Published:
August 31, 2020
Last Updated:
February 8, 2022

How to Take Care of Yourself Holistically: 17 Tips

Self-care is not just about taking care of our physicality, but also our mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Developing the habit of self-care takes time and commitment, and while it doesn’t need to take hours and hours, it does require carving out a chunk of time each day. Self-care is also bio-individual - what feels soothing and relaxing to one person may not be the same for someone else.

17 Tips to Take Care of Yourself Holistically

As we spend time rejuvenating ourselves through self-care, we not only support our own needs, but we cultivate the energy that helps us be fully present and compassionate in our relationships with others. Keep it simple, and just try implementing one new practice at a time.

Mental Self-Care

1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is being completely aware of the present moment, focusing solely on being where you are and attending only to what is right in front of you. Research shows that mindfulness can improve heart health, reduce stress, and improve focus.

2. Unplug

Taking a break from technology opens space to genuinely be with ourselves, authentically connect with others, and spend time out in the world.

3. Spend quality time with a pet

Having pets is linked to improved physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Pet owners are more likely to have lower blood pressure, reduced feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression, and better sleep hygiene.

4. Give yourself a creative outlet

When was the last time you did something artistic just for yourself? Color, paint, draw, dance, sew, anything you want to express yourself creatively. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just be done.

Physical Self-Care

5. Keep hydrated

Our bodies are 60% water and we rely on proper hydration to keep everything running as it should. It can be tricky to get enough water during the day, but dehydration can cause everything from headaches to fatigue, weight gain, and anxiety.

6. Prioritize sleep

Without enough sleep (or enough quality sleep), we’re more likely to get hurt, sick, and experience feelings of depression and anxiety. Creating the perfect external and internal sleep environments can improve your sleep.

7. Spend time outdoors

Besides providing vitamin D and fresh air, spending time outdoors has shown to improve mood, relieve stress, and even reduce high blood pressure. Make sure you’re using sunscreen, though!

8. Get your body moving

Exercise offers many, many benefits for both your physical and mental wellbeing. Engaging in physical activity impacts many, if not all, of your internal bodily systems that work together to keep you healthy and happy.

Spiritual Self-Care

9. Meditate

Meditation is often what people think of when they hear of spiritual self-care. There are countless ways to meditate and starting a meditation practice doesn’t have to be complicated. Meditation can improve your emotional health and mental focus, increase your productivity, and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

10. Recite affirmations

Affirmations are short and encouraging present-tense statements that validate and confirm a desired feeling or outcome. You can make them related to a specific concern or focus them more generally on day-to-day challenges. Some popular affirmations include “I am strong and capable,” “How I feel matters,” and “I love myself.”

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11. Tap into your spiritual side

Even if you don’t believe in a higher power, spirituality is a way to tap into good energy and your inner spirit at the same time. Whether that’s attending religious ceremonies or getting grounded in nature, spirituality plays a critical role in helping us move on, evolve, and stay well.

12. Give back to your community 

Volunteering allows you to connect with people and support your community. Helping with small tasks can make a large impact – think about cleaning up a local park. It takes maybe an hour or two out of your day but can improve the lives of your neighbors greatly.

Emotional Self-Care

13. Talk to a therapist, coach, or mentor

We don’t always know how to regulate our emotions and maintain our emotional health – that's where professionals and mentors come in. People with training (therapists, coaches) and those looking out for your wellbeing are valuable resources.

14. Journal your feelings

Journaling is a helpful tool in managing your mental health, acting as a safe outlet for all emotions, positive or negative. It can also help identify repeating stressors or symptoms, and provides opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors.

15. Engage in radical self-care

Radical self-care isn’t about spending money to solve your problems – it's about getting to the root of your issues and healing yourself. Advocate for yourself and your needs, set time for doing nothing, and learn when to say no.

16. Nurture positive relationships

We all have those relationships in our lives that light us up, be they romantic, platonic, or professional. These relationships can influence our lives long after the initial impact is made, so be sure to nurture these positive relationships in your life.

17. Embrace your inner child

Being an adult can be much harder than it needs to be if you don’t embrace your inner child. Think back to how you were as a child. Were you curious? Adventurous? Do the things you wish you had been able to do when you were young. Treating your inner child kindly is treating yourself kindly.

Setting Yourself Up for Self-Care Success

Self-care is about exploring a variety of practices and finding what works best for you. It is also important to recognize that what supports us today may not be what we need tomorrow. One day might look like going for a run or playing an instrument, while another day it may be better to call a friend or meditate. Tuning into our mind, body, and heart and discerning what serves us each day is key!

Establish a daily routine

Having daily structure can help us prioritize our activities, minimize procrastination, create new healthy habits, and free up more time for self-care! Consider writing out a schedule for each day of the week and sharing with your roommate, partner, friends, or family so they know when you need alone time and when you’re free to engage. If they seem left out or upset in any way, communicate that having this structure each day is what helps you be more present and loving when you are with them.

Realize your true needs

With more time at home, it’s easy to be distracted by cravings, compulsions, or even addictions. While it is totally natural to have coping strategies or impulsive desires, it’s important to practice noticing what your mind wants versus what your body needs. Before taking any action throughout your day, try closing your eyes, taking a few deep breaths, and asking, “What do I really need right now?”

It’s okay to say “no”

One of the most loving acts of self-care is the ability to say “no.” When someone requests something of us that we do not have the energy to do, we have every right to decline. This doesn’t have to be harsh or lacking compassion but can be delivered with kindness. For instance, if your housemate or loved one asks if you want to go on a hike, and you really don’t want to, you can say, “Thank you so much for the invite, but I am not feeling the energy for a hike right now. I really appreciate that you want to spend your afternoon with me though. I love you.” Of course, find whatever words are most authentic for you!

Practice compassion for yourself and others

Any unresolved issues or concerns we have within ourselves or with others are likely to be pronounced when going through times of stress. Simply being aware of this is an important step in practicing compassion for yourself and others. Choosing to see this as an opportunity to grow and personally develop is a great next step. Once you practice more kindness to yourself and are ready to grow, try sitting down and having an open and honest discussion with those closest to you about your experience.

Communicate with honesty

Having open and honest communication with the people we share space with is essential. Try inviting your family or housemates to come together one day each week to share any emotional, mental, and physical needs. Invite everyone to practice actively listening while being as non-judgmental as possible and coming up with action steps to honor each person’s expressed needs.

The Bottom Line

Self-care is not just about taking care of our physicality, but also our mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Developing the habit of self-care takes time and commitment, and while it doesn’t need to take hours and hours, it does require carving out a chunk of time each day. Self-care is also bio-individual - what feels soothing and relaxing to one person may not be the same for someone else.

Author Biography
Lisa Drennan
,
IIN Content Writer

Lisa holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Wesleyan University, is a certified Life Coach through the Quantum Success Coaching Academy, and is a graduate of IIN’s Health Coach Training Program. Currently a curriculum developer for IIN, she is passionate about nutrition and wellness.

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