Self care is the act of consciously carrying out tasks with the intention to improve your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. But where to start? Poppy Evans shares her self care ideas…
Practicing self care not only maintains good health, but also prevents and deals with illness. It is not self-indulgent or selfish, but is the awareness of knowing when to put yourself and own health first.
There are so many different elements to self care, and so many self care ideas to explore. The International Self-Care Foundation breaks these down into seven pillars:
- Knowledge and health literacy
- Mental wellbeing
- Physical activity
- Healthy eating
- Risk avoidance
- Good hygiene
- Rational use of products and services
Why not try some of these self care ideas this week?
Physical self-care ideas
This type of self care involves being mindful of your body and its needs. Remember, your body and mind are connected, meaning a healthy body enables your mind to feel and function better. The key factors to think about within this category are: How are you fuelling your body? Are you getting enough sleep? How physically active are you? Do you take charge of your health?
Some physical self care ideas to try:
- Cook a meal full of organic and healthy foods.
- Have a spa day – a massage is great for untying all those tension knots in your back!
- Do some exercise – whether this is a long walk, run, or an aerobics class, just get moving.
- Have a hot bath and early night – catching up on sleep can do wonders.
- Book a doctor’s appointment – ensuring you’re in optimum health is crucial.
Emotional self care ideas
When practicing emotional self care, you are acknowledging and caring for your inner self. Some questions to ask yourself when thinking about this area of self-care include: Is my internal monologue being kind? Have I set suitable boundaries in my family, social and work life? Am I addressing my true feelings surrounding a situation? Have I scheduled in some me-time?
Some emotional self-care ideas to try…
- Listen to music.
- Have a pamper day, with candles and blankets.
- Say no to plans when you’re in need of some alone time.
- Write a gratitude list.
- Take a moment to sit with your feelings.
- Dance – wherever you are!
- Read a self help book.
Social self-care ideas
Whether introvert or extrovert, we are all social beings that crave human connection. Whilst life can get on top of us all, and it is important to say no to plans when we need to, it is crucial for us to nurture the relationships and social interactions that we have in our lives. Sometimes a coffee with a friend to release all your current stresses, can be just as good as a therapy session!
Some social self-care activities to try…
- Call a loved one.
- Start a new class – whether this is pottery, kickboxing, cooking or Park Yoga.
- Learn the name of your local shopkeeper or barista.
- Surround yourself with positive people that make you feel good about yourself.
- Meet an old friend for coffee.
- Make small talk with people when you are at work or out and about.
Mental self-care ideas
Stimulating your mind provides a healthy psyche, keeps you sharp and encourages critical thinking. By focusing on mental self care, you will declutter your mind and in turn, reduce stress. We all approach this category in different ways, what works for some may not work for others.
Before you turn on your television this evening, why not try some of these mental self-care ideas?
- Read a book.
- Play a strategic game or do an activity like a sudoku or wordsearch.
- Study a foreign language.
- Listen to a podcast.
- Write a poem.
- Visit a museum.
- Get crafty, start an art project, or find a new hobby.
Spiritual self-care ideas
This applies to everyone, whether you’re religious, atheist or agnostic. It just means doing activities that help you to nurture and connect with your soul. It comes in all different forms, depending on your beliefs. For some this means connecting with your inner self, for others it is connecting with a higher power.
Some spiritual self-care ideas to try…
- Volunteer for a cause that is important to you.
- Connect with nature – this could be a walk in the park, spending time by the ocean, or exploring a woodland.
- Manifest your goals and where you would like to be five years from now – making a vision board could be a creative way to do this!
- Listen to a guided mediation.
- Attend a worship service or spend some time praying.
Practical self-care ideas
This category is one that we can all misinterpret as a chore, rather than a form of self care. Perspective can be everything, and rather than viewing these tasks as mundane routine, think of them as essential errands that you need to look after yourself. Try to find joy whilst carrying them out.
Practical self-care ideas to try…
- Clean your home – from washing dishes to tidying your living area, a tidy house is a tidy mind!
- Mow the lawn.
- Create a schedule for your week.
- Wash your car.
- Meal prep.
- Organise your wardrobe – declutter your clothes by giving away old ones and separating any left over into summer and winter.
- Get a new haircut.
For more self care ideas, visit our Mindfulness section.