Self Care

Last Updated: September 12, 2023

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Self-care is the set of intentional practices promoting physical, mental, and emotional well-being, including embodiment, spirituality, and stress management techniques.

What is Self Care, and Why is it Important?

Self-care has become a popular buzzword recently, with everyone from celebrities to mental health professionals touting its benefits. But what exactly is self-care, and why is it so important? Self-care refers to deliberate actions to maintain or improve or maintain our health, including physical, mental, and emotional health.

It can range from simple acts of hygiene like showering and brushing our teeth to more complex practices like therapy or meditation. The goal is prioritizing well-being and promoting health rather than sacrificing health for work, family, or other obligations.

Self-care has become especially important recently as stress levels and mental health issues continue to rise. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences some form of mental health condition in a given year. Self-care is a necessity for maintaining overall health and happiness.

The benefits of self-care are numerous and well-documented. It can manage stress, boost mood, increase productivity, prevent disease, maintain health, and even lead to better health outcomes such as lower blood pressure and improved immune function. However, it's important to note that self-care is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one person may not work for another, and it's important to listen to our needs and tailor our self-care practices accordingly.

Definition of Self Care

Self-care refers to individuals' intentional actions to care for their physical, emotional, and mental wellness. It is a critical component of overall health and involves engaging in activities that promote rest, relaxation, and stress reduction.

The National Institute of Mental Health highlights the importance of self-care in promoting mental health and well-being. This prioritization can involve engaging in activities promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety, such as mindfulness or breathing exercises.

Self-care maintains the balance of stressful feelings in daily life through engaging in activities that promote relaxation and emotional regulation.

Importance of Self-Care in Health Promotion

Self-care is also an essential aspect of maintaining physical functionality and overall well-being. Caring for one’s body involves practicing healthy habits that promote health and a body’s ability to function well. Activities like engaging in regular exercise and proper nutrition to ensure adequate sleep and stress management care for the body’s wellness and functionality.

Research has shown that regular self-care practice can positively impact physical and mental health equally. Physical self-care includes regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, good night’s sleep, practicing good hygiene, and avoiding harmful substances such as drugs and alcohol.

These activities help to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Mental self-care involves activities that support emotional and psychological wellness, such as meditation, journaling, and therapy. These activities help to reduce stress, improve mood and self-esteem, and promote mental clarity and emotional resilience.

It is important to note that self-care is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone's needs differ, and what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, developing a personalized self-care plan that aligns with individual needs and preferences is essential.

Types of Self Care

Emotional and Mental Health Care

Emotional self-care refers to individuals' deliberate actions to support their emotional well-being. It involves recognizing and addressing one's emotions healthily and constructively and engaging in activities that promote emotional balance and resilience. These exercises can involve practicing self-compassion, setting healthy boundaries, and seeking social support.

Emotional self-care involves prioritizing emotional needs, such as practicing mindfulness or engaging in creative activities that promote emotional expression. These practices may also promote emotional growth. Seeking a licensed psychologist, therapist or healthcare professional to aid in positive self-reflection techniques is a good example of caring for one’s emotional health. Healthcare providers can support individuals struggling with self-care by giving advice and expertise.

Healthy practices aimed at emotional well-being can also manage negative emotions, such as anxiousness or unhappiness, healthily and constructively. Practicing stress-reducing techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, or engaging in physical activity to release tension and improve mood are also constructive emotional self-care practices that are easily implementable. Something as simple as turning off notifications or airplane mode during a designated time during the day is a step towards reducing stressors.  

Furthermore, it can be helpful to establish healthy coping mechanisms, such as talking to a trusted friend or engaging in a favorite hobby, to manage emotions healthily and productively.

Emotional self-care is an essential aspect of overall well-being and involves taking deliberate actions to support and manage one's emotions healthily and constructively.

This prioritization of emotional needs, practicing self-compassion, and seeking out social support has been seen to be very effective in reducing anxiousness and increasing an individual’s ability to cope with illness, sadness and other stressful life factors. Most importantly, finding the support of a healthcare professional is important to find the correct practices for an individual’s specific needs.  

Physical Health

Individuals activities to support and promote their physical wellness and prosperity are considered physical self-care. Engaging in healthy behaviors that nourish the body, such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a balanced diet, are very important in maintaining a body’s health and well-being, let alone its functionality.

