Self-Care: The Self-Care Types and 20 Self-Care Ideas to Do Now!

Asian lady in bath drinking glass of white wine

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What is Self-Care?

We live in a world where everything is moving at 100 miles per hour, and sometimes it can be hard to look after ourselves properly. Whether it be struggling to find a decent work-life balance, or a love affair with social media – there are many obstacles that can get in the way of living our happiest, healthiest lives. Sometimes this can lead to us feeling burned out or worsen our mental health leading to mental illnesses like anxiety or depression.

The World Health Organisation defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”. Which basically means anything someone does for themselves to help with their physical, mental or emotional wellbeing.

Think about it like the PC game, The Sims. Each Sim has their own Sim bars indicating their basic needs and happiness. Like Sims, us humans need these bars topping up regularly and failure to do so can leave us grumpy, tired or worn out.

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Why is self-care so important?

The past few years have been a challenging time for many, with events like the global pandemic wreaking havoc on our personal and social lives. Taking some time for yourself allows you to recharge your batteries in whichever way suits you!

The act of self-care has been scientifically shown to reduce stress, increase levels of happiness as well as bettering levels of productivity! It can also reduce your chances of disease such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.

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5 Types of Self-Care & Activities

Whilst there is no exact number on the types of self-care, we have broken it down into 5 key categories.

1. Physical Self-Care

These are activities that you do to help improve your physical health.

Examples include: going for a walk or jog, practising skin care routines, ensuring adequate amounts of sleep, cooking and eating healthy meals, taking a bath

2. Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care is taking time to do activities that help you connect and focus on your emotions.

Examples include: journaling, creating music, mood tracking, seeing a therapist

Asian lady in bath drinking glass of white wine

3. Social Self-Care

Activities that help nurture relationships within your life. This could be on a romantic, friendship or professional level.

Examples include: seeing friends for a meal, giving someone a call, going on a date, speaking to friends online

4. Spiritual Self-Care

These are activities that help you connect with your inner spirit. This could be on a religious level but it doesn’t have to be.

Examples include: spending time in nature, doing yoga, volunteering, engaging in prayer, practising gratitude

5. Mental Self-Care

Mental self-care involves doing activities that help stimulate your mind.

Examples include: learning a language, learning an instrument, watching a documentary, solving a puzzle, reading a book

Other types of self-care may include financial self-care (e.g. budgeting) and professional self-care (e.g. creating work boundaries), however these can often be rolled into the 5 categories above.

Asian lady in bath drinking glass of white wine

20 Self-Care Ideas by Self-Care Type

For when you need physical self-care

1. Take a bubble bath

If you have a bath in your house, why not set some time aside to have a little pamper session! Light some candles, pour in some bubbles and let your stresses melt away. Why not try some bath salts with essential oils to make it extra opulent!

2. Break a sweat!

If the idea of running is your personal hell, why not try taking up an exercise class or sport! There are so many to choose from including Zumba, tennis, dance or swimming. Whatever it is that gets your blood flowing, just get out there and break a sweat – you may even make some friends in the process! Trust us, that rush of endorphins will be worth it.

3. Get your 40 winks

According to the Sleep Foundation, adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Make sure that you’re getting that amount by sticking to bedtimes and staying away from electronic devices like phones and TV’s right before bed. Blackout eye masks like this one from Smug can also help!

4. Cook up a storm

Our busy lives mean that we often have less time to cook healthy meals and end up grabbing something quick out of convenience. Why not dedicate an evening to cooking for your friends or partner and show off those culinary skills again! You could even add finishing touches like a menu and some matching music to make it really authentic.

For when you need emotional self-care

5. Start a journal

Journals are a fun and versatile way in staying in tune with your emotions. Whether you’re the sort of person that just enjoys scribbling your feelings, or prefer the organised bullet journal approach there is no right or wrong!  

6. Track your moods

Monitoring your mood is a great way to help you make sense of your feelings and deal with them better! Not only do you become more aware of your moods, but you may also be able to identify and avoid triggers in future that cause bad emotions. Our Jellyhead Daily Check In notepads allow you to track your mood across the day (as well as some other cool features like a gratitude list and to-do list)!

7. Unleash your creative side

Doing something creative is a fantastic way to express your emotions. Why not write a poem, learn to knit or paint a picture to show how you’re feeling. It doesn’t need to take long and if you aren’t artistic (like me) then you can hide it from others for the rest of eternity!

8. Learn how to say 'no'

We often put others needs ahead of our own – this could be in a home or work environment. If we do this for too long however, this may cause resentment or for us to burn out. Learn to set boundaries and say no in order to protect your wellbeing. It may be uncomfortable at first but placing yourself first is important!

For when you need social self-care

9. Use social media for good

How often do you spend on your phone scrolling through endless videos or posts? Why not use if for good instead, by connecting with old friends or joining groups in which you have a common interest? Apps like Discord and Reddit have groups for every activity or hobby – so get stuck in but know when to stop too!

10. Schedule a call with a loved one

The Coronavirus pandemic brought back the lost art of scheduled video calls with our loved ones – but why let these go? Why not schedule a phone or video call with your mum you keep blowing off, or your friend from school to let them know what’s going on in your life!

11. Go on a date

The best part of being in a relationship is having someone to visit all the nice restaurants with! Book in some time to dress up nicely and hit the town to remind each other of why you fell in love in the first place. Alternatively, if chilling is more your vibe, get into some PJs, grab the snacks and snuggle under a fluffy blanket to watch a film. It’s all about that quality time! (p.s. if you don’t have a significant other, your BFF is a great substitute!)

12. Volunteer

Volunteering for a cause you believe in is a great way to get involved in your community and make new friends! Why not spend a couple of hours a week using your time to help others and feel good in the process.

For when you need spiritual self-care

13. Try meditating

Meditation has a number of benefits including increasing self-awareness, being in the present and helping manage stress! It can be done almost anywhere and apps like Headspace or Calm offer free trials with plenty of meditation and breathing exercises on offer.

14. Practice your faith

If you do believe in a higher power, or are part of a religion, practising this is an act of spiritual self-care. Visiting your place or worship or speaking with someone from the same faith as you can help you feel more connected.

15. Get into nature

Grab your hiking boots and your cutest picnic blanket and get yourself into nature. Whether this means a walk in some woodlands or along the coast, when we surround ourselves with natural things, we are able to clear our minds better and appreciate the good around us.

16. Create a gratitude list

Did you know that simply writing 3 things down that you’re grateful for every day relieves stress, improves your resilience and helps you feel more positive emotions! Our Daily Check In Notepads can help you remember to do this!

For when you need mental self-care

17. Get stuck into a book

E-books, new books or library books! It doesn’t matter which format you like your book in, but just get reading. Not only does it help with your mental stimulation but fiction books also help engage our creative side! All you need now is a nice mug of tea to go with it – we particularly like this one!

18. Visit a museum

Visiting a local museum is a fantastic way to learn more and discover new hidden gems wherever you live! Best of all, most are completely FREE so no need to splash that cash.

19. Estudia una lengua (aka. study a language)

The world has become so globalised and we now interact with people from different backgrounds, cultures and languages! Go to that language class you’ve always wanted to try or brush up just before your holidays. There are so many apps and podcasts now that can help for free.

20. Belt out your favourite songs

Nothing quite beats blasting out our favourite songs in the shower, in fact our body likes it so much that it releases the happy hormone dopamine when we do it. It helps clear our mind and in terms of breathing, is like a mediation session!

We’ve just listed 20 self-care ideas for you to try! 

What do you like to do as part of your self-care routine? Let us know in the comments below!

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