6 Types of Self-Care & Ways to Practice Them

Let's start by saying that Self-care is a big deal.

Taking the time, even in small and simple ways, to nurture and take care of yourself is crucial to your well-being. And, no, it is not selfish.  The more you nurture yourself, the better you are at supporting others.

There are different types of self-care, and depending on your particular need at the time, you may find yourself seeking a specific type more than others.  All are important, and we think that we should be practicing a little bit of each. We like to break down our understanding of self-care into six different types.  When we do this, we are also better able to understand our needs, and how we can best nurture them.

Let’s have a look at these six types of self-care, and examples of ways you can practice them.

1.  Physical Self-Care

When people think of self-care, they often think of physical self-care.  Taking care of our bodies is a very significant component of self-care, but it does not have to include a vigorous exercise routine.  Let’s be honest, the word exercise can be intimidating, especially if we’re already feeling so busy in our everyday lives.  The thought of adding yet another new task to our schedule can feel incredibly overwhelming. The key to self-care is it should be something you enjoy.  If it starts to feel like an obligation, then it may start adding to your stress levels, as opposed to reducing them.

Here are some great ideas that you can implement in your physical self-care:

  • Yoga

  • Eating more veggies and fruits

  • Drinking more water

  • Going for a walk during your lunch hour

  • Dancing

  • Going for a run or walk

  • Going for a bike ride

2. Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual self-care nourishes your soul, helps you find inner peace, and gives you a greater understanding of life beyond yourself.  This self-care does not necessarily have to relate to religion, although it can be religious for some people. This connection to something bigger than yourself can help you find purpose and meaning in life. It can also give you the courage to push through when times get difficult and inspire hope time and time again.

Here are some great ideas that you can implement in your spiritual self-care:

  • Practicing meditation

  • Spending time in nature

  • Praying

  • Writing in a gratitude journal

  • Donating to a charity or cause you believe in

3. Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care is all about becoming more in tune with our emotions.  It’s about checking in with yourself, becoming more mindful of your triggers and thinking patterns, and finding ways to work through them, rather than bottling them all up inside. Here is something that you should always remember: It’s okay to cry, to laugh, to feel angry – it’s okay to feel exactly the way you are feeling.  Emotional self-care helps you learn to have more compassion for yourself and your emotions.

Here are some great ideas that you can implement in your emotional self-care:

  • Journalling – writing down our feelings can help us better understand them

  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation – learning to be more present

  • Setting more boundaries – it’s okay to say no

  • Being creative – express your emotions through painting, writing, cooking, etc.

  • Starting a gratitude journal – focusing on what you’re grateful for can sometimes help put things into better perspective

  • Working on changing your negative self-talk – practice replacing the negative with positive self-talk

4. Social Self-Care

Humans, by nature, are social beings. We like to feel connected with others. This type of self-care may look different for extroverts and introverts – because our levels of comfort in social situations can differ. But, a connection is essential to us all. Having a support system of individuals we can trust, and nourishing these relationships can be an example of this self-care.

Here are some great ideas that you can implement in your social self-care:

  • Spending time with loved ones

  • Going to lunch with a friend

  • Joining a yoga class, or any class that interests you and that you can meet new people

  • Reconnecting with an old friend

  • Striking up a conversation with someone at the coffee shop when you pick up your morning coffee

5. Sensory Self-Care

Taking a warm bath with your favorite scented bath bomb smell, touch, and sound. It is an effective way of bringing your mind to the present moment and helping you lower your stress levels. Living in the present moment helps you better cope with any past and future worry you may be feeling. These simple, yet powerful self-care activities can be effective ways of becoming more mindful and soothing an anxious, overwhelmed mind.

Here are some great ideas that you can implement in your sensory self-care:

  • Burning your favorite scented candle

  • Taking a warm bath with your favourite scented bath bomb

  • Spending time in nature

  • Listening to soothing music

  • Walking barefoot on the grass

6. Intellectual Self-Care

We often neglect to care for our intellectual well-being.  This type of self-care includes doing something you enjoy that nourishes and challenges your mind.  It helps expand your knowledge.

Intellectual self-care can involve figuring out what your current talents/strengths are and developing them further. It can also include learning a new skill. Since this type of self-care helps you learn more about your skills and interests, it can be useful when deciding which career you are passionate about the most.

Here are some great ideas that you can implement in your intellectual self-care:

  • Reading a book

  • Completing a puzzle

  • Learning a new language

  • Taking a course on something that interests you

  • Watching a documentary on a topic you’re interested in

What's The Takeaway From All Of This?

As you keep reading the article, you will realize that some activities can serve multiple types of self-care. The truth is, self-care may look different to each of us, there is no one-size-fits-all formula.  One self-care activity may help you, while another may help someone else. The key is to be intentional in making the time and effort to invest in your wellness.

Now go on, get to self-caring!

DISCLAIMER: We are not licensed, therapists. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.


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