We all know self-care plays an important part in ensuring we’re at the top of our health and wellness game. It’s the key to preventing burnout, feeling balanced, and leading a fulfilling, purposeful, and productive life.
Benefits of self-care include:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Increased energy
- Improved productivity
- Increased immunity
- Greater patience
- Greater resilience
- Improved mood and emotional well-being
- Improved physical health
- Greater self-compassion and self-awareness
- Greater ability to care for and be present for others
But did you know there are actually 7 types of self-care you should embrace to feel your best in all areas of your life?
The seven types of self-care are:
- Emotional self-care
- Physical self-care
- Mental self-care
- Social self-care
- Spiritual self-care
- Practical self-care
- Professional self-care
Our ability to regulate our emotions and cope with difficult feelings as they arise is vital to our happiness and overall quality of life. That’s why emotional self-care—the actions we take to connect with our emotions and process them in a healthy way—is SO important.
A few examples of self-care activities to address your emotional needs include:
- Talking to a Health Coach, Life Coach, therapist, spiritual mentor, or other counselor
- Utilizing affirmations or mantras
- Practicing gratitude
While everyone can benefit from investing time and attention in this critical area of self-care, people who will find this particularly beneficial are those who:
- Have difficulty controlling their emotions
- Are easily affected by others’ negative moods
- Struggle to cope with feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, jealousy, anger, and/or feelings of unworthiness.The best way to start tending to your emotional health is to first pay attention to the way you speak to yourself. Noticing if you’re engaging in negative self-talk is an important preliminary step toward breaking an unhealthy habit. The second step is to replace that negative self-talk with words that are loving and kind.
By regularly engaging in emotional self-care and learning to give yourself grace, you can develop healthy coping mechanisms that vastly increase your happiness and sense of well-being.
Physical self-care is probably what many of us typically think of when we hear the words self-care. This type of self-care refers to any activities you deliberately engage in to enhance your physical well-being.
A few examples include:
- Being active (going for a walk, a bike ride, taking a fitness class, etc.)
- Taking a relaxing bubble bath
- Dancing to your favorite song
- Getting a massage
- Taking a nap
So give some thought to what types of physical activities make you feel calm, balanced, and happy, and schedule regular time to do them.
Mental self-care encompasses anything you do specifically to stimulate your mind and cultivate a healthy psyche.
Some activities that fit under the mental self-care umbrella include:
- Listening to a podcast
- Trying a new hobby
- Going to a museum
- Reading a book
- Writing a poem
Humans are social beings, which means we need regular connection with others to thrive (yes, even us introverts!). That’s why prioritizing social self-care—or activities that nurture our relationships with others—is critical.
The problem is, oftentimes when our lives get hectic and overwhelming (and we’d most benefit from facetime with others), we tend to cancel our plans and withdraw. While of course we all need to just say “no” sometimes, it’s also extremely important to make time for social interaction. Think of how good you feel after a good heart-to-heart with someone close to you.
A few examples of social self-care activities include:
- Scheduling a regular phone touch-base with your mom
- Hosting a game night with your friends
- Going on a date with your significant other
- Cuddling with a furry friend
- Writing a card and mailing it to a loved one
Along the same lines, give some thought to which relationships are no longer serving you in your life. If there’s anyone you find draining to be around (a friend or family member), it may be time to part ways. Your relationships should uplift and fulfill you, not deflate and drain you.
Don’t let the name of this one fool you. This form of self-care applies to everyone—religious, atheist, agnostic, or otherwise. Spiritual self-care encompasses any activities you engage in to connect with and nurture your soul.
This practice is fundamentally about connecting with your inner spirit, which for some may include activities that honor a belief in a higher power (God, the universe, or whatever floats your boat), but may look entirely different for others.
Some examples of spiritual self-care include:
- Spending time in nature
- Engaging in prayer or attending a worship service
- Doing a type of meditation/reading your bible/prayer/slow movement stretching
- Volunteering for a cause you care about
- Creating a vision board or doing something else that lights you up and inspires you
We’re all unique beings so you do you!
Yes, even mundane, everyday activities can be considered self-care. Any actions you take to fulfill your core needs and reduce stress can be catalogued as practical self-care.
Examples of practical self-care might include:
- Organizing your email inbox
- Tidying your living space
- Meeting with a financial advisor
- Setting out your clothes for the week in advance
- Meal prepping
These forms of self-care are admittedly less exciting than some of the others, but not to be underestimated. They can be huge sanity-savers and help create a greater sense of calm and control in our busy lives.
