The definition of self-care is any activity that we do to help us take care of ourselves. Self-care is good for your mind, body, spirit, life, and soul and NOT selfish. It is making yourself a priority, a lifelong practice, imperative, and a ritual you should incorporate in your lifestyle.
It is important that you have a self-care plan in place. When you practice adequate self-care, every aspect of your life can be improved upon. However, while it is a simple enough concept, it can be difficult to put into practice.
Did you know there are different types of self-care you can focus on? If you really want to achieve the benefits of self-care, you are going to need to ensure you are utilizing the different types. The question is, what are the different types of self-care and what do they consist of?
5 Types of Self-Care
Your emotional wellbeing has a huge impact on your happiness and quality of life. Therefore, if you want to improve your wellbeing, you are going to want to focus on emotional self-care.
This type of self-care enables you to better deal with your emotions. You will be able to control the way you feel, rather than letting it control you. You will learn to become more aware of your emotions and express them in a healthier way.
Emotional self-care can include seeing a therapist, listening to music, and keeping a journal.
To stay healthy, it’s important to look after the body’s physical needs. That is, making sure you get enough sleep, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly. However, physical self-care is so much more than just healthy eating and staying active.
When you are focusing on physical self-care, it includes ensuring you are not adopting any unhealthy coping methods such as binge eating or missing sleep to binge watch a series. It means taking time out when you are sick and going to medical appointments whenever you need to.
Spiritual self-care is often associated with religion. However, it is basically anything which nurtures the spirit.
This is just as important as your physical and emotional wellbeing. If you want to lead a truly healthy and happy life, you need to make sure your mind, body and spirit are equally taken care of.
Examples of spiritual self-care include surrounding yourself with nature, reading a great book, meditating, and taking time out for personal reflection.
Your relationships and social skills can play a large role in your happiness. We all need healthy, strong relationships to be genuinely happy. It is also important to remember that the people we surround ourselves with make a big difference to how we feel about ourselves and how we act.
How is your social circle right now? Think about the type of people you prefer to be around. Consider your romantic relationship, or lack of, and how it can be improved.
Social self-care includes learning to say no if you need to, as well as making time to spend with family or taking that chance and going on a date. It focuses on strengthening your relationships and doing what you need to do to meet your individual social needs.
Another type of self-care you will want to focus on is practical self-care. This relates to the practical aspects of your life such as your finances, career, and organizational skills.
By focusing on practical self-care, you will potentially avoid stressful situations in the future. Taking care of your finances for example, will greatly reduce your stress levels and ensure you are well-equipped to handle any potential future cash flow challenges.
Some practical self-care tasks include creating a budget, taking a course to progress in your career and organizing your closet.
These are just five examples of the different types of self-care. If you are committed to improving your quality of life and becoming happier, you will want to make sure you’re taking care of all of your needs.
However, with so many things to focus on, it is easy to become overwhelmed. So, it is a good idea to start by focusing on one or two self-care tasks until they become a regular habit. Then, you can move on to other tasks to gradually improve your life.
The Consequences Of Not Caring For Yourself
Ignoring your needs and not taking care of your self has serious physical, emotional, spiritual and lifestyle quality ramifications.
One of the greatest consequences of a lack of self-care is chronic stress, which numerous studies have shown to play a critical role in chronic disease, including heart attacks, stroke, overweight and obesity and others.
As the stress hormone cortisol surges through the body it causes serious complications, including reduced immunity, deteriorating organ function and accelerated aging of both the mind and body.
Hectic lifestyles that lack some type of self-care component also result in unhealthy diets and lack of exercise that further increase risks for chronic health problems, one of which is type 2 diabetes, which is at epidemic levels in the United States.
When we do not take care of our needs, we become exhausted, angry, bitter, and anxious. Often, these feelings can lead to resentment that can spill over into personal relationships, such as marriages. Studies have shown that women who follow a regular self-care routine have happier marriages.
A lack of self-care can result in depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. In fact, women suffer from depression at a four times higher rate than men do. Burnout, overwhelm and brain fog are some of the disastrous consequences of a hectic lifestyle that does not address self-care.
Our spirits can suffer profoundly from a lack of self-care, as our needs go ignored as we place all our attention and energy on everyone else’s needs. Anna Quindlen summarizes this consequence well in her book, Being Perfect, “Someday, sometime, you will be sitting somewhere…. And something bad will have happened: You will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something at which you badly wanted to succeed. And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for some core to sustain you. And if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be.”
Self-care isn’t just about doing what you want. You need to focus on the things your mind and body needs. Knowing the difference between what self-care is and what it isn’t, will help you to establish the most effective routine.