What pops into your head when you hear the phrase self-care?

For years, my definition of self-care was very one-dimensional. I pictured bubble baths and skincare. To me, and most of us, self-care was about doing something special to pamper yourself.

That pampering aspect is definitely part of self-care. But there’s so many more aspects to self-care that seem to get swept under the rug. Self care is definitely about treating yourself – but it’s also about challenging yourself and doing things that will benefit you in the long run. Self-care means caring for every part of yourself, even when it’s not pleasant or fun. How can you make sure you’re actually practicing balanced self-care?

Thankfully, experts have created a system to help you revolutionize your self-care routine. We now recognize at least 6 dimensions of self-care that you should be practicing – emotional, practical, physical, mental, social, and spiritual. Creating a self-care routine that takes care of every part of you can have an amazing impact on your life and health. Read on to learn more about the self-care categories and how you can make them work for your life.

Emotional Self-Care

We all know that dealing with our emotions is important. But it’s surprising how many people ignore their emotional self-care needs. Emotional self-care is all about processing and expressing your emotions. Practicing emotional self-care can lead to a better understanding of your emotions and help you cope with them. But if you ignore your emotional needs, it can lead to burnout and suppressed emotions. Here are my favorite activities to care for your emotions:

  • Talk to a therapist
  • Let yourself cry if you need to
  • Express yourself through art or music
  • Schedule time away from social media
  • Join a support group
  • Try journaling

Practical Self-Care

Practical self-care isn’t as fun as some of the other categories on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less important. This category of self-care is all about practical things to do for yourself that will help keep you productive and prevent future stress. Practical self-care is also one of the hardest areas to tackle when you’re having a hard day. Here are some small things you can do right now to improve your practical self-care:

  • Create a budget
  • Tidy your room
  • Set goals for your future
  • Update your resumé
  • Schedule any appointments you’ve been putting off

Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care is exactly what you think it is – activities that care for your physical wellbeing. Yes, bubble baths, facemasks, and general pampering fall into this category. But physical self-care also needs to include some more “meaningful” activities to make a real difference in your life. Less fun things, like going to the doctor or pushing yourself to exercise more, also have a place in your physical routine. Here are some of my top suggestions:

  • Get a massage
  • Attend an exercise class
  • Go swimming
  • Stay hydrated
  • Treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, or both!

Mental Self-Care

When was the last time you learned something new? It’s in our nature to be curious and use our minds. If you haven’t challenged your brain in a while, it might be time for some mental self-care. This category of self-care helps to stimulate your mind and intellect. Some activities that will upgrade your mental self-care include:

  • Do a Sudoku puzzle
  • Listen to a genre of music you’ve never heard before
  • Visit a museum
  • Learn a new language
  • Sign up for a course or seminar

Social Self-Care

Humans are social creatures, and even the most introverted of us needs to take care of our social needs. Social self-care is all about spending time with others and nurturing the relationships that are important to you. Focus on interactions that enhance your life and avoid those that leave you feeling drained. It’s also a great idea to vary the ways you’re interacting with others! Here are some fun ways you can care for your social needs:

  • Reconnect with an old friend
  • Join an online forum or group to communicate with like-minded individuals
  • Spend time with your pet
  • Schedule screen-free time with your family, friends, or partner.
  • Volunteer in your community

Spiritual Self-Care

People often assume that spiritual self-care means religion. But this category of self-care can be so much more than that. Religious and non-religious people alike can benefit from connecting with their spirituality. Spiritual self-care can help you nurture your spirit and think bigger than yourself. Check out there non-denominational ways to reconnect with your spirituality:

  • Practice mindfulness
  • Spend time in nature
  • Try yoga
  • Do a good deed for someone else
  • Practice meditation


Julianne is a writer, musician, and dreamer from Newfoundland, Canada! She started Finding Julianne to share her journey of self-discovery through life, love, and style. If you’d like to come along for the ride, you can find more of her work at Finding Juilanne or follow her adventures on Instagram.