Last Updated on August 4, 2022
Most of us recognize that self-care is critically important. However, for many, it’s a constant struggle to prioritize. Life is busy, and with so many competing demands, tending to our personal needs often falls by the wayside.
It’s time we change that. Let’s practice self-care every day. Doing so can help us nurture the relationship we have with ourselves, enhance our well-being, and promote much-needed stress relief. In fact, there are 6 types of self care that should be a part of our life every single day.
First, however, we must take a closer look at self-care as a point of conversation. What is self-care and what does it encompass? What are some ways we can intentionally weave more self-care into our day?
What is Self Care?
According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of self-care is “care for oneself.” Since we are complex beings, this applies to every aspect of our existence – physical, emotional, spiritual, and more.
Everyone’s self-care journey is going to look and feel a bit different. The activities will be different based on everyone’s unique needs, preferences, and desires. There is no universal self-care protocol.
Self-care practices are also going to differ based on the domain. What is recommended as a self-care practice for your emotional well-being may not be the same tactic you use for your spiritual health.
The most important thing is that you are intentional with building self-care moments into your day. It’s critical to find self-care practices that work well for you. In this article, we’ll provide some information and ideas to help you get started – but remember these are just a springboard for further self-care exploration.
Why Is Self-Care Necessary in Our Lives?
Have you ever been on a flight and watched the flight attendants go through their safety demonstration? They talk about what you must do should the cabin pressure drop and how you must put your oxygen mask on first before you assist others.
Similarly, if you are not tending to yourself and filling your cup, you are not going to be able to help others. There seems to be a common notion that self-care is selfish, but this is a misconception.
Self-care is necessary for our lives because it helps us protect our hearts and our peace. It allows us to honor our minds, our bodies, and our spirits so we can show up in this world as our best selves.
Life is all about balance. When we feel off-kilter, it can be difficult to interact with ourselves and others in tender, loving ways.
Furthermore, for some, it may feel like a constant battle to maintain a state of homeostasis. However, it is not impossible to reach a place where self-care is a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.
There are things you can do every day that will help you live a long, healthy, and more fulfilled life.
Overview: The 6 Types of Self Care
There are six primary self-care domains. We’re going to take some time now to explore each area and provide examples of what different self-care strategies may look like for each.
These six areas include:
If you are not used to practicing self-care, this may provide a good overview and generate some ideas to help you get started. Additionally, if self-care is already a part of your daily routine, there is always an opportunity to learn and grow in this space, and we hope you find some of the following ideas to be inspirational.
Emotional self-care involves the intentional practice of tending to your feelings. Emotions can influence your thoughts which can ultimately influence your behaviors. Over time, if you are not minding your emotional well-being, it can affect your quality of life.
There are a few strategies you can use to practice this type of self-care, also referred to as mental self care. Some people find it helpful to journal. Being able to transfer your thoughts and process your emotions on paper provides a nice outlet. Others find things like yoga and meditation to be helpful.
If you are not sure how to get started with those types of activities, there are a lot of great online resources that can help you out, and you can learn the basics with this post that discusses bullet journaling.
Setting boundaries is another tactic to improve your emotional self-care. If you find yourself constantly depleted by other peoples’ demands, it may be helpful to say “no.” This can be difficult especially if you are not used to establishing your bounds but again, if we are not tending to our needs, we are limited in the scope of what we can provide to others.
Physical self-care activities involve those things that ensure we are in good physical health. Your body is like a motor vehicle. It helps to transport us throughout life.
If we are not fueling our bodies properly and taking care of them, they are not going to function as they should. Similarly, if we are not fueling our vehicles properly or performing routine maintenance, they are not going to be able to get us from point A to point B without issues.
Physical self-care is critical because it helps to keep our immune systems strong and reduce stress. It also ensures we can perform all the essential activities of daily living.
This type of self-care may include exercising regularly, eating mindfully, or practicing good sleep hygiene. A simple walk around the neighborhood, for example, gets your blood and oxygen flowing.
Eating mindfully can ensure you’re not rushing through your meals but being intentional about what and how you eat. Good sleep hygiene may involve purchasing a sound machine, investing in some new sheets, or taking a hot bath before bedtime.
Intellectual self-care involves tending to your mind. They say that knowledge is power, so it is important to find opportunities to delve into this space. We are taught to exercise our bodies, so why not exercise our minds, as well?
Practicing intellectual self-care can help keeps our minds sharp as we age. It also helps promote creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. These are important elements we use to function and interact with others every day. They are important skills to continue developing over time.
Examples of physical self-care may include reading a book, magazine, or newspaper, or doing something creative such as painting or knitting. Putting together a puzzle or playing games with friends or loved ones can be nice ways to test your brain and provide much-needed respite, as well.
