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Understanding Emotional Self Care

July 26th, 2023


Emotional self-care is the development of awareness of one's emotions and understanding of what one needs to express those emotions. In developing emotional self-care practices, it is important for one to understand their limitations and triggers. It is also important to understand that emotional self-care can come in various forms.

Ten Ways That You Can Practice Emotional Self-Care

The Following Are Ten Ways That You Can Practice Emotional Self-Care:

1.) Prioritization of sleep hygiene - As with nourishing any other part of our bodies, we need to nourish our brains too. In nourishing our brains, practicing good sleep hygiene is critical. Most adults consistently need around 7-8 hours of sleep to feel the most rested. Part of practicing good sleep hygiene is implementing a regular nighttime routine. Turning off electronics 30 minutes prior to going to sleep and getting ready for bed around the same time each night can play an important role in falling asleep and staying asleep.

2.) Regular exercise - This might sound like another “basic self-care technique,” but it is one that can be easy to cut out. Exercise requires energy and time- two things that are not always plentiful. Exercising at least 3-5 days a week in any form can be beneficial for our physical health. For some, exercise may look like running or going to the gym. For others, it might be a long walk. Everyone has their preferences on how they like to be active.

3.) Practicing Gratitude - Sure, it can be easy to find things we are grateful for a steady job, a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, etc., but how often do we think about these things? Practicing gratitude regularly can help one consider the things they have at a basic level that they are thankful for. In a world where everyone is always looking for the next big thing or trying to keep up with the latest trends, practicing gratitude can help us be gracious for what we have.

4. ) Implementation of mindfulness activities - Mindfulness is a concept that focuses on awareness in the present moment. Oftentimes, we focus on what we need to do or what we have done in the past instead of focusing on the current moment. Practicing mindfulness activities that promote mindfulness include walking, journaling, yoga, and meditation.

Practicing Gratitude

5.) Setting boundaries - An essential part of improving emotional self-care is for us to know our limits and how much we can handle. Similar to a pot of boiling water, when it reaches the top, at some point, it will spill over as it can only handle so much. As humans, we too have a limited capacity for what we can handle. Setting boundaries can include declining an invitation, distancing ourselves from people who drain us, or determining what we are uncomfortable with. Boundaries can come in many forms. They can feel uncomfortable to set, but without them, they can lead to emotional fatigue and people-pleasing.

6.) Limiting social media time - It's 2023, and it seems like there is always a new form of social media. Getting caught up on what everyone else is doing can be so easy. It seems like someone is always traveling somewhere cool or accomplishing something big. It can make many feel like they are behind in life. It’s important to remember that people rarely post their low moments or struggles. Social media has also become a primary source for many to get their news. Taking in too much of what is going on in the world all the time takes a toll on us over time. It’s important to designate periods of downtime away from social media to recharge and improve your emotional health.

7.) Expressing self through creative outlets - Creativity looks different for everyone. For some, this can include drawing or painting. Others can express themselves through writing or journaling. There are other creative outlets, such as dancing, acting, or music. Regularly utilizing creative outlets to express thoughts and emotions can be a beneficial tool in increasing emotional self-care.

8.) Building a solid social support network - Staying connected with others is another component in maintaining and building emotional wellness. Humans need social interaction in order to fulfill the need to feel connected and supported. Even if you are introverted or prefer to spend time alone, regularly interacting with others can help you develop a sense of belonging.

Building a solid social support network

9.) Scheduling downtime- We live in a world where constantly being busy is praised. We go to work and then do as much as we can in the little bit of free time that we have. Whether it’s trying to attend as many social events as possible, working to stay on top of household responsibilities, or anything in between, it can be hard to find time to rest. We feel the need to do a certain amount to earn rest but forget that getting rest is how we recharge our mental and emotional batteries. When possible, schedule a day of the week for downtime. This can be as simple as getting in an extra nap or staying in one evening instead of going out.

10.) Practicing self-compassion- We all make mistakes in life. None of us are perfect, but often we hold onto those thoughts and mistakes, replaying them repeatedly. We are our own biggest critics, placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves and getting upset when we cannot meet those expectations. Giving ourselves the same grace that we would want others to give us is important.

Remember that to be your best self you need to take time for yourself and your needs. Work on taking time every day to do something that promotes emotional wellness. The little things can go a long way.

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