Types of Self Care: Ways to Look After Yourself
As you’ll remember from our previous article on self care, self care is vital to our wellness. Despite some people feeling guilty about prioritizing themselves first, looking after your needs is the least selfish thing you can do. Practice incorporating various types of self care into your wellness routine to help you achieve more balance.
Remember: Wellness is like the pillars of a house, when one of the pillars is off kilter the house becomes shaky. The resiliency that the pillars provided is no longer there. The house could fall down. Our wellness requires that we look after all aspects of our lives. Self care helps build resiliency and provides you with coping skills when things aren’t going so well.
Types of Self Care
Taking care of your body means taking care of your mind. This type of self care is specifically aimed at this connection between mind and body.
This one cannot be stated enough. The link between exercise and ALL types of wellness has been proven scientifically for years. As we discussed in the Diet and Exercise and Its Effect on Mental Health, even walking as little as 20 minutes a day will have a great improvement on your physical as well as your mental health.
Ideas for exercise: walking, weight training, HIIT, hiking/trekking, pilates, yoga, gardening
Now I’m not talking about watching everything you eat. I do not advocate for diets because they are not sustainable. Good nutrition is. Instead of taking the mindset of cutting foods out of your diet, try focusing on adding foods into your diet. The reason behind this is that if you are focused on eating more vegetables (for example), you’ll have less stomach room for other foods you shouldn’t eat as much of.
Side note: I lost 40 kgs over the course of a year (it’s documented on my Instagram: @ashleyloveskiwi). Never once did I diet. I started vegetable gardening (adding in exercise naturally) and enjoyed eating what I grew. I found I was more apt to eat a vegetable I grew over a packet of chips from the store. There was something satisfying about having fresh veggies all the time. I didn’t want them to go to waste.
Ever hear the saying that we are basically plants who worry? Like plants, people need sunshine. Vitamin D comes from the sun naturally and helps our body to produce serotonin and other neurotransmitters that leave us feeling happier.
Warning: Do not over do it. Wear a good protecting sunscreen and shield your eyes as necessary. Too much sunshine can cause skin cancer.
Our overall wellness could not be complete without keeping our minds healthy. The types of self care listed below are a few ideas for cultivating a healthy mind.
Every time I bring this up in sessions, I am always met with hesitation and concern. People tell me that they don’t feel that writing is helpful and often don’t do it. I couldn’t disagree more! Journaling is another way of processing the information in our heads. Science has shown us there are more than one way to learn. We process information in our minds differently than if we speak it out loud or, in this case, write it out!
Tip: Write out any unresolved issues for the day before bed and then give yourself permission to be done with them for the night. It will help you sleep better.
Counselling isn’t just for when things are not going well. It is for keeping life in balance. You wouldn’t stop an antibiotic just because you feel better, you need to run it’s course. Not everyone NEEDS counselling, but most people would benefit.
Got a problem in your job? Or going through a divorce? You may be resilient and capable of handling the stress thrown at you in the moment, but have you stopped to think what you would feel like AFTER having someone to help you process these events in the moment? Handling big events as they come up will help you move on with your life without lagging, unresolved issues.
Mindfulness and Meditations
You’ll see these two types of self care come up often in my writing, and for good reason! Studies repeatedly show positive benefits in those people who meditated daily. In the Netflix special, The Mind Explained- Meditation, the show focused on a Buddhist monk whose overall health and wellness were exemplary for his age. They ran tests on him and other monks and found that those who meditated showed higher pain tolerance levels. They were more resilient and felt negative emotions for a much shorter period of time than those who didn’t meditate.
Keep Up with Your Social Networks
Humans are social creatures. We crave social attention and affection but often times fail to get that connection we need. Don’t be afraid to call your friends. Text them if you must. Go through your friend’s list every month and be sure you’ve said “hello!” to all of them. You would love it if you got a sweet message from your loved ones. Why not be the one who starts the trend? Make 2020 the year we found our way to being closer through social distancing.
Financial wellness, when it is going well, can feel like freedom. Not having to worry about where your next meal will come from or if you have enough money to retire gives a sense of freedom that is only achieved through financial wellness. But we shouldn’t only think of our financials when things are going bad. Here are some types of self care that will help you balance your finances for good.
Budget Your Money
Knowing you can afford to pay all your bills will bring relief in so many ways. Financial security starts with financial responsibility and a budget is your first most important step.
