There are six main 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 in your life right now, check out the Self-Love Workbook. It’s 250+ pages of self-care worksheets, planner pages, and so much more. It’s designed to help you discover exactly what kind of self-care works for you, and it is very you-specific.
Self-care: Actions you perform to take care of your physical, emotional, and mental needs.
When you love something you have ways of showing your love. You water your garden, you feed your cats, and you do sweet little things for your Loves. That’s what self-care is for you.
It’s about turning that love, attention, and affection toward yourself. You need love too. It becomes so much easier to have functional relationships when you aren’t living day-to-day deprived of the things that make you feel good. It becomes easier when you aren’t constantly living in a deficit of “love me”, “make me happy”, “make me feel valued”, voids that you are constantly yearning for other people to fill.
You can give those things to yourself.
Self-care is all about communicating with your soul and saying “Hey, what do you need right now?”
Then doing it.
Self-care is different for everyone and changes with moods and situations. It helps you figure out a step-by-step plan on what to do when you’re sick, tired, sad, stressed out, anxious, and all emotions in between.
Self-care helps stop the spiral of destructive emotions. It gives you something to focus on when you feel yourself starting to break down. It’s your greatest ally when it comes to coping with life in a healthy and productive way.
Types of Self-Care
Physical self-care is probably the self-care that you’re most familiar with. It means getting enough water, food, sleep, and physical activity. It means taking care of yourself when you’re sick instead of soldiering through it, it means all of those things – but it also means so much more.
How does your body feel right now? Oh, that lovely body of yours, how’s it doing?
Physical self-care means not negating your physical needs. It’s not about green smoothies, spa days, yoga, and pedicures.
Physically caring for yourself means not abusing drugs or alcohol or anything else that is actively hurting your body or just makes you feel all around crappy. It means not binging on food. It means not staying up late, missing out on sleep because you’re browsing Facebook. Not pushing yourself when you’re sick. It means going to the doctor and the dentist when you need to. It means taking the time to follow this link if you need an eye test. In general, it means doing right for your body. It means having a healthy attitude both to your physique and accepting that the body is intrinsically linked to the mind. It is not a separate entity.
These are all things that you know you should do, it’s just a matter of doing it.
There’s also the next level, the not-a-necessity level, of physical self-care. This kind of self-care just focuses on things that make you feel good physically.
Body scrubs, massages, pedicures, and spa days.
Let someone else cut, color, and style your hair.
Make the time to do your makeup if it makes you feel extra pretty.
If that’s not your thing, that’s totally okay too. There are a million ways to be nice to your body. Find the ways that work for you.
Wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself and about your body. Find your style. Walk out of the house feeling like a goddess whether you’re wearing yoga pants and t-shirt or done up like a model.
Physical self-care also involves delving into your sexuality and the things that make you feel pleasure. Explore yourself. Figure out what you like. Start healing any feelings of shame and guilt you feel about sex. Take time to be sexual, either with yourself or your partner or whoever gives you butterflies.
If it makes you feel good, make time for it.
Find something physical that you love doing. Find your thing. Take long walks and listen to music or audiobooks or play Pokemon. Swim! Do yoga or pilates! Belly dance or copy the dances from your favorite music videos. Play basketball or throw a ball around with your kids. There are so many options for you.
Whatever you can do is good enough.
How you deal with your feelings says a lot about how much you love yourself. Having the ability to deal with your emotions in a healthy way is crucial to your happiness and your quality of life.
If you feel like you are unable to deal with your emotions in a productive way, if you feel like your emotions are in control of you and your life, then focusing on your emotional self-care can really help.
When you feel an unpleasant emotion like jealousy, shame, embarrassment – how do you deal with it? Do you beat yourself up over it? Do you blame yourself for being too weak or sensitive when you let things get to you?
You have to learn how to honor your emotions and process them in a healthy way.
On the opposite end of the scale, you could be the kind of person that never lets anything rattle her. You refuse to feel those things that hurt and while you’re so busy pretending like you’re indestructible those feelings have a way of manifesting themselves in your life through chaos and self-destruction.
Emotional self-care is about reacting to your emotions in a healthy way, having good coping mechanisms, and cultivating emotional intelligence.
This means being able to be aware of what you’re feeling, when you’re feeling it, the ability to cope with the emotion, and also express it in a healthy way.
You have to learn how to be gentle with yourself and your feelings.
Develop compassion for yourself and your feelings and why you feel the way you do. You are emotional. It’s normal, it’s human, and oftentimes, it’s messy, and that’s okay. Things like jealousy, anger, and hurt are real and valid and they deserve to be explored. No emotion that you have makes you a bad person or less than.
There will be times when you are an emotional mess, when you’re having a bad day and nothing that you do is really making you feel better. Be patient and loving, just like you’d be with someone you love.
