Self-care is a common term nowadays. While there is some debate regarding what does and does not constitute as self-care, the general idea behind the practice of self-care is to preemptively and regularly engage in activities or rituals to reduce stress, benefit mental health, and maintain a balanced life. The term has risen to prominence as a millennial fad – in 2015, the Pew Research Center reported that more millennials had reported a dedication to personal improvement commitments than any generation preceding them.

But the term does receive some pushback, particularly in regard to the commodification of the phrase. The self-care industry is a $10 billion industry, and is growing rapidly. Some criticize it for the line the movement walks between self-awareness and self-absorption, while others claim that there is an inherent superficiality attached to the phrase.

However, in the context of mental health and personal impact, true self-care can be vital to a balanced and successful life. The practice of engaging in activities that allow you time with yourself, time away from regular responsibilities and social media, and encourage care or intention have positive impacts not only on happiness, but on general well-roundedness as well. This can have a domino effect, positively impacting other areas of one’s life.

Max Salk is a financial analyst in New York City. He is dedicated to his career and enjoys his work. He developed an interest in financial markets in college, and by all measures is doing exactly what he loves.

In addition to his work, Max cultivates a regular hobby as a landscape photographer. His passion for travel photography developed parallel to his interest in markets when he was in college studying abroad in the Netherlands. Though he was certain about pursuing a career in financial consulting and research, he found significant value in his photography hobby, so he continued with it as well.

In a recent interview, Max commented on the importance of pursuing what you love, whether it is in a professional setting or your personal life. He maintains a similar perspective on his work and his photography: do what you love, let it evolve as it goes, and make sure to give it your all. Currently, Max is featuring his work on his photography website and Instagram.

Although landscape photography and a career in the financial sector may not seem intuitively linked, the significant role that each play in Max’s life allows not only for variety, but cultivation of enthusiasm in multiple areas of his life. Max cites many interests (music and sports as well, just to name a couple more), and each informs his overall perspective.

Though it may seem obvious that maintaining hobbies and other forms of self-care can be extremely beneficial, it can be harder now than ever to take the time to do so. With so many distractions, from social media to work to friends and family, it can be hard to prioritize time that you just take for yourself. But the proof is clear: taking just a bit of time to take care of yourself can have a resonant impact on all areas of your life. It’s just about starting with an attempt.

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