Madissyn Fredericks, Licensed Professional Counselor, Symmetry Counseling

When you think of “self-care” you most likely think of working out and eating healthy. While physical self-care is crucial, the other five forms of self-care are just as important in achieving the level of happiness and balance you deserve. A lot of people burn themselves out from all the stress in their daily lives or simply just put themselves last on their priority list. Unfortunately, it isn’t until they crash that they finally take some time to do something to take care of themselves. The six types of self-care include physical, emotional, social, mental, spiritual, and practical self-care which all contribute your wellness in different ways. Before hitting your breaking point, consider engaging in these six forms of self-care described below on a regular basis to help make your life more manageable. Putting yourself first for a change will benefit your mental health and facilitate a sense of balance in your life. Self-care is not selfish, it is necessary.

1. Physical

Physical self-care includes so much more than exercise and diet, it includes anything that falls in the category of taking care of your body. Some examples include relaxing by bingeing your favorite show, taking a bath, going to bed early, getting a manicure, taking a nap, having sex, having a spa day, or going for a run. It is important to take time out of your week to do something that makes your body feel healthy, pampered, and well-nourished.

2. Emotional

Emotional self-care is defined as nurturing your feelings. You may feel anxiety, fear, sadness, joy, disappointment, or anger. It is crucial that you take the time to notice and validate these feelings as they come. If you push your emotions out it can cause greater distress for you in the future. Once you have acknowledged and accepted your feelings, it is important to alter the emotional states you if you desire. For example, if you are feeling anxious, use a breathing technique to control your breath and heart rate. You have the power to change the emotions if you wish to.

3. Social

Social self-care entails taking care of your relationships. When our mental health starts to decline our social lives tend to suffer. Engaging or going to lunch with coworkers, initiating a date night, meeting up with a friend, calling your loved ones, checking social media, embracing family time, and vocalizing your needs to others are all forms of social self-care. Reconnecting with and valuing these relationships in your life help you feel loved and cared for in return.

4. Mental

The thoughts that consume you can get overwhelming. Mental self-care is one of the most important forms of self-care yet always gets overlooked. It is important to set aside just a few minutes out of your day to notice your thoughts, analyze them, and focus on the positive aspects of them. Some examples of mental self-care include mindfulness exercises, practicing gratitude, self-reflection/journaling, challenging negative thoughts, and practicing patience with yourself and others.

5. Spiritual

Whether or not you believe in a higher power, nurturing your spiritual self is just as important as eating well and being social. For some people spiritual self-care may include attending religious services and reading texts, while for others it may include meditation, embracing nature, or volunteering at the animal shelter. All of these activities help foster a sense of purpose and positivity in your life. As you fill yourself up with the things that empower you, you will notice a greater happiness in yourself as well.

6. Practical

As much as you may hate doing the laundry or paying the bills, these are also forms of self-care. Practical self-care is defined as the maintenance that supports your life. Some other examples of practical self-care include designated grocery runs each week, budgeting, taking 15 minutes a day to clean, putting things in their place, meal preparation for the week, or setting up a weekly financial check-in with yourself or your significant other.

If you are burning out from all the stress in your life, try adding some of these forms of self-care into your routine. If you would like some guidance creating a healthy self-care routine, it may be helpful to connect with a therapist. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to schedule an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today!