Let’s get one thing straight: Self-care does not mean being selfish or self-indulgent. Self-care is taking care of yourself to be healthy, happy, work, take care of your family, and be able to do the most important things in a given day.
It’s impossible to define what self-care means because each person’s definitions are unique.
Self-care can be a delicate balance between self-indulgence and health-enhancing behaviors.
Making your bed each morning is an example of self-care. If it helps you claim your day and gives a sense that you are doing something, you will carry that feeling with you no matter what happens. It’s unlikely that just making your bed each morning is enough to take care of all your self-care.
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What is Self-Care? And Why Is it So Important for Your Health and Wellbeing?
According to the World Health Organization, self-care is defined as “the ability of individuals and families to promote and prevent disease and manage illness and disability without the assistance of a healthcare provider.”
This definition of self-care covers everything related to maintaining a healthy body, including nutrition and hygiene. It encompasses all steps that an individual can take to manage stressors and take care of their well-being.
There are several categories of self-care.
- Emotional self-care
- Physical self-care
- Mental self-care
- Social self-care
- Spiritual self-care
- Professional self-care
To be happy and have a good quality of life, we must learn how to manage our emotions and deal with difficult feelings. It is important to practice emotional self-care, which is the act of connecting with our feelings and allowing them to be processed.
Although everyone can benefit by investing in self-care and time, those who are:
- Have trouble controlling their emotions
- Feel easily affected by negative moods
- Trying to overcome feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment
By practicing emotional self-care regularly and learning to be kind to yourself, you will develop healthy coping strategies that greatly increase your happiness.
Examples of Emotional Self Care Activities
- Talking with a Life Coach, Health Coach, Therapist, Spiritual Mentor, or Other Counselors
- Using affirmations
- Practicing gratitude
To take control of your emotions, you must first be aware of how you talk to yourself. It is important to recognize if you are engaging in negative self-talk. Second, replace negative self-talk with loving and kind words.
This is self-care that you do to improve your physical well-being.
Although taking care of yourself is important for everyone, how you choose to do it will depend on how your life works. Walking your dog will be great self-care if you are confined to your office chair for long periods. You might also consider doing some restorative yoga after a long day of construction work.
Examples Of Physical Self-Care Activities
- Active lifestyle (walking, biking, or taking a class).
- Relaxing in a bubble bath
- Dance to your favorite song
- Get a massage
- Taking a nap
Most people are busy and don’t have the time or energy to take a bath or get a massage. Physical self-care is simple; you can brush your teeth, do your hair, or even stretch for five minutes each morning.
Think about what physical activities are most important to you, and schedule regular time for them.
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Mindful self-care refers to anything you do to stimulate your mind and foster a healthy psyche.
It’s more about developing a loving relationship and understanding with your mind.
Are you having trouble getting out of bed each morning? Perhaps your head feels like mush after a long day. These are some mental self-care tips that you can incorporate into your daily life.
Examples Of Mental Self-Care Activities
- Listen to a podcast
- Looking for a new hobby
- Going into a museum
- Reading a book
- Writing (poetry, journaling, stream-of-consciousness, etc.)
Mental self-care includes more than just stimulating activities. It also involves learning how to manage your thoughts and setting boundaries with family, friends, and work. Mental self-care is all about listening, stimulating, and nurturing your beautiful brain.
We are social creatures and need to be connected with others to thrive. Social self-care, or activities that foster our relationships with others, is crucial.
The problem is that when life gets too hectic and overwhelming, and we would most benefit from face-to-face interaction, we often cancel our plans or withdraw. It’s okay to say no sometimes. However, it is also important to make time to socialize. This has been especially evident in the last few years as more schools, offices, and other institutions have moved to remote locations.
You may need extra self-care if you live alone or rely on the energy of human interaction. Even if you are busy, socializing with others isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity.
Examples Of Social Self-Care Activities
- Schedule a regular phone call-base with your mom
- Host a game night with friends
- Go on a date with your significant others
- cuddling with a furry friend
- Send a card to loved ones, veterans, or shut-ins
Social self-care can be defined as spending time with others, but it could also be the opposite. Consider which relationships are not serving you in your daily life. It may be time for you to say goodbye to anyone who is draining, whether they are a friend or family member. You should be able to lift and fill your relationships, not let them down and drain you.
This one isn’t just for the people who call it that. This type of self-care applies to all religions, atheists, agnostics, and others. Spiritual self-care includes any activity you do to nurture and connect with your soul. It is about connecting with your inner spirit. This practice may involve activities that honor a higher power, such as God, the universe, or whatever guide you span.
Spiritual self-care can be a useful tool for anyone, especially if they want to feel more grounded in their day-to-day lives. It can be a comfort for those dealing with loss and grief, financial or medical uncertainty, or other stressful situations.
Examples Of Spiritual Self-Care Activities
- Spending time in nature
- Praying or attending worship services
- Doing yoga
- Volunteering for a cause that you care
- Create a vision board, or do something that lights you up and incites you
Although everyone’s spiritual self-care is different, there are some things you can do that will help you get started. You can create a quiet and peaceful space in your home to incorporate a daily spiritual practice. Avoid social media early in the morning and use positive mantras to ease you into a productive day.
Practical self-care can include any actions to meet your core needs and decrease stress.
Even the most mundane of daily activities can be beneficial. You will feel much better if you do your chores or follow a routine. These forms of self-care may not be as exciting as others, but they are still very important. These self-care techniques are lifesavers, and they help us feel more in control of our hectic lives.
Practical self-care is a great option for college students, young professionals, caregivers, stay-at-home parents, or anyone who struggles to keep organized.
Examples Of Practical Self-Care Activities
- Organizing your email inbox
- Tidying up your living space
- Meet with a financial advisor
- Preparing your clothes for the week
- Meal prepping
Self-care can be used to build healthy, sustainable habits; this could include limiting your phone use, making a better sleeping schedule, and decluttering your home.
It is important to take time for your professional self-care if you are employed. These actions and activities will help you feel fulfilled and balanced in your job.
Even if your job is great and you don’t find it stressful, you can incorporate professional self-care into your life to prevent burnout.
These tips are great for anyone new to the workforce or who has a demanding job.
Examples Of Professional Self-Care Activities
- Set a reminder on your calendar to take a break for lunch.
- After-hours time spent with coworkers
- Put your phone to “Do Not Disturb” at the end of your workday.
- Take courses, attend conferences, or work with mentors to help you develop your skills and support your career path
- Take mental health (or sickness) every day
Although it can seem daunting, boundary-setting at work is crucial for your mental and physical well-being.