The trick is to find some that you genuinely enjoy and that fit with your life and values. Once you start adding emotional self-care to your life, you’re likely to become fiercely protective of that time and wonder how you ever managed without it!
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Here are the five main categories of self-care, along with explanations of how they help you. We’ll also look at specific self-care examples within categories, which should get you thinking about activities you’ll particularly like.
Sensory self-care is all about helping to calm your mind.
When you are able to tune into the details of the sensations all around you, it’s easier to live in the present moment. And when you’re in the present, you can more effectively let go of resentments related to the past or anxieties about the future.
When you think about practicing sensory self-care, consider all of your senses: touch, smell, sound, and sight.
Most people are more responsive to one than the others, so ask yourself what that sense might be for you.
The following examples of sensory self-care involve at least one sense, but often more.
Sensory Self-Care Ideas
Cuddling up under a soft blanket.
Going to the countryside and focusing on the smell of the air.
Watching the flames of a candle or a fire.
Feeling the water on your skin during a hot bath or shower.
Focusing on the movements of your own breathing.
Lying down and listening to music with your eyes closed.
Sitting in the heat of the afternoon sun.
Having a small square of the most delicious chocolate.
Walking barefoot in the grass.
Having a massage with essential oils.
Holding a pet in your arms.
When it comes to your emotional health, one of the best self-care tips is to make sure you fully engage with your emotions. When you face them head-on, this actually helps with stress.
You may feel tempted to push down feelings like sadness or anger, but it’s healthy to feel them, accept them, and move on.
Remember that emotions are not “good” or “bad” in themselves. You are not blameworthy for the emotions you feel; only how you behave in response to them.
On this theme, consider any one or more of the following if you want to practice better emotional self-care…
Emotional Self-Care Ideas
Keep a daily journal, and be totally honest about your feelings.
See a therapist, even if it’s just for 8-10 sessions of general personal development.
Write a list of “feeling words” to expand your emotional vocabulary.
Make time to be with a friend or family member who truly understands you.
Let yourself cry when you need to.
Deliberately encourage yourself to laugh with old memories or funny videos.
Sing along to the song that best expresses your current emotions.
If you’re not religious, you might be tempted to skim-read this section or skip it altogether.
However, spiritual self-care isn’t just about believing in a deity. It’s applicable to atheists and agonistics as much as to religious people.
Spiritual self-care is about getting in touch with your values and what really matters to you.
Self-care tips for depression often stress that developing a sense of purpose is vital to your recovery. Below are some versatile examples that can help you with this.
Spiritual Self-Care Ideas
Keep up a daily meditation or mindfulness practice.
Attend a service, whether it is religious or humanistic.
Walk in nature and reflecting on the beauty around you.
Make a daily list of 5-10 things that make you feel grateful.
Be creative, whether through art, music, writing or something else entirely.
Make a list of 5-10 things that make you feel alive, then ask yourself how you can better incorporate these things into your life.
Say affirmations that ground your sense of self and purpose.
Go on a trip with the sole purpose of photographing things that inspire you.
The importance of self-care definitely extends to purely physical aspects of your health. Physical activity is vital not only for your bodily well-being but also for helping you let off steam.
You might think there’s nothing fun or self-compassionate about going to the gym, but that’s far too narrow a way of thinking about physical self-care. Instead, broaden the concept by thinking about the following lists.
Physical Self-Care Ideas
Dance to your favorite songs
Do yoga. Even if you’ve never tried it, there are poses that are perfect for beginners.
Join a class and learn a new sport.
Go running with your dog (or a friend’s)!
Cycle through the countryside.
Simply go for a walk.
In addition, remember that physical self-care is as much about the things you don’t do as the things you do! So:
Nap when you need to. Just 20 minutes can make you feel mentally and physically refreshed.
Say “no” to invitations when you’re simply too tired to enjoy them.
Don’t push yourself to do your exercise routine when you’re run down or unwell.
Commit to 7-9 hours of sleep per night, barring exceptional circumstances.
Finally, social self-care is another category that’s important for us all.
It might look different depending on whether you’re an introvert or extrovert. However, connecting with other people is necessary for happiness for a large diversity of people.
It helps you to understand that you’re not alone. Plus, it can also give us a sense of being fully “seen” by others. This can, in particular, help us combat loneliness and isolation.
Social self-care isn’t about just doing things with others for the sake of it, but about choosing to do things with people who really make you feel good.
Social Self-Care Ideas
Make a date to have lunch or dinner with a great friend.
Write an email to someone who lives far away, but who you miss.
Reach out to someone you like but haven’t seen in a while.
Consider joining a group of people who share your interests.
Stop socialising with those who undermine or disempower you.
Strike up a conversation with someone interesting.
Join a support group for people who struggle with the same things you do.
Sign up for a class to learn something and meet new people at the same time.