Self-Care: What is it and why should I care? Part 1 of 2

Self-Care: What is it and why should I care? Part 1 of 2

Self-Care: What is it and why should I care?

By: Makena Lengquist, MA, PLPC, LPC, NCC

To deconstruct self-care, I will address these questions in two parts:
Part One: What is Self-Care?
Part Two: Why is Self-Care Important?

Welcome to Part One. What is Self-Care?

Self-care is the practice of taking care of your personal needs as a way to create and maintain a healthy whole person. Self-care practice can be broken down into 6 main types: practical, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social.

Practical Self-Care:

Completing tasks that need to be accomplished in your day to day life. So that ongoing to-do list that you probably have, those are practical self-care items. Checking off those tasks is doing practical self-care.

  • Examples: picking up the house, doing the dishes, running errands, doing the laundry,
    paying bills, making appointments, going to appointments, creating a budget, etc.
Physical Self-Care:

Engaging in physical activities that promote and increase your well-being. This doesn’t mean you have to get a gym membership and force yourself to workout at the gym (but you certainly can). It just means doing what works for you to keep your physical body healthy.

  • Examples: getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating fruits and vegetables, taking a walk, getting up and walking around the halls once an hour, yoga, giving yourself a foot or hand massage, taking a nap, weight lifting, running, etc.
Emotional Self-Care:

Finding ways to feel, connect, and process your full range of emotions in a healthy manner. We can’t experience the positive emotions if we don’t allow ourselves to experience the harder emotions too. It is important to find avenues to connect to and experience your emotions.

  • Examples: writing in a journal, writing a story or poetry, listening to music, playing and creating music, going to counseling, mindfully checking in with your emotions, etc.
Mental Self-Care:

Activities that engage and stimulate your mind. Keeping your brain active is an important piece in a balanced and healthy life. Watching TV doesn’t count. While watching TV feels nice, it doesn’t actually require much from your brain. You need a more challenging activity to stimulate your brain.

  • Examples: reading a book, solving a puzzle, playing card games or board games, word searches, sudoku, going to a museum, taking a class, learning something new, etc.
Spiritual Self-Care:

Nourishing your spirit and soul. Spiritual self-care can be religious activities, but they aren’t only religious activities. It is about connecting to the deepest part of you. Everyone has a soul, and your soul needs care and attunement.

  • Examples: being in nature, mindfulness or meditation, yoga, creating music or art, activities within your place of worship, spending time with animals, going on a vacation, going on an adventure, being reflective, spending time with loved ones, etc.
Social Self-Care:

Intentional activities that stimulate your social interactions and deepen your relationships. Each person has a sense for which social situations feel energizing and which feel draining to them.
Social self-care is engaging in those energizing social activities in a healthy way while limiting or saying “No” to those social activities that feel draining or unhealthy.

  • Examples: dinner with friends, having a game night with friends, going to a party, going on a date, calling a friend, calling a parent, meeting new people, getting together with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, intentional time with a friend or partner, etc.
All 6 Areas of Self-Care are Equally as Important

Some of us are better at maintaining certain areas of self-care, and we tend to neglect or forget other areas. Take a minute to think about what areas you may be neglecting.

Now, spend a few minutes to plan ways to get all 6 aspects of self-care sometime in the next month (or in the next week if you are really proactive). Eventually, self-care will come more naturally and become almost habitual. But whether you are new to self-care, or you have been doing self-care for a while, it is always beneficial to try something new or revamp your routine throughout different seasons of your life.

Self-care is a continuous journey of self discovery and self-love.

A preview of Part Two: Why is Self-Care Important?

These 6 aspects of self-care are equally important and work together to help you become a healthy, balanced, and resilient person. Finding time to take care of all 6 areas of self-care will help you in situations that threaten your self-esteem, help you maintain your sense of self-worth, help you live within your values, and help you when life inevitably gets tough.

About the Author:

Makena Lengquist is a client-centered counselor who works with adults and
teens on anxiety and relational issues. She is an avid reader, baker, and dog
lover, with a natural desire to learn.

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