In health care, self-care is any necessary human monitoring function that’s under individual control, thoughtful and self-initiated.
Regularly taking the time, even in small and simple ways, to nurture and take care of yourself is vital to your well-being.
And, no, it isn’t selfish! The more you cultivate yourself, the better you’re at supporting others.
Self-care is any activity that we do intentionally to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept, in theory, it’s something we often overlook. Good self-care is important to a good life, enhanced mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also important to a good relationship with oneself and others.
In a few words, self-care is the key to living a balanced life.
There’re six types of self-care! If you’re struggling to create time for self-care or you’re trying to discover what kinds of self-care you need, read on.
- Physical: Taking care of our bodies is a significant component of self-care, but it doesn’t have to include a vigorous exercise routine. The key to self-care is it should be something you enjoy. If it starts to feel like an obligation, then it may start adding to your stress levels, as opposed to reducing them. EXAMPLES — yoga, eating more vegetables and fruits, drinking more water, going for a walk during your lunch hour, going for a run, going for a bike ride, etc.
- Emotional: It’s about becoming more in tune with our emotions. It’s about checking in with yourself, becoming more mindful of your triggers and thinking patterns, and finding ways to work through them, rather than bottling them up inside. It’s okay to cry, to laugh, to feel angry – it’s okay to feel exactly the way you’re feeling. Emotional self-care helps you learn to have more compassion for yourself and your emotions. EXAMPLES — journaling, meditation, setting boundaries, practicing positive psychology, etc.
- Spiritual: It nourishes your soul, helps you find inner peace, and gives you a greater understanding of life beyond yourself. This self-care doesn’t necessarily have to relate to religion, although it can be religious for some people. This connection to something bigger than yourself can help you find purpose and meaning in life. It can give you the courage to push through when times get difficult and inspire hope time and time again. EXAMPLES — meditation, spending time with nature, writing a gratitude journal, volunteering, charity, etc.
- Intellectual: We often neglect to care for our intellectual well-being. This type of self-care includes doing something you enjoy that nourishes and challenges your mind. It expands your knowledge. Intellectual self-care can involve figuring out what your current talents/strengths are and developing them further. It can also include learning a new skill. Since this type of self-care helps you learn more about your skills and interests, it can be useful when deciding which career you’re passionate about the most. EXAMPLES — reading a book, learning a new language, doing an online course, watching a film, etc.
- Social: Humans, by nature, are social beings. We like to feel connected with others. This type of self-care may look different for introverts and extroverts because our levels of comfort in social situations differ. But, a connection is essential to us all. Having a support system of individuals we can trust, and nourishing these relationships can be an example of this self-care. EXAMPLES — spending time with loved ones, going to lunch or dinner with a close friend, reconnecting with old friends, etc.
- Sensory: It helps you nourish your senses — sight, smell, touch, and sound. It’s an effective way of bringing your mind to the present moment and helping you lower your stress levels. Living in the present moment helps you better cope with any past and future worry you may be feeling. These simple, yet powerful self-care activities can be effective ways of becoming more mindful and soothing an anxious, overwhelmed mind. EXAMPLES — burning your favorite scented candle, taking a massage, listening to relaxing music, walking barefoot on grass, etc.
With a little bit of attention to your self-care, your mental health will be better. You’ll feel more connected to yourself and the world around you. You’ll feel good in small pleasures, and nothing will seem quite as difficult as before.
Like that car, you must keep yourself tuned up to make sure that you don’t need a complete refurbishment.
Incorporating a few of these tiny self-care ideas in your day will help keep you in tune. If you’re interested to know more, you should learn about the science, art, and craft of self-love in my earlier blog post.