This is What Genuine Self Care Looks Like (4 Types & 19 Examples From My Toolbox)

Angela and Leo. We love to explore nature trails together for both mind and body wellness.  Photo by Angela Tague

A week doesn’t go by that I’m not blogging about self-care or posting about it on social media. Focusing on our needs — each day, in small moments — is critical to our overall physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness.

As they say, you’re the only person in this world responsible for you. So, take care of yourself!

In my opinion, self-care and self-love truly are the same thing. It’s simply being intentional about reflecting on how we live, being honest with ourselves and fulfilling our needs.

The idea that we need to focus on ourselves may feel daunting or even ego-driven, but when viewed from a healthy mindset, it’s anything but selfish or self-absorbed. By caring for yourself, you also ease the expectations placed on those around you including family, friends and partners.

After all, happiness is an inside job.

So, what can we do to nurture ourselves? A lot! As I learn more about wellness on my life journey, self-care is divided into four categories and we need to dip into each regularly to feel balanced, healthy and satisfied with our lives.

Going for walks in nature with my dog checks off many boxes for me when it comes to self-care!  Photo by Angela Tague

Emotional Health Self Care

Each day we have experiences, conversations and moments that trigger us to feel certain ways. These emotions can range from happiness, joy and contentment to guilt, fear, sadness or shame — just to name a few. Often when we feel the emotions that hurt, we push them down or try to forget them. This can lead to anxiety, resentment, physical disease and repeating patterns.

To maintain our emotional wellness, it’s best to face feelings head-on to understand why they bubbled up and what fueled them. Visiting with a mental health specialist like a psychologist, social worker or mental health therapist can help you understand why your mind and heart respond the way they do.

Here are a few ways I tend to my emotional health:

  • I visit with my mental health therapist regularly to work through ideas, concerns and patterns.
  • Reading self-help books on topics discussed in my therapy sessions helps me dig deeper into understanding.
  • Journaling about my emotions and experiences helps me see them from another perspective, so I can more deeply process the ideas.
  • Listening to meditation apps or podcast chats on mental health topics fuels me with professional advice and insider knowledge that helps me feel informed.
  • I engage in hobbies that bring me joy including photography, writing, nature adventures, painting, listening to music, reading, napping, watching movies and spending time with supportive friends and family.

Disclosure: This blog is reader-supported, which means this post contains affiliate links and advertisements. I earn a small commission if you shop through them, which helps fund this website so I can continue to bring you amazing content. Thank you! ~Angela

Mental Health Self Care

I wish mental health was re-named brain health. It would make much more sense (and probably be less taboo) if people explained they were simply learning how the brain works and bolstering its performance. Every second of the day and night our brains are gathering information that fuels our perceptions, thoughts, values, beliefs, goals, desires, opinions and so much more.

When we focus on knowing how our brains work, we can better understand ourselves as individuals. And, since the brain is an organ, we can do various therapies or take medications to change how it operates. Each brain works a bit differently based on your nutrition, genetics, experiences, age and other factors. A mental health practitioner, like a psychologist or psychiatrist, can evaluate your mental health and offer ways to improve your brain functioning.

Here are a few ways I tend to my mental health:

  • I take several vitamins and supplements to boost the wellness of my body overall, including brain health.
  • Visiting with my mental health therapist helps me identify what therapies might be helpful for me specifically. Over the years I’ve done cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and Internal Family Systems (IFS) to help re-wire the neurotransmitters in my brain. Why? This reduces having the same thoughts over and over again, nightmares and the effects of trauma (include C-PTSD and PTSD).
  • When it comes to nutrition, I eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily to nurture the cells in my body so they can do their jobs well, including brain function. When I eat poorly, my mind is foggy and less sharp.

Grammarly Writing Support

Pausing to notice, appreciate and give thanks for the beauty in nature fills me up emotionally, spiritually and mentally.  Photo by Angela Tague

Spiritual Health Self Care

Across the globe, there are many different names and words to describe the ways we connect to the universe as humans. Perhaps you follow a specific religion, study quantum energy physics, are into astrology, listen to your intuition, study spiritual texts, honor the Earth or sit in quiet meditation/prayer/contemplation daily.

Whatever you choose, you’re exploring something great than yourself, which creates a feeling of connection, energy flow and completeness. Nurturing your spiritual health can help reduce feelings of being lost or alone.

Here are a few ways I tend to my spiritual health:

  • Walk in the forest and pause to notice the magical creations from Mother Nature
  • Spend quiet time journaling, thinking and speaking to myself
  • Attend group meditations to connect with others and the universe
  • Go to yoga classes that offer intention setting, guided visualizations and meditations
  • Visit energy workers, including my reiki practitioner, masseuse and acupuncturist
  • Listen to podcasts and read books about connecting with my intuition, spirit guides and angels

Physical Health Self Care

When you hear about taking care of yourself, the first thing that often pops to mind is exercise. Setting up a workout plan or going to physical fitness classes are a great way to maintain your physical health. Regular movement benefits your entire body, from heart health and muscle tone, to organ function and the glow of your skin.

Another aspect of physical health is focusing on what you put into your body during meals and at snack time. Are you choosing nutrition that helps your body build new cells or trigger disease? Working with a dietician or nutritionist can help you learn what your body needs during this specific season of life.

Here are a few ways I tend to my physical health:

  • Most days I walk with my dog to get exercise, fresh air and visit with neighborhood friends.
  • I follow a vegetarian (sometimes vegan) dietary plan to align with my personal beliefs and to reduce inflammation in my body.
  • Over the years the activities have changed, but I enjoy being active by hiking, swimming, doing yoga, Zumba, lifting weights, HIIT, walking on a treadmill, playing on the Wii Fit and following online workouts.
  • My kitchen is my happy place. I enjoy trying new recipes and foods.
  • I regularly visit with my doctors and healthcare providers about concerns and for check-ups.

You can read more about emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health in these books:

How are you showing yourself some love today?

Until next time,
Choose healthy!

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