In my first year of college, I took an amazing class about body image. We spent time deconstructing harsh societal beauty standards while discussing how to combat them. One of the combatants we frequently talked about was self-care, and its different forms.

Prior to taking that class, the only things I associated with self-care were face masks and bubble baths. Shockingly, these are not the be all and end all of self-care!

There are tons of ways people can care for themselves. Now, I am able to implement various types of care in my everyday routine that benefit my overall health. In this article, I will break down a few methods of self-care that help raise my positive self-image.

Mental Wellness

This is the type of care people normally associate with self-care. Mental self-care involves doing things to declutter your mind and lower stress. For some people, this actually means a bubble bath or face masks. However, there are multiple ways people can relax their minds. What works for some may not work for everyone.

One kind of mental self-care I use is bracelet-making. Yes, I might sound like a typical camp kid, but this is an activity I have found to be beneficial. Personally, when I am stressed, I enjoy emplying methods that “turn off” my brain. On days I am feeling overwhelmed and need a break, I will turn on Netflix and start weaving away.

Physical Well-Being

Physical self-care works to improve and enhance your physiological state. It entails both diet and physical activity. In class, we talked about intuitive eating and listening to what your body needs. The culture surrounding diet culture is not always a positive one, and can be detrimental to self-care. In this sense, intuitive eating can suppress the negative thoughts that arise with regard to eating.

When talking about physical activity, my personal preferences vary. If I am feeling frustrated and upset, I find an intensive workout to be a good stress-reliever. But, I also enjoy yoga and stretching when I want to relinquish some anxiety. Other days, I feel like doing nothing active is best for me. A combination of high intensity, low intensity, and rest and relaxation days might also work for you.

Social Self-Care

Social self-care is something I never knew existed before my class. Since I’ve learned about it, I have been able to care for myself in ways I didn’t even know were necessary. This kind of care refers to giving yourself the space to check in with loved ones. Taking time to cultivate the positive relationships in your life has a positive impact on how you interact with those people on an everyday basis.

Whenever I check in with my family and friends, I notice my mood improves as well. I feel grounded and more connected to those around me. Before I knew about social self-care, I often let my relationships dwindle. Now that I am more in touch with those around me, I am constantly reminded that I am loved.

Self-care is different for everyone. These are just three categories, and there are hundreds of ways people can organize their own care. However, it is crucial we break the stigma that self-care is limited to only physical well-being. The more people look for ways to check in with themselves, the closer we become to our spirits, others, and our world. Self-care has truly changed my life, and by sharing my methods of care, I hope to help others who are still looking for the right fit.

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