It seems like wherever you turn these days, somebody is talking about self-care. You nod along as they dole out tips, but there’s a problem. You don’t know what self-care actually is. Now you don’t have to worry. This post is designed to help you understand the fuss around self-care without feeling foolish for asking.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care can be defined as engaging in activities for the express purpose of improving our lives. That improvement can be mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, or social. Some types of self-care even engage more than one of these types. Actual self-care activities can be anything from meditating to exercise to calling a friend to chat. Naps can also count as self-care. Not every kind of self-care is going to work for everyone, so it’s important to experiment with different activities. That’s the best way to figure out what restores you the most effectively.
Why Is Self-Care Important?
The adverse effects of stress are numerous and obvious. Stress can harm your health, strain your relationships, and keep you from accomplishing your goals. Self-care is an excellent way to de-stress, so it’s become increasingly important to practice self-care. It’s also important to practice self-care so that we can have the best possible relationships with the people we care about. After all, half of each of your relationships is you. If you work on improving your life through self-care, you can give your best self to the relationships that matter most to you.
How Can Self-Care Affect Your Life
Self-care, when practiced regularly, can make a significant impact on your life. It can improve your health by decreasing stress. And if your method of practicing self-care includes exercise, you could have weight loss or muscle conditioning benefits too. Self-care often involves meditation or mindfulness. Both of these practices can calm your mind and make you feel very peaceful even in unpleasant situations. As mentioned above, self-care can improve your relationships too. When you are your best self, your relationships are maximized too. Becoming the best version of yourself doesn’t just strengthen your relationship with others, it can improve the way you see yourself. This is especially true with some of the techniques that focus on a positive outlook like body positivity and gratitude.
The Negative Side of Self-Care
If self-care is all about improvement, are there any downsides to it? Very, very few. A common self-care practice is to say “no” more often to activities that would overwhelm you. So instead of increasing stress by spending time doing things you don’t like, you can just say no instead. While this certainly reduces stress, it also skips out on opportunities to grow. Some people view self-care as selfish, but this isn’t completely true. Self-care enables you to have better interactions with everybody because you are investing time and effort into your self.
The abundance of lists and articles giving self-care tips can make self-care seem intimidating. But now you can see that self-care doesn’t need to be complicated. Just take care of your needs, and you’ll be a self-care expert in no time!
There are millions of self-care ideas out there. Different activities make different people happy and give them the feeling they desire. I might think that going for a swim will rejuvenate me and keep me fresh for the week. My mom, on the other hand, would love to cook for her grandkids and to take care of others is the kind of attention she needs.
There is no one list of ideas that make self-care what it is for an individual. This is not a cookie-cutter where everyone can use the same activities. For this reason, this self-care list will be split into different categories giving you ideas you can use to get you to that place where your mind and body feels like they have been cared for.
The 7 Vital Types Of Self-Care
I compiled a list of self-care ideas that may resonate with you. Look for the ones you can apply and start right away! Others are not so in tune with what you do. Just remember that this is a big list for everyone, so you will have to look for your personal favourites.
The ideas are broken down into 7 types. These 7 types of self-care was taken from PsychCentral and expanded upon. The categories are:
If you already know what kind of support you are looking for, you can browse through the sections and look for them. Have fun hunting! 🙂
Physical Self-Care Ideas and Activities
The physical side of self-care is basically the part that involves our body. Things, like exercising, eating right, and just getting fresh air, are the kind of things we are discussing here. Keep in mind that the body and our physical self connects to our mind and spirit resulting in a balance when done right. Thoughts can heal the body, like how a placebo cures an illness, so the physical aspects are always linked to the others.
Our bodies are built to be active. It wants to be move, grow and in turn, be healthy. Regularly being engaged in physical activities can help the body stay healthy and this keeps the mind sharp and active as well.
Being physically active is not just about your body. It gives great mental stimulation which helps you get through the week or even tough times. Here are the ideas you can use today:
- Take a walk around your neighbourhood.
- Go to the park in the morning.
- Walk the dog or take a walk while watching other pets.
- Go outside and take a deep breath (For some fresh air).
- Drink a big glass of water (Right Now).
- Stand up and stretch your whole body. (From head to toe)
- Organise a hike with your family.
- Head to the waterfalls and enjoy a light swim while relaxing.
