5 Main Types of Self Care for a Balanced Life (+ Examples)

To find balance in life there are different types of self-care activities that help us focus on our overall wellbeing. 

woman relaxing on beach at sunset

We certainly all know the term ‘self-care’, but there is so much more to self-care than bubble baths and massages.

In fact, practicing self-care to help you in various areas of your life is a whole other ball game.

This means finding ways to nourish for mind, body and soul… emotionally, spiritually, physically, socially and intellectually. 

Let’s dig in…

5 Different Types of Self Care

5 Types of Self Care for a Balanced Life - with Examples

I was first introduced to these 5 different types of self-care by a therapist of mine.

She explained that to find true happiness in our lives we need to have a good balance in the following areas:

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

You may think you’re looking after yourself and practicing self-care, but if you are only focused on one or two of these types of self-care you may feel stressed, tired and burnt out.

Are you practicing these types of self-care? Emotional, spiritual, physical, social and intellectual. Learn more + see examples for each.#selfcare #balance Click To Tweet

Why Different Types of Self Care is Important

As mentioned above it’s important to practice self-care in all 5 areas. Here are some key benefits:

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve overall wellbeing
  • Create a better life balance
  • Helps you enjoy simple pleasures in your life
  • Support your emotional and mental health
  • Helps you practice self-love
  • Gives you alone time
  • Live a more intentional, joyful life

5 Types of Self Care + Examples

Infographic - 5 Types of Self Care

1. Emotional Self Care

Mom and daughter hugging

Looking after your emotions and mental health is a big part of emotional self-care. These self-care activities will help you look after yourself in times of stress, anxiety or turmoil. 

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 Examples:

  • Journal your feelings
  • Track your mood
  • Set some mental health goals
  • Listen to nostalgic music
  • Read some old letters, cards
  • Practice saying no to others
  • Practice self-love affirmations
  • Give someone a hug

2. Spiritual Self Care

woman walking in forest

In the traditional sense, spiritual self-care can be turning to prayer or meditation, however, the act of spiritually looking after yourself can be accomplished by simply doing things that make your heart and soul flourish. 

This act of spiritual self-care will be different for you and me as we each make connections in various ways.

The key is to do things that matter in your life and give you a sense of purpose, meaning and comfort.

Spiritual Self-Care Examples:

  • Meditate
  • Walking in nature
  • Practice gratitude
  • Relax and drink tea
  • Pray
  • Write in a journal
  • Practice yoga
  • Get acupuncture

3. Physical Self Care

woman stretching

Physical self-care is all about looking after your body, and doing what you need to stay healthy.

Yes, this can be working out, eating right and sleeping well, but also make sure you’re thinking about your individual health.

Do you have areas you need to focus on to improve your health?

Are you focused on any specific health goals?

Physical Self-Care Examples:

  • Eating healthily
  • Morning yoga
  • Go for a long walk
  • Increase your daily water intake
  • Take a fitness class
  • Stretch
  • Getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep
  • Lift weights

4. Social Self Care

girlfriends walking outside

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we are all social creatures. As women, we prioritize so many parts of our lives and many times we put being social on the backburner as there never seems to be enough time.

Social self-care is as it sounds – learning to recharge while being social.

For you, this could be getting together with friends or doing fun things with your family.

Social connections are a human need so making sure you dedicate time to connect with people who matter to you is essential for a well-rounded life.

Social Self-Care Examples:

  • Make friends at work
  • Join a book club
  • Volunteer
  • Have a family games night
  • Connect with an old friend
  • Write a letter
  • Find a walking buddy
  • Make friends with your neighbours

Related: 57 Engaging Self-Care Activities For Groups

5. Intellectual Self Care

woman sitting under tree working on laptop

Stimulating your mind, working towards your goals and learning new things is absolutely a form of self-care.

When we learn we grow and when we grow we feel good.

Therefore discovering new ways to focus on intellectual self-care is a big part of finding a happy balance in life.

Whether you’re looking to grow at work or personally there are so many ways we can make our brains happy with new things to do.

Intellectual Self-Care Examples:

  • Learn a new skill
  • Take an online course
  • Read classic literature
  • Discover new passions
  • Learn an instrument
  • Get a job promotion
  • Go to a museum
  • Watch a TED Talk

How to Put This Self-Care Practice Into Action

The best way to ensure you create balance in your self-care routine is to keep track. There are a few simple ways to do this.

  1. Keep track in your journal or planner by recording the self-care activities you’re doing throughout the week.
  2. You can pick up my Building a Happy Week Self Care Planner if you’d like to stay organized and support my blog. 🙂
self care planner printable worksheets

Creating a Balanced, Happy Life with Different Types of Self Care

You’ll notice from reading the different types of self-care and examples that many of these self-care activities can actually fit into a few categories.

For example:

  • If you find a walking buddy, this fits into the social and physical category.
  • Joining a book club is both social and intellectual or social and spiritual (depending on the books you’re reading).
  • Doing any physical self-care activity can also be an emotional and spiritual act, as physically looking after your body makes you mentally and emotionally feel better too.

What Type of Self Care Do You Need More of?

For myself, I’d like to get more social self-care into my life, especially with living through multiple lockdowns.

Where would you like to focus?

Share in the comments section below…

More Self-Care Resources


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About Yolanda

Website Owner / Content Creator

I’m passionate about helping you live life to the fullest so you can choose to find happiness and purpose. Learn how to CREATE THE LIFE YOU LOVE with intentional living and discovery of the simple things life has to offer. Learn more…


6 Comments

    1. Absolutely! Fellow Canadian here so I understand 🙂 Thanks for the kind note Evangelia – have a beautiful day xo

    1. Hi Karen – Thanks so much 🙂 It certainly does -and I think the simple ways to practice self-care go so far for daily balance.

  1. I’ve been getting more in the habit of doing emotional and social self care, especially in the weekends. Great post!

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