I don’t know about you, but I keep a little mental list of self-care practices. When I’m in need of some refreshing, I pull it out and take a little me-time.
Self-care works best though when it’s incorporated every day. Nurturing yourself regularly helps to prevent burnout and other nasty side-effects of running on empty.
But it’s not only the physical body that needs taking care of. Self-care needs to be aimed at the whole person! Looking at the 8 areas of wellness provides a comprehensive framework to create self-care practices around.
The 8 dimensions of wellness are physical, emotional, social, professional (occupational), environmental, spiritual, financial, and intellectual wellness. That’s a lot! But all these areas need to be looked at when developing meaningful self-care routines that actually work.
Moving towards wellness in all areas of life is a priority to me at the moment! If you’re interested in the same, here are self-care ideas for the mind, body, and soul.
Physical self care is all about the body. It’s important to feel good, but it’s not all bubble baths and facials! Follow a nutritious diet (I love my plant-based diet), maintain your health, and get regular exercise.
And then, of course, spend some extra time deep conditioning your hair or giving yourself a foot rub! Loving and looking after your body helps you feel amazing and benefits the mind too.
Saying no is an amazing way to practice self-care. It allows you to honor your boundaries and stick to your priorities.
Getting in touch with your emotions is important too. By developing emotional maturity we learn how to cope better and how to manage emotions. We also learn that it’s important to take some time to ‘be’ in uncomfortable emotions and love yourself through difficult times.
Taking care of our social self is allowing time for healthy relationships that support you. Whether it’s with friends or family, supportive relationships are a form of nurturing self-care.
Social self-care activities include things like joining a club doing something you find fun. You could get an exercise buddy and support each other as you work towards your fitness goals.
Even simple habits like chatting to a friend or playing with a pet foster that human need for connection.
The same as occupational self-care, this area brings to mind work-related stressors. For many, their workplace is far from their favorite place to be. It can be hard to switch off at the end of a day and take needed time to rest and relax.
Here are some ideas for practicing self-care for the professional (this includes freelancers and those working from home!)
- Create that differentiation between work time and off time. Your brain needs to switch off (or at last change direction) in order to work optimally.
- Take breaks during your day. Walk to a window, do some jumping jacks, make a cup of tea.
- Make your workplace a happy place to be by adding some beautiful plants or getting a comfortable chair. Think about what you’d like to see and feel like at work and do what you can to create that.
- Make sure you eat well.
- Speak up! For your own wellbeing, your voice needs to be heard. Establishing clear boundaries and expectations is an important self-care practice in the workplace.
Have you heard that decluttering is a form of self-care? It certainly is! Creating an organized, inviting living space promotes a calm mind and a happy, positive mindset.
Dive into your closet and throw out those jeans you last wore 4 years ago! Address your cluttered kitchen or living room and give it a minimalist makeover. Try out my decluttering guide to help get you started.
Other forms of environmental self-care are:
- knowing when to take a break from your phone or laptop
- making sure your home, clothes, car, etc., are clean and well maintained
- creating an uncluttered, peaceful sanctuary at home
Break out the crystals, light up that diffuser and take 5 minutes to reconnect with yourself on a higher level.
The spiritual aspect of life keeps us motivated and inspired. It drives our life purpose and sense of meaning.
A deeply personal part of life, your spiritual journey is unique to you. Some love meditation; maybe you enjoy journaling. Try out a yoga retreat or spend time in nature. Neglecting your spiritual self can lead to you feeling disillusioned and lost. Cultivate habits that nurture your soul and feed your spirit.
I admit that sometimes I’d rather declutter my pantry than go through my finances. But truly, financial self-care relieves stress and anxiety very effectively. If you’re worried about your finances, creating systems that demystify things will really help.
Financial self-care ideas include things like creating (and sticking to) a budget. Develop a financial plan. Do you want to pay off debt? Maybe save for a holiday? Do you need to get in touch with your spending habits?
Organizing and decluttering your financial life, making your personal finances simple and easy to manage is a great form of caring for yourself.
I’ve written more about a minimalist approach to personal finance here.
Healthy mind – healthy self! Our central processing unit needs proper attention to function optimally. This requires a combination of activity and rest. Your brain needs you to eat well, engage in interesting activities, learn new things.
Intellectual self-care can be a lot of fun. Schedule a games night with friends. Read books on topics you’re unfamiliar with. Take up a hobby. Start an online course and learn a new skill. Watch a documentary. Chat to interesting people. Challenge your perception and thoughts.
And know when it’s time to take a break and rest.
This 8-pronged approach to self-care should help you nurture every area of your life. By practicing self-care that tends to the whole self, you’ll feel more grounded, happier and more alive.