AD | Self care is a hugely broad topic which has gained traction and attention in it’s millions over the last few years. I’d never heard of the phrase ‘self care’ once before I started blogging. I knew I had to take care of myself but I didn’t quite realise the importance of REALLY taking care of yourself, if you get what I mean? Nor did I realise how many areas of self care there were to think about.
Of course there are many more areas of self care that we can work on but for the sake of this post not being four million words long, let’s stick to 4 of the most common and most important; physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. We’re going to be splitting these up, looking at what they are and specific things we can do to tend to those areas of our self care! Ready to jump in?
Let’s start with physical:
Taking care of our bodies is incredibly important – obviously – but it’s not always about sweating it out in the gym. It’s the little things which matter just as much. Asking ourselves, “what does my body feel like it needs right now?” is a good place to start with optimizing your physical self care. This post from Mobility Plus about 10 surprising health benefits of a cold water shower identifies things we might not even be aware we need nor how to achieve from such a simple task, such as taking a shower.
- Consider introducing a meat-free day to your week
- Take part in more physical activity that you actually enjoy – not just what you feel like you have to do
- If you need a nap, take a nap. No regrets.
- Stay hydrated and if you don’t like plain water – find something that works (like flavored water!)
- Don’t neglect the basics: Take a shower, brush your teeth, eat breakfast
What about emotional self care?
And checking in with our emotions really is just as important as checking in with our bodies. Emotions can manifest themselves in the body so these two really do go hand in hand and you have to take care of both equally. This can be a tough cookie and we all know that nothing good comes from bottling up your emotions.
- How To Cope When Things Feel Heavy
- 30 Journal Prompts For Mental Health
- How Creativity Can Improve Mental Health
Check in with yourself regularly; multiple times a day if you can! If you’ve noticed some damaging thought patterns, be aware of them and if something is constantly making you feel a negative emotion, try and work out how to work through that.
- Find a creative outlet that works for you which allows you to express your emotions in a safe and healthy manner
- Try journaling or keeping a diary and writing down how you feel every morning / night
- Try meditating when everything gets too much. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just taking yourself to a quiet room and focusing on your breathing for 10 minutes can work wonders
- Listen to music and dance it out. Music is hugely emotional and certain songs and lyrics can definitely help us with our emotions
- Cry if you need to cry
Taking care of our intellect
Keeping our brains stimulated is also a really effective form of self care. Our brains need nourishment, in the form of food and vitamins and also knowledge and entertainment. We don’t have to start studying math or physics in order to provide ourselves with intellectual self care and this one also varies quite widely on our individual intellectual levels and interests. I think we’ve all been there when we’ve let our intellectual mind get a bit stagnant and it really is an awful feeling!
- Try learning a new language. Duolingo is a great, accessible and free app which allows you to do that
- Take a free, online course in something that you’re interested in (try Coursera for some fab courses!)
- See what your local library has going on and attend some talks in things you’re interested in
- Try reading more and stepping outside your comfort zone
- Watch more documentaries on things you find interesting and also on things you know nothing about
Spiritual Self Care
And finally, spiritual self care. You don’t have to be deeply spiritual nor religious to relate to this one although if you are, that’s great too and you probably have your own personal spiritual practices in the form of prayer, church or crystals.
But for everyone one, spiritual self care simply means something that provides you with inner peace and makes your soul happy (and again, if you don’t believe in a soul, that’s fine!) We all want to find meaning within our lives and spiritual self care is the thing you want to practice for that.
- Follow your passions – I know this is easier said than done but one small step every day
- Look to your spiritual beliefs for guidance when you’re feeling stuck or low
- Volunteer for a charity / donate money to charity / do a selfless kind act
- Meditate and practice expressing gratitude every day
- Consider hiring a Life Coach to aid you on your spiritual self care journey – they’ll be able to cover many more areas too! I had an incredible experience with life coaching
- Learn something new, like Ayurveda