Healing Self Care

5 Types of Self-Care & Why They’re Important for Healing

After my latest self-care post, I’ve decided to rewrite and revamp my initial post about self-care practices into more posts. Self-care is essential for healing and well-being in general, so I’d like to go more in-depth about the topic. This post specifically will discuss the various types of self-care and why they’re important for healing.

In my initial post, I mentioned that everyone should practice self-care, especially if they’ve experienced some trauma in their life. Maybe you never learned what it’s like to care for and be kind to yourself. Or maybe like me, you were taught that it was selfish.

Self-care is essential for everyone. But if you grew up with abusive parents who didn’t treat you well, then self-care is even more crucial. Your parents didn’t take proper care of you so you likely never learned to take care of yourself. It’s likely something you might still struggle with now.

So in this post, I’ll briefly discuss what self-care is, the 5 types of self-care, and how they are each important, not just for your healing journey, but for your overall well-being.

What is Self-Care?

Self-care is a common concept that I’m sure you’ve heard of before. It simply means taking care of yourself so that you can be well. It can also simply mean healthily meeting your needs.

Self-care shouldn’t be confused with self-indulgence or self-improvement. It is also not selfish or self-serving. It simply means taking care of your health and well-being across various aspects.

And these aspects are also known as the different types of self-care:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Mental/Psychological
  • Spiritual
  • Social

The 5 Types of Self-Care & Why They’re Important

Self-care fosters a healthy, sustainable lifestyle and a better quality of life. It’s essential for building resilience towards life’s difficulties that you can’t avoid. It also helps you better cope with daily stressors. And these various benefits can aid in healing from trauma.

And actually, the very idea of self-care is in itself a sign of healing. Being able to take care of yourself in any aspect shows that you are healing, and perhaps even thriving.

However, I know that taking care of yourself can be hard, especially if you’re used to putting others first. If this is the reason you struggle with self-care, I recommend checking out this post to learn a few tips on how to make practicing self-care easier for you.

Types of Self-Care | Hopeful Panda

So as mentioned before, there are different types of self-care. This post will be covering the common five, but there are other types you may come across during your journey.

Which type you should focus on (whether it’s covered in this post or not) depends on your needs at the time. You may find yourself needing more self-care in one area than others.

However, it’s important to realize that all the different types of self-care are important. There is an interrelationship among all aspects of you that affects one another. Therefore, it’s important to practice self-care, at least a little, in each aspect to ensure wellness in other aspects.

Physical Self-Care

Physical Self-Care | Types of Self-Care | Hopeful Panda

When discussing self-care, people often think about physical self-care – any activity that involves taking care of your physical body.

It’s important to take care of your body so you can remain physically healthy. As I’ve said before, all aspects of you affect other aspects. Your physical health affects your mental health, spirituality, and social connections.

Taking care of your physical needs helps you feel stronger and more equipped to work through emotional distress. It also helps make you more resilient to stressors and illnesses.

Meanwhile, not taking care of your physical health can lead to more health problems and illnesses. Additionally, bad physical habits such as a sedentary lifestyle or substance abuse can lead to various mental illnesses or worsen existing mental conditions.

Here are some examples of physical self-care:

  • Do the body scan practice to check in with your body
  • Get enough sleep, water, nutrients, and sunlight
  • Stay physically active regularly
  • Do regular physical checkups, take medications as prescribed, and seek medical help when needed
  • Avoid smoking, drugs, and excess alcohol

In addition to these practices, maintaining optimal hydration is paramount for overall physical well-being. Proper fluid intake not only supports bodily functions but also contributes to mental clarity and emotional balance.

For individuals seeking comprehensive approaches to wellness, considering therapies like ketamine treatment alongside essential lifestyle practices can offer a holistic approach to maintaining both mental and physical health.

To practice physical self-care means trying to take care of your body, or at least, not hurt your biological health. It also means trying to do something that can energize your body each day and giving your body the care it needs to remain healthy.

Staying physically active can also release endorphins (feel-good hormones) and reduce cortisol (stress hormones) which can benefit you in your healing journey. It is also a healthy coping skill for uncomfortable or unpleasant emotions.

Emotional Self-Care

How to Identify and Meet Your Own Needs | Hopeful Panda

Emotional self-care is about becoming more in tune with your emotions. It involves identifying and managing your emotions when they arise and finding healthy ways to cope with them.

Learn more about how to healthily deal with your emotions in this post.

Emotions can get the better of us sometimes and can dictate our lives and well-being without us even knowing. So learning to understand your own emotions isn’t just essential for healing, but living.

This type of self-care includes self-reflection. And there are many ways you can engage in self-reflection.

For instance, you can take at least 10 minutes each day to reflect on your feelings and thoughts of the day. Ask yourself how you felt about what happened today. Then, identify any emotions you felt and what caused them. You can also keep a journal for this.

Check out The Hopeful Planner in the Shop. It includes various reflection pages designed for exactly this purpose and more.

Self-reflection teaches you to be more aware of your thought processes and actions regarding certain situations. You can learn what your emotional triggers are and what you can do to manage the reactions they cause. And being able to do this is healing and can be eye-opening.