Physical self-care often involves partaking in activities that prevent disease, illness and injury, such as practicing good hygiene, seeking medical care when needed, and avoiding harmful behaviors such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption.

In addition to these basic self-care practices, physical self-care can involve engaging in leisure activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction. For example, practicing yoga, getting a massage, or taking a warm bath can help reduce physical tension and promote relaxation and well-being.

Physical self-care is important for health and wellness as it can prevent chronic illnesses and help individuals feel more energized and motivated. Additionally, physical self-care can positively impact mental health, as regular exercise and healthy behaviors have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Spiritual Health

Spiritual self-care refers to individuals' actions and practices to support their spiritual welfare. It is a way of nurturing one's inner self and creating a sense of purpose and meaning in life.

This nurturing can come in many forms and involve engaging in religious or spiritual practices, such as regularly attending a religious service, meditation, or prayer. These practices help individuals connect with a higher power or sense of spirituality and provide a sense of purpose and meaning in life. They also provide opportunities to connect with communities of other people who may be struggling to cope with similar stressors.

Spiritual self-care can also involve engaging in activities that promote a sense of inner peace. These activities may include spending time in nature, practicing mindfulness, or engaging in creative activities that promote spiritual growth and expression. Additionally, seeking out a community of like-minded individuals with similar spiritual beliefs can provide a sense of connection and support.

It is an essential aspect of overall well-being and involves deliberate actions to nurture spiritual growth and connection. Individuals can take meaningful steps towards promoting their spiritual health and happiness by engaging in spiritual practices, seeking connection and support, and promoting inner peace.

Spirituality and Embodiment in Self Care

health benefits of Spirituality

Incorporating spirituality and embodiment into self-care practices can offer individuals a sense of meaning and purpose. Studies indicate that individuals who include spirituality in their daily routine experience better mental wellness, contributing to those who enjoy a longer life.

Moreover, spirituality and embodiment can cultivate a deeper understanding of oneself and their place in the world and a sense of connectedness to something greater than oneself, promoting resilience and coping skills during times of stress and adversity.

Practices focusing on embodiment can help individuals develop a greater sense of self-awareness and self-acceptance by connecting them with their bodies. Engaging in activities that explore the senses, such as spending time in nature, cooking, or engaging in creative activities like art or music, can also promote embodiment and foster a sense of groundedness and presence.

Mindful movement practices like yoga or tai chi are beneficial for developing embodiment. These practices encourage individuals to tune into their bodies and pay attention to how they feel physically, emotionally, and mentally. By incorporating spirituality and embodiment into their self-care plan, individuals can enhance their overall health and wellness, leading to a longer and more fulfilling life.

Incorporating Self-Care in Daily Life

A self-care routine is essential to maintain one’s health and wellness. A self-care plan is a customized approach to care for oneself, focusing on emotional, physical, and mental health.

Creating a self-care plan that best suits one’s own health needs and lifestyle is necessary. The following are some steps to set up your own self-care plan:

Determine Personal Needs

Take a step back, consider basic needs, and prioritize them. Consider managing symptoms contributing to overall mental, emotional, and physical soundness.

Develop A Routine

Once you identify what you need, create a routine that can be easily incorporated into everyday habits and activities, including achieving personal needs.

Set Achievable Goals

Make small, easily attainable goals, making it easier to stay motivated. Reaching out to a health worker can help in setting these goals. Social care professionals specialize in helping individuals develop self-care routines and can provide you with health literacy that makes the self-care journey more successful.

Connect With Others

Seek family, a close friend, or a health care provider. It can help with staying accountable and can provide a positive influence.

Stay Consistent

Consistency is key. Ensure prioritization of the self-care plan so it becomes a habit. Maintaining consistent check-ups with healthcare professionals is a good way to maintain accountability.

Review and Revise

Regularly assess the personal routine and make necessary changes to improve it. You can always implement a simple act that accounts for one’s needs and maintains health.

Self-care plans will differ from one person to another. Still, a good self-care routine should include physical exercise, eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, and relaxation techniques.

Engaging in activities that bring joy and having a positive outlook can also improve overall health. It's important to remember that self-care is not selfish but a crucial aspect of maintaining good health.


What Is Self-Care, and Why Is It So Important for Your Health? | Everyday Health

NIMH » Caring for Your Mental Health



The contents of this article are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any health-related changes or if you have any questions or concerns about your health. Anahana is not liable for any errors, omissions, or consequences that may occur from using the information provided.