- Join a running group around your neighbourhood (Or start one with friends).
- Try Yoga.
- Play some music and dance. Or just move to the beat.
- Walk up or down the stairs and back.
- Go for a massage.
- Cycle to a nearby shop.
- Sit in the sauna/steam room to sweat it out.
- Sleep in this weekend.
- Take a 20 minute nap.
- Spend some time out in nature. (Take a drive to a place away from your home/city)
- Join a gym.
- Take a free martial arts class.
- Take a run by the beach.
- Go for kayaking.
- Look for an archery range and try it.
- Take some friends out bowling.
- Go for indoor rock climbing.
- Take the kids to a theme park and have fun.
- Grab a healthy fresh juice.
- Take an ice cold shower.
- Play catch with someone.
- Go outside and enjoy the sun (for a few minutes).
- Pick up origami.
Emotional Self-Care Ideas and Activities
Emotions have a huge part to play in our daily lives. One moment can make or break our long-term relationships. Exploring and feeling emotions can be vital to self-care. In times of stress, instead of using our minds, we tend to let our feelings make the decisions.
Emotional self-care activities can help us take control and release anything stuck inside of us. These ideas and activities will help you deal with emotions and control them better when the time arises.
- Take deep breaths and focus on breathing, nothing else.
- Read a positive quote to start your day, everyday.
- Spend less time on social media. Limit yourself to 1 hour a day or less.
- Write out your thoughts on a journal.
- Wake up in the morning and be grateful for the things you have.
- Put up a positive wallpaper on your desktop.
- Write down some goals.
- Talk to a friend about what’s troubling you.
- Cry every once in a while.
- Watch a sad movie or listen to some sad songs. But come back stronger after.
- Unfollow negative people/friends on your social media.
- Spend less time with toxic people in your life.
- Stuff yourself with your favourite food, but only occasionally.
- Read old letters or messages from loved ones that will make you feel better.
- Draw or paint. Be creative and let your emotions out.
- Tidy up your room and work place. This will help declutter your mind.
- Do something that makes you very happy today.
- Take a quiz about yourself.
- Look yourself in the mirror for 5 minutes and start pondering.
- Eat some dark chocolate. It increases dopamine.
- Go for a movie in the cinema all by yourself.
- When you’re in the car alone and no one is around, scream and let everything out!
- Read a fictional book.
- Read about people who overcame adversity.
- Visit an old folks home.
- Carry a baby.
- Take a day off from work on a weekday and spend time alone.
Spiritual Self-Care Ideas and Activities
When you think of spiritual, religion always comes to mind. But it is not always the same. It’s not just about religion. It’s about connecting with the universe, being in balance with nature and having a higher purpose than yourself.
Our values are relevant here. It is different from emotional self-care, but the spirituality helps to keep emotions in check. Here are some activities to help give you a better perspective and calmness to your life.
- Attend a church, temple, mosque or anything religious.
- Read thoughts and quotes from spiritual leaders.
- Meditate with thoughts on the goodness of the world.
- Give to a charity.
- Do something nice in secret. Eg. Pay for a random table’s meal at a restaurant and keep it a secret.
- Ask the universe/higher being for forgiveness.
- Fast for a day and use the time to reflect.
- Take a weekend off social media.
- Take a weekend of technology.
- Volunteer at a charity.
- Read parts of the Bible (Even if you’re not a Christian).
- Read about the Buddha and the Dalai Lama.
- Look at a different religion from their perspective (Don’t judge them).
- When there is a quarrel, stop and say sorry even if you know you are right.
- Learn to and practice relaxing mentally and physically.
- Leave an exceptionally big tip to a nice waiter.
- Learn breathing techniques to relax.
- Physically give things to the needy and see the look on their faces.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter.
- Visit random people at a hospital with gifts.
- Try being a vegetarian for a week.
- Learn about the law of attraction.
- Spend a weekend away in silence (Silent retreat).
- Take up Tai chi.
- Try Bikram yoga.
- Go on a shamanic journey.
- Take a spiritual discovery trip.
Intellectual Self-Care Ideas and Activities
Intellectual self-care involves how you think and what makes you develop intellectually. It is about expanding your mind and intelligence to be a smarter you. It could be career development or any of your creative pursuits.
