The self-care movement is about understanding and giving yourself what you need to be healthy and productive in your career and business. But what does self-care look like? Can self-care involve taking a spin class at the gym? Or can self-care mean taking a 5-minute break? The answer is yes, and yes. There are many ways of caring for yourself.
Self-care, in the truest sense, acknowledges all seven dimensions of living: the spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, social, recreational, and environmental. In this article, we’ll look at the seven pillars of self-care and ways to feel more in tune with these seven dimensions.
Disclaimer: This post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
1. Mental Self-Care
There are many ways to engage in mental self-care. Starting a journal, writing down your goals, blocking social media, doing check-ins with yourself, and meditating are ways to better care for your mental health. Reading an article like this on self-care is a terrific step when looking for ways to care for your mental health. But sometimes mental self-care techniques aren’t enough, and you need to seek the support of a therapist. If you feel like you’d benefit from the help of a therapist, be sure to check out therapist options and online therapy.
Online therapy often matches you with a licensed therapist in as little as 24-48 hours. There’s also the convenience of meeting with a therapist from home. Just know there is help, and don’t hesitate to take the next step to get help.
2. Spiritual Self-Care
The spiritual dimension of your self-care can be satisfied by going to church or temple, but it doesn’t have to involve organized religion. Anything that gives you a feeling of awe can be a spiritual experience. Feeding yourself spiritually can mean communing with nature, meditation, or doing good works that align with how you derive meaning from your life.
Walking in nature or listening to nature sounds to feel more in line spiritually. If you haven’t practiced your faith, consider returning to online services. Many people find attending services difficult. Explore books about spirituality, and check out podcasts that interest you. Try keeping a gratitude journal to express what you’re most grateful for. There are many ways to feed your spirit.
3. Emotional Self-Care
The emotional self-care practices you choose should help you feel more emotionally well. But practicing emotional care can look very different to different people. You can write positive affirmations, practice techniques to prevent stress, start a confidence journal, listen to your favorite music, set boundaries for yourself, and learn to ask for support from others. Looking at what you need emotionally in the self-care process is essential. Ask yourself what you need to do to help you better manage your emotions and live life with a healthier attitude.
4. Physical Self-Care
Physical self-care is perhaps the one we’re most likely to take seriously already. While many people neglect the “hidden” world of their mental health, most see a doctor to maintain their physical health. Taking our doctor’s advice and following nutrition and material fitness recommendations is essential, but self-care doesn’t necessarily mean doing more sit-ups.
If you’re already hitting the gym or going for daily walks and have your physical fitness self-care in order, consider all the other ways to enhance your health. Are you getting enough water, eating healthy meals, taking vitamins, and getting restorative sleep that refreshes you?
Anything you’re doing to nourish your physical body better can benefit your emotional and mental well-being. Start exploring ways you can improve your physical fitness and health.
5. Environmental Self-Care
Interior designers and architects are paid to create sleek workplaces and beautiful homes where we feel good about our environment because human beings are prone to feeling the effects of our environment on our wellbeing.
Environmental self-care is about listening to how your environment affects you and finding ways to live more harmoniously within your surroundings. Try arranging your bedroom into a more peaceful design to encourage restful sleep, or paint a room you’ve always wanted to redecorate.
Another excellent way to show care for yourself and your surroundings is to de-clutter, which is free. Even if you only have 20 minutes a week, that’s enough time to tackle most sock drawers.
Whether it’s a drawer or a whole room, you can gain an almost instant sense of order and calm from straightening up even one small area in your home. Keep working through your house, and soon you’ll have a more joyful home environment.
Just know that you don’t need to move into a new home or have a big decorating budget to show yourself some environmental self-care. Sometimes, self-care can involve changing your environment to get a lift. You can take a walk in the park to elevate your surroundings. Go to the library for a quiet change of pace. Grabbing a coffee is also a great way to change your environment and boost you.
6. Social Self-Care
Humans are social creatures, we can feel lonely and disengaged when we don’t spend enough time around others. Taking care of all seven dimensions means looking after your social interactions. Arrange a dinner with a friend you’ve lost contact with. Have lunch with a co-worker. But connecting with people doesn’t only happen in person. Maybe you spend time on a phone call with a relative or write them a letter.
Socializing can be more than a one-on-one activity like coffee with a friend. You may also find social nourishment in groups. Whether it’s an online group organized around your hobby or an in-person support group, there are many ways to find social outlets you enjoy.
7. Recreational Self-Care
We saved the most fun for last. Recreational self-care is anything you do just for fun, and it doesn’t involve cleaning clutter or doing push-ups. You can play board games on a family night or with your friends. Cook an elaborate recipe for no other reason than you’ve always wanted to. Play tennis. Take up that painting hobby you’ve always dreamed of but never permitted yourself to pursue.
Or take a little time to relax and do absolutely nothing. Recreational self-care is all about having playtime and fun.
Addressing all seven pillars of self-care is about paying attention to all facets of yourself that deserve attention and care. Take time to know what you’re feeling, so you can give that area of your life the respect you deserve.