Self-Care Should Be Your First Priority.
But is it yours? Are you rushing around with your career, family, and day-to-day life and forgetting to practice self-care? Or maybe you aren’t sure why you need ‘me time’ and are happy leaving it out?
Knowing the different types of self-care will allow you to switch it up and broaden your view on what self-care actually is. It will help you listen to what your body and mind are not only longing for, but need, so you can be the best and happiest version of yourself.
Whenever I catch myself feeling stressed, snappy or simply not at my best, no matter how busy, I try to ask myself, am I taking time out for me? Even if it’s five minutes a day you will notice the difference. In any case, my family and friends certainly do… your mood and persona is a reflection of how you are treating yourself.
Sadly, the term ‘self-care’ has been overused and now sounds feeble; it’s a lot more powerful than simply having a candle-lit bubble bath and a tall glass of vino (although this definitely doesn’t hurt). Besides lowering stress levels, preventing exhaustion and leading a healthier, fruitful and more fulfilling life, this article will help you incorporate self-care into your day-to-day routine.
6 Types Of Self-Care:
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1. Physical Self-Care
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity” – John F. Kennedy
To practice self-care, how you treat your body and how you feel physically is a perfect way to start. Not only does it release those all-important endorphins but it will also give you lots more energy and self-motivation to do more for your self.
But let’s be real, exercise can be a daunting word. Nevertheless, looking after your body doesn’t mean HIIT workouts or running 10k every day (although occasionally it definitely won’t kill you). It can be as simple as going on a walk, bike ride or maybe some yoga, whatever you enjoy. If you feel like pushing yourself in a healthy way, then why not; if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything. Ross Edgley, for example, swam the English Channel in 2018 without once stepping foot on land. He believes that he is proof that the only barrier in human performance is the mind and you can overcome it.
How you nourish your body is also just as important, incorporating the right amount of healthy fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates in your diet.
Tips & Tricks:
- Always have a water bottle nearby
- Bike rides
- Walking instead of the bus or car
- Eating a balanced healthy, non-processed diet
- Morning Coffee outside
2. Environmental Self-care
“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past” – Marie Kondo
How do you feel in the spaces you spend most of your time in? Happy? Sad? Demoralised? Stressed? Environmental self-care is the understanding that what we surround ourselves with, affects how we feel and our productivity. A tidy, clean, inspirational space which brings you joy and comfort, compared to a messy, dull space which makes you anxious and encourages bad habits.
Clearing away daily clutter and mess, albeit small habits, will begin to help you get rid of the daily anxieties. Beds left slept-in, dishevelled sofas and unfinished laundry are only small tasks which don’t take lots of time, yet the payback of completing them will last for a long time and motivate you to do more. If you are already a bit of a neat freak like me, and your house doesn’t give you that spark or cosy feeling you are looking for, you could be in need of a revamp!
Tips & Tricks:
- Grab a bin bag, it is time for an early spring clean!
- Consider re-decorating
- Move around the layout of the space – this can give the impression of a completely different room.
Have a look at my article on How to Transform Your House To a Home to give you some amazing ideas.
3. Spiritual Self-care
”The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life” – William Morris
What brings you fulfilment and inner peace? Is it praying, meditating, walking, training, painting or simply reading a great book? Spiritual self-care is making sure that when you look back on your life, you are sure you did things which were not only essential but also made you happy.
Living by your core values will help you practice spiritual self-care and will lead you in the right direction. If you don’t know exactly which ones these are, ask yourself what matters the most to you and chose four or five keywords. They could relate to your aspirations, goals, family, friends and relationships, or how you conduct yourself and react. Remind yourself of them daily.
Tips & Tricks:
- Do at least one thing a day you enjoy
- Write and hang up your core values
- A form of meditation – my favourite, ‘Sa Ta Na Ma’
- Practicing gratitude
4. Intellectual self-care
”Wonder is the beginning of wisdom” – Socrates, Greek Philosopher
The pandemic has left a lot of people scratching their heads on what to do at home without work. It’s so easy to fall into a great Netflix series and not look up until lockdown has ended. Yet we so easily forget how crucial our intellectual wellbeing is.
Nourishing our minds builds up knowledge and understanding, and as human beings, our most powerful tool is our brain. What a shame it would be to waste it! Keeping it full of new challenges and staying constantly curious, contributes to living a healthy lifestyle.
New skills and experiences will lead us to greater more exciting beginnings and will leave us feeling accomplished. It can be as easy as reading an article, or can be something more difficult and demanding, like learning a new language or travelling in places you’ve never been.
Tips & Tricks:
- Bake something new (these almond blueberry cookies from Pick Up Limes, are my latest bake)
- Listen to a podcast
- Start an online course (there are so many fantastic free ones)
- Write a blog
- Watch as many different documentaries as possible
- Take care of your finances
5. Social Self-Care
“It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies” – Thomas Paine
Spending time and feeling connected to loved ones may be harder than usual but this certainly does not mean we should give up on this step. If it’s giving someone a call, zoom or going for a run with a friend, every interaction counts.
Social self-care is also making sure you are staying true to yourself and have the right boundaries in place. For example, if social media brings you anxiety then maybe think about having a detox or filtering what content you see. Some social contact can be negative, not just in social media but in real life too. Surrounding yourself with people who support you, make you laugh and want you to thrive is the key.
Tips & Tricks:
- Connecting virtually
- Meeting for walks or runs
- Planning holidays or dinner parties (post lockdown of course…)
- Social Media Detox
6. Emotional Self-Care
”Being kind to yourself is one of the greatest kindnesses,” said the Mole. – The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
Holding emotions and feelings in can leave you feeling exhausted, anxious and confused, yet sometimes you just simply don’t want to talk about it. Writing it all down (or as I call it, a Brain Dump) will unload the weight of your thoughts, making them clearer and lighter. Journaling has become popular recently, although it’s been around for ever and for a very good reason too. Having the daily habit and discipline to write how you feel, your goals, your to-do lists or even just your plan for the week, can have a very positive impact.
Emotional self-care incorporates a bit of each self-care pactice and depends on what makes you click. If that’s socialising, running, reading… the list goes on! It’s also taking time out; being still and listening to what your body and mind is asking for. Your gut instinct is a tool which is there to be used and you can train yourself to be more in tune with your emotions. This can help you make better decisions, ending ’bad’ habits and starting ’good’ ones.
Tips & Tricks:
- Journaling (‘5 Minutes In The Morning’, this one has changed my life and is not your typical journal)
- Invest in, or make, a weekly/daily planner
- Be still, be kind
- Let go of the past
- Get plenty of exercise, eat a colourful, nutritious and balanced diet
- Look after what’s arround you and the place you call home
- Keep in line with your core values and what makes you smile
- Feed your mind and stay curious
- Stay connected to friends and family
- Be kind to yourself