It is now widely accepted that self care is crucial for our wellbeing. But what many people don't know is that we have several different domains that each need taking care of for us to be our best selves.
One of these is our emotional self - in order to ensure that our emotional self is happy and healthy we need to regularly practice emotional self care.
What is emotional self care?
Definition of emotional self care: The provision of what is necessary for identifying and nurturing your feelings, your conscious inner state, and your intellect. (Desert Alchemy)
In other words, emotional self care is a process in which we bring our awareness to our emotions and take the steps necessary in order to honor and care for these emotions. This is essential for our wellbeing.
Unfortunately, this is something that doesn’t come naturally to a lot of us.
Instead, many of us completely ignore and try to push back our emotions to the back of our minds in the hope that they’ll disappear. Of course this only makes them stronger and can lead to feelings of burnout.
Having an awareness of how to take more care of ourselves emotionally can serve us well when things get difficult. But as you might imagine, emotional self care will look different for each and every one of us.
Thankfully, there are steps that we can all take in order to take care of our emotions better!
Ways to practice emotional self care
1. Allow yourself to feel
Arguably the most important step to emotional self care is allowing yourself to feel and experience the emotions that come to you.
Many of our problems arise when we try to fight off said emotions and don’t address them. By allowing the experience of our emotions we can then begin to take further steps to heal them and then let them go.
2. Get to know your emotional triggers
Once you allow yourself to sit with your emotions, you will become much more familiar with them and you will start to observe patterns.
What causes you to feel sad? Is there a particular person that you experience anger around?
Ask yourself what causes your emotions and you will know how to reduce negative ones in the future.
Related: Journal Prompts for Self Discovery
3. Put your own needs first
Many of us really struggle with putting ourselves first. When we have other people who are dependent on us we can see our own needs as a last resort and neglect to take care of ourselves.
Switching your focus to yourself is the best thing you can do, not only for yourself but for others (these self care quotes may inspire you to do just that!).
4. Set and enforce your own boundaries
Boundaries are essential when it comes to emotional self care. If you have a problem putting yourself first, then maybe you also struggle with enforcing boundaries that are necessary for your wellbeing.
Try getting comfortable with saying no more often - some people may not like it but that’s okay!
If something is harmful to you emotionally, you are entitled to say no to it.
5. Protect your energy from others
Surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you feel good. Obviously this cannot be achieved all the time, but if anybody makes you feel drained or negative too often then distance yourself from them or let them go entirely.
It is much harder to protect your own emotions when you surround yourself with negativity.
6. Practice meditation
Meditating regularly can help to increase resilience in difficult situations and make you react from your emotions less often.
Try to meditate daily for the best results. If you’re new to meditation, you can get started with my free beginners guide to meditation.
7. Start a journal
Journaling is an amazing way to release your emotions and gain some clarity. If you feel like you get too caught up in emotions and can’t let them go, try making a regular habit of writing them down in your journal. You’d be surprised how beneficial journaling can be!
8. Practice self-compassion
One of the most important things you can do to care for yourself is to practice self-compassion.
Become aware of the dialogue you have with yourself within your own head. Are you too hard on yourself?
If you find yourself constantly criticizing yourself and using negative language, you need to switch it up and start treating yourself with the love and respect that you want from others. A great way to start is by using self love affirmations!
9. Ask for help when necessary
Sometimes we just need to accept that we can’t do everything alone and ask for help when we need it.
Maybe the reason you’re feeling overwhelmed with emotion is because you’re trying to take on the world on your own. There is no shame or weakness involved in seeking support where necessary!
10. Schedule time to rest
Scheduling specific time to rest each day can help to ensure that you have adequate down time and don’t work yourself into the ground.
Feelings of overwhelm can arise quickly when we don’t allow ourselves to rest and recharge.
Learning to switch off can be hard but the more you do it the easier it becomes! Practicing meditation can also help to learn how to allow the mind to relax.
11. Do something you love each day
Not only is rest important, but so is doing something fulfilling each day. If you feel yourself caught up in the mundane and watching life pass you by… do something!
You’d be surprised how much better you feel when you add a little more positivity into your life each day!
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12. Practice gratitude
Gratitude is such a simple but powerful tool, which can change your life forever.
Incorporate more gratitude in your life to switch your focus to the positive and take control of your own emotions. Get started by creating a gratitude journal with these gratitude prompts for extra assistance!
13. Learn to accept compliments
It may sound silly, but every time you dismiss or deny a compliment you are knocking your own confidence and selling yourself short.
The next time somebody compliments you, try responding with a simple “thank you” and acknowledge how the compliment makes you feel.
You don’t have to necessarily agree (at least not at first) but learning to accept compliments can positively affect the relationship you have with yourself!
14. Stop APOLOGIZING for everything
Similarly, when you apologize for doing nothing other than being you, you’re putting out the idea that who you