Self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
These include activities of daily living, such as feeding oneself, showering, brushing one’s teeth, wearing clean clothes, sleeping, exercising, and attending to medical concerns. These activities, which many are familiar with, constitute ‘Physical self-care’, however, beyond looking after oneself physically, there are several others:
Types of self-care
Ø Physical self-care
Ø Emotional self-care
Ø Mental self-care
Ø Social self-care
Ø Spiritual self-care
Ø Professional self-care
For the purpose of this article, we will focus on Emotional self-care and Mental self-care. These are deliberate attention to taking care of one’s mental and emotional growth and health.
Do you have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning? Or maybe by the end of a long day you feel completely overwhelmed? Mental health influences your thoughts and actions, and the status of your mental health can affect many different areas of your life, from your ability to manage stress to how well you maintain your relationships with others.
Examples of Mental Self-Care activities
These may include personal and professional development. Focus attention on things that are in your control and take time for personal reflection. Examples of activities that strengthen mental health include journaling, meditation, stream-of-consciousness, etc. Strategies that give you the opportunity to grow, learn and reflect. Beyond stimulating activities, mental self-care also encompasses learning how to manage your thoughts, the setting of clear boundaries with friends, family, or work.
Do you have difficulty controlling your emotions? Struggle to cope with feelings of shame, guilt, anger, and/or feelings of unworthiness? Your ability to regulate emotions and cope with difficult feelings as they arise is vital to your happiness and overall quality of life. Taking care of the emotional self by managing anxiety, anger, sadness, and other feelings is also an important aspect of self-care.
Examples of Emotional Self-Care activities
These are the actions we take to connect with our emotions and process them in a healthy way. This means becoming aware of and identifying what you are feeling, and then navigating those emotions in order to effectively manage stress. Some examples of emotional self-care are utilizing affirmations or mantras, being aware of and setting emotional boundaries, making time for reflecting on feelings, meditation, and practicing self-compassion and gratitude.
Self-care is not a selfish act.
Sometimes people attempt to meet the needs of family members, employers, children, friends, or society in general before meeting their own needs. While being helpful and showing empathy are qualities to have, one needs to ensure that working to please and care for others is not consistently interfering with one's self-care routine, which can take a toll on a person's well-being.
Meeting one's own needs tends to make a person more able to help and support others and, generally speaking, obtain more happiness and fulfillment from life. In order to facilitate your own healthy routine to make sure your needs are met, it can be helpful to develop a self-care plan.
Across mental and emotional health, self-care activities can also often be accomplished by setting good boundaries with people.
By regularly engaging in mental and emotional self-care and learning to give yourself grace, you’ll be developing healthy coping mechanisms that vastly increase your happiness and sense of well-being. This may include recognizing the need to reach out for professional help. Just as you seek a doctor for extra help in maintaining physical health, self-care involves recognizing the need to reach out for professional help. One can visit a counselor or mental health professional to maintain emotional and mental health.
RAI Counseling has a diverse team of experienced Master's level and Licensed therapists who provide a variety of counseling services and resources to children, youth, adults, families, and others. Our goal is to help you find useful ways of coping, as you increase self-awareness and self-compassion, and to help you work towards a more balanced and enjoyable life.