Reflecting on my emotions and reactions has helped me make strides in my healing journey. It helped me better understand myself and how I react or would react in certain situations.

I’d say this type of self-care is often neglected because emotions can be difficult and uncomfortable to deal with. But being able to face your emotions head-on can make a world of difference in how you feel in your day-to-day life.

If you struggle with making sense of your emotions, consider reaching out to a professional who can help you healthily manage and deal with your emotions and issues.

Mental or Psychological Self-Care

Mental Self-Care | Hopeful Panda

Mental self-care, also known as psychological self-care, is any activity that takes care of your mental health. These activities could either stimulate your mind or give you a mental break from the day-to-day grind.

Mentally stimulating self-care activities include keeping your mind sharp, engaging in something creative, or trying something new.

Relaxing activities depend on what relaxes or soothes you. Some people relax by having a spa day, unplugging, or meditating. But do whatever works for you! Different things relax different people.

Most importantly, mental self-care also includes avoiding or limiting negativity or toxicity from your life. This includes deleting, unfollowing, or avoiding negativity online. It might be a little harder to do in person, but you can try to limit how much of that you come across.

Since you had abusive parents, you probably know all too well just how much toxicity and negativity can hurt your mental health, thus hurting you as a whole.

Realize that you deserve a life free of toxicity and abuse. And although you can’t totally erase it from your life, try to limit it as much as you can.

Spiritual Self-Care

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Spirituality is often assumed to be associated with religiosity. Although being spiritual can involve religion, it doesn’t have to. You can be spiritual but not religious.

Being spiritual oftentimes brings about a sense of peace and purpose in life, whether that’s from religion or something else. Nurturing your spirit can involve anything that helps you develop a deeper sense of meaning, understanding, or connection with your life and experiences.

Some people practice spiritual self-care by meditating, practicing mindfulness, practicing gratitude, helping others, or connecting with nature.

But again, self-care is about you. To practice this type of self-care, choose an activity that can help you get in touch with your spiritual side.

And if spirituality isn’t something you’re personally into, think about this type of self-care as something that can help you feel a sense of purpose or meaning. Do something you value. Indulge in a passion of yours. Or go on a journey to rediscover yourself.

Childhood abuse can make us lose our sense of self. We struggle with knowing who we are or we somehow believe that who we are is the version of us our parents crafted.

Spiritual self-care can include trying to find the real you behind all the years of abuse you endured. Learn more about how to find yourself after abuse. Being able to discover more about who you are can be healing and freeing.

Social Self-Care

Self Care Tips | Hopeful Panda

Social self-care includes creating positive connections and strengthening existing ones.

As many studies have claimed, social support provides many health benefits. It enhances your quality of life and provides a buffer against hardships and inevitable challenges that occurs.

This is something I know all too well. During a period in my life when I had no social support at all, my health – mentally and physically – was at its worst. The harmfulness of being lonely is often compared to excessive smoking.

Not everyone has meaningful relationships in their lives. If you don’t, maybe try to form some. Also, these relationships don’t have to be romantic. Having connections with friends, families, or even people online can help.

Join a club. Meet new people. Volunteer at a cause you care about. Or like me, you can also create connections online. Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean it can’t be meaningful.

And if you do have existing relationships, recognize that it might be easy to neglect them, especially when life gets busy. But relationships play such a huge role in our lives. Meeting my now-husband is literally what saved my life back then. And my family is what keeps me going now.

Reach out to friends and family. Spend time with your loved ones. Reassess your relationships from time to time to ensure that nothing’s falling between the cracks. We don’t know how long we have left with our loved ones. So we should appreciate and cherish them while we can.

When you’ve had abusive parents, you may be used to isolating yourself or relying only on yourself. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s okay to have people you can depend on who can also depend on you. That’s the beauty of having meaningful relationships in your life. It can make a world of difference.


It’s important to remember that self-care is not supposed to be a chore. For instance, physical self-care doesn’t have to be some intense exercise routine. Just taking a walk each day can make a difference.

Self-care isn’t something you should dread or feel like another added responsibility or stressor. It is supposed to be a way to take care of YOU. So do it YOUR way. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all way to practice self-care.

Try to assess which areas of your life need more attention and care at the moment. Our life situations and positions often shift, so reassess your life often to see if your self-care plan needs to change, too. Once you notice that you may be neglecting a specific part of your life, make a change.

Also, remember, you don’t have to do everything at once. I’m still struggling with balancing everything myself. So it’s totally fine to take it one step at a time. Add one type of self-care first. See how it goes. Once you get the hang of it, add another.

However, it’s also okay to try to include each type of self-care in your life in a way that works for you. In the end, do what you believe is best. Besides, you can always make changes at any point. Once again, self-care is supposed to be for YOU.

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Hi there, I’m Estee. Having grown up with an abusive mother, I know how isolating, frustrating, and hopeless everything could feel – back then as a child and even now as an adult.

I am always trying to better understand and manage the effects of the abuse I experienced. And this journey I’m on inspired me to create Hopeful Panda. Learn more here.

A lot of time and effort is put into this blog. If you enjoy my content or find it helpful, please consider making a donation or becoming a member. Your support helps me continue providing free content for all. Thank you!

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