Does self-care ever feel like another thing on your to-do list?
Maybe you desperately need self-care, but you’re never sure exactly how to make it happen. This leads to a quick Google for “self-care ideas” which gives you a million suggestions that leave you more stressed out than when you started.
There’s a lot of information out there about self-care, and it’s a complex topic that only makes things more confusing. All you know is that you need to take care of yourself, but you’re not sure what that should look like.
When we break it down there are really seven main areas we need to take care of.
Areas of self-care:
How to use them:
Seeing this list might feel overwhelming. You might think you have to find some kind of perfect balance between them all. You don’t need to focus on finding a perfect balance between them all. Instead, you might need to focus on one area for a day, a week, maybe even a month. When you’re ready, you can focus on others.
What’s most important is noticing which one area needs attention so that it doesn’t start dragging the other areas down with it.
1. Mental Self-Care
Mental/intellectual self-care is about cultivating a healthy mindset. Mental self-care is important for developing a healthy mindset, growing your skills, reducing stress, and enhancing your knowledge and creativity.
Mental self-care ideas:
- Create a Journal
- Engaging your brain in a new way
- Taking an intentional break away from technology/internet
2. Emotional Self-Care
Emotional self-care involves taking care of matters of the heart with healthy coping strategies and self-compassion. Tapping into emotional self-care helps you understand yourself more, better deal with challenges and setbacks, and develop healthy emotional responses.
Emotional self-care: ideas
- Watching a deep movie
- Listening to your favorite songs
- Writing down positive affirmations about yourself
- Asking for help when you need it
- Setting boundaries to protect your time and energy
3. Physical Self-Care
Physical self-care involves taking care of your body with exercise, nutrition, good hygiene, and proper sleep. When you practice activities for your physical well-being, you can increase your energy levels and boost your self-esteem.
Physical self-care ideas:
- Eating meals at regular times (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
- Drinking more water
- Taking vitamins daily
- Getting 7-8 hours of sleep
- Trying a new workout class or video
4. Environmental Self-Care
Environmental self-care involves taking care of the spaces and places around you. The more you take care of your immediate environment, the more it will help you to thrive and feel a sense of belonging where you are.
Environmental self-care ideas:
- Arranging your space to be more comfortable
- Exploring somewhere new
- Decluttering your living space
- Going outside for a walk
- Appealing to your five senses (e.g. light a candle, adjust the lighting, put on comfortable clothes, sip a warm drink, and put on your favorite playlist)
5. Spiritual Self-Care
Spiritual self-care involves taking care of your soul through activities or practices that provide a sense of purpose, direction, or meaning to your life. Dedicating time to spiritual self-care can help you find more meaning in life, feel more grounded, and develop a sense of belonging in life.
Spiritual self-care ideas:
- Spending time in nature
- Identifying your values & what’s meaningful to you
- Volunteering or contributing to a cause you believe in
- Connecting to a higher power (whatever that means to you)
6. Recreational Self-Care
Recreational self-care involves taking care of your inner child with hobbies, fun activities, and new experiences. Recreation is important because it lets you get away from the pressure of your to-do list and simply enjoy the pleasures that life has to offer.
Recreational self-care ideas:
- Taking time for hobbies and creative activities
- Going on an adventure by yourself or with others
- Playing board or video games
- Switching up your regular daily routine
7. Social Self-Care
Even though self-care is about you, it’s important to connect with other human beings on a regular basis. Social self-care means cultivating healthy relationships and connecting with people who get you. Seeking out positive social connections helps us create a sense of belonging and acceptance.
Social self-care examples:
- Spending time with people whose company you enjoy
- Calling or seeing your relatives
- Writing a letter to a friend (pen-pal style!)
- Shopping with a friend at Blue Sky ;)
- Finding a community to contribute to (online or offline)