Emotional self-care is a crucial part of well-being. It can be hard to balance family, work, and your personal life, but if you fail to take care of yourself emotionally, it can become extremely difficult to have the energy or emotional capacity for anything or anyone else.
The key to emotional self-care is staying aware of your needs and honoring them.
In this article, we’ll go over some simple and effective ways you can practice emotional self-care. They may seem easy (and they are) but they go a long way towards feeling more balanced and less emotionally drained.
Table of Contents
12 Easy Ways to Practice Emotional Self-Care
1. Take a Break From Social Media
There’s a lot of talk about the benefits of social media as a way to stay connected, especially in the era of social distancing.
But there’s also a lot to be said for taking care of yourself emotionally and disconnecting from social media.
The truth is, often the negative aspects of social media outweigh the positive. Disconnecting from social media gives you the chance to focus on yourself instead of focusing on what everyone else is doing.
Log out off Facebook, Instagram, TikTok (and everything else) and use that time to do something that makes you feel good.
Read a novel, write in your journal, turn on your favorite music and cook up a storm in the kitchen, go for a walk or take a long, hot Epsom salt bath. And avoid the temptation to “just quickly” check what’s going on social media!
2. Give Yourself a Massage
For some instant mind-body rejuvenation, one of my favorite things to do is give myself a Kansa wand facial massage.
I first learned about the Kansa wand when I was studying Ayurveda and I’ve been using it daily for the past 6 years. A Kansa wand is made with a healing metal from India and has been revered for centuries thanks to its ability to help ease muscle tension, calm your mind, and relax your body.
It’s small, portable, and easy to use. I normally give myself a facial massage every morning and evening, but you can also use a Kansa wand on your neck, shoulders, arms, and head to relax and rejuvenate yourself emotionally and physically.
3. Write Down 3 Things You’re Grateful For Each Day
Taking a few minutes each day to write down three things you’re grateful for can have an incredible impact on your emotional wellbeing.
Your list can include anything from your family and friends to your favorite TV show or favorite food. It’s ok to repeat things if you like, but try to come up with something new every day, too.
It’s incredible how much this simple activity will improve your mood by filling you with joy and gratitude.
4. Get Outside and Spend Time in Nature
Nature has a calming, soothing effect on us. In fact, the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing” which is as simple as spending time amongst the trees and uses all of our senses to experience the wonders of nature has been shown to significantly improve people’s physical and psychological health (1).
Although it would be nice, we don’t all have the ability to spend time in the forest every day. If you don’t have a forest nearby, spend time outside every day in any way you can.
Walk around the blocks or sit near trees and listen to their leaves rustle. Take your dog for a walk at sunset while listening to birds chirping off in the distance. Whatever it takes, get outdoors and slow down with nature.
5. Get Enough Sleep
You’ve heard how important a good night’s sleep is a million times. But did you know that a poor night’s sleep is linked to mental health problems? (2)
In addition, a good night’s sleep is the best way to get your day off on a positive note. Make sure you go to bed at a reasonable hour and avoid screentime for a least one hour before bed.
6. Journal About Your Thoughts, Feelings, and Emotions
Keeping a journal allows you to reflect on the day and can also help you gain some clarity about what went right and what didn’t go well that day, and why.
It’s a great way to relieve stress as it allows you to free your mind of the thoughts that are swirling around in your head – write them in your journal then let them go.
If you’ve tried journaling before but you can’t seem to stick at it, check out this post for 14 strategies that will help make journaling a habit.
7. Exercise Regularly – Even If It’s Just a Walk Around the Block
It can be hard to find the time for exercise, but it’s an important part of emotional and physical self-care.
The good news is that you don’t have to have an expensive gym membership or spend hours at the gym – even a simple 30-minute walk around the block is beneficial.
The fresh air and endorphins from even a short walk can help you feel refreshed and energized. And who knows – that walk may turn into a job and before you know it, you’ve completed your first 5k (that’s what happened to me!)
8. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others
You know the saying – “comparison is the thief of all joy.”
How many times have you found yourself scrolling through social media and comparing yourself to others (even complete strangers.) The truth is, the more you compare yourself to others, the less satisfied and content you’ll feel about yourself.
And don’t be tempted to lie to yourself and say “I’m not comparing, I’m just getting inspiration.”
I’ve been there and done that. And when I was honest with myself, I wasn’t getting inspired. I was feeling like crap about myself.
Nobody’s life is as perfect as they try to portray it on social media. And nobody has the same unique gifts and talents as you. Instead of comparing yourself to others and focusing on what they have, start focusing on yourself and what you have.
If you’re not happy with certain aspects of yourself and your life, consider why and what you can do to make the necessary changes.
9. Learn How to Say No
It can be hard to say no, especially if you’re an empath and you worry about hurting someone or letting them down.
But it’s important for your mental health that you learn how to say no when you need to. If something is too much of a burden, don’t do it.
If someone truly loves and accepts you, they’ll understand that you can’t always be there at their beck and call. If they don’t, then consider whether the relationship is serving you in a positive way.
10. Spend Time With People Who Uplift You
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s so easy to spend time with people who make you feel bad about yourself. We’ve all been there – you leave a conversation feeling emotionally depleted and you wonder why you spend time with this person…
Spending too much time with negative people can sap your energy and leave you feeling drained.
Instead, spend time with people who uplift you, encourage you, and make you feel good about yourself. Trust me, they’re out there.
11. Find An Emotional Outlet
What better way to work out your emotions than by pushing them right out?
Find a physical activity that will help you get rid of pent-up feelings. It could be anything from going for a jog or attending a boxing class – find what works for you and don’t hold back.
Personally, I find that running (or jogging, to be more accurate!) is my emotional outlet. It’s amazing what a short 30-minute jog can do for my emotional state, which is why I carve out time every second day for a jog around my neighborhood.
12. Explore Your Spiritual Side
It’s hard to feel connected and at peace with yourself emotionally when you don’t know who you truly are.
Spending time exploring your spiritual side can help you feel at peace and more connected to yourself. This allows you to look deeper at who you are, what makes you tick, and what truly makes you happy and emotionally fulfilled.
A fun way to practice emotional self-care is by putting together your own self-care box. Whenever I’m feeling emotionally drained and need a quick boost, I grab my self-care box and use something from it, whether it’s an essential oil or a quick read of some inspirational cards. Here’s a link to some great ideas to put in your self-care kit.
1. Wen, Y., Yan, Q., Pan, Y. et al. Medical empirical research on forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku): a systematic review. Environ Health Prev Med 24, 70 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12199-019-0822-8. Retrieved from https://environhealthprevmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12199-019-0822-8
2. Dr. Dan Robotham, Lauren Chakkalackal and Dr. Eva Cyhlarova. Sleep Matters – The Impact of Sleep on Health and Wellbeing. Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/MHF-Sleep-Report-2011.pdf
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