You know that taking care of yourself is important for your mental health, but let’s face it — there’s kind of a lot going on right now. Practicing self-care, though, doesn’t have to be “me time,” or reading a book because you think you “should.” Knowing the different types of self-care means you can switch up your routine to meet your body and mind where they’re at.

Emotional Self-Care

Are you journaling, taking necessary time away from the news, and doing something every day that makes you laugh? Take some time to think of the activities that make you feel emotionally fulfilled. It might be volunteering with local queer youth center, or it might be holing up in your favorite chair and doing nothing all day but reading 19th century novels (or both).

Environmental Self-Care

What’s the state of the kitchen table that you use as a desk? Even your regularly scheduled messiness might hit different when you don’t have anywhere else to be but home. Environmental self-care is the practice of taking care of your environment; like physical self-care, checking off this basic can help you feel more grounded in your space.

Social Self-Care

Social interaction can help you feel fulfilled, validated, and loved, but sometimes, yet another Zoom hang is draining. That’s where social self-care comes in. Boundaries are one of the essential concepts in self-care.

Spiritual Self-Care

That sense of deep calm you feel when you’re totally immersed in your favorite thing can be a spiritual experience, no matter what your beliefs. Lifting weights or sinking into your yoga practice might be your own version of spiritual self-care.

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Financial Self-Care

Financial worries can affect us emotionally, causing stress, anxiety, and even depression. When we experience financial difficulties, we tend to ruminate and create more negative thoughts that perpetuate the negativity cycle. To make it easier to deal with your personal and family finances, make sure you’re keeping track of what you’re making and what you’re spending.

Professional Self-Care

If you didn’t have work-life balance pre-pandemic, your boss knowing exactly what your bookshelf looks like probably didn’t help things. But learning to identify and effectively communicate your boundaries is key. If you need to keep your camera off during a meeting, then keep your camera off during a meeting. You’re allowed to set that boundary. Keep structured calendars or to-do lists with clear separations between work stuff and life stuff.

Intellectual Self-Care

When was the last time you tried to learn something in-depth that wasn’t for work? learning something new can recharge your brain and make you feel excited about not knowing everything. Intellectual self-care can include anything from reading a book, listening to a podcast, watching a documentary, or going on a Wikipedia dive into the making of your favorite TV show. Absent IRL socializing, being intentional about giving your brain new things to do can help you feel accomplished and sharp.

Physical Self-Care

Consider making sure you do at least two or three of the following each day: brushing your teeth; taking a bath or shower; drinking a few glasses of water; eating some food; and letting yourself sleep. If you’ve got the basics under control, you might also be interested changing into going out clothing (even if you’re not going anywhere) and giving yourself a cool hairstyle. You might also integrate exercise to keep your body and mind in sync.

Do you find the time to practice self-care?

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