If you want to better yourself and be more successful in life, this is the place to develop.
- Read thought provoking books.
- Play Sudoku.
- Play brain developing games.
- Stop watching television.
- Regularly exercise your mind with any of these activities (Regularly!).
- Get enough sleep.
- Do math questions.
- Read book reviews. Try Blinkist.
- Take deep breaths and get some fresh air.
- Eat brain foods like nuts, essential oils and vegetables.
- Organize your thoughts with diagrams and charts.
- Reduce mindless activities (Those that involve passive thinking(.
- Play with a rubik’s cube.
- Limit your sugar intake.
- Learn a musical instrument.
- Be thoughtful of your activities. Focus and avoid letting your mind stray too much.
- Listen to classical music like Mozart and Beethoven.
- Talk to smarter people.
- Watch TED talks.
- Listen to podcasts that are relevant.
- Learn history.
Social Self-Care Ideas and Activities
Self-care can also mean building relationships with others. Making sure those relationships stay healthy can be the key to your own happiness. We as humans are social beings. We need to be around people a lot. Friendships provide that. They provide the support necessary and the variety we need in our lives.
Social self-care is a vital part that we still rely on others to contribute to. Friendships are especially important in difficult times, and that is where we feel the most secure. Having good relationships will surely lead to a better self and a better life.
- Call a close friend to say hi.
- Talk to a stranger at the supermarket.
- Organize activities every month with your friends.
- Find a new hobby that involves people.
- Have a chat with the waiter or cashier when you’re out eating.
- Look for an online support community and start supporting troubled people.
- Bake cookies and give them to your neighbours.
- Send a postcard to an old friend far away.
- Head to a bar or party and talk to someone.
- Organize or attend an old school/group gathering.
- Take your kids out to the playground and chat with other parents.
- Host a movie at your place and invite friends over.
- Have a picnic with loved ones.
- If you’re single, try speed dating once.
- Take a friends dog out for a walk and say hi to other dog walkers.
- Join a book club.
- Join Toastmasters.
- Organize board game night.
- Attend networking events.
- Travel the world and get to know people.
- Do something you used to do with a group of your old friends (The thing that brought you all together).
- Post an old funny picture of yourself with or without your friends on social media and respond to the comments.
- Smile at everyone you see today even if they are strangers.
- Greet everyone in your path today with a simple ‘hi, how are you’.
- Take a road trip with some old friends.
- Ask a friend for some personal advice.
Relational Self-Care Ideas and Activities
Relational self-care is about strengthening relationships with our family members. This includes our significant others, siblings, parents, kids and other family members. Having a close family can do wonders for yourself.
This is not just about being social, it is also about getting closer to the ones that matter. Even if you’ve had a rough time with one of them, it is always reconcilable. Whoever’s fault it is, the winner will still be the one who makes up first. So whether you’re a tight-knit family or one thats falling apart, keep these ideas in mind.
- Have dinner with close family at least once a week.
- Call your parents up just to say hi.
- Organize family activities that the young and old can participate in.
- Make it a point to bring everyone together, maybe for a meal.
- Invite everyone’s kids over to your place for a kids day.
- Go on short trips together.
- Take a drive to the old house or grandma’s house where you all used to play when you were little.
- Have kids birthday parties together.
- Organize a pizza night for all the kids.
- Take the kids out for ice cream once a month.
- Tell your brother or sister about your problems.
- Have a date night at least once a month.
- Celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving together.
- Surprise your parents with a gift.
- Spend a day with just your brother or sister in law.
- Volunteer to help a charity with your family members.
Safety And Security Self-Care Ideas and Activities
Safety is essential and often overlooked when it comes to self-care. What is self-care if you don’t keep yourself safe? Whether it’s financial, physical or mental, we need to keep ourselves safe from any dangers that could potentially harm us. Here are some ideas of how you can do that:
- Keep simple personal budgets on your finances.
- Take short courses on safety like fire hazards, etc.
- Buy insurance.
- Always be in touch with a loved one.
- Take a self defense class.
- Keep important phone numbers around.
There you have it. A long list of self-care ideas for everyone and everything. Did you enjoy reading it?
If you have any ideas that are not included, drop a comment and I’ll add it to the post!
Remember to take care of yourself and please share the post 🙂