General Health

9 Different Types of Self-Care and 70+ Self-Care Activities to Try

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By now, most of us have heard about self-care and its importance for mental health. But did you know there are nine different types of self-care?

Self-care is more than fancy spa treatments and bubble baths – although they do help. Self-care helps us put ourselves first so that we can feel energised, rested, and able to show up for those we love.

Practising self-care does not have to be overwhelming, and it doesn’t have to add to our already oversaturated schedules. Instead, self-care can be little moments where we check in with ourselves and take care of the areas that need looking after.

Let’s take a look at the nine different types of self-care and some self-care activities you can implement into your daily routine.

Types of Self-Care

1. Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care involves taking care of our bodies, inside and out. It is an essential form of self-care as it directly affects our quality of life.

Contrary to popular belief, physical self-care is not merely working out and it doesn’t have to involve a vigorous, lengthy routine. You don’t have to kill yourself on the treadmill to justify doing physical self-care.

self-care activities
Source: Bigstock

Instead, physical self-care is about listening to your body and what it needs. It is caring for it like the precious vessel that it is.

PHYSICAL SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:

  • Getting enough and good quality sleep
  • Doing a physical activity you enjoy, such as walking, bicycling, hiking, yoga, stretching, etc.
  • Getting proper nutrition – more fruits and vegetables
  • Resting when you need it without guilt
  • Hydrating
  • Attending regular wellness checks with your physician and health screens
  • Taking prescribed meds and vitamins
  • Having a pamper day, morning, or evening

2. Mental/Intellectual Self-Care

Mental, or intellectual, self-care helps stimulate your mind as you seek new knowledge and skills. The result is improved brain function and the ability to process information with greater ease.

Focusing on your mental self-care can also help develop a growth mindset. Studies on neuroplasticity have shown that no matter your age, your brain can still make new connections and learn new skills and information. Don’t get stuck in your old ways because as it turns out, you can teach an old dog new tricks!!

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Source:Bigstock

MENTAL HEALTH SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES TO TRY: 

  • Start a new hobby
  • Do something creative – crafts, painting/drawing, writing, pottery
  • Set some long and short-term goals for yourself
  • Read educational or self-help books
  • Learn a new skill, such as a new language
  • Watch a lecture, documentary, or TED talk
  • Get to know and honour your true self – self-exploration journaling, therapy
  • Do a social media detox

3. Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care is about learning your thinking patterns (including negative self-talk, shame, and guilt) as well as being mindful of your triggers and their causes, in other words, becoming emotionally intelligent.

It is about self-love, compassion, and self-acceptance. If you can accept yourself, with all your quirks and imperfections, it’ll radiate out of you, and you’ll be able to engage in a more fulfilling relationship with yourself and with those around you.

mum central
Source: Supplied

DEVELOP YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE THROUGH EMOTIONAL SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES:  

  • Learning stress management tools
  • Learning about coping skills
  • Doing therapy
  • Starting a meditation practice
  • Establishing healthy boundaries
  • Doing positive affirmations
  • Journaling for self-expression and exploration
  • Being compassionate with yourself
  • Having a pamper day, morning, or evening
  • Offering forgiveness
  • Practising mindfulness
  • Being kind
  • Having a good cry, alone or with a safe person

4. Social Self-Care

Self-care is not always about being a hermit, alone with your thoughts. Yes, while introverts and extroverts may have different levels of social needs and comfort, we are still social beings and require connection with others.

Social self-care can help us feel loved, improve our communication skills, and develop and maintain healthy relationships.

Whether we realise it or not, social activity, or lack thereof, can have a great impact on our mental health.

