Burning the midnight oil.
Burning the candle at both ends.
Ever wonder why so many expressions closely associated with overwork center around the all-consuming, insatiable element of fire? Too much stress, too little sleep, and too much work all add fuel to the flames of a hectic schedule. If we’re not careful, soon we’re just running wild like a person on fire.
It’s no wonder so many are desperately googling for the fire extinguisher: self-care.
While self-care can take many forms, the principle is always the same; self-care is all about taking care of yourself and your needs. Whether it’s mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, or social, we all have needs that we tend to neglect once the inbox starts filling up.
However, taking care of your needs is your responsibility, which is why self-care is so important. If stress is fire, self-care is the hydrant preventing your life from going up in smoke.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’ve compiled each state’s most googled self-care activity.
First, we found the most popular self-care activities in Google Trends. These results were determined by looking at each of the 50 states (plus DC) over the past year.
Interesting correlations and key findings
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that America is sleep deprived, but Google results are a wake-up call: we collectively need more shuteye. Our results show that 20 states are googling “sleep” the most—that’s 40% of the country.
Experts recommend at least seven hours of sleep a night for “optimal health in adults.” 1 Instead, many Americans choose less sleep with more caffeine; according to the National Coffee Association USA, 63% of Americans drank coffee yesterday.2
- The most googled self-care activity in the United States was sleep, which is closely tied to a person’s mental health.3
- Vermont proved to be the state most concerned with mental health as there was a six-way tie among activities (watching a movie, gardening, yoga, baking, mindfulness, and meditation).
- Florida, Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts residents like to treat themselves with the tried-and-true mani-pedi therapy.
- Minnesotans are sometimes stereotypically called “Minnesota nice”—in other words, non-confrontational, courteous, and restrained. Minnesotans would probably give you the shirts off their backs. Fittingly, their most googled self-care activity is setting boundaries.
- Mississippi googled “singing” the most as their self-care activity. Interestingly, the state is home to some of the greatest singers/musicians of all time: BB King, Elvis Presley, and . . . Lance Bass.
- Is scrubbing the toilet the first idea that comes to mind when you think of self-care? If so, you might live in Idaho, where the most googled activity is cleaning. Yes, cleaning.
- Go figure, Coloradoans turn to nature more than any other state for self-care. Who can blame them, when the Rockies are their backyard? The mountains, that is, not the baseball team. Although watching baseball could be considered self-care, if you need a nap. (There we go, back to sleep again.)
- In New York, home of the Yankees, locals love burning candles for self-care. While there’s no way to know for sure, I like to think they prefer to buy them from Yankee Candle Co.
Self-care can take many forms, from bubble baths to good ol’ fashioned exercise. Just make sure you’re truly taking care of yourself. Go ahead and give yourself permission to take that nap, bake some cookies, or meditate. Your future well-cared-for self will thank you.
What’s your preferred self-care activity? Let us know in the comments.
1. Sleep Research Society, “Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society on the Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: Methodology and Discussion”
2. National Coffee Association USA, “Infographic: The Behaviors & Perceptions of US Coffee Drinkers”
3. Harvard Health Publishing, “Sleep and Mental Health”