Personal Growth, Student Life, Students, Wellbeing

De-stress yourself: 6 forms of self care and how to practice them

Why should I practice self care?

You have probably seen by now that I am a big advocate of self care, and that’s simply because it’s so important.

For those people who feel like they can’t prioritise their own care, think: if you don’t look after yourself first, you won’t be able to help others. It’s the same principle as ‘fitting your own oxygen mask first before helping anyone else’.

As we’re going into a second lockdown in the UK, many people will find that it affects their mental health, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. Practising self care could really make a difference for this next month.

Consider checking out my post on prioritising your mental health as a student (also very helpful even if you’re not a student!) and my post on creating an evening routine for ultimate relaxation.

A lot of people read the words self care and straight away imagine putting on a facemask and journaling. Be honest, that’s what you first thought of, right? I’ll be honest, that’s what I used to think it was, and it’s true that they are acts of self care, but there are actually SIX DIFFERENT TYPES of self care. So if you feel like the facemasks and journaling won’t work for you, maybe there’s another act of self care that will.

*Note – please remember that mental health conditions are as real as physical health conditions and sometimes you may need to seek professional mental health*

Self Care – the practice of activities that are necessary to sustain life and health, normally initiated and carried out by the individual for him- or herself

Oxford Dictionary of Nursing

Physical

‘Tending to the needs of the physical body’

Butler et al., (2019) ‘Six domains of self-care: Attending to the whole person’

Physical self care is basically what you would normally think of as general things you do to take care of yourself. Including getting lots of sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly. It’s the form of self care that you’re probably already doing the most of, but just in case you aren’t, here are some things you can do:

  • Get an early night, or have a little lie in
  • Get a water bottle that has timings on it and stay on track with how much water you should be drinking
  • Take a long walk after work/university 

Check out this post on staying active at university when you don’t want to join a sports team and my post on easy autumnal recipes for students.


Emotional

‘Practices that are engaged in, to safeguard against or address negative emotional experiences’

Butler et al., (2019) ‘Six domains of self-care: Attending to the whole person’

Emotional self care is all about getting in touch with your inner emotions and how you do this varies from person to person. The word emotional often has negative connotations, and people who are in touch with your emotions can be confused as being ‘emotionally weak’. Being able to understand your emotions and express them in a healthy way can be challenging but is really important. Here are some ways to practice emotional self care:

  • Start a journal to express your feelings and emotions
  • Create art (it may reflect your emotional state)
  • Practice mindfulness

Mental/Psychological

Pursuing and satisfying intellectual needs’

Butler et al., (2019) ‘Six domains of self-care: Attending to the whole person’

Whilst you might think that self care is about completely stepping away from mentally challenging things, sometimes mental stimulation is exactly what you need. It’s all about balance between mental rest and mental stimulation, but if you do feel like you want to learn something new, here are some ideas:

  • Read a book
  • Watch a documentary (at the moment I’m weirdly obsessed with Ancient Egypt ones on Netflix)
  • Play a tactical board game such as chess (you can play online if you don’t have a chess set at home!)

Social/Relational

Efforts we make to maintain and enhance our interpersonal connections to others’

Butler et al., (2019) ‘Six domains of self-care: Attending to the whole person’

Efforts we make to maintain and enhance our interpersonal connections to others’

Social self care is so important and SO EASY. As humans, we’re social, and whilst there are different levels of socialisation that people are comfortable with, we all need some social interaction sometime. Whether you’re an extravert or an introvert, you will still benefit from being social! With the current situation, these ideas are all lockdown friendly:

  • Facetime a friend or family member
  • Organise a zoom quiz or party
  • Message an old friend or someone you haven’t spoken to in a while (you might make their day!)

Practical/Professional

To manage or prevent work-related stress or stressors’

Butler et al., (2019) ‘Six domains of self-care: Attending to the whole person’

Again you might not have thought of this as a form of self care, but being on top of the more practical/professional areas of your life can help make your life less stressful. Feeling lost at work or out of control of your money can be really distressing, so here are some things you can do:

  • Make monthly/weekly budgets – check out my budget planner packs here!
  • Take a personal/professional development course (there are lots of free ones online)
  • Deep clean your house/room

Spiritual

‘Creating space to reflect on our own inner needs and our role or place within the world and universe’

Butler et al., (2019) ‘Six domains of self-care: Attending to the whole person’

First of all, spiritual self care does not necessarily mean acts of religion, although if you are religious, then religious acts such as worship are acts of spiritual self car. If you’re not religious, you can still practise spiritual self care, and here are some ideas:

  • Spiritual meditation
  • Self-reflection
  • Connect with nature

If you are religious, take a look at my Bible Study Packs.

Remember! try to incorporate these acts of self care into your daily or weekly schedules to prevent burn out, prevention is always better than cure!



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Reference: Butler et al., (2019) ‘Six domains of self-care: Attending to the whole person’

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