Social self-care involves cultivating and nurturing the relationships in your life. As humans, we are social beings and are wired to connect. It involves fostering a strong relationship with yourself, first, and then extending those good feelings to other people in your social circle.
There are different ways to practice social self care. Spending quality time with friends and loved ones can be good for your soul and provide the support system that we all need. Time spent alone is also needed. It’s finding a healthy balance between the two that will keep you feeling socially satisfied.
Social self-care examples may include giving a gift to a friend, scheduling time to decompress after a long week, or taking the time to disconnect from social media and your phone.
Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is an important part of this type of self-care, as well. If you are constantly tending to other people’s needs and not your own, you will quickly burn out. Being able to assess your capacity and say, “I can’t accommodate that right now,” or “I am sorry, but I am not available to assist with that at this moment,” when needed is critical.
Setting healthy boundaries is not selfish; it is necessary to have and maintain close relationships and preserve our mental health and emotional well-being. It’s okay to permit yourself to set boundaries without feeling guilty about it.
Spiritual self-care involves taking care of your spirit or soul. At your core, you are guided by the energy that lives inside you. You lean into your intuition to help guide you through life decisions and major milestones. If you are not feeling grounded, there is a good chance you need to practice some spiritual self-care.
What might this look like? These spiritual self care activities are going to look and feel a bit different for everyone, but it typically involves taking the time to turn inwards and connect with your inner being – for some, starting a regular meditation practice may help.
Others may find internal peace and solace through prayer and trust in the Lord. My faith is what has kept me going many times throughout my life, and spending time in prayer is part of my morning routine.
There is no right or wrong way to practice spiritual self-care.
Sensory self-care is all about engaging and disengaging through your senses. As human beings functioning in modern society, we are constantly stimulated by messages, phone calls, the hustle and bustle of traffic, and more. Our minds are constantly activated. Over time, this can be exhausting!
We must learn how to decompress. Sometimes, it is good to just unplug from all the noise of the world and enjoy the peace of the safe space we create. Sensory self-care helps us to tune in and tune out appropriately, so we do not become overstimulated and overwhelmed.
Activities such as listening to your favorite song, drinking a warm cup of tea, or cuddling up with a soft blanket can be useful.
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Tiny Habits for Daily Self Care
Now that you understand the different types of self-care and why they are important, here are some small things you can do to make self-care part of your daily life. Call it your mini self care plan if you will.
These simple yet healthy habits will help keep you balanced and centered in a healthy way as you go through the day.
Do One Thing Every Day Just for You Because it Makes You Happy
Take a moment to reflect on one thing that brings you joy. Is it spending time with a loved one? Does it involve singing in the shower or reading a good book?
Whatever it is, try to carve out time to do this one thing every day.
Do One Thing Every Day That is Good for Your Body
Perhaps you call a friend and ask if they would like to join you for a walk at the park. Maybe you play with your dog in the backyard or make a fresh salad with the produce you picked up from the local farmer’s market.
Whatever you choose to do, doing one thing every day that is good for your body can help you stay healthy.
Do One Thing Every Day That is Good for Your Mind
Set a goal for yourself to learn something new every day. Maybe this includes picking up some new books from the library or listening to a podcast on your way to work. It might also be an opportunity to initiate a game night with friends.
Doing one thing that stimulates your mind each day will help keep your stress at bay and your mind sharp.
Do One Thing Everyday That is Good for Your Spirit
There are quite a few people who wake up in the morning and take some time to journal, meditate, or pray. They find that these are useful and enjoyable ways to start their day.
Whatever activity you choose, select one thing that you can do each day to tune inward and preserve your spirit.
Learn more about the benefits of self-care:
- 6 Types of Self Care and Why We Need Them in Our Life
- 5 Minute Self Care Ideas When You Need a Quick Boost
- Self Care vs Self Love: What’s the Difference?
- 6 Tips for Creating a Healthy Morning Self Care Routine
- 10 Winter Self Care Ideas to Keep You Feeling Your Best
- Summer Self Care Ideas: 10 Ways to Relax and Refresh
- Self Care Sunday: 15 Ideas to Soothe Your Body, Mind, and Spirit
Final Thoughts – 6 Types of Self Care
Self-care is critically important. In recent years, the term has gained a lot of traction. There is a lot of attention around finding ways to preserve our mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
The problem is that so many of us rush from place to place and task to task that we don’t take the time to properly practice self-care. We get discouraged and burnt out.
There are a lot of different types of self-care, and they are all essential to our long-term health and well-being. Carving out the time to intentionally engage in activities we enjoy can help ensure we live happier, healthier, and more satisfying lives for years to come.