I’ve got a buzzword for you: self-care.

Everyone’s talking about its benefits for the mind, body, and spirit, but can self-care also make us better golfers? You bet it can!

We may not always think about it, but there’s a connection between how we perform in our daily activities (whether in the office, home, or on the course) and how we take care of ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. The reason you’re slicing fairway shots or missing putts may not always be because of bad technique.

Flubbed shots on the course (and in life) might be linked to something bigger. Underlying stress from life situations, injuries or illness, fatigue, even being hungry while playing can all affect how we perform. So, next time, you’re frustrated by your inability to hit your driver or sand wedge, stop blaming yourself—maybe you’re just stressed out. How can we combat that stress? Self-care–something that shouldn’t be thought of as a luxury item but rather as part of our lives.

Self-care goes beyond a day at the spa; it’s good nutrition, stress management, rest, exercise, treatments like massages and facials, and whatever else brings peace and equilibrium. Let’s examine these practices and see how they can make us stronger, more relaxed, and—in the end—better golfers.

Massage

While massage is often the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions self-care. it’s also the one we ignore the most.

Who has time for an hour massage when we have a mile-long to-do list?

And, massages aren’t exactly cheap, and having one feels frivolous when added to the expenses of daily life. However, massage is worth it for both our daily lives and helping us be better golfers.

First, let’s talk stress.

How many times have you felt it manifest in the form of stiff shoulders, achy backs, and other physical ailments like head or stomach aches? If we’re not careful, stress can also distract us to the point of accidents if we’re preoccupied and not focused on the tasks at hand. A massage can help us manage this stress.

Second, massage is a great tool for treating injuries.

The Mayo Clinic states that massage helps many things from anxiety and headaches to soft tissue strains and joint pain. I can’t imagine any of those conditions being really helpful for our golf games. Plus, what about injuries caused by the repetitive motions of golf? Seeing a massage therap[ist who understands a golfer’s body and the game can greatly help keep our bodies functioning optimally and help us recover from a golf injury.

Facials and proper skincare

While facials, unfortunately, can’t change the fact that I didn’t listen to my mom about the importance of sunscreen, they can help today as a regular part of good skincare. I now understand that while it’s glorious to golf on a sunny day, sun exposure isn’t exactly the secret to youthful or healthy skin. After all, skin is our largest organ, so it’s best we do all we can to care for it. This is where quality cleansers, SPF, and moisturizers come in handy, and also why we should wear hats and sunglasses for additional protection.

Facials also help, and they’re more than an excuse to visit a spa.

When paired with daily skincare practices, facials help us inside and out.

Stopping and breathing

Did you ever notice that even the notion of self-care can cause stress?

Ironic, right?

But I get it.

Budget or time constraints might make massages, facials, and other treatments out of the question. And sometimes, the whole healthy eating thing gets thrown out the window when life meets the drive-thru. We do what we can, right?

Well, good news! My last self-care item is easy and FREE, and can be done anywhere.

First, stop.

Stop the crazy train you’re on and take a minute to sit on your front steps or walk barefoot in your backyard. Or put on your noise-canceling headphones and hide away from your family and distractions. Just give yourself a minute.

Second, breathe. That’s all. Breathe in. Then out. And . . . repeat.

Keep taking deep breaths, but please don’t stress yourself out trying to remember your yoga teacher’s special breathing technique. Simply breathe in a way that makes you feel better. You’ll know when you’re doing it right.

Finally, consider this: it’s called “self-care” because it’s unique to each one of us