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7 Types of Self-Care

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

We all know self-care plays an important part in ensuring we’re at the top of our health and wellness game. It’s the key to preventing burnout, feeling balanced, and leading a fulfilling, purposeful, and productive life.

But did you know there are actually 7 types of self-care you should embrace to feel your best in all areas of your life?

The seven types of self-care are:

  • Emotional self-care

  • Physical self-care

  • Mental self-care

  • Social self-care

  • Spiritual self-care

  • Practical self-care

  • Professional self-care

Read on to learn how you can tend to each area so you can dial in your self-care like a pro.

Emotional Self-Care

Our ability to regulate our emotions and cope with difficult feelings as they arise is vital to our happiness and overall quality of life. That’s why emotional self-care—the actions we take to connect with our emotions and process them in a healthy way—is SO important.

A few examples of self-care activities to address your emotional needs include:

  • Journaling

  • Talking to a Health Coach, Life Coach, therapist, spiritual mentor, or other counselor

  • Utilizing affirmations or mantras

  • Meditation

  • Practicing gratitude

While everyone can benefit from investing time and attention in this critical area of self-care, people who will find this particularly beneficial are those who:

  •  Have difficulty controlling their emotions

  •  Are easily affected by others’ negative moods

  •  Struggle to cope with feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, jealousy, anger, and/or feelings of unworthiness

The best way to start tending to your emotional health is to first pay attention to the way you speak to yourself. Noticing if you’re engaging in negative self-talk is an important preliminary step toward breaking an unhealthy habit. The second step is to replace that negative self-talk with words that are loving and kind. Learn more about how you can leverage the power of positive thinking to squash negative self-talk.

By regularly engaging in emotional self-care and learning to give yourself grace, you can develop healthy coping mechanisms that vastly increase your happiness and sense of well-being.

Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care is probably what many of us typically think of when we hear the words self-care. This type of self-care refers to any activities you deliberately engage in to enhance your physical well-being.

A few examples include:

  • Being active (going for a walk, a bike ride, taking a fitness class, etc.)

  • Taking a relaxing bubble bath

  • Dancing to your favorite song

  • Getting a massage

  • Taking a nap

So give some thought to what types of physical activities make you feel calm, balanced, and happy, and schedule regular time to do them.

Mental Self-Care

Mental self-care encompasses anything you do specifically to stimulate your mind and cultivate a healthy psyche.

Some activities that fit under the mental self-care umbrella include:

  • Listening to a podcast

  • Trying a new hobby

  • Going to a museum

  • Reading a book

  • Writing a poem

Social Self-Care

Humans are social beings, which means we need regular connection with others to thrive (yes, even us introverts!). That’s why prioritizing social self-care—or activities that nurture our relationships with others—is critical.

The problem is, oftentimes when our lives get hectic and overwhelming (and we’d most benefit from facetime with others), we tend to cancel our plans and withdraw. While of course we all need to just say “no” sometimes, it’s also extremely important to make time for social interaction. Think of how good you feel after a good heart-to-heart with someone close to you.

A few examples of social self-care activities include:

  • Scheduling a regular phone touch-base with your mom

  • Hosting a game night with your friends

  • Going on a date with your significant other

  • Cuddling with a furry friend

  • Writing a card and mailing it to a loved one

Along the same lines, give some thought to which relationships are no longer serving you in your life. If there’s anyone you find draining to be around (a friend or family member), it may be time to part ways. Your relationships should uplift and fulfill you, not deflate and drain you.

Spiritual Self-Care

Don’t let the name of this one fool you. This form of self-care applies to everyone—religious, atheist, agnostic, or otherwise. Spiritual self-care encompasses any activities you engage in to connect with and nurture your soul.

This practice is fundamentally about connecting with your inner spirit, which for some may include activities that honor a belief in a higher power (God, the universe, or whatever floats your boat), but may look entirely different for others.

Some examples of spiritual self-care include:

  • Spending time in nature

  • Engaging in prayer or attending a worship service

  • Doing yoga

  • Volunteering for a cause you care about

  • Creating a vision board or doing something else that lights you up and inspires you

We’re all unique beings so you do you!

Practical Self-Care

Yes, even mundane, everyday activities can be considered self-care. Any actions you take to fulfill your core needs and reduce stress can be catalogued as practical self-care.

Examples of practical self-care might include:

  •  Organizing your email inbox

  •  Tidying your living space

  •  Meeting with a financial advisor

  •  Setting out your clothes for the week in advance

  •  Meal prepping

These forms of self-care are admittedly less exciting than some of the others, but not to be underestimated. They can be huge sanity-savers and help create a greater sense of calm and control in our busy lives.

Professional Self-Care

Last but not least, if you’re employed, it’s essential to make time for professional self-care. These are the activities and actions that support feeling balanced and fulfilled in your career.

Professional self-care examples include:

  •  Setting a calendar reminder to take a lunch break

  •  Spending time with coworkers after hours

  •  Setting your phone to Do Not Disturb at the end of your work day

  •  Taking courses, attending conferences, or working with a mentor to develop your skills and support your desired career path

  •  Taking a mental health (or sick) day when you need it

Establishing a Self-Care Routine That Works For You

Self-care doesn’t have to take tons of time or cost lots of money to be beneficial. If you’re new to the concept of self-care, check out this motivational hub from the Health Coach Institute for more on the importance of self-care. 

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