7-types of Self-care (and why it matters)
Self-care is not a one-size fits all scenario. We all define it and embody it differently. One day, after a particularly chaotic and busy week, I announced to my husband that I need to plan some self-care and was going to dye my hair. He laughed and incredulously asked my why I considered dying my hair to be self-care. To him, that would feel like a chore. To me, it would be bliss: Sitting in a chair, doing nothing, with no responsibilities, is my version of self-care, and I’d be getting a cool new hair color to boot!
It got me thinking about the myriad ways we define self-care and how sometimes self-care is actually NOT doing the thing you thought was self-care in the first place. For example, sometimes going to the gym for a hard sweat-sesh is exactly what I need for self-care. Yet, sometimes giving myself permission NOT to go to the gym when I actually need some time to rest and read and receive is self-care. It can change from person to person and even day-to-day for that same person.
Below are 7 types of self-care, how they might fill up your tank and why it matters.
Taking the time to get your nails or hair done, shaving your legs (if you choose to) or even clipping your nose hair can make you feel clean and invigorated. Heck, even taking a shower for me is self-care. I always have a new spring in my step when I’ve taken the time to groom or outsource my grooming even though sometimes I feel that it’s indulgent or even a chore to do it.
Grooming can sometimes get mixed up with doing it someone else in your life, or even to meet societal standards and expectations. For me, it’s a powerful self-care technique when it’s solely about you and how you want to feel about your body and in your body.
Fueling your body with macronutrient balanced foods and even the act of cooking can be incredibly grounding and nourishing for many people. For me, cooking a vegan, balanced and delicious meal each night is the ultimate gift to myself and fills me with joy.
Sometimes nutritional self-care can mean making yourself a homemade meal or a macro bowl with superfoods. Sometimes nutritional self-care means indulging in a donut and Doritos. Honoring what you need physically AND emotionally are equally important but sometimes conflict with one another. That is ok. Pick which will serve you best at any given time.
Connecting with source, the universe, God, nature or any other definition of spirituality to you can leave us with a sense of humility and put things in perspective for us. It can help us not sweat the small stuff and leave us feeling content and even effervescent.
This can mean meditating, praying, going to church or temple or even just being in nature. However you connect with and define spirituality to you counts.
We are a social species. We cannot go at it alone for too long. Most of us need human interactions and connections to keep us from feeling isolated or misunderstood. Talking with someone or being in the right community can fill us up like nothing else. For me, a girls weekend with the people who truly get me, love me and respect me can leave me on a high for weeks.
5. Introvert self-care
And yet, many of us are also introverts of ambiverts where we crave and derive energy from both other people and being alone. Self-care sometimes just means taking some time in a quiet, solitary space to reflect, meditate, read, journal or just be.
6. Movement and physical activity
Taking the time to move in a way that makes your body feel alive and embodied is critical for our physical and mental well-being. Instead of forcing yourself to exercise, try a self-care version of movement and tune in to the ways you like to move your body naturally. Is it through dance? Walking? Hiking? Soul cycle? For me self-care around movement is about honoring where my body is at and what ways it feels like moving that day.
7. Organizational self-care
When I look at my messy desk or a pile of clothes on the ground, I am filled with dread and even anxiety. I don’t know if it’s the overwhelm at the mundane tasks that need to get done around the house or the sheer defiance of not wanting to do the chores by myself, but either way organizing and cleaning my work space, my home, my car can feel like punishment. But, I concede that the way I feel after I do the work and am left with a clean, simplified and organized space is unparalleled. There is definitely some truth to the idea that a clean, clear space equals a clean and clear mind unfettered by the overwhelm of clutter. I tend to be more creative, more productive and feel absolutely amazing when I have taken that upfront time to get my household organizational needs squared away. Does it feel like self-care to you?
Have I left anything out? How else would you categorize your self-care? What is your ideal way to care for yourself? What stops you from doing it more often?
In the meantime, please enjoy this self-careinfographic and share it!