How To Practise Proper Self-Care (Take Care Of Yourself)

by Liberty Stembridge, Health Columnist

Published in Health and Lifestyle on 13th September, 2019

How often do you feel like you've really got your life together? Probably not all that often if you're like 99% of the population. No one really feels like that 100% of the time, but if you're feeling like you're struggling to maintain control over a certain area of your life such as your career, relationship, finances, sleep etc, it's probably because you're not taking care of yourself well enough.

"self-care" is a pretty vague term, but it's much more than just bubble baths and a movie night, that's for sure. self-care encompasses all the daily rituals and routines that you incorporate in order to look after the various different aspects of your life. To put it in very simple terms, self-care is like parenting yourself.

self care

You can do it very little, or you can do it a lot. Finding a balance of looking after yourself and implementing good self-care routines is key to not only finding success and maintaining your wellbeing but living a happier, healthier life.

There are eight key areas to self-care, although there could be more or less depending on your lifestyle. These are: Physical self-care, Emotional self-care, Social self-care, Spiritual self-care, Personal self-care, Space self-care, Financial self-care and Career self-care. We'll go over each of these different types of self-care, what they involve, and what you can do to improve your self-care in these areas.

Physical Self-Care

When we think of self-care, physical self-care is most often what we think of first: activities like taking a bath, doing some yoga or going on a run are all a part of physical self-care. Physical self-care is all to do with your body and how well it's doing.

This doesn't mean however, that you need to be on a strict workout regime and diet to be taking care of yourself physically. It's all about what works for you specifically. You need to find out what activities you can do that help you to feel your best in your body, whether that's a certain diet, an exercise routine, yoga or even getting a massage or other body treatment to help you feel good.

Physical self-care also involves the non-active components of your life, such as rest. Not getting enough sleep or working too hard can burn out your body very quickly, so making sure you're getting enough sleep is an important part of physical self-care too.

Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care is all about getting in touch with your emotions, seeing what's there, acknowledging it and processing it. In doing so, we develop our emotional maturity and get to know ourselves much better.

emotional self care

Our emotions are here for a reason, and by ignoring them we do ourselves a disservice. An excellent form of emotional self-care is journaling - taking the time to write about and take a deeper look at your emotional triggers, thought patterns and reactions can help you to process what's going on in your brain and provide deeper insight into your own mind, so that in the future you can be more aware of your own actions.

Social Self-Care

Social self-care is often forgotten about, but it's a very important part of your life. Humans are social creatures, we thrive off community, friendship and authentic connection with others. Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, you need to socialise, make connections and meet new people.

Social Self-Care not only involves spending time with loved ones, appreciating those around you and making new connections, it also means working on improving your relationships and making an effort to learn how to work better together, how to compromise, how to argue and how to set up boundaries with others. It could also involve cutting some people out, or making sure your social media isn't feeding into a negative mindset.

Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual self-care is not only reserved for religious people, it can be for anyone and everyone. Spiritual self-care for you might look different for someone else, but a spiritual practice will generally include exploring your own beliefs and questions about life or yourself, searching for inner peace or connecting and exploring your own "higher self".

spiritual self care

If you've ever meditated, or even made a vision board, you've probably been practising spiritual self-care. Meditation, yoga, prayer, time spent alone, time spent in nature, journaling, reading religious or spiritual texts and practising gratitude can all be a part of spiritual self-care.

Personal / Intellectual Self-Care

Personal self-care involves the practices you implement to further your own personal goals, expand your knowledge and get to know yourself better. It provides challenge, personal development and achievement outside of a work or school environment.

For many people, this means practising a hobby, developing a strong sense of personal identity and learning to recognise what you truly enjoy doing, then pursuing that. It can be as simple as reading books about a subject you're passionate about or joining a club to start developing a hobby or skill further.

Spacial Self-Care

The space we live in can have a very significant impact on our mental health, wellbeing and productivity. Living in a safe space, where we feel we can truly express ourselves and that reflects our own passions, creativity and beliefs is important.

You'd likely notice the difference in how you feel living in a cramped, messy and dirty space vs living in a clean, light and tidy space. Productivity goes up, your mental health improves and levels of anxiety lower. Lack of safety and security is the number one concern - living in a space that is safe and secure is key to feeling like you can relax at home, whether that means moving to a new neighbourhood, putting a better lock on your door or replacing the batteries in your fire alarm.

spacial self care

Next comes aesthetics, which can have a big impact on the feel of your home and your overall mood. Even if you don't realise it, you probably already have aesthetic preferences when it comes to interior design, so have a look around for inspiration from sites like Pinterest and get to work making sure that you feel inspired and relaxed by your living space.

Financial Self-Care

Taking care of finances is something most people struggle with at least a little. Unless you were born with the gift of budgeting and impeccable will-power, you will find yourself slipping up with your finances every now and again, which is fine. A lack of financial self-care however, can lead to a lot of stress, so it's important to make time to look after tour money.

Financial self-care is all about getting to grips with your finances, understanding your money and living a life you love, despite any financial restrictions you might have. Good financial self-care habits to incorporate are regular saving, budgeting, reviewing your finances with an advisor, paying back debts on time, paying bills and making sure that you set aside some money to treat yourself and have fun.

Career Self-Care

Your career can be both a source of fulfilment and of stress. Having a rewarding career that you enjoy is an important part of life, so having a self-care routine that related to your career is important too. Probably the most important element of a career-based self-care routine is for most people is finding a good work-life balance.

High-stress lifestyles of working late nights, pulling long shifts and never seeing friends are often romanticised by the media, but in reality, this kind of lifestyle will quickly degrade your mental health and overall happiness.

Instead, try taking steps to ensure that you have a healthy balance of your own life, personal goals and relationships with your work. Other practices you can include to have a healthier relationship with your work and career include setting boundaries at work, learning to manage your time, building relationships with your co-workers, developing your skills and learning when and how to take a break.

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