Last but not least, if you’re employed, it’s essential to make time for professional self-care. These are the activities and actions that support feeling balanced and fulfilled in your career.
Professional self-care examples include:
- Setting a calendar reminder to take a lunch break
- Spending time with coworkers after hours
- Setting your phone to Do Not Disturb at the end of your work day
- Taking courses, attending conferences, or working with a mentor to develop your skills and support your desired career path
- Taking a mental health (or sick) day when you need it
Establishing a Self-Care Routine That Works For You
Self-care doesn’t have to take tons of time or cost lots of money to be beneficial.
It’s not always easy to actively express gratitude in our everyday lives, especially when we get busy, are bogged down with a mile-long to-do list, or things aren’t going well. We may occasionally express feelings of gratitude or understand the power of positivity in theory, but actively practicing gratitude is totally different.
Adopting an attitude of gratitude every day can have a profound impact on every aspect of your life. It has the power to radically change your life—and we’re going to tell you how.
Why Is Gratitude So Powerful?
Gratitude changes your mindset, which can, in turn, change how you feel about everything. It can positively impact your relationships, mental health, physical health, and more.
An article on NPR cited several studies linking the practice of gratitude to better sleep, lower stress, improving relationships, decreasing materialism, and even healthier eating.
Gratitude can also be a vital component of our mental health. Consider these findings from a study conducted at Berkeley that evaluated the power of gratitude for students seeking mental health care:
Compared with the participants who wrote about negative experiences or only received counseling, those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health four weeks and 12 weeks after their writing exercise ended. This suggests that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for healthy, well-adjusted individuals, but also for those who struggle with mental health concerns. In fact, it seems, practicing gratitude on top of receiving psychological counseling carries greater benefits than counseling alone, even when that gratitude practice is brief.
Make Expressing Gratitude a Habit
Ideally, gratitude should be an active practice. We all have fleeting moments of gratitude in the day—thanking someone for holding the door open, your partner for taking out the trash, or at the end of a phone call. But the real power of gratitude happens when we practice it knowingly and intentionally. Or, in other words, when we make it a habit.
We are creatures of habit. According to this Harvard Business Review article, 40-45% of our behavior occurs out of habit, either unconsciously or in reaction to external demands. Since we are creatures of habit, then it follows that if we can change our habits, then we can change the very things that determine how happy and healthy we are.
Habits are the little things we do every day, like getting up at the same time, always leaving your shoes in the same spot, getting a little caffeine “pick me up” at 2pm every day, etc. No matter what they are, our habits are either health promoting or health destroying.
Changing habits isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. And implementing a gratitude practice in your life is no different. Below you’ll find our best tips and tricks for making gratitude a daily habit that will change your life!
How to Make Your Attitude of Gratitude Second Nature
Here are several ways to create an attitude of gratitude, that you can incorporate into your life on the daily.
- Start each day with gratitude.Each morning when you wake up, write down 5-10 things you’re grateful for. It can be small (cream in my coffee!) or large (my kids!), just list out the wonderful things having a positive impact in your life.
- Every day, tell the people you love most why you love them and why they’re important to you.
- If you start to feel like you’re not doing enough or are failing in some way, write down a list of accomplishments from the past week.Again, it can be small (got caught up with laundry!) or big (talked to the boss about taking on that big project!).
- Shift your focus during the day. We all have negative thoughts. When they pop up during the day, force yourself to replace them with something you’re grateful for. Ugh, I ate that second cupcake! becomes I’m thankful for cupcakes and the opportunity to share them with my kids!
- Don’t compare yourself to others.We’ve all heard the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy” and it’s so true. Comparing your life to others’ isn’t fair to you and serves no purpose other than to make you feel less than happy about your own life. Again, it’s about shifting your thoughts throughout the day. If you find yourself thinking I wish I could look as good in that outfit as her, tell yourself, I really rocked that presentation today!
- Give back.Helping others is a sure-fire way to brighten your mood and make you grateful for your own capabilities. Try every day to do something nice for someone—buy a stranger’s coffee, help a busy mom with her groceries, or complete one of your partner’s regular “chores.” It doesn’t have to be something big or that requires a lot of money, just do a small thing every day to help someone else.
We guarantee if you start doing these things everyday, you will begin to see amazing changes in your life. After a while, take some time to notice how gratitude makes you feel. Do you feel better when you start each day with gratitude? Are you able to more easily shift your mindset away from everything that’s wrong and instead focus on what’s gone right?
If you would like to connect with owner and Health Coach Melissa Phillips, please contact the store at 270-240-1672 or email her @ firstname.lastname@example.org and she can discuss accountability with you and help you design a plan for self care with you.