In my practice as a therapist, I explain that self-care is anything that sets you up well for the future. That is, it may actually include things that are unpleasant or that may not directly and immediately improve your emotional state. While a coping skill is meant to improve your mood or prevent a situation from worsening, self-care is intended to be a daily activity regardless of your emotional state.

When I start to notice my life seems off, I consider different areas of self-care and try to pinpoint which area needs the most love. Perhaps my social life is going well, but my finances are stressing me out. Other times I’ve noticed that most areas seem fine, but my environment is draining me (ie. I need to get outside or add a flower bouquet to my view).

Below is a list of different categories of self-care to think about, followed by a few ideas you may or may not have considered. This list is not comprehensive but intended to help you re-think self-care. You may not find all or any ideas helpful. Still, you may consider the different categories as you consider which areas of your life may need a little extra love.

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Financial

  • Create a budget
  • Speak with a financial advisor
  • Research retirement accounts or other financial topics

Social

  • Join a group with similar interests (ie. running group, book club)
  • Schedule a video call or in-person hangout (can even be combined with environmental self-care: ex. schedule a time with a friend to call and catch up while you both clean your homes)
  • Cut off a toxic person

Professional

  • Read or listen to a book related to your field
  • Attend trainings to improve your skills
  • Reach out to someone in your field who can share advice

Intellectual

  • Learn a language
  • Take a community college class
  • Read or listen to a non-fiction book (one of my recommendations: HumanKind: A Hopeful History)

Environmental

  • Go outside
  • Re-decorate (eg. re-arrange furniture or add a pop of color)
  • Visit stores that interest you (eg. coffee shops, vintage stores)

Emotional

  • Journal
  • Seek out a therapist
  • Have a good cry

Physical

  • Try a new form of exercise
  • Try a sunrise alarm clock (or any new type of alarm clock if yours is too jarring or otherwise unhelpful)
  • Research and read a health-genre book (eg. I recently read Woman Code by Alisa Vitti to learn about female reproductive health and cycle-syncing)
  • Hydrate!

Spiritual (Can be related to religion but can be whatever you choose)

  • Spend time alone
  • Meditate
  • Join a church community group

Thank you for reading and I hope something was helpful!

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