Pro Tip: Budget money for things like holidays, going out to eat, and luxuries. You can then spend without guilt, so long as you can afford it. It’s in the budget!
Be sure to check out Budgeting 101: What is a Budget article for more information on how to start your budget today!
Always have Insurance
You cannot predict the future and no matter how careful you are, you just cannot account for everything in life. That’s where insurance comes in. Insurance is an investment in your financial security.
Intellectual and spiritual types of self care differ from those for mental health in that they look at the broader questions of life and seeking enlightenment. Understanding one’s purpose in life or how the galaxy works challenges the mind to think in more abstract ways. Learning is directly tied to our memory and, like a muscle, needs to be exercised. Here are some suggestions:
Reading Your Holy Book
Whether it be the Bible, the Quran, the Torah, or any other religious affiliations, reading your holy book (if you are religious) can be both soothing and enlightening. Many of the world’s greatest scientists also believed in the idea of a higher power as a way to understand, in tandem with science, how the universe works. Talk with your spiritual guide, especially as questions in life arise. This ongoing relationship can be powerful in times of turmoil.
Discover Your Purpose in Life
Purpose in life comes from within. It can often be difficult to nail down and it may change as you get older. Your purpose in life comes from the mix of your strengths, what you love, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for.
Victor Frankl argued in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, that when everything else in life is stripped from you, what’s left is still your purpose. Knowing his purpose in life, Frankl chose how he viewed his circumstances every day. And tt was that choice, his purpose, that made him mentally resilient while being interned in Auschwitz. He decided he was going to survive and therefore framed his entire life purpose while in concentration camp around this.
“He who has a why can endure any how” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Probably one of the most beneficial things you can do to exercise your mind is to read. Not only does it expand your vocabulary but it will open your mind to ideas and worlds far beyond your imagination. Sitting down for a moment of tranquility daily with a good book nourishes the soul. There are books for every interest and reading level. There are even audiobooks for those who’d prefer to learn aurally. Don’t like the idea of reading or listening to books? Try a podcast! Just exercise that brain muscle!
Learn an Instrument
There’s a reason your parents made you learn an instrument in school. Playing and making music trigger different areas of use in your brain. Especially if you are in a position at work where you cannot tap into your creative side, learning a musical instrument is one of those really fun types of self care. Join a band or play on your own. Sing! Dance! Let out your creative side!
Click read more for some bonus ideas!
ypes of Sensory Self Care
Sensory is one of those types of self care that is often what people define as self care. People picture bath bombs and candles at the mention of self care; but as you’ve read above, there are many ways to take care of your wellness needs. Here are the types of self care that focus on the 5 senses.
Lighting Candles! Incense! Essential Oils! Bath Bombs! Finally I bring up the usual notion of self care. Yes, these are truly helpful to many people and a wonderful addition to your self care routine. Soothing scents can help turn off stress receptors in the body to help you unwind and relax. So go on and have that bubble bath guilt free!
Listening to Soothing Music
Everyone has different music tastes but we can all benefit from the joys of listening to music regularly. Not only is it good for lifting your spirit, but can also help you calm down when stressed, and drift off to a good night’s sleep. For me personally, I wouldn’t achieve half of what I have without music. I have music to inspire me, music to relax, music to sing to, music for when I’m sad- you name it! It is also the reason why I started my YouTube channel- A Peaceful Place. I wanted to spread my love of music throughout the world and hopefully end up on someone else’s inspirational music video list!
Many people who enjoy cooking report a sense of calmness and focus while being in the kitchen. Turning the chicken while timing the potatoes, cooking takes up all your focus at the time. Pair this mindful distraction with vegetable gardening and this could easily be THE healthiest self care idea on the list. They say you are what you eat and when you can track your food’s entire process from dirt to table, you have an incredible amount of control over the nutrients you put into your body. Combined with the extra exercise you’ll get from tending to your garden and you’re sure to be healthier in mind, body, and spirit.
ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, is the term for the tingling sensation you can get from sounds or visuals. The chills if you will. People often describe having goosebumps up and down their body. For some, this technique aligns their senses to provide a sense of happiness even a sense of low grade euphoria. Some examples of ASMR sounds are: rain or storm sounds, white noise, and whispering. There are YouTube channels dedicated to helping people achieve this natural high.
Thank you for making it this far and I hope you enjoyed!