We know, we know — taking care of yourself is a no-brainer. But believe it or not, lots of people fail to practice self-care in different areas of life. That’s never a good thing – without taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of others, fulfill your work obligations, or meet any other goals.
But self-care is more than just eating right and going to the gym once in a while. There are seven types of self-care that each require attention. Today, let’s break down each of the forms of self-care and explore how you can incorporate them into your life starting today.
What Are the Different Types of Self-Care?
There are many different types of self-care. While each one relates to the others and can positively impact them, every aspect of health has to be attended to separately.
Setting aside a little time each day to exercise counts as a form of physical and mental self-care. That’s because exercise not only improves your physical health by burning excess calories. It also burns away stress hormones like cortisol, making you less likely to feel frustrated or anxious throughout the day.
Overall, there are seven types of self-care:
- Physical self-care, which includes how and when you exercise and what you eat. It relates to taking care of your physical body
- Mental self-care, which includes all aspects of your mental health
- Emotional self-care, which is related to mental health but which is technically its own category of self-care
- Spiritual self-care. All humans have a spiritual side, regardless of whether they are religious or not
- Social self-care, which concerns your social relationships and wellness
- Financial self-care, which includes improving or maintaining your financial situation throughout your life
- Professional self-care, which involves taking care of your career and professional self-worth
As you can see, many of these overlap to some extent. Mental and emotional self-care, for instance, certainly overlap. Many of the strategies that you’ll leverage to take care of your mental health will have positive effects on your emotional well-being as well.
Still, it’s important to take stock of your health along each major axis from time to time. Set aside a session with your therapist or just some time alone with your thoughts and ask yourself:
- Do I feel healthy?
- Are there areas in my life that need more attention than others?
- What sections of my life make me feel the best?
- What sections of my life make me feel the most frustrated, anxious, or sad?
By asking yourself these questions, you’ll be able to identify which type of self-care you need to practice most intensely in the short term future. Remember, though: all aspects of self-care have to be practiced in the long term for holistic, long-lasting wellness!
How Can I Practice Each Form of Self-Care?
Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can practice self-care, as well as distinct strategies or techniques you can leverage to improve your health in one area or another. Let’s break down how you can practice each type of self-care and incorporate strategies into your daily routines.
Physical self-care, in a nutshell, means caring for your physical body. Many strategies revolve around exercise, medication, regular healthcare visits, and dieting or eating healthily.
Physical self-care is arguably the most important overall. That’s because our minds are invariably affected by the state of our bodies. For instance, if we physically feel ill, we’ll also feel that internally, and our mental and emotional health may suffer. The reverse is true if we feel physically great.
While it’s still possible to experience the symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other conditions while having a healthy body, it’s much less likely, and symptoms are typically less severe. Therefore, everyone should try to practice physical self-care every day and in several different ways.
The best ways to practice physical self-care activities include:
- Eating healthily by reducing unhealthy fats, unhealthy carbs, and excess sugars and salts. Generally, half of your diet should be made up of healthy vegetables and fats. The rest of your diet should be comprised of lean meats, healthy oils, and a few carbohydrates. You are what you eat, so change your diet to incorporate nourishing foods, and your health will improve across the board.
- Dieting if you are overweight. Being overweight leads to many major negative symptoms in your life, such as reduced energy, increased risk of cardiovascular and other diseases, and more. Fortunately, eating healthily by itself is technically a form of dieting and should lead to improvements in no time.
- Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day, even if it’s taking a walk around the block. Exercise is important to keep your body at a healthy weight and maintain muscle strength, joint mobility, and bone health.
- Getting enough sleep. Making time for adequate sleep is important in any self-care routine, and it’ll mitigate the effects stressors have on your life.
In addition, you can practice physical self-care by going to regular healthcare professional appointments. Visit a dentist twice per year to take care of your teeth and a general practitioner doctor for a checkup at least once per year. If you notice that you have physical symptoms of some kind, don’t leave it to chance. See a healthcare professional right away.
Mental self-care involves taking care of your mind and thought processes. Mental health is increasingly seen as an important aspect of holistic wellness, and for a good reason. Even the healthiest individuals can feel bad or experience negative symptoms if their mental health suffers.
Mental health is frequently affected by factors like:
- Your environment, including your workplace
- Your social circle
- Your self-esteem or self-confidence
- Your culture
Millions of Americans are affected by low mental health these days for a variety of reasons. For example, many people spend too much time on social media, which leads them to compare their lives against those of their friends and peers. This invariably hurts mental health.
