We often talk or think about needing some TLC and nurturing ourselves more. Why not let this first month of the new decade start you on your path to greater kindness to yourself.
There are six main types of self-care
Self-care: Actions you perform to take care of your physical, emotional, and mental needs.
When you love something you have ways of showing your love. You water your garden, you feed your cats, and you do sweet little things for your Loves. That’s what self-care is for you.
It’s about turning that love, attention, and affection toward yourself. You need love too. It becomes so much easier to have functional relationships when you aren’t living day-to-day deprived of the things that make you feel good. It becomes easier when you aren’t constantly living in a deficit of “love me”, “make me happy”, “make me feel valued”, voids that you are constantly yearning for other people to fill.
You can give those things to yourself.
Self-care is all about communicating with your soul and saying “Hey, what do you need right now?”
Then doing it.
Self-care is different for everyone and changes with moods and situations. It helps you figure out a step-by-step plan on what to do when you’re sick, tired, sad, stressed out, anxious, and all emotions in between.
Self-care helps stop the spiral of destructive emotions. It gives you something to focus on when you feel yourself starting to break down. It’s your greatest ally when it comes to coping with life in a healthy and productive way.
Types of Self-Care
Physical self-care is probably the self-care that you’re most familiar with. It means getting enough water, food, sleep, and physical activity. It means taking care of yourself when you’re sick instead of soldiering through it, it means all of those things – but it also means so much more.
How does your body feel right now? Oh, that lovely body of yours, how’s it doing?
Physical self-care means not negating your physical needs. It’s not about green smoothies, spa days, yoga, and pedicures.
Physically caring for yourself means not abusing drugs or alcohol or anything else that is actively hurting your body or just makes you feel all around crappy. It means not binging on food. It means not staying up late, missing out on sleep because you’re browsing Facebook. Not pushing yourself when you’re sick. It means going to the doctor and the dentist when you need to.
These are all things that you know you should do, it’s just a matter of doing it.
There’s also the next level, the not-a-necessity level, of physical self-care. This kind of self-care just focuses on things that make you feel good physically.
Body scrubs, massages, pedicures, and spa days.
Let someone else cut, color, and style your hair.
Make the time to do your makeup if it makes you feel extra pretty.
If that’s not your thing, that’s totally okay too. There are a million ways to be nice to your body. Find the ways that work for you.
Wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself and about your body. Find your style. Walk out of the house feeling like a goddess whether you’re wearing yoga pants and t-shirt or done up like a model.
Physical self-care also involves delving into your sexuality and the things that make you feel pleasure. Explore yourself. Figure out what you like. Start healing any feelings of shame and guilt you feel about sex. Take time to be sexual, either with yourself or your partner or whoever gives you butterflies.
If it makes you feel good, make time for it.
Find something physical that you love doing. Find your thing. Take long walks and listen to music or audiobooks or play Pokemon. Swim! Do yoga or pilates! Belly dance or copy the dances from your favorite music videos. Play basketball or throw a ball around with your kids. There are so many options for you.
Whatever you can do is good enough.
How you deal with your feelings says a lot about how much you love yourself. Having the ability to deal with your emotions in a healthy way is crucial to your happiness and your quality of life. If you feel like you are unable to deal with your emotions in a productive way, if you feel like your emotions are in control of you and your life, then focusing on your emotional self-care can really help.
When you feel an unpleasant emotion like jealousy, shame, embarrassment – how do you deal with it? Do you beat yourself up over it? Do you blame yourself for being too weak or sensitive when you let things get to you? You have to learn how to honor your emotions and process them in a healthy way.
On the opposite end of the scale, you could be the kind of person that never lets anything rattle her. You refuse to feel those things that hurt and while you’re so busy pretending like you’re indestructible those feelings have a way of manifesting themselves in your life through chaos and self-destruction.
Emotional self-care is about reacting to your emotions in a healthy way, having good coping mechanisms, and cultivating emotional intelligence.
This means being able to be aware of what you’re feeling, when you’re feeling it, the ability to cope with the emotion, and also express it in a healthy way.
You have to learn how to be gentle with yourself and your feelings.
Develop compassion for yourself and your feelings and why you feel the way you do. You are emotional. It’s normal, it’s human, and oftentimes, it’s messy, and that’s okay. Things like jealousy, anger, and hurt are real and valid and they deserve to be explored. No emotion that you have makes you a bad person or less than.
There will be times when you are an emotional mess, when you’re having a bad day and nothing that you do is really making you feel better. Be patient and loving, just like you’d be with someone you love.
Sometimes the only way to heal is to just quietly understand.
You can start working on your emotional self-care right now by changing the tone of your internal voice. Let that voice be one that provides wisdom instead of verbal abuse. In time, that inner you can become your greatest source of comfort.
Work on your self-talk. Make sure that you aren’t being verbally abusive to yourself. No more calling yourself ugly, fat, stupid, or any other words you wouldn’t use toward someone you love.
Say no to demands on your time when it’s for your greater good. You aren’t obligated to emotionally drain or hurt yourself for the benefit of other people. Stop guilting yourself over every little thing you’ve ever done wrong and remove constant “should”s from your vocabulary.Have good emotional boundaries. If something or someone triggers you, know when to step back.
Have good emotional boundaries. If something or someone triggers you, know when to step back.
Don’t numb yourself from your emotions, this means not using drugs, alcohol, food, or anything else to hide from your feelings.
Create a support system that understands your emotional struggles. Find people you can talk to about anxiety, depression, or any of the other things you might struggle with.
Ask yourself what you really need right now, and ask it again, and again, multiple times a day.
Have a healthy plan to cope with emotional distress.
When you’re having an emotional crisis tap into your wise inner self and work on being able to give yourself good advice.
One of the side effects of not loving yourself is not knowing who you are. You’re so tied up in how other people feel about you and what they think about you that you mold yourself to make them happy. You become who your partner wants you to be, or you do the things that your friends want you to do. Who you are, who you really are, gets lost between their wants and expectations.
I call this chameleon syndrome. You change yourself to fit into your surroundings. Sometimes this is okay, we all do it to some extent in our daily lives, but it becomes a problem when you forget (or never discovered) who you are deep down inside.
Personal self-care is about discovering that true self. It’s about letting go of the things that you were taught to believe as a child and finding your own path. It’s about discovering what you like to do and who you are when no one else is around.
Fall in love with who you are. Your quirks, your qualities, all of the ways and reasons you’re worth loving. Life is not about existing for other people, it’s about existing for yourself.
Take a look at what you really want out of life and then see what steps you can take to get there.
How do you practice personal self-care? Any way you want!
Try new things to discover what you really like and what really makes you happy. Maybe somewhere inside of you is a budding artist or a yoga teacher or someone who really enjoys kickboxing. You’ll never know until you try it!
- Form your own thoughts and opinions instead of letting yourself be swayed by the expectations or the thoughts of the people around you.
Know that you are a complete and whole person unto yourself and you don’t need anyone to complete you.
If you were building yourself up from nothing, what types of values would you give yourself? What kind of person would you be? Let those ideas be the starting point for figuring out who you are.
- Spend lots of quality time alone. Even if you are an extrovert, learn how to enjoy solitude and alone time.
Make time for your hobbies and the things that bring you joy, you can never have too much of them.
Plan for your future and make long-term goals. Go for what you really want in life.
- Discover all of the things you are.