30 Feel-Good Ways To Practice Emotional Self-Care

Looking after ourselves has become a priority for many of us, but what many people don’t realize is that practicing self-care comes in many different forms. This is where emotional self-care comes in.

Emotional self-care is one of the key areas that are truly important to focus on, so you can connect with (and look after) your inner self.

woman outside looking happy

Emotional self-care is just one type of self-care that can help provide a more balanced life and overall feeling of contentment.

Here are the 5 main types of self-care you can practice:

  1. Emotional
  2. Spiritual
  3. Physical
  4. Social
  5. Intellectual

You can learn more about these other types of self-care HERE, but today, we’re going deep into emotional self-care.

What is emotional self-care?

“Emotional self-care helps you get in touch with your feelings in a way that makes you feel good, whether this is connecting with someone important in your life or tuning into your inner self.”

Emotional self-care means focusing on your mental health and emotional needs. 

The Importance of Emotional Self-Care

We can have a bubble bath, drink tea, eat healthily, connect with friends, get the right amount of sleep, and so on, but as important as these self-care activities are, they don’t focus on our emotions. (Don’t get me wrong – these are really important to do too, but not specifically to support your inner, emotional self).

Emotional self-care allows us to create time to support and strengthen our mental health.

Quick Tip:

Before we get into the list of emotional self-care examples, it’s first important to know what you need right now. 

So grab a pen and notepad – and answer these questions…

  • Are you feeling overwhelmed in life right now – if so where?
  • Do you have any mental health goals you’d like to set? If so, what? (You can use this worksheet to help).
  • Is there anything missing in your daily life that you’d like to focus on?

Once you answer these questions, it will help you choose some emotional self-care activities that can specifically ladder up to your answers above.

For Example:

If you set a mental health goal of understanding specific triggers that upset you, so you can try to avoid these things from happening – you might want to focus on tracking your mood.

Or, if you feel emotional support and connection is lacking in your relationship, you might want to focus on finding new ways to show your love and communicate your need for more love from your spouse.

30 Emotional Self-Care Examples

30 ways to practice emotional self-care

1. Track Your Mood

woman writing in journal

If you’ve been feeling down, upset, and having a rollercoaster of negative emotions on a regular basis, mood tracking is a fantastic way to connect the dots between your mood, activities, and triggers.

The benefit here is that once you’ve been tracking your mood and activities on a regular basis, you’ll be to start identifying regular patterns that are taking place.

For example – you might notice you feel extreme anxiety when joining a Zoom call, or a low, depressed feeling at the end of the night.

When you can see these patterns, you’ll then be able to adjust the situation and your emotional response to better support your emotional well-being.

This might mean prepping for your call 10 minutes beforehand so you can feel better prepared. Or, doing something that feels good at the end of the night to boost your mood before bed.

All in all, mood tracking allows you to feel more in control of your emotions by being intentional about making adjustments to your life to help you feel more content in your everyday life.

Check out my free mood tracking printable or grab my Today I Choose Joy Mood Tracker Journal below

2. Set Healthy Boundaries

When you set boundaries you are actively protecting your time, energy, and emotions. They help you to stay connected to yourself and maintain a sense of self-respect.

You may have a hard time saying no to people or feel you are focused on making others happy more than yourself. 

Therefore, setting boundaries can help you allocate more time to yourself and protect yourself from others who may take advantage of your time and kindness.

Examples of emotional boundaries you can set for yourself:

  • I will not let ruminating thoughts get in the way of my happiness.
  • I won’t let people make me feel guilty for saying no.
  • I deserve to allocate alone time for myself when feeling overwhelmed.

3. Try Some Positive Affirmations

Affirmations as positive statements, that we affirm about ourselves. They can be beliefs or thoughts that you repeat to yourself on a regular basis (ideally daily).

A great place to start is with some self-love affirmations or mental health affirmations. This will directly help you believe in yourself, build confidence and get you through some difficult situations.

To get started find some quiet time and then try on of these examples of positive affirmations:

  • I appreciate what I have in life right now
  • I will stay away from negative forces in life
  • Today I will listen to what I truly need – both physically and emotionally
  • I will look for support from loved ones today
  • I am a beautiful person

4. Practice Gratitude

Having gratitude in your life enables you to see everyday beauty and not focus on things that might not be going your way.

When you intentionally start practicing gratitude, it will eventually become second nature.

