Self-care is the act of caring for oneself, which includes your physical, mental, social, spiritual, and emotional health.
There are many types of self-care and they are all important, but most important is working on it daily. If you only take care of yourself once a week, it won’t be as effective. It shouldn’t feel like a chore, it should help you to feel calm, like a reward.
The most important thing is to know what works for you. What’s the best way to take care of yourself? What are your personal goals? Once you know these answers, it will be easier to find the best self-care strategy.
In this article we will discuss the best types of self-care practices and strategies that can help you live a healthier and happier life.
The first type of self-care we will discuss is physical, which is important to maintaining a healthy relationship with your body. Physical self-care includes basic nutrition, hydration, and exercise practices. This can include working out, yoga, meditation, getting a good nights sleep and going outside for some fresh air.
When you’re feeling sad and lonely, sometimes the last thing you want to do is get out of bed and work out. As much as a struggle as it may be to get up and do anything physical, it is very important for your mental health.
Too little or too much sleep can be just as bad for your mental health, so you need to find the right balance. Creating and sticking to a good sleeping routine will help you find what works best for you.
Healthy eating is also beneficial to your overall wellbeing. Eating whole foods like meat, fruits and vegetables will help balance your mood without the ups and downs that come with sugary or processed foods.
You know your body best, you know which foods cause food sensitivities and inflammation. It is best to avoid these foods for optimal health. Ask yourself – is my diet fueling my body well?
An often over-looked self-care factor is your emotional care. Emotional care can include learning coping skills to deal with the uncomfortable emotions, like anger, sadness, and anxiety. Find healthy ways to process your emotions, like talking with a close friend, or setting aside time to pamper yourself and recharge your batteries.
A fantastic way to regulate your emotions is to write them down. There are many different ways to journal, and no right or wrong way to do it. Bullet journaling is one way to get started, it is easy and can be a lot of fun. Mindfulness journals are another, just find one that feels right and give it a try. Your future self will thank you.
Do not overlook the importance of asking for help. Whether it is a close friend, a life coach, or a professional; admitting that you need to talk to someone can be a giant step forward in feeling better.
Social self-care includes close connections with friends. You don’t always have to talk about your feelings with your friends, sometimes just enjoying their company and having fun will do the trick.
Now is not the time to isolate yourself. Making sure you’re not in the house and alone the majority of your time can make you feel better, and happier even if you don’t necessarily feel lonely. Life gets busy, divorce gets messy and time keeps moving forward. Spend time staying connected and maintaining these close friendships.
Joining groups, clubs, or taking a class can also be beneficial. Tennis and golf are both outside sports that can help boost your mood, get in some exercise, and connect you with other people.
While spiritual care can be the most important type of self-care for some people, it can also be unhelpful to others. Spiritual self-care is focused on both the mind and soul. People generally turn to spiritual care in times of crisis. Spiritual needs and concerns usually relate to what we call the “big” questions of life.
Some of these questions may include:
- Why is this happening? Why is it happening to me?
- What does it all mean?
- How do I make sense of everything?
- How do I feel about changes in my life?
- What gives me comfort and hope?
- What do I call “good” in my life? What do I call “bad”?
- What am I grateful for?
- What do I trust? Who do I trust?
- Who is my “beloved community” — who loves me and is loved by me, no matter what?
- What or who — beyond myself — do I believe is important in my life?
Note: Spiritual does not mean religious, there are different forms of spiritualism and different religions.
Spiritual self-care can include spending time in nature, meditation, music, prayer, or supportive communities. These practices can help people cope and return to a sense of balance when their lives have been completely upside down.
Personal self-care can include spending time on hobbies, being creative, personal hygiene, and setting goals. You may have gotten busy and lost touch with those hobbies and activities you once enjoyed and brought you joy.
Picking up an old hobby or starting up a new one can get your creative thoughts flowing and help suppress the negative ones. Creativity has a positive effect of increasing dopamine levels. These make you feel happy and satisfied.
Setting goals for yourself can help you visualize a more positive outlook on life. Making and accomplishing goals can increase your self-esteem, trigger new behaviors, and helps guides your focus to keep going through life.
Mental self-care includes doing things that keep your mind sharp, like learning a new language, or putting together puzzles. Maybe you would prefer reading books or watching thought provoking movies that inspire you and keep your mind thinking.
Mental self-care also includes doing things that help keep you mentally healthy. Practicing self-compassion and acceptance can help improve your inner dialogue. You know that little voice in your head that comments on your life, whether that is what is going on around you, or what you are thinking consciously or sub-consciously.
Think positively, not negatively. Try to live in the moment, not in the past. When negative thoughts start to take over, stop and remind yourself of what you are grateful for.
Self Care is Important for Everyone
Creating an effective self-care routine for yourself is extremely important no matter where you’re at in your life. It is beneficial for reducing anxiety and depression, and reducing stress. It can also help increase energy, improve happiness, and reduce burnout.
The important thing about self-care is that it should be something you enjoy doing, and everyone of all ages should create their own self-care plan to use in their daily life.
Some helpful first steps:
- Figure out what causes you stress, and find ways to address it.
- Make a plan for unexpected challenges, what will you need to change?
- Figure out what makes you happiest and do more of that!
- Baby steps – start with one small goal, accomplish it and add another one. This isn’t a marathon, pace yourself to avoid adding additional stress to your life.
- Schedule time for yourself, you deserve it. Make a plan to do the things that make you happy and do them!
Self-care helps you maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and your mind. It helps to promote positive, healthy outcomes and minimize anger and emotional outbursts/breakdowns. There are many benefits of self-care and I hope this article has inspired you to move forward and create new habits that will benefit you now and into your future.
Let me know how this has helped you and what would you like to see next.
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