Self-care may seem obvious or easy to do, but sometimes it’s a little more complicated. Although we believe self-care is essential, the demands of life pull at our time and demand our attention. Before we know it, we wear our exhaustion as a badge of honor instead of modeling to others the importance of a holistic self-care practice for well-being. Learning how to incorporate various types of self-care in our daily lives helps our healing process. Sadly, too many of us are conditioned to ignore, overlook, or even deny prioritizing self-care to “keep the peace,” “not be so sensitive,” or “not be selfish.”
To practice healthy self-care as a part of our healing journey, we must be willing to uproot unhealthy behaviors and beliefs we accept from our upbringing, society, culture, trauma, or all of the above. Sometimes, we haven’t been taught how to implement a holistic self-care practice to help us heal.
Before we dig into the specifics of self-care, we must set a few boundaries:
- You don’t need to spend money to practice self-care.
- Self-care is personal. Do what works for you.
- Self-care won’t always feel good, even when it’s good for us.
- You do have time for self-care.
Self-care won’t always feel good, even when it’s good for us.Tweet
Several forms of self-care can help you along your healing journey. Let’s dive into five types of self-care to help you get started today.
Physical self-care is probably one of the more well-known forms of self-care. How we take care of our bodies directly impacts our healing journey. Physical self-care can include everything from your morning routine to how much sleep you get. Choosing effective forms of physical care is personal.
Healthy physical self-care is interconnected to other areas in our lives. Prioritizing proper sleep habits, healthy eating, and physical activity support improving our mental and emotional well-being. Plus, improving our physical self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. Small changes like moving your body 30 minutes a day, cutting back on sugar, and going to bed instead of staying on your phone are part of creating a holistic self-care practice.
Some examples of physical self-care:
- Taking a nap
- Meal prep
- Deep breathing
- Dance break
- Healthy diet
When we choose to prioritize emotional self-care as a part of our healing journey, we make space to honor how we feel without feelings of shame or fear. We see our emotions as indicators of how we are processing a moment, not as defining characteristics of who we are.
Emotional self-care practices are activities aligned to help your emotional well-being. These intentional activities include identifying your emotions, honest reflection, and making healthy steps forward in a way that honors your voice. Let’s be clear emotional self-care is NOT about constantly feeling happy. Emotional self-care is about being honest with yourself about what you are feeling, understanding why you have those feelings, what you need at the moment, and how you can move forward toward healing in a healthy way. It’s doing the WORK. Sometimes that work is complex and messy, but it’s always worth it.
A few examples of emotional self-care are:
- Daily affirmations/declarations
- Exercise self-compassion
- Practice gratitude
- Communicate your needs
What we think matters. Sometimes those thoughts are unhealthy, harmful labels from others that we have allowed to become a part of who we are. A part of our healing journey is learning how to identify and uproot toxic thinking. It’s not easy, but totally worth it. Mental self-care helps you to develop a healthy relationship with your mind.
Prioritizing mental self-care is complicated when life gets hectic, and we are overwhelmed. Making mental self-care a regular part of our wellness practice helps declutter your mind, reduce stress levels, and help regulate your emotions.
A few examples of mental self-care are:
- Schedule short breaks throughout the day
- Digital detox
- Positive self-talk
- Take a class
- Do a brain dump
- Playing a game
Sensory self-care helps you to nourish your senses. Each of our senses sends essential information to our environment to help our brains process the world around us. Using our five senses, we can ground ourselves in the present moment, which is a form of mindfulness. When our senses are overwhelmed, we experience increased stress and anxiety. Building sensory self-care practices help to calm your mind so you can let go of worries and stress.
A few examples of sensory self-care are:
- Burn a candle
- listen to music
- wrap yourself in a cozy blanket
- take a bubble bath
- create a memory box
- sit in silence
Intellectual self-care is often an overlooked area when it comes to healing. Intellectual self-care, as one of the five types of self-care, is more than learning to accomplish a task, certification, or degree. When we implement intellectual self-care, we gain knowledge that nourishes and challenges us to grow and heal. We seek to expand our understanding and awareness.
A few examples of intellectual self-care are:
- reading a book
- learn a new skill for fun
- watching a documentary
- learning a new language
- listen to a podcast
Creating a holistic self-care practice is a great addition to your healing journey. These five types of self-care are a good start to a healing journey. Don’t feel like you have to include all of it. Pick what works for you and your schedule. Remember, it’s okay to go slow; don’t give up.
What would you add to the list?