Luckily, there are ways to improve your mental health in this aspect, including:
- Spending less time on social media and in front of electronic devices in general
- Spending more time in nature or outdoors
- Practicing positive thoughts. For example, tell yourself a compliment each time you see yourself in front of the mirror.
- Changing your daily habits to inspire positive change and growth. For instance, making your bed in the morning each day can have a major effect on your mental health for the better, even though it’s an ultimately small gesture.
Then there’s emotional self-care. While closely related to mental health, emotional health is a little different. It primarily involves the emotions you feel about yourself and other people. Emotional self-care often means practicing techniques like:
- Giving yourself some “you” time. That means recreation in whatever form is most enjoyable for you, no matter what other people think. Everyone needs a bit of downtime to avoid burnout.
- Spending time with friends and family members who affirm your identity and treat you well. Your emotions will blossom if you spend time around people who are helpful, positive, and nice to you rather than people who are overly critical or rude.
- Practicing self-compassion and self-awareness. It’s easy to beat ourselves up when we make mistakes, but that can negatively affect our emotions. Learning to roll with life’s punches and stay optimistic can do wonders for improving emotional health.
- Speaking to a therapist if needed. Therapists are helpful professionals who can help you get things off your chest if you don’t have anyone else to talk to. They can help you unload burdens and realize new insights about yourself for greater emotional health.
Every person on the planet has a spiritual core. Humans are inherently spiritual by nature. But spiritual doesn’t necessarily mean religious.
Instead, spiritual means your sense of connection to the world and/or the universe at large. For example, agnostic people or atheists can still feel spiritual sensations when gazing upon naturally beautiful landmarks, when taking part in ceremonies, and when doing other actions that bind them to the world around them.
Spiritual self-care can take a lot of forms, but it’s very important to maintain your emotional and mental health. Some of the best ways to practice it include:
- Meditating frequently. Meditation connects your spiritual energy to the universe and helps to re-center you in your place. It also helps to clear away distracting thoughts or anxieties your brain may build up over a given day.
- Practicing yoga or other calming exercise routines
- Spending time in nature. For example, taking a calming walk in a park is a great way to practice spiritual self-care.
- Participating in a religion of your choice. Many people find religion to be comforting. So long as you choose it for its merits, it can be an excellent tool for positively boosting your spirituality.
Social self-care means tending to your social relationships and placing your community. Even the most introverted people don’t like to be ostracized or exiled from the people around them. In fact, feeling lonely or isolated is one of the most damaging things you can experience for your mental and emotional health.
Practicing social self-care often means reinforcing social bonds and taking time out of your schedule to spend time with people. This is harder than ever with our digital-focused lifestyles, but you can it by:
- Visiting friends or family members at least once per week
- Spending less time online and more time interacting with people face-to-face
- Doing favors for friends or family. This reinforces social bonds and cements the ties you have to other people
- Making new friends by going to social events, like clubs or game nights
- Calling friends or family members you can’t meet in person regularly to maintain those social bonds
Financial self-care is also crucially important. After all, it’s difficult to take care of yourself physically or emotionally if you don’t have enough money to pay for life’s expenses. Good financial self-care strategies include spending your money wisely and saving where possible, like:
- Starting and contributing to a savings account and retirement account as early as possible
- Not taking out too much credit card or other debt
- Paying off debts or loans quickly so that your credit score improves
- Practicing self-control when you see an item you wish to purchase that you can’t afford
Last but not least is professional self-care. This means taking care of yourself in a professional sense by doing what’s good for your career and workplace. In many cases, professional self-care naturally follows from caring for your other health aspects.
If you want to double down on your career health, you can practice professional self-care by:
- Taking time off! It sounds ironic, but the last thing you want to do is burn out at work. Take some vacation time now and again so you can come into the office fresh and ready to do your best work each day.
- Working at a company you appreciate. If your job makes you miserable, other elements of your health may suffer, and you won’t do a great job in your career. Look for a new job if your current one isn’t working.
- Reminding yourself of your long-term career goals and pursuing them. It’s easy to forget what we want out of our careers when we become lost in the daily hustle and bustle.
All in all, self-care is crucial to long-term wellness. You deserve to feel your best each and every day, which is why 1AND1 Life offers dozens of guides dedicated to physical, mental, emotional, and other forms of health.
With 1AND1 Life, you can find the right tutorials, exercise guides, and wellness products you need to practice self-care across all of its major aspects. Check out our blog today, or visit our online store to see some helpful supplements that may help you see more intense benefits from your workout routine.