Four Types of Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is important. Knowing what makes you feel good and giving it the priority it deserves is the basis of self-care. We share some ways you can put these habits into practice.
Four Types of Self-Care
Isabel Ortega

Written and verified by the psychologist Isabel Ortega.

Last update: 29 August, 2023

Do you take care of yourself? Do you carry out actions and practices to maintain and improve your physical, mental, and emotional health? Self-care involves taking responsibility for yourself and adopting healthy habits that promote your general well-being.

This is a process unique to each individual. It involves experimenting with different techniques and finding the ones that work best for you. Research published in Informes Psicológicos claims that the promotion of behaviors that help maintain a physical, mental, and emotional balance are useful strategies for self-care. Let’s find out more about this topic below.

Types of self-care

When you take care of yourself, you put techniques into practice for facing your daily challenges with greater resilience and satisfaction. Moreover, when you make caring for yourself an integral part of your routine, your life is more fulfilled and meaningful. There are different types of self-care. We’re going to explore them here.

You might like to read The Self-Care Deficit Theory

1. Physical

Regular exercise and a balanced diet increase the release of endorphins. These are neurotransmitters associated with feelings of well-being, as explained in an article published in CuidArte. These chemicals help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, improving overall mood.

In the same way, sports and healthy eating influence the reduction of levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in addition to improving blood flow and oxygenation of the brain. This increases energy, concentration, and mental clarity (Bonet et al., 2017). Here are some recommendations:

  • Get enough sleep and establish a regular sleep routine.
  • Practice walking, running, yoga, or any other physical activity you enjoy.
  • If you have a sedentary job, take breaks during the day to stretch and move around.
  • Include fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains in your diet. Limit your consumption of processed foods and sugars.

2. Emotional

According to the book, Principles and Practice of Stress Management (2021), stress management strategies like meditation and deep breathing are also powerful tools for self-care and promoting mental and emotional health.

These practices help calm the mind and improve the body’s response to stress, positively impacting emotional well-being. They also contribute to you developing a greater awareness of your emotions, thoughts, and needs, promoting self-compassion and self-care. Here are some guidelines:

  • Practice relaxation techniques.
  • Set healthy boundaries in your relationships and learn to say no when necessary.
  • Identify and express your emotions in a healthy way. For instance, through writing, art, or conversations with those you trust.
  • Carry out activities that bring you joy and personal satisfaction. For example, listening to music, reading a book, watching a movie, or enjoying a hobby.

3. Mental

As already mentioned, taking care of yourself doesn’t only involve good physical health. Mental well-being is also essential. To take care of your mind, pay attention to the following guidelines:

  • Practice gratitude and focus on the positive.
  • Set realistic and adjusted goals on a daily basis.
  • Avoid overwork and take time to rest and relax.
  • Take care of your sleep hygiene and have a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Get organized and plan to reduce stress and increase efficiency.
  • Stimulate your mind by solving puzzles, playing board games, or learning something new.
  • Limit your exposure to news and social media if you feel that they’re affecting you in a negative way.

4. Social

Interpersonal relationships and social activities play a fundamental role when it comes to taking care of yourself. Having someone to share your experiences, worries, and achievements provides you with a sense of belonging and emotional well-being.

In addition, participating in social activities helps you connect with others and avoid isolation. Indeed, social interaction combats loneliness and cultivates feelings of joy, contentment, and meaning.

Start by incorporating small actions into your routine and adjust them according to your personal needs and preferences. Here are some guidelines:

  • Find support groups or online communities that share your interests or experiences.
  • Set boundaries in your relationships, so you have a balance between time for yourself and time spent with others.
  • Participate in community or volunteering activities that allow you to interact with others and help out.
  • Maintain healthy social connections. For example, via phone calls, video calls, or in-person meetings with friends and loved ones.

Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean doing everything at once. It’s about finding a balance that works for you.

What to do to take care of yourself at work?

One of the environments in which self-care is necessary is the workplace. After all, you spend a large portion of your time at work, so it’s important to implement strategies that maintain your well-being and prevent burnout.

To take care of yourself in the workplace, you must establish boundaries, both in terms of your time and your responsibilities; Don’t be afraid to say no if you’re overloaded and make sure you have plenty of time to rest and recharge. You also have to organize and manage your time by prioritizing tasks. You’ll soon see that this increases your productivity.

It’s also a good idea to establish clear and open communication with your colleagues, in which you express your needs, concerns, or ideas from a constructive perspective. This reduces stress and improves your work environment.

Also, cultivate a healthy and positive relationship with your colleagues, making sure you participate in social and collaborative activities. And, add to these recommendations the following:

  • Take regular breaks. These short moments promote your focus and reduce fatigue.
  • Keep your workspace clean, tidy, and comfortable. Personalize it with items that make you feel calm and contented, like plants, photos, or relaxing music.
  • Stimulate your professional development. Look for opportunities for growth and satisfaction in your career.
  • Practice disconnection. At the end of your workday, dedicate time to activities that relax you and give you pleasure.

Every work environment is unique, so it’s important to tailor the practices to your specific situation.

Putting self-care into practice

There are certain techniques that allow you to practice self-care. One of them is mindfulness. It consists of paying attention to the present moment, without judging. You spend a few minutes a day meditating or focusing on your sensations, thoughts, and emotions.

You should also create a daily or weekly routine in which you incorporate consistent habits such as exercising, reading, or taking a relaxing bath. In fact, make taking care of yourself a non-negotiable part of your life. Automate actions like taking your vitamins, drinking enough water, or deep breathing at specific times of the day.

Try keeping a journal for reflecting on your thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Write down your self-care goals and how you feel after achieving them. Visual reminders or alarms on your phone are also useful to remind you when to carry out self-care.

In addition, sharing your resolutions with your friends, family, or trusted colleagues will motivate you and remind you of the importance of taking care of yourself. Last but not least, learning to delegate and asking for help, both at work and in your personal life, lowers stress and frees up time to dedicate to yourself.

Celebrate every achievement in taking care of yourself. Recognize your efforts and reward yourself in a meaningful way.

Conclusions regarding self-care

Remember that what works for one individual may not work for another. Therefore, it’s important to listen to your body and its needs and adapt self-care practices that suit your situation and lifestyle. Start with small actions in your routine and adjust them according to your personal demands and preferences.

The most important thing is to identify what makes you feel good and prioritize it and commit to making it an integral part of your life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.