Sometimes the only way to heal is to just quietly understand.
You can start working on your emotional self-care right now by changing the tone of your internal voice. Let that voice be one that provides wisdom instead of verbal abuse. In time, that inner you can become your greatest source of comfort.
Work on your self-talk. Make sure that you aren’t being verbally abusive to yourself. No more calling yourself ugly, fat, stupid, or any other words you wouldn’t use toward someone you love.
Say no to demands on your time when it’s for your greater good. You aren’t obligated to emotionally drain or hurt yourself for the benefit of other people. Stop guilting yourself over every little thing you’ve ever done wrong and remove constant “should”s from your vocabulary.Have good emotional boundaries. If something or someone triggers you, know when to step back.
Have good emotional boundaries. If something or someone triggers you, know when to step back.
Don’t numb yourself from your emotions, this means not using drugs, alcohol, food, or anything else to hide from your feelings.
Create a support system that understands your emotional struggles. Find people you can talk to about anxiety, depression, or any of the other things you might struggle with.
Ask yourself what you really need right now, and ask it again, and again, multiple times a day.
Have a healthy plan to cope with emotional distress.
When you’re having an emotional crisis tap into your wise inner self and work on being able to give yourself good advice.
One of the side effects of not loving yourself is not knowing who you are. You’re so tied up in how other people feel about you and what they think about you that you mold yourself to make them happy. You become who your partner wants you to be, or you do the things that your friends want you to do. Who you are, who you really are, gets lost between their wants and expectations.
I call this chameleon syndrome. You change yourself to fit into your surroundings. Sometimes this is okay, we all do it to some extent in our daily lives, but it becomes a problem when you forget (or never discovered) who you are deep down inside.
Personal self-care is about discovering that true self. It’s about letting go of the things that you were taught to believe as a child and finding your own path. It’s about discovering what you like to do and who you are when no one else is around.
Fall in love with who you are. Your quirks, your qualities, all of the ways and reasons you’re worth loving. Life is not about existing for other people, it’s about existing for yourself.
Take a look at what you really want out of life and then see what steps you can take to get there.
How do you practice personal self-care? Any way you want!
Try new things to discover what you really like and what really makes you happy. Maybe somewhere inside of you is a budding artist or a yoga teacher or someone who really enjoys kickboxing. You’ll never know until you try it!
Form your own thoughts and opinions instead of letting yourself be swayed by the expectations or the thoughts of the people around you.
Know that you are a complete and whole person unto yourself and you don’t need anyone to complete you.
If you were building yourself up from nothing, what types of values would you give yourself? What kind of person would you be? Let those ideas be the starting point for figuring out who you are.
Spend lots of quality time alone. Even if you are an extrovert, learn how to enjoy solitude and alone time.
Make time for your hobbies and the things that bring you joy, you can never have too much of them.
Plan for your future and make long-term goals. Go for what you really want in life.
Discover all of the things you are.
Introvert, extrovert, or something in-between, no matter what you identify with, or if you don’t identify with anything, you do need to know what socially fulfills you. Who you surround yourself with has a huge impact on how you feel about yourself.
So, how’s your social life? It’s really important that you honor your social needs. Do you need to make time to go out more and have some time with your sisterhood? Are you ready to try to get out there and date? Do you find yourself committing to social situations when you really don’t want to?
It’s really important that you honor your social needs. Do you need to make time to go out more and have some time with your sisterhood? Are you ready to try to get out there and date? Do you find yourself committing to social situations when you really don’t want to?
Introverts recharge by spending time alone. They begin to feel drained when they spend a lot of time with other people.
Extroverts, on the other hand, get recharged by being around other people. They prefer to be in social situations and have a lot of fun when in a social atmosphere.
A lot of people are a mix of both at different times and in different situations and with different people.
Social self-care asks you to learn what amount of “people-ing” is right for you and when.
If you’re an extrovert but you’re so busy working or taking care of the family that you begin to feel lonely and yearn for social interaction then find a way to give yourself time with your friends.
Connect with other mamas. Set a date every week or every month when you can connect with your friends for movies, coffee, or drinks.
Don’t let your extroversion be a crutch though. Make sure that you are also spending fulfilling time alone as well.
If you’re an introvert chances are that there’s someone in your life that doesn’t understand why you’d ever want to stay home on a Friday night and read.
Don’t say yes to every social situation that comes your way just because.
It’s okay to say no and to sit at home and watch tv or get extra sleep or spend time on your hobbies. You don’t owe anyone anything.
On the reverse side – make sure that you are getting some social stimulation. Don’t be afraid to initiate a coffee date or dip into the social scene sometimes. Shake things up!
Make sure that the people in your life are respecting you as a person and valuing you as much as you value them.
Communication is the key. Talk about your feelings. If someone hurts you, learn how to talk about it in a way that honors your feelings as well as theirs.
