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Five Tips for Self Care (that aren’t just manicures and bubble baths)

We hear a lot about “self care” in the media, but what does this phrase really mean? While the traditional stereotypes of self care tends to illicit images of bubble baths and long days spent relaxing, this neglects the many other aspects of self care that can be anything from saying “no” to friends to taking the time to breathe before a stressful phone call.

There are five general types of self care- physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and professional. For example, physical self care could mean moving your body in a way that feels good, while professional self care could mean implementing time management skills when you are on a tight deadline. No matter what, self care will look different for everyone, and some people might take a while to figure out what works best for them. For those who may want some concrete tips, here are a few suggestions for each area:


Physical self care can be thought of as “traditional” self care, and can include movement, proper nutrition, and overall wellness. One of the most important aspects of self care is engaging in movement, whatever form that may take. This article describes several different ways to incorporate movement throughout the day.


Emotional self care, as the name suggests, is all about managing and regulating your emotions- which can seem really complicated. While emotions are wonderful as well as what makes us human- is can be challenging to manage emotions- especially painful ones like anxiety, stress, or fear. This article provides 22 very simple ways to manage painful emotions.


No matter if you have mental illness or not, everyone can benefit from taking care of health and well-being, even if that just means focusing on their thoughts and actions. For those who do live with mental illness, psychological self-care can mean taking medication regularly, or setting aside the time and money to make an appointment with a doctor or therapist.


Whether or not you consider yourself to be religious, spirituality as whole can be a significant and vital part of self care. Even just taking a few moments each day to show gratitude, or to take a quiet moment of reflection can positively impact mental health. In fact, studies have found that any form of self-reflection, whether that is through meditation or prayer, can positively impact mental health and decrease feelings of stress. This website provides examples of different ways spirituality can support your well-being


Whether you work in a corporate office or a fast-food place, work can be very stressful, and it can be difficult to implement self-care throughout the day. However, the ability to set boundaries and learn when to to say no is an important part of fostering a healthy-work life balance. This author explains how she stopped explaining herself for saying no, and how this has greatly impacted her mental health.

This post was written by Skye Sarac. Skye is in her second year at NC State studying Psychology and Political Science. Skye is passionate about decreasing the stigma around mental illness through writing and telling stories, and enjoys learning about anything related to mental health. 

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