Did you know there are not three, not six, but NINE types of self-care?!
Self-care is the practice of taking care of yourself. It’s about prioritizing your needs and knowing how to meet those needs when they arise. This can be a very personal process, but it’s important to remember that there are many types of self-care. It’s not just one thing!
The 9 Different Types of Self-Care
- Physical Self-Care – Taking care of your body and its needs.
- Mental Self-Care – Developing good habits that will help keep your mind healthy (in addition to physically healthy) throughout life.
- Emotional Self-Care – Managing your feelings and emotions in order to keep yourself healthy.
- Social Self-Care – Being kind to yourself in your relationships.
- Spiritual Self-Care – Connecting with yourself and others, but also with a higher power.
- Practical Self-Care – Taking care of yourself by doing things that are practical and necessary.
- Professional Self-Care – Taking time to learn about your profession and improve your skills.
- Financial Self-Care – Taking care of yourself by making sure your finances are in order.
- Environmental Self-Care – Making sure you’re in a clean, safe environment.
Importance of Different Types of Self-Care
Self care is important because it helps you to be happier, more confident and resilient.
When you take care of yourself, your energy levels are high, which means that you’ll be able to meet the demands of your life easily. Your resilience will be better so that when things go wrong, you’ll have more energy to cope with things and get back on track quickly.
You may even find that after taking care of yourself for a while that your productivity increases as well as helping others around you feel good too!
How to Practice Self-Care
You may have heard of the term “self-care,” but if you’re not sure what it means or how to practice it, this section is for you. Self-care is any type of activity that enables you to feel good in your body and mind.
It can be as simple as taking a walk outside or as involved as listening to music while eating your favorite food. Some people find that self-care practices help them deal with difficult emotions like anger, sadness, and loneliness.
The first step toward practicing self-care is recognizing when you might need some extra TLC. If you feel overwhelmed by stress at work or home, consider taking a few minutes for yourself before bedtime each night by reading an inspiring quote from a book on how to live better (like this one!), writing down three things that went well during the day or meditating on your breath for five minutes before going to sleep.
If feelings of loneliness are weighing on you, consider reaching out through social media—connecting with an old friend over coffee might give both of you just enough encouragement to get through another week at work together! And if being alone makes your heart ache? Reach out anyway! There’s no better way of making someone else happy than by sharing your happiness with them!
It can be easy to forget how important it is to care for yourself. We’re so focused on taking care of others that we eventually lose track of ourselves. But when you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is take a step back and prioritize your own needs.
Self-Care Practices for Every Area of Your Life
- Eat healthy food.
- Be physically active.
- Drink enough water.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs.
- Get regular health checks and visit your doctor when you are sick.
- Journaling and writing down your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. For a fun approach, I recommend Zen As F*ck!
- Reading books.
- Listening to music that helps you relax and/or get inspired.
- Listening to music that makes you feel good.
- Taking a nap.
- Watching TV shows that make you laugh.
- Talking about your feelings with friends and family members who have positive relationships with you.
- Spending time with friends who understand what you’re going through and will understand if you need some space or time alone;
- Talking to family members who care about your wellbeing (even when they don’t agree with your choices);
- Practicing mindfulness outside of therapy (e.g., meditation).
- Find a quiet place to sit and meditate on your own.
- Spending time alone at the beach or in nature.
- Go on retreats where people pray together.
- Take part in group meditation sessions.
- If there are no groups near where you live then talking to God (or higher power that you believe in) in prayer is still beneficial because it helps create that connection!
- Make your bed each morning.
- Take out the trash daily (or at least once a week).
- Put away all of your clothes, toys, and other belongings after using them.
- Do dishes right after eating dinner rather than letting them pile up in the sink until they reach epic proportions!
- If you are just starting out in an industry or considering transitioning careers, it’s helpful to read up on the basics of that field. You could check out books from local libraries or online resources.
- If you are more experienced working in your field and have gotten some hands-on experience with the tools related to it (e.g., Excel for finance), then consider taking classes at a local community college or university to help build up those skills even further and advance your certification level within that field of study (e.g., CFA charterholder).
- Set financial goals.
- Making a list of all your financial commitments and setting up a budget that includes how much you spend each month on each area (rent, utilities, food, etc.).
- Save money towards your financial goals.
- Make a plan to pay off debt. Figure out how much each month would go toward paying off these debts so they can start becoming less of a burden in no time at all.
- Invest wisely: If saving isn’t really motivating enough for you, consider investing instead!
- If you want to exercise regularly but have trouble motivating yourself, put up pictures of fit people on the walls and mirrors around your apartment.
- If you have a hard time doing work when there’s too much clutter in the space where you work, clean up first.
- Set up elements that make it easier for you to focus (like an incense holder) or spend some time regularly decluttering.
Developing Your Own Self-Care Plan
A self-care plan is a list of activities that you can use to take care of yourself. A good self-care plan will include all 9 types of self-care. Or, at a minimum, mental, physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual activities.
Create your self-care plan with these seven easy steps:
- Evaluate your needs: Make a list of the various aspects of your life and the significant activities that you take part in each day. Place them within the type of self-care to which they align. For example, work would align with professional self-care. A current practice could be to stay up-to-date on company training. A new practice could be to attain a new certification.
- Think about your stressors: Consider the parts of these areas that give you tension and how you might deal with that stress.
- Create self-care strategies: Consider what activities you might engage in to help you feel better in each of these areas. An example of developing good social ties can be as simple as spending time with friends or creating limits.
- Plan for unforeseen hurdles: When you realize you’re ignoring a particular aspect of your life, develop a plan to address that area.
- Take baby steps: You don’t have to do everything at once. Determine one modest move you can do to improve your self-care.
- Make your self-care a priority: Even if you don’t think you have time for anything else, prioritize your self-care. You’ll find that caring for all elements of yourself allows you to work more effectively and efficiently.
- Automate it: There are a plethora of monthly subscriptions dedicated solely to self-care. Subscription services provide that gentle nudge to turn inward to that peaceful spot that replenishes you, even if it’s only for a moment.