When you hear the term “self-care” what do you first think of? A relaxing day at the spa? Maybe painting your nails and taking a hot bath? Or perhaps you image a peaceful session of morning yoga?
Self-care is a necessary component of self-love. As the phrase goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You have to take care of yourself first. But even though self-care is buzzing all over the internet, what is self-care? What does self-care actually mean from a practical standpoint? And how can you build a wholesome self-care routine for you? Personally, I define self-care as:
Self-care: a routine of regular activities to foster and support the well-being and personal growth of an individual.
With that in mind, I want you to take a moment to think of your own self-care routine. What types of activities does it consist of? Is is consistent? Or just something that you do now and again when you remember? Does it even exist in the first place?
Now, I want to ask you the most important question of all:
Is your self-care routine wholesome?
Does it take care of you in multiple dimensions beyond a nice manicure here and there? Does your self-care routine actually take care of you and all of you? Self-care shouldn’t be focused on a single aspect of your person. But more often than not, I think we imagine physical self-care as the automatic “go-to” for creating a self-care routine. While this is certainly an important aspect of self-care, it’s just one dimension. You’re a multidimensional individual who is more than just your looks and body. Self-care should take care of your whole person.Self-care is more than a periodic hot bath. Take care of ALL of you with this self-care routine! Click To Tweet
That being said, what aspects of yourself should you include in a self-care routine? And how can you develop this into a consist routine? Personally, I think self-care includes 5 (sometimes overlapping) aspects. Better yet, it’s reasonable to address all dimensions of yourself!
Physical self-care is the most commonly suggested form of self-care. This includes any way to care for and love your body. Physical self-care is important from a health standpoint as well as for body image and confidence. When you care for and respect your body on a consistent basis, you increase your confidence and comfort in your own skin.
Types of physical self-care may include:
- Get your nails done, take a hot bath, or treat yourself to any other spa-like treatment
- Maintain a regular exercise routine
- Admire at least one physical aspect of your body every day
- Eat well with mindfulness (use healthy eating as an intentional act to fuel and nourish your body)
- Thank your body for everything it is and does for you
Intellectual self-care includes activities that stimulate your mind. They keep your mind active and engaged and often overlaps with spiritual and mental self-care. Engaging in regular intellectual stimulation will keep your mind sharp, improve mental cognition, and continually expand your knowledge base. Intellectual self-care will prevent your mind from becoming a vegetable that passively accepts its surroundings. Instead, you’ll be engaged, interested, and looking for ways to change things for the better.
Types of intellectual self-care may include:
- Read new books and re-read old favorites
- Watch mentally stimulating documentaries, movies, or shows (and discuss them with someone)
- Learn a new hobby or language
- Solve different types of puzzles (jigsaw, brain teasers, riddles, etc.)
- Research subjects that interest you
Spiritual and mental self-care reaching past your intellect onto a more personal level. It not only intellectually connects you with the world, but spiritually and soulfully as well. Spiritual and mental self-care helps us understand our purpose, give greater meaning to life, understand who we are, and foster a true love of one’s self.
Types of spiritual & mental self-care include
- Practice meditation
- Participate in religious activities and ceremonies
- Experience nature (feel a connection with your surroundings)
- Spend quality time with yourself
- Learn more about yourself through personality assessments, evaluating personal goals, etc.
To me, emotional well-being means balance. Emotional self-care helps keep our emotions well balanced and as positive as possible. Additionally, emotion self-care keeps stress levels manageable and increases our emotional intelligence (ability to read and understand our own and other’s emotions).
Types of emotional self-care include:
- Talk to loved ones about your problems and struggles (don’t bottle it up!)
- Practice forgiveness towards others and yourself
- Take unnecessary tasks off your plate during times of high stress (or delegate them to others)
- Regularly remind yourself that you aren’t and don’t have to be perfect
- Consistently work towards building a positive and loving relationship with yourself
- Keep a gratitude journal to remind yourself of your everyday blessings
As social beings, we need to be connected to others. We need to have a sense of belonging and purpose in relationship to other beings. Social self-care aims to keep your relationships and social circle healthy, supportive, and loving.
Types of social self-care include:
- Regularly engage with people who make you feel wholesome and loved
- Eliminate toxic relationships
- Only say “yes” to relationships and activities that actually fulfill you (not just out of obligation)
- Take care of pets and build a close relationship with them (seek companionship from the most loyal companions)
- Take breaks from social media (you don’t need to live an IG perfect life).
But remember: self-care is supposed to be a positive experience. If you find yourself stressing out or beating yourself up over self-care activities, don’t do them! Self-care is supposed to take care of you; not make you feel worse about yourself for any reason.
PS: Looking for a group of amazing and inspiring women to support you on your self love journey? Join The Be Simply It Self Lovelies! Free to join, full of encouragement and insight, and a few special live appearance from me, this Facebook group is perfect for vibrant, thoughtful women like you! We can’t wait to meet you!