Study: 1 in 4 Americans Feel Guilty Pampering Themselves
Survey reveals more than half of Americans feel burned out in 2023
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s more important than ever to take a moment to relax and recharge. Whether it’s through a trip to the spa, doing a skincare routine, or sitting down with a good book, self-care and pampering are essential for overall well-being. To gain insights into how Americans prioritize self-care and pampering in their lives, we conducted a nationwide survey and found the majority of Americans recognize the importance of these activities, but not everyone is able to make time for them.
Americans have different thoughts when it comes to pampering and self-care. Self-care is defined for this study as the practice of taking action to preserve one’s own health, well-being, and happiness. Meanwhile, pampering is considered treating or gratifying yourself with extreme or excessive indulgence, kindness, or care.
While 88% of Americans recognize the importance of taking time to pamper themselves, 1 in 4 feel guilty about doing so. Interestingly, men feel less guilt (20%) compared to women (24%). Although pampering may seem like a daunting task for some, a third of Americans make time for it every week. Self-care, which tends to be less indulgent, is practiced more frequently, with 40% of Americans doing something for themselves daily, 41% weekly, and over 10% monthly. This could be something as simple as going on a walk, or taking a bath. On average, Americans dedicate 16 hours a month to self-care.
These self-care and pampering routines are particularly useful when it comes to combating stress, which is a daily challenge for many. In fact, 29% of Americans report feeling stressed several times a week, 26% more than once a day, and 16% once a week.
Despite the recognized benefits, more than 3 in 4 (73%) Americans wish they had more time for self-care and pampering, with 1 in 3 believing it should be done daily.
With many Americans finding it difficult or guilt-inducing to pamper themselves, one solution may be gifting quality pampering or self-care time to others. When it comes to gift-giving, pampering services and self-care items are highly sought after, with 63% of Americans preferring these types of gifts. The top pampering gifts include massages, spa gift certificates, hotel or Airbnb gift cards, manicures, pedicures, and candles.
Gifting Self-Care for Mother’s Day
With Mother’s Day around the corner, nearly 1 in 3 plan on giving these types of gifts for the holiday, while 31% hope to receive them.
It’s not just moms who receive pampering gifts, with significant others, friends, sisters, and even children also being gifted these services. These types of gifts are popular for various celebrations, including birthdays, holidays, or even just because.
Despite the popularity of these services, 56% of Americans wish they received spa services more frequently, and surprisingly, 43% of Americans have never received a massage. Additionally, 1 in 3 women have never had a manicure or pedicure.
Over half (51%) of respondents reported feeling burnt out in 2023, with women being slightly more impacted than men (57% vs. 43%). However, the good news is that 86% of those surveyed said that self-care helped them combat burnout.
So, what are the benefits of self-care and pampering? Relaxation (79%) is number one, followed by mood boost (71%), reduced stress (66%), lowered anxiety (61%), and increased happiness (57%). These are powerful motivators to prioritize self-care, but unfortunately, many people still struggle with the idea of pampering themselves.
One of the reasons may be the misconception that self-care is a feminine activity, which is something 1 in 5 Americans agree with.
Americans have various ways of pampering themselves, with eating out at a restaurant being the most popular activity. Also coming in the top 5 include sleeping in or going to bed early, watching TV, and taking a nap.
However, nearly half of Americans (46%) are finding it hard to pamper themselves in 2023 because of cost (43%), followed by a lack of time due to being too busy (35%). Others struggled with physical or mental illness (13%).
Americans are spending an average of $83 per month on self-care. While self-care is essential for maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health, the cost can be a barrier for some. In fact, 44% of Americans are taking care of themselves less in 2023 due to the cost. This may be because 1 in 5 admit to overspending when pampering themselves and 29% have regretted how much they spent.
One way to cut spending is to pamper yourself on your own. In fact, 84% of Americans prefer to pamper themselves at home. The top ways Americans do that is by sleeping in or going to bed early, watching TV, and taking a bath.
Interestingly, social media has had an impact on self-care routines, with 21% of Americans saying that it has inspired their self-care routine. However, social media can also fuel unnecessary spending. Nearly 1 in 6 feel social media has pressured them into spending more money on self-care.
It’s important to remember that self-care shouldn’t feel like a chore or something that needs to be done to keep up with others. It’s about taking the time to prioritize one’s mental and emotional well-being, and this can look different for everyone. Whether it’s indulging in a favorite activity, spending time with loved ones, or simply taking a break, we hope you make time for yourself this year!
In March 2023, we conducted a survey of 983 people from around the U.S. Among respondents, 48% identified as male, 49% as female, and 3% as non-binary or transgender with an average age of 40.
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