what are the 8 types of self-care?
As an essential part of mental well-being, self-care can take many forms.
By checking in with how you feel during the day and after a self-care activity, you can identify what works for you. Depending on your mood, you might find some types of self-care more nourishing on some days than others.
Self-care involves engaging in activities that improve or maintain one's overall health. Taking care of one’s mental health can consist of several types of self-care: physical, psychological, emotional, social, professional, environmental, spiritual, and financial.
Types Of Self-Care
Just as one's life is multi-faceted – filled with familial, job, school and other daily responsibilities – so are types of self-care. One activity may nurture your physical health, while another calms your nerves. We've broken it down into 8 categories to understand why better taking care of each part of your life is essential.
This means becoming aware of and identifying your feelings and then navigating those emotions to manage stress effectively. Some examples of emotional self-care are saying no, being aware of emotional boundaries, making time for reflecting on feelings and practising self-compassion.
Mental Health Self-Care
Self-care activities for mental health may include personal and professional development. Focus on things in your control and take time for personal reflection. Types of self-care for mental health include journaling, meditation and coaching/counselling; these strategies allow you to grow, learn and reflect.
This involves movement of the body, good nutrition, sleep and rest. Physical self-care could include walking, taking a bath, eating nourishing foods, resting and getting enough sleep. The latter two are often overlooked and deprioritised, but rest and sleep can significantly affect how you feel emotionally and physically.
Taking time to rest ultimately helps you reach your peak performance. It's essential to take breaks to catch your breath throughout the day, even stepping away from your desk at work to practise physical self-care.
Learning new things, practising mindfulness and fostering creativity. Some examples of psychological self-care can include practising mindfulness, reading a self-help book, learning a new skill or even doing a digital detox .
It's important to cultivate a supportive group and network of healthy relationships around you. Asking for help when needed, spending time with family and friends and honouring your commitments to others, such as showing up for planned activities or returning calls, are all considered social self-care.
Avoid making social media a primary way of connecting with friends and family. Taking a break from scrolling through images on your screen fits into several types of self-care: doing so is suitable for the body, mind and spirit.
Research indicates that being thankful increases happiness and reduces depression. Spiritual self-care involves cultivating beliefs and values that are important to you and guide your life. Examples of spiritual self-care include meditating—which helps to mitigate the effects of stress on the body while calming the mind—reflecting in a journal, going on a retreat, walking in nature, doing a hobby you enjoy and expressing gratitude.
This is where you can share your strengths and gifts, set clear professional boundaries and live your purpose. Some examples of professional self-care include taking a lunch break each day at work, negotiating your work needs and expectations with colleagues, having clear professional boundaries and attending professional development opportunities.
Look around you. Is your space organised and clutter-free? Tidying up can go a long way to improving how you feel. The same is true for having clean clothes and even a clean, well-maintained vehicle to drive. Small changes like keeping a planner to write down your responsibilities and appointments, can help keep your life more organised. These seemingly simple actions can lead to a more organised lifestyle that reduces stress.
Why Self-Care Is Important for Mental Health
Clinical experience has demonstrated that individuals who do not practise or understand self-care can become exhausted or resentful and turn to toxic addictions to relax or escape. Take a moment to review the types of self-care for mental health listed above and jot down some activities you can turn to in times of stress or complete daily to help minimise stress and create a healthy, well-balanced life.
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