pandemic have become a permanent part of their daily life.

When asked which activities Americans consider self-care, 47% said at-home spa rituals were their go-to. Other well-received activities include 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 percent considering it self-care. Meanwhile, respondents aged 56 and over disagree, with 47 percent saying outdoor exercise is their preferred form of self-care.

According to the research, three-quarters of Americans believe self-care can relieve stress and will try nearly anything to get their stress relief. Respondents have tried coloring books, cleaning, impromptu dance parties, 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 commonly cited stress relievers for people include 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. 45 percent of people see themselves having more time per week for self-care in 2021.

People are willing to go pretty far in order to have more self-care 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 self-care time.

Nearly three in five (59%) people will only practice self-care if they feel stressed. More than seven in 10 (72%) people like to use self-care as a reward after a long, tough week.

For 64% of people, 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%) will 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."