6 Types of Self-Care & Ways to Practice Them

Self-care is a big deal.

Regularly taking the time, even in small and simple ways, to nurture and take care of yourself is crucial to your well-being.

And, no, it’s not selfish.  The more you nurture yourself, the better you are at supporting others.

There are different types of self-care, and depending on your particular need at the time, you may find yourself seeking a specific type more than others.  All are important, and I would argue that we should be practicing a little bit of each.

I like to break down my understanding of self-care into six different types.  When I do this, I’m also better able to understand my needs, and how I can best nurture them.

Let’s have a look at these six types of self-care, and examples of ways you can practice them.


Disclaimer:  The information provided on this blog is written from personal and lived experience.  You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional mental health services, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health or mental health, you should always consult with a health-care professional.


# 1 – Physical Self-Care

When people think of self-care, they often think of the physical kind.  Taking care of our bodies is a significant component of self-care, but it doesn’t have to include a vigorous exercise routine.  Let’s face it, the word exercise can be intimidating, especially if we’re already feeling so busy in our everyday lives.  The thought of adding yet another new task to our schedule can feel incredibly overwhelming.

The key to self-care is it should be something you enjoy.  If it starts to feel like an obligation, then it may start adding to your stress levels, as opposed to reducing them.

Some ideas:

  • Yoga
  • Eating more veggies and fruits
  • Drinking more water
  • Going for a walk during your lunch hour
  • Zumba
  • Going for a run
  • Going for a bike ride

# 2 – Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care is about becoming more in tune with our emotions.  It’s about checking in with yourself, becoming more mindful of your triggers and thinking patterns, and finding ways to work through them, rather than bottling them up inside.

It’s okay to cry, to laugh, to feel angry – it’s okay to feel exactly the way you are feeling.  Emotional self-care helps you learn to have more compassion for yourself and your emotions.

Some ideas:

  • Journalling – writing down our feelings can help us better understand them
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation – learning to be more present
  • Setting more boundaries – it’s okay to say no
  • Being creative – express your emotions through painting, writing, cooking, etc.
  • Starting a gratitude journal – focusing on what you’re grateful for can sometimes help put things into better perspective
  • Working on changing your negative self-talk – practice replacing the negative with positive self-talk
Related: 30-Day Self-Care Challenge [Free Printable]
[instagram url= https://www.instagram.com/p/B00PiQyoYv-/ hidecaption=true width=720]

# 3 – Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual self-care nourishes your soul, helps you find inner peace, and gives you a greater understanding of life beyond yourself.  This self-care doesn’t necessarily have to relate to religion, although it can be religious for some people.

This connection to something bigger than yourself can help you find purpose and meaning in life. It can give you the courage to push through when times get difficult and inspire hope time and time again.

Some ideas:

  • Practicing meditation
  • Spending time in nature
  • Praying
  • Writing in a gratitude journal
  • Donating to a charity or cause you believe in

Pin to take these tips with you!

6 Types of Self-Care & Ways to Practice Them | Tulip and Sage

# 4 – Intellectual Self-Care

We often neglect to care for our intellectual well-being.  This type of self-care includes doing something you enjoy that nourishes and challenges your mind.  It expands your knowledge.

Intellectual self-care can involve figuring out what your current talents/strengths are and developing them further. It can also include learning a new skill.

Since this type of self-care helps you learn more about your skills and interests, it can be useful when deciding which career you are passionate about the most.

Some ideas:

  • Reading a book
  • Completing a puzzle
  • Learning a new language
  • Taking a course on something that interests you
  • Watching a documentary on a topic you’re interested in
[instagram url= https://www.instagram.com/p/Btc-3jblNv8/ hidecaption=true width=720]

# 5 – Social Self-Care

Humans, by nature, are social beings. We like to feel connected with others. This type of self-care may look different for introverts and extroverts – because our levels of comfort in social situations differ. But, a connection is essential to us all. Having a support system of individuals we can trust, and nourishing these relationships can be an example of this self-care.

Some ideas:

  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Going to lunch with a friend
  • Joining a yoga class, or any class that interests you and that you can meet new people
  • Reconnecting with an old friend
  • Striking up a conversation with someone at the coffee shop when you pick up your morning coffee
Related: 30-DAY SELF-CARE CHALLENGE – FALL EDITION (PRINTABLE)

# 6 – Sensory Self-Care

Sensory self-care helps you nourish your senses – sight, smell, touch, and sound. It is an effective way of bringing your mind to the present moment and helping you lower your stress levels. Living in the present moment helps you better cope with any past and future worry you may be feeling. These simple, yet powerful self-care activities can be effective ways of becoming more mindful and soothing an anxious, overwhelmed mind.

Some ideas:

  • Burning your favourite scented candle
  • Taking a warm bath with your favourite scented bath bomb
  • Spending time in nature
  • Listening to soothing music
  • Walking barefoot on the grass

The Takeaway

As you can see, some activities can serve multiple types of self-care.

The truth is, self-care may look different to each of us, there is no one-size-fits-all formula. 

One self-care activity may help me, while another may help you. The key is to be intentional in making the time and effort to invest in your wellness. Now go on, get to self-caring!

Thanks so much for stopping by <3

What self-care type speaks to you the most?  Let me know below!
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20 Comments

  1. 11.26.18

    Love it! I wrote all this stuff down in my journal! I used the infographic to write all this stuff down. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • 11.26.18
      Amanda at Tulip & Sage said:

      Thanks so much, Maddy! Glad you found it useful <3

  2. 1.28.19

    This post is awesome! I often forget to be social, major introvert over here! But it’s important to not forget about keeping those connections with others nourished!

    • 1.29.19
      Amanda said:

      Thanks Teya! I can totally relate to you. I’m also an introvert. I like learning about each type of self-care because I’m better able to work on the ones that I’ve been needing the most. Wishing you continued self-care! <3

  3. 9.3.19
    Joyce Coleman said:

    I Think the one I need most is the physical self care

    • 9.4.19
      Amanda said:

      Hi Joyce! I also could use a little more physical self-care! I want to practice more yoga, but rarely find the time for it. But, I’m tryin’! 🙂

  4. 9.7.19
    Malou said:

    This was so insightful, thank you so much for all the time you put into this. It really helped me Identify the different areas od selfcare and which need more nourishing from me 🙂 thank you so much!

    • 9.7.19
      Amanda said:

      Thank you so much, Malou! I’m so happy you found this useful! 🙂

  5. 9.27.19

    Some great ideas! I love the way you broke these down into different types!

    • 9.28.19
      Amanda said:

      Thank You Sara! <3

  6. 4.10.20
    Abby said:

    My heart is full of Love and my mind is learning to grow! Thankyou for true, raw and compelling words xx

    • 4.11.20
      Amanda said:

      Thank you! ?

  7. 4.18.20

    I love this post so much. You actually explain self care and added some great ways to practice each type of self care. Thank you!

    • 4.20.20
      Amanda said:

      Thank you! ?

  8. 5.21.20
    Anette said:

    This was beautiful to read especially during these times we going through. Thank you for taking your time and sharing this with us

    • 5.25.20
      Amanda said:

      Thank you Anette! ? This means so much to me. I’m so happy you found this useful ?

  9. 7.10.20
    Alexis said:

    Such an interesting way to think about self care! Love this post so much.

    • 7.13.20
      Amanda said:

      Thank you Alexis! ?

  10. 3.6.21

    Social and Spiritual are the ones I tend to gravitate towards the most!

    • 3.8.21
      Amanda @ Tulip & Sage said:

      ? Self-care is so important!