If you’re anything like me…you might be sick of hearing the words self-care; it’s been posted and cross-posted all over the internet! These days, everybody seems to be aboard the self-care train and raving about what you need to incorporate into your self-care regime.
Here’s the thing though…people are so caught up talking about what to do that they forget to mention what it even is. It’s important that we take a moment to recognize what we actually mean when we talk about self-care. There’s a wide misconception around the term. Is it taking a bath? Getting your nails done? Eating healthy? Well…maybe. But there’s more to it than just that.
Let’s start with a simple definition.
the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
Self-care can be broken down into four different dimensions: physical/sensory, mental, spiritual, and social. Incorporating activities from each dimension into your life as a whole means that you’ll be nourishing every single aspect of your life. You’ll ultimately get much better at the whole “self-care thing.” (And maybe without even knowing it).
Okay…so I want to dive into each of these dimensions and what they mean, how they can benefit you, and give you a few examples of what you can do to practice in this certain area of your life and give an example of what I’ve been doing do better myself in each area of self-care. So, let’s dive in!
01 // Physical + Sensory
Taking care of our bodies is a large component of self-care, but it doesn’t have to mean a vigorous exercise routine. The key to self-care is that it should be something you thoroughly enjoy and not feel like an obligation. The physical dimension of self-case encompasses safety, health, nutrition, movement, physical touch, and sexual needs. The reason I’ve included the word sensory is because it helps define and shape physical self-care: sight, smell, touch, and sound.
How I’m Bettering My Physical+Sensory Self-Care
I’ve decided to baby step into a goal I have for myself of gaining some weight. To be completely honest, I have always struggled with the way that I see my body. It’s something I work on and stress over constantly. There have been countless occasions where I’ve skipped meals and starved myself because I felt unworthy of eating. I felt ashamed of my body. I’ve worked very hard to try and overcome these thoughts. Ultimately, I’ve decided that I am going to be trying to actually gain some weight rather than lose it.
So right now to work on my physical + sensory self-care, I am striving to eat healthier and more frequently!
Examples of Physical+Sensory Self-Care
- Trying a new workout
- Taking an Epsom Salt bath or long shower
- Eat nourishing foods
02 // Mental: Emotional + Intellectual
Mental self-care can be broken down into two parts – emotional and intellectual – and involves the awareness of our feelings and emotions, dealing with stress positively, and working on your personal growth. It’s about checking in with yourself, becoming more mindful of your triggers and thinking patterns, and finding ways to work through them rather than bottling it up inside.
I want to focus on the words ‘awareness‘ and ‘personal growth’ for a second. I’ll be honest with you: this is the area of self-care I have the most trouble with because I’m not very good at partaking in activities that encourage me to grow.
The intellectual side of this dimension is about stimulating your mind and being more open to creativity, innovation, and continual learning.
How I’m Bettering My Emotional + Intellectual Self-Care
Listen, the past seven months for me have been the craziest roller coaster ride ever – but I’m ready to get back on track and work on my self-care and self-love. Now that I’ve been back, I’ve been doing a lot of research over the past few weeks and I found this amazing app called Sanity&Self.
Sanity&Self is an app made for women by women! They have hard-hitting podcasts for topics such as: Relationships, Sex & Intimacy, Sleep, Personal Growth; and more! My personal favorite podcast series so far has to be between Give Less F#cks and Confidence, but I can’t wait to dive into the rest. Moreover, there’s in-app journaling that’s totally private as well as discussion forums for you to chat with other ladies! All things considered, there was no reason for me to not at least try the app; and I’m glad I did!
Examples of Emotional + Intellectual Self-Care
- Reading a book
- Learning a new language
- Listening to a podcast
- Taking a new class
03 // Spiritual
Spiritual self-care is a personal practice that involves following the values and beliefs that give you a purpose. Dedicating time to this dimension of self-care can help you feel a sense of belonging and help you find a connection to something greater than oneself. It’s okay if you’re not a religious person! In fact, connecting spiritually doesn’t have to be about religion at all.
Examples of Spiritual Self-Care
- Going on a nature walk
- Taking a yoga class
- Try meditation or another mindfulness practice
- Attending a religious/church service
04 // Social
Although the majority of people associate self-care with themselves, social connection is just as important! It allows us to create and share a common bond with others and give us the feeling of assurance, belonging, and acceptance.
How I’m Bettering My Social Self-Care
This is one that’s important to me because I’ve spent so long trying to rid my circle of negative energy. Having close friends that are supportive are a huge must when it comes to bettering yourself. Remember that the environment you surround yourself with will drastically change your growth. If you surround yourself with negative people, it will bring negative outcomes!
Examples of Social Self-Care
- Joining a club
- Going out for coffee
- Organizing a family dinner
- Walking with friends
Putting It Into Practice
Now that we’ve broken down what self-care really is and we’ve sorted through each dimension, it’s time to think of what we can incorporate into our daily routines. Maybe you want to start listening to podcasts, saying positive affirmations, or walking with a friend. Whatever it is that you end up doing, make sure it’s something that truly makes you happy, relaxed, and fun – and then don’t stop doing it!
Since we’ve split self care into four dimensions: which do you think you need the most help with? Which do you excel in? Take the time this week to incorporate one thing you love into your life and really dwell into knowing that you are worth taking time for.
As always, thank you so much for reading.