It’s okay to let go of friendships if they are no longer nourishing. Don’t just hold on for the sake of holding on or because of history. It’s not enough.
This also relates to your family. If one of your parents has a toxic effect on your life you aren’t obligated to put up with it. It’s time to make healthy choices (& boundaries) in all aspects of your life.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to create boundaries.
Surround yourself with people who make you feel better about yourself and who inspire you to be the person that you know you are.
Surround yourself with community. It is so important to have women around you who are there to build you up.
If you need extra support in life, think about joining a support group. These can connect you with people who understand your personal struggles and can help you deal with things in a way that other people might not understand.
If you feel overwhelmed by life and you need some space, it’s okay to not be social. Embrace the quiet and solitude.
Don’t be afraid to try to heal relationships if you decide it’s worth it. You are allowed to put in the work to make your relationships work.
Whether you’re religious or not, taking care of your soul is just as important as taking care of the other aspects of yourself. All parts of you work together to create a healthy life and understanding all parts of who you are and letting them work together, is essential for happiness.
Whether you consider yourself religious, spiritual, a free spirit, ambivalent, or indifferent – taking care of yourself on a spiritual level is part of the whole self-love experience.
What things honor your spirit? Answer that question and then do those things. It’s so very important.
Do the things that are good for your soul.
What this means is different for everyone, do what feels right for you. Are you noticing a theme here?
Go to church, go out in nature, do yoga, or just read a really good book. Listen to the calling of your soul, it won’t lead you astray.
Self-care for the soul includes things like finding out what you believe. Get rid of everything that was forced onto you as you were growing up and come up with what you truly believe, it is okay if it’s different, it’s okay if it’s the same, just do what resonates in your heart.
Do activities that allow you to connect on a spiritual level.
Again, it’s all up to what sings to your soul but don’t be afraid to try something new.
Read religious or spiritual books. Discover what spiritual ideals other people hold. Let your own beliefs be challenged by different thinking. Allow yourself to see the beauty in other spiritual and religious paths.
Pray or meditate. (I love Insight Timer!) There are so many types of prayer. You can pray before bed or before you eat, or you can pray when you’re out in nature watching the sunrise. Prayer can be the act of saying thank you or of lighting candles. Speak to your soul or that higher being as often as it feels good.
Create a space in your home that is just for worship. It can be an altar, it can be a special place for your Bible, it can be a place where you can do yoga or paint in peace. Let it be sacred.
Practical Self Care
Self-care relates to all areas of life. Professional self-care means continuing to learn and advance in your field. Having a job that just makes you happy. Making sure that you have healthy boundaries when it comes to work and home.
Environmental self-care means taking care of your space. Making sure that you’re in a healthy living environment free from danger and abuse. Doing all of those chores and not letting them pile up. Oh hello, depression and anxiety, I see you there.
Financial self-care means budgeting and paying bills on time and saving money if you can.
Self-care isn’t frivolous. It’s a brave and powerful action that says “I’m going to take care of myself in this way.”
What are your favorite types of self-care?
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Wonderful message of Self love! You have provided so many incredible tidbits. Thanks so much for sharing. xoxo
Love the tools and tipps for all our areas of self-care- so important xxx
Love this. I never thought of self-care in all these different aspects.
These are some great tips broken down into 6 important areas of our lives.. thank you.. I love when you said that self-care is about communicating with our soul and Then doing it… It’s the doing part we often need more emphasis on .. I am off for a self-care walk now :-)
This is interesting. I did not realized that self care can be broken in more details. I love this.
Hi! I love this, and really appreciate the graphic! May I have your permission to use the self-care graphic in a brochure the student club I am president of is putting together for our incoming college freshmen? I think they’d find it really helpful!
This is a beautiful image to describe self care. May I have your permission to use the graphic with a clickable image leading back to your blog? Thanks for all of your hard work contributing to this field! xx
This!!!! We need to have more discussion on the facets of self care. I think too often self care is talked about or viewed as one dimensional when it’s not. I know I was stuck in this rut and it left me wondering what was wrong with myself. Thank you SO much for breaking this down.
Lauren | The Modern Guide to Homemaking
Love the graphic – may I have permission to use it?
Damn ❣️ i really crazy about ? I also wanna create it please who can ?help me guys….
Nicely put! I like how you categorize self-care. It paints a picture for one to see what areas are lacking. I would love to use it with your permission. I have a women’s group to present on self- care.
I love how you were able to provide practical examples for each of the categories. May I ask permission to adapt this for a module for Filipino teachers? Thank you so much!
So often people think self-care has to look just ONE way! But, like you’ve discussed, there are SO MANY types of self-care and we all have different needs to fulfill for ourselves. Thank you for this wonderful list to make it that much easier for people to find time for and pinpoint what their needs are. Thoughtful post!