Everything You Need To Know About Self-Care

As a child, you could always count on your mom for love, support, and good advice. Indeed, your mom took care of you in many ways that you might not have ever thought about. She cared for you when you got sick, fed you nutritious food, and showed you how to care for your body. She made sure your cuts didn’t get infected too, and always knew the best remedy for a tummy ache.

Now, here’s the thing; many of the things your mom (and, of course, your dad) did for you were to keep you healthy and happy. They showed you how to brush and floss your teeth, for example, or how to shave. They bought you warm clothing in winter and taught you how to roast marshmallows in summer. In short, they cared for you deeply. They did many things that helped you feel good, look good, and feel good about yourself too. And make no doubt, we needed everything they gave us (and sometimes more).

But then, there came a day when you weren’t a child any longer. You moved out on your own. You got your own place, with your own stuff. You became independent. 

There was only one, small, teeny-weeny problem; mom and dad weren’t there to care for you. All that care stopped and, for a lot of folks, never came back.

Hey, we get it. Everyone has to live their life, make their way, and be themself. (It’s not always easy to do that with mom and dad around, let’s be honest.) But as soon as you move out, all that tender, loving care your mom (and dad) gave you stop. Like, cold turkey. Nothing. Nada. No more momma to disinfect your wounds, no more daddy to advise you on how to relax.

That, in a nutshell, is why every adult needs to know about self-care. Because taking care of yourself is one of the most important tasks you have if you want to live a long, healthy, prosperous life. Let’s take a closer look at why self-care is so important.

What, Exactly, is Self-Care?

If you were to ask the average person if they ‘take care of themselves,’ they would likely respond in the affirmative. (They’d say ‘yes.’) The tricky part, however, is when you ask them how they take care of themselves. In most cases, you won’t hear much more than crickets. 

That’s because most people mistake taking care of themself with making sure they, for example, don’t drive drunk. That’s being careful, for sure, but has nothing to do with taking care of your emotional, mental, and physical health. (Although, truth be told, a car accident while drunk would be bad for all three.) Self-care is any activity that you do with a purpose to make sure you stay healthy emotionally, physically, and mentally (and a couple more, which we’ll get to shortly). For example, running 3 times a week is a form of physical self-care, while having your hair styled is a form of emotional self-care. Anything you do for yourself, from brushing your teeth to taking a hot bath to use Tabata workouts to keep in shape, is a form of self-care. More importantly, all of these activities should be a big part of your every day (or at least regular) routine.

What Is Not Self-Care?

Dr. Agnes Wainman is a professor at the prestigious London Psychological Services in Ontario, Canada. She’s also a self-proclaimed ‘self-care activist’ who believes people should take self-care more seriously. Dr. Wainman says that self-care “is something that refuses us, rather than takes from us.”

The good doctor is referring to is that if you’re forced to do something against your will, or you’re doing something you don’t enjoy fully, you’re not practicing self-care. If it drains you, stresses you (or makes you want to hurl violently), you’re probably doing yourself more harm than good. 

Also, she says that self-care is not about being selfish. Many people are under that false impression, but it’s simply not true. The truth is, self-care is about taking care of yourself so that the people who depend on you can do just that, depend on you. It’s doing what you need to do to take care of your mind, body, and spirit. Let’s put it this way; if you don’t take care of yourself and get sick, laid up, or put out of commission, who will help the people depending on you?

So, again, don’t ever let anyone tell you that self-care is about being selfish. It’s exactly the opposite (and they should probably try it too).

What Are the Different Types of Self-Care?

Interestingly, there are six different types of self-care, and all of them are just as important as the other. You can practice all of them, some of them or none of them, but it’s suggested that you practice all six regularly. The six types of self-care include:

Emotional self-care

Any activity that connects you with your emotions in a positive way is considered emotional self-care. For example, playing music, seeing a therapist, or writing in a journal or diary.

Mental self-care

If the activity you’re doing stimulates your mind or challenges your intellect, you’re practicing mental self-care. Solving puzzles, reading books, or playing sudoku are great examples.

Physical self-care

Joggers, swimmers, bicyclists, and anyone who gets physical exercise regularly is practicing physical self-care. But here’s the thing; even things like taking a walk during your lunch break, getting plenty of sleep, and drinking plenty of water are considered physical self-care.

Social self-care

Do you like having long talks with your mom or dad? If yes, you’re practicing social self-care, an activity that nurtures your relationships with everyone important in your life. Activities like calling your dad, having brunch with your good friends, or going out on a date are all great examples.

Spiritual self-care

If you practice yoga, you’re practicing spiritual self-care. Any activity that nurtures your spirit works perfectly, including going to your favorite place of worship, being in nature, or meditation. Also, keep in mind that spiritual does not equal religion. You can be spiritually self-caring without ever stepping foot in a church or synagogue.

Practical self-care

This last one is quite interesting. If you practice practical self-care, you’re doing things like taking college classes at night, sticking to a budget you made or keeping your home neat and organized. Doing these things, and many more, prevent stressful situations today and in the future. (In short, they reduce your stress levels.) (And hey, the bedroom closet does need a little organizing!)

What Are Some of the Best Self-Care Habits To Form?

Self-care isn’t difficult, but it does take time, effort, and diligence. (Ask your mom and dad!) If you want to meet and exceed the 6 different types of self-care requirements, you’ll need to make put in the work. Below are some of the best things you can do to make sure you’re getting the self-scare you need to succeed in today’s world.

  • Eat a nutritious, healthy diet. Ensure that everything you eat (for at least most everything) is adding to your health, not taking away from it.
  • Make a ‘No’ List. This is a list with all of the things that, for the sake of your mental and physical health, you won’t do. Texting on your phone during dinner or when you’re with friends, for example, or going to gatherings with people that rub you the wrong way.
  • Practice meditation. There’s no better form of spiritual and mental self-care than meditation. It’s free, easy, and will give you more health benefits than you can count.
  • Spend at least 15 to 30 minutes every day doing something that helps you relax. From building a challenging Lego set to taking a walk barefoot in the grass or playing with your pet, if it makes you feel calm and serene, do it every day.
  • Watch, do, or listen to something that makes you laugh. Laughter is so important to your health, and, sadly, many people don’t laugh enough. If your friends make you laugh, keep them around, and look for any opportunity to giggle, chuckle and guffaw.
  • Make sure you get enough solid sleep. If you don’t, do whatever you need to do to make sure you can. Sleep is vital to good health and a sacred self-care rite. Good sleep will make your life so much better!
  • Exercise! You can do anything from running to tennis, swimming, hiking, climbing, weightlifting, whatever! Exercise is one of the most important self-care activities! It can keep your physical body healthy, your mental state stable and rational, and some call it a spiritual awakening. What more can you ask for?!
  • Create a self-care routine and stick to it like flies to flypaper. 

In Closing

As you can see, self-care is vitally important and can truly improve your life in every way. It’s not as hard as it might seem, and it’s certainly not selfish. Use the examples we gave today to get your self-care regimen started, or boost your existing regimen. Whatever you do, take care of yourself so that, when others need you, you’ll be there to take care of them. 

Leave a Comment