Here are a couple of ways you can practice gratitude:

  • Try some gratitude journal prompts
  • Write a gratitude list of little and big things you’re thankful for
  • Send thank you letters
  • Simply write down 3 things every day that you are grateful for

5. Listen To Some Feel-Good Music

Music is a powerful tool to literally get you in the mood – the mood for love, relaxation, happiness, productivity – everything.

So, put on a playlist you love to help you tap into what you need right now. 

6. Mindfulness Meditation

woman meditating

There are a couple of different meditation practices you can use to help you practice mindfulness, which is great to help you stay in the present moment …

  • Body scan meditation: helps you enter a state of relaxation by mentally scanning your body from top to bottom
  • Observer meditation: helps you become conscious of your thoughts and feelings

You can learn more about each type of meditation and how to do them in this mindfulness post.

7. Journaling for Mental Health

One of my favourite ways to journal for mental health is by focusing on self-love.

You can use a number of different self-love journal prompts which you can find in my Love Yourself First Journal, which includes 52 thoughtful writing prompts to guide you.

Here are a few sample writing prompts:

  • List at least 5 qualities that make you unique
  • Write about a time you were really proud of yourself – what positive emotions does this bring up for you?
  • How can you love yourself more today? List 3 feel-good activities you will do no matter how small.

Journaling for self-care and self-love allows you to create balance, find positive ways to think about yourself and give yourself permission to grow in meaningful ways.

8. Let Things Go

Holding on to negative thoughts and feelings can truly weigh you down, so a great self-care exercise is to focus on letting things go. 

You can start by acknowledging and feeling your feelings. Then think about why it’s important for you to let a particular thing go. 

There are steps you can take to practice letting with these 7 steps to help you move on.

9. Change the Way You Think About Yourself

We talked a little about self-love above, but it’s important to bring this up again – as often we prevent ourselves from allocating time for self-care because we are lacking self-love.

So, I wanted to share a self-love challenge you can try: 30-Day Self-Love Challenge.

Feel free to try the whole 30 days or select specific activities you think will be beneficial for you today.

10. Do Something Nostalgic

Don’t you just love thinking about happy moments from the past?

By tapping into things that bring up old positive memories you’re able to create a warm/cozy feeling of happiness at this moment.

Some ideas:

  • Get out the old photos
  • Listen to music from your teens
  • Visit an old neighbourhood you lived in
  • Read some old letters
  • Go back to a vacation spot you loved from the past
  • Go through some old boxes – you’ll most certainly find some treasures from your past.

11. Do Something You’re Passionate About

You may have been holding this off or coming up with excuses as to why you can’t make time for this activity, but see if you can create some time each week for it.

Perhaps you want to get back into photography, or you really want to master your baking skills, or you simply want to create more time for reading again.

Whatever it is you want to do, but can’t find the time here are a couple of things you can try – to make the time…

  • Allocate time once a week – try for 1 hour – perfect if you want to take a class of some kind
  • Carve out 15 to 30 minutes a day (perfect for reading or other hobbies) – try this at a time you wouldn’t normally think of or get yourself off of social media to make the time

12. Understand Your Love Language

couple cuddling in sofa

This works for all types of relationships – romantic and otherwise.

If you know your own love language you can communicate it to others. This allows you to create a strong connection with the people that matter most to you.

According to Mind Body Green there are 5 main types of love languages

“The five love languages are five different ways of expressing and receiving love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.”

Whatever your love language is, it’s important you share this with your partner and your other loved ones.

Sharing with people how to love you best is a huge part of self-care. So, have a conversation and see how it goes.

This also gives others the opportunity to share their love language with you.

13. Create a Healthy Daily Routine

Whether it’s a morning routine or a nighttime routine these are important for your emotional health. 

Doing something every day that makes you feel good is a key contributor to your emotional health.

In fact, when I was in group therapy for depression this was something we discussed every week – and something we kept track of. 

See what you can add to your routine that makes you connect with your inner self, makes you smile or exhilarates you. 

Think about some healthy ways you can change your daily routine.

14. Identify Your Stressors

Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling completely overwhelmed and stressed?

If yes, this is the perfect time to grab a notebook and write down absolutely everything that’s in your mind.

I mean everything

The list could go something like this:

  • No idea what to make for dinner
  • Worried about meeting with the boss
  • My kid needs new shows
  • Getting low on dog food
  • A family member was rude to me
  • A close friend didn’t respond to text
  • Miss my friend who lives far away
  • Etc, etc

Writing this list will feel a little upsetting for some, but you are essentially releasing these stresses onto paper so you can quite literally get them off your chest (and mind).

