What Self Care Really Means, Parts 3 & 4: The Heart & The Spirit

Image: Jon Asato

Image: Jon Asato

Did you know July 24 was International Self Care Day? In honour of the fine art of self care, I'm sharing my top tips for each area of your health you should pay attention to when looking after yourself.

If you haven't already, check out Part 1 - The Body, and Part 2 - The Mind before you read more below.

Area #3: The Heart

There’s physical heart health, which is another discussion, but what I’m really referring to here is your emotional well-being.

Because of those aforementioned devices, we’re spending more time in isolation - and it’s not good for our health. Sometimes the best self care is meeting a friend for a coffee: that emotional connection is just as imperative to our well-being as exercise.

Tips for Emotional Self Care

Make time for your friends and family, and really be present with them while you are. Splitting your attention between a loved one and your phone does not count.

Notice consistent sadness, numbness, or anger? Just as you would visit a doctor for a physical ailment, consider seeing a counsellor or psychologist if you’re not feeling emotionally well.

Area #4: The Spirit

This can be a tricky area to talk about with people, because we often conflate “spirit” or “soul” with religion.

For many people, the well-being of their spirit or soul does come from religion - but this doesn’t mean you have to go to church for spiritual self care.

Essentially, taking care of your spirit means feeling connected to something larger than yourself. Whether it’s your running community, a charity you volunteer with, or a big project you’re working on with a group of people, that sense of belonging and contribution is essential to good health.

Tips for Spiritual Self Care

Take a look: when was the last time your contributed, volunteered, or gave back? When was the last time you were a part of larger community with a common goal? If these elements are missing from your life, there are lots of easy ways to try different things out. Start with one volunteer shift for a cause you believe in, and notice how you feel after.

Self care looks different for everyone, and rightly so: using this four-pronged approach, hopefully you’ll be able to identify where the gaps are in your well-being… and take healthy steps forward!