We’ve already covered why self care is important (if you haven’t checked that blog out, you most certainly should!) which is probably the most basic it gets. So now it is time to expand. Each week for the next few weeks I will be breaking down one aspect of Self-Care. Self-care, something that is in the end completely subjective, can be broken down into 6 types: Emotional, Practical, Physical, Mental, Social, and Spiritual. Now there is definitely going to be some overlaps as to what you can do to participate in each category. Touching on all 6 types, however, is going to be the best way to really improve your life and implement a great self care routine.
You might even read those different types and think to yourself “Aaron, I can narrow those down even further and make 3 or 4.” You most certainly can, and I look at 2 major groups, External self care, (Physical, Practical, and Social) and Internal self care (Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual). External is going to affect some part of the outside world while Internal… You guessed it, is going to affect your internal world. Those 6 categories, despite the potential overlap of tasks, help determine what you want to achieve from your self care. By having these categories in mind, we allow ourselves to have an outcome or result in mind, maybe it's losing 5 pounds, or starting to get out there and date, or really taking control of your finances. Whatever it may be, going to the gym for the sake of going to the gym becomes exhausting for most, being rejected (even once!) is world shattering, and paying the bills to only make ends meet is discouraging.
I believe each type of self care is deserving of its own blog post and deep dissection, but I want to give you a quick overview and define each type and give you some examples. Practical Self Care is going to consist of tasks that satisfy core beliefs/parts of your life to prevent stress in the future. A couple examples would be, writing a budget (which is a HUGE game changer when it comes to financial stress!), working to improve your professional standing, or meal prepping to save time getting ready for work. Now meal prepping can overlap with Physical self care as well, which is pretty self explanatory: Anything that you do to improve your physical health. Next we have Social self care, the things that you do to strengthen and grow your relationships with others. This could look like date night with your significant other, or calling your parents regularly. That wraps up the External parts.
The Internal parts of self care is where things get a little more subjective, fuzzy and the lines are a little more blurry. Emotional self care are things that help you reflect and process a full range of emotions. This is an area that many men, including myself, need a ton more work on. Things like expressing your feelings, creating art/music, or writing in a journal. Here is a grey area though, journaling can definitely be considered a mindful practice, right? Right! So mindfulness is something that I would categorize as a Spiritual self care task, something that is going to help open your mind and spirit and allow you to think bigger than yourself (and it isn’t always religion.) Therefore one task, journaling, is going to fulfill 2 categories, regardless of your intention. Lastly, Mental self care is a task that is going to stimulate your mind and get you thinking! Reading a book, playing chess, or working on that professional development (which is also Practical self care.)
Knowing the 6 different types of self care is a huge help. It’s a great way to really focus in and act with intent (something we could all do a little better.) By knowing what the result of your self care task is, we can focus better and really begin to enjoy the self care and healing that comes with it.