How-To Guide for Self-Care Activities

In this article...
  • Use this guide to learn some self-care activities you can do at home. Find out why self-care is essential and how to take better care of yourself by nourishing your physical, mental and emotional health.

The world is a demanding place. You can quickly become drained of time and energy as you deal with family, friends and work. It's so easy to get caught up in the humdrum of daily life that you forget to care for yourself.

Self-care is essential to improving your well-being. You must take steps to promote your physical, mental and emotional health so you're equipped to live your best life.

This guide reviews how practicing self-care can help meet your body and mind's unique needs. Turn off your phone, relax and let’s see how a self-care plan can fit into your routine.

Physical Self-Care

Taking care of your body is essential for optimal physical and mental health. When you care for your body, you'll think and feel better.

Physical self-care includes your diet, sleep, physical activity and how you care for your other health needs.

Some physical self-care activities include:

  • Take an invigorating walk, surrounded by nature. Get your heart pumping.
  • Have a hot bath with Epsom salts to soothe sore muscles and joints.
  • Plan an early night to bed with a book you enjoy.
  • Prepare a nutritious meal with some of your favorite foods.

Social Self-Care

No (hu)man is an island. People need relationships with friends and family to help them cope with life's ups and downs. Enjoyable human interaction is key to self-care. But it's all too easy to forget to make time for people when life gets busy.

Social self-care activities involve cultivating and maintaining connections, for example:

  • Inviting a friend out to see a movie or for dinner.
  • Organize a night of dancing with a group of friends.
  • Sending a card to someone who you know is alone or feeling down.
  • Reaching out to an old friend on social media and asking them how they are doing. 

Mental Self-Care

Negative thought processes can be exhausting and make coping with life an uphill struggle. Conversely, having a positive attitude helps you unleash all the potential you have within.

Challenge yourself to think positively for a day or focus on what’s working in your life instead of dwelling on the negatives. Remember that the language you fill your mind with greatly influences your well-being.

Here are some mental self-care activities to try:

  • Make a list of things you are grateful for. There are probably more than you think.
  • Write out the day’s events, including what went well and any concerns. Then write about how those issues can be resolved or managed.
  • Learn a subject that fascinates and inspires you. Attend a class if you can.
  • Practice self-compassion and acceptance to maintain a healthier inner dialogue. Be kind and loving towards yourself.
  • Listen to songs that make you feel good. Music can be a powerful force for healing, hope and can help you relax or get through an emotional event.

Spiritual Self-Care

Research shows that lifestyles that include spirituality are often healthier. You don't need to be religious or follow a particular belief to nurture your spirit.

Spiritual self-care involves actions that help you develop a deeper understanding or connection to the universe.

No matter whether you enjoy attending a religious service or prefer meditation at home, these are some spiritual self-care practices you can add to your care routine:

  • Reflect and meditate. Spend time in silence or prayer to contemplate your existence, a problematic situation or simply how wonderful life is.
  • Express gratitude. Write down three things you're grateful for each day, or take a moment every evening to reflect on the blessings in your life.
  • Support a cause. Volunteer your time or donate to organizations that foster love, acceptance and kindness in the world.
  • Attend a yoga class either in person or online.

Emotional Self-Care

Emotions are part of life, and you must have healthy coping skills to deal with negative emotions like anger, anxiety and sadness.

Talking about your emotions with a close friend or creating time and space to process your emotions are part of emotional self-care.

Here ways to incorporate emotional self-care into your life:

  • Keep a journal specifically for your emotions, where you write down what's making you feel a certain way and how it's impacting your life.
  • Talk with someone about how you are feeling. If you don't have a close friend, you could turn to a therapist, spiritual advisor or join a support group.
  • Start a chain of encouragement and love. Share with someone close what you appreciate about them, and they may return the favor when you need it most.

Develop Your Self-Care Plan

What self-care means to one person could look entirely different for someone else. It's not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Your form of self-care plan will need to be customized to your needs.

You need to think about your life and assess which areas need attention. Don't forget to revisit your assessments often, as your self-care needs can evolve.

If you feel overwhelmed, take small steps. Identify one area that needs self-care and commit to making a change and taking better care of yourself.

No matter what actions you decide to take, it's essential to schedule time for your needs and make self-care a priority for your health and well-being.

About the Author

Zia Sherrell is a digital health journalist with over a decade of healthcare experience, a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Leeds and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Manchester. Her work has appeared in Netdoctor, Medical News Today, Healthline, Business Insider, Cosmopolitan, Yahoo, Harper's Bazaar, Men's Health and more.

When she’s not typing madly, Zia enjoys traveling and chasing after her dogs.

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