Group of women, happy, smiling taking photo on mumcation
Source: Bigstock

SOCIAL SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES INCLUDE: 

  • Building a support system
  • Developing a positive relationship with social media
  • Learning to communicate effectively
  • Reconnecting with old friends
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Being open to new personal and professional connections
  • Limiting our time around negative or toxic individuals
  • Calling or video chatting with friends and family
  • Establishing healthy boundaries

5. Recreational Self-Care

Recreational self-care is any activity that is done in the name of fun! It is about taking time to release your inner child as you participate in activities that bring joy and don’t require too much brain power.

mum central
Source: Bigstock

RECREATIONAL SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:

  • Travelling
  • Having a pamper day
  • Watching your favourite show or movie
  • Physical activity, such as dancing, hiking, bicycling, swimming, etc.
  • Doing something creative, such as painting, colouring, writing, playing a musical instrument, cooking, etc.
  • Reading for fun
  • Spending time in nature
  • Playing board games
  • Taking a fun in-person class

6. Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual self-care is more about nourishing your soul than it is about religion. While spiritual self-care can look different for everyone, some of its greatest benefits include the attainment of inner peace, calm, hope, and resilience; all of which can be essential when we’re inevitably faced with difficult situations.

Spiritual self-care also allows you to silence the outside noise to focus on finding your purpose and meaning of life, and figuring out what that means for you.

Mummy burnout tips
Source: Bigstock

SPIRITUAL SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES INCLUDE: 

  • Time alone
  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Fasting
  • Going to a place of worship
  • Spending time in nature
  • Creating your own sacred space
  • Yoga
  • Reading
  • Journaling for self-reflection
  • Manifestation
  • Breathing
  • Burning candles or incense
  • Donating or volunteering to a charitable organisation or cause

7. Environmental Self-Care

Environmental self-care is being aware of the places that help you be and do your best, whether that be at home, work, or a coffee shop.

home heating
Source: Bigstock

HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO IMPLEMENT ENVIRONMENTAL SELF-CARE: 

  • Seek safe, healthy environments
  • Take yourself away from dangerous situations
  • Seek stability and security
  • Travel or change scenery
  • Have a clean, organized space/home
  • Declutter regularly
  • Engage your senses – burn candles, play music, change your sheets, wear cosy socks or robes, etc.
  • Establish a calm mood/routine in the evenings

8. Financial Self-Care

Taking care of your finances doesn’t exactly scream self-care, but financial stability is essential for mental health. Without a healthy relationship with money, we tend to resent those who have more money than us and we become stressed and anxious.

mum central
Source: The Happy Money Journey

FINANCIAL SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES TO ADD TO YOUR LIST:

  • Saving
  • Investing
  • Budgeting
  • Learning about money management
  • Reading financial self-help books

9. Professional Self-Care

There are many facets to our lives. We are parents, friends, community members, and working professionals.

Being a productive member of society is one more part of our identity and whether we have an actual job, or hope to someday achieve a specific goal or career of our dreams, professional self-care and development can help us get there.

upskill and return to work
Source: Bigstock

SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES TO HELP WITH OUR PROFESSIONAL SELF-CARE:

  • Develop time management skills
  • Establish work boundaries
  • Be part of a positive work environment
  • Continuing education
  • Reading and learning new skills
  • Taking necessary break times

Self-care is essential in creating space for us to rest, recharge, connect with ourselves and grow. Contrary to popular belief, it is not selfish or time-consuming. Small, impactful self-care activities can go a long way in building your resilience in the face of challenges and can help prevent burnout.

Keep a list handy of activities you can do in five, ten, 30 minutes, or an hour for the moments when you need a quick pick me up. The beauty of this list is that some activities can cover several different types of self-care in one. So give yourself permission to take care of yourself, guilt-free!

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Avatar of Gloria Ramirez

Gloria Ruby Ramirez is a writer, mother, and lover of coffee, twinkle lights, and rain who believes in the magical power of words. She is passionate about parenting, mental health, and the environment. She is a former agricultural microbiologist/plant pathologist with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Arizona State University. Born in the desert of northern Mexico, she is mum to her beautifully energetic son and Shih Tzu, Gerty. When not writing, Gloria can be found spending time with her son and family, reading, or embroidering.

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