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The 8 Areas of Self Care, Explained

By Casey Divane Castle, LCSW, BC-TMH

The 8 Areas of Self Care, Explained | Your Family Wellness Village |  By Casey Divane Castle, LCSW, BC-TMH

Self-care has become a hot topic in recent years. We have moved on from the mentality of generations past about sucking it up when we are feeling overwhelmed or burned out and have transitioned into taking a deeper look at our lives and how we are caring for ourselves. Self-care is no longer thought of as those big items - a vacation, getting a massage, a night out, etc. - that help make our lives more bearable; instead, we are learning that self-care is more about the small and medium daily things we do to keep creating a life that we don’t need to regularly escape from.

But what is self-care? How do we know what to look at? That is a great question, so I’ve taken the time to list out the 8 areas of self-care that I commonly use with clients. Below I’ve listed those out with a bit of a description and some examples of what that can look like, but bear in mind, self-care is about what works for you and your life, so use these ideas as a jumping off point.

The 8 Areas of Self Care:

1) Physical self-care: Physical health, diet/nutrition, exercise/movement of the body and sleep needs. Examples include:

  • Going for a walk

  • Brushing your teeth

  • Getting enough sleep (7-9 hours per night)

  • Staying well hydrated

2) Psychological self-care: Using our creative minds, learning something new, and practicing mindfulness. Examples include:

  • Meditation

  • Developing new skills

  • Creating art or crafting

  • Doing a digital detox

3) Emotional self-care: Improving emotional intelligence and literacy, navigating emotions, increasing empathy and managing stress. Examples include:

  • Developing emotional boundaries

  • Saying no

  • Practicing self-compassion

  • Making time and space to sit with your feelings

4) Social self-care: Creating a supportive network of relationships around you that you can trust and rely on. Examples include:

  • Spending time with family and friends

  • Asking for help when needed

  • Expanding your social circle

  • Saying no when necessary

5) Professional self-care: Having clear professional boundaries, continuing to build and develop your professional skills and gifts, and living your purpose. Examples include:

  • Taking scheduled lunches, breaks, and PTO

  • Setting clear professional boundaries

  • Negotiating your needs

  • Attending professional development opportunities

6) Environmental self-care: Having a clean and well-organized home and work environment and a clean and well maintained mode of transport. Examples include:

  • Decluttering at home and work

  • Having clean clothes that fit well

  • Cleaning up at the end of the say

  • Maintaining a clean and safe living environment

7) Spiritual self-care: Having beliefs and values that are important to you and guide your life, which does not have to include religion, but certainly can. Examples include:

  • Reflecting in a journal

  • Going on a retreat

  • Spending time in nature

  • Attending worship or church services

8) Financial self-care: Having a conscious relationship with money and being fiscally responsible. Examples include:

  • Saving and spending wisely, including having a budget if needed or desired

  • Knowing when and where your money or income is coming from

  • Being aware of bills and expenses paying them on time

  • Using outside resources such as a financial advisor or tax preparation assistance when needed.

As you can see, self-care is a pretty widespread concept that impacts many different areas of our lives, from our homes and jobs to our bodies and brains; not only that, but what self-care looks like is unique to each of us. To learn more about how to implement self-care into your life - as well as planning for those curveballs that life may through your way - read part two of this series here: Creating a Self-Care Plan

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