When doing this type of list, I like to finish it by writing some things I’m grateful for – to balance the stressful release.

I personally use this method whenever to help me get through hard times and have a dedicated notebook just to release my stressors and then to practice gratitude.

Give it a try and see if it helps you.

15. Try Therapy

I’m a big believer that therapy is for everyone. If you can get access to therapy it’s one of the best ways to look after yourself, whether you have a specific mental health condition or not.  

Therapy can help you find tools to get you through stressful times, or help you move through a tough situation.

In regards to tools, you must check out this brilliant online resource by Phil Stutz – thetoolsbook.com.

And if you haven’t already make sure to watch the Jonah Hill documentary ‘Stutz’. It’s a beautiful display of what therapy (and finding the right therapist) can do for you.

You can also check out the book…

Coming Alive: 4 Tools To Defeat Your Inner Enemy

16. Practice Self-Compassion

To practice self-compassion you first need to know the meaning of compassion

“a sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” (New Oxford Dictionary).

Therefore, self-compassion is turning that concern for suffering inward to yourself.

To show yourself compassion you need to be kind to yourself, show yourself sympathy, don’t judge yourself and overall treat yourself the way you would a good friend.

Related: 15 Self-Compassion Exercises To Try

17. Practice Positive Self-Talk

One of the best ways to practice positive self-talk is by intentionally using empowering words to describe yourself.

If you catch yourself having negative thoughts, stop and change the narrative. Check out these 100 empowering words you can start using on a daily basis.

18. Focus On Things You Love About Yourself

Check out this list post to inspire you: 125 Beautiful Things To Love About Yourself

19. Ask For Help

Feel like you’re burning out or taking on too much? Ask for help before it gets to be too much. This is important in the workplace and at home.

20. Stay Away From Negative Content – Including News

If you find that a certain content can bring you down it’s really important to limit yourself., or even cut out that content altogether.

This is something I personally deal with. I get so emotionally invested in certain topics (animal rights, human rights, climate change, etc.) and I end up going down social media/YouTube rabbit holes. I want to learn more about these topics, but it can bring on deep sadness for me, so I have to limit myself for my own well-being.

More Ways You Can Practice Emotional Self-Care

21. Stay active – exercise is not only good for physical self-care but mental and emotional well-being too.

22. Make time for rest – every moment of your day does not need to be scheduled. Give yourself permission to relax and unwind every day.

23. Allocate time for self-reflection. Give this list of self-reflection questions a try.

24. Create time for fun. Fun and play isn’t only for kids.

25. Don’t ignore your feelings and needs. If you’re going through something challenging, take the time to get the help and support you need.

26. Practice saying no without feeling guilty. You are not meant to say yes to everything people ask you – especially if you have toxic people in your life.

27. Connect with people who make you feel good. Getting a daily or weekly dose of kindness from people who care for you does wonders for your emotional health.

28. Do something nostalgic. Something that reminds you of happy memories. Read old letters, look at photos from vacation or listen to music from your teens.

29. Write a love letter to yourself. Then keep this letter so you can read it when you need to boost your mood.

30. Love yourself first. remember – you can’t pour from an empty cup and you deserve your own love and attention, before you can serve others.

Emotional Self-Care: Next Steps

Taking care of our emotions is one of the most important steps we can take to practice self-care and love ourselves more. 

When you’re able to support and balance your emotions you can then create more time to practice other types of self-care, and move forward with goals and intentional living.

Want to Create Your Own Emotional Self-Care Plan?

Check out my self-care planning worksheets in the shop!

They include details on other types of self-care too – spiritual self-care, physical self-care and more

What self-care practices will you try to support your emotional well-being?

Think about the small steps you will take to look after your own needs.

Related Emotional Self-Care Resources:

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    1. Hi Hannah – Music and mood tracking make such a massive difference for sure. Love that you already do these things 🙂

  1. You’ve made some powerful points with this post! If we all practiced emotional self-care, we’d be more emotionally balanced and less likely to fly off the handle!

    1. Thanks for your positive feedback Susan! I absolutely agree – emotional self-care helps us reduce so much stress and feel overall more content with the everyday.

  2. I love this post!! Emotional self care is so important, but I’ve never really thought to call it that. I do many of these things as “self-care” but reading your post made me realize… it is taking care of my emotions!

    1. Thanks Catherine! Yes – it’s pretty interesting how you can break down self-care to help you in different areas of your life. I’m happy to hear that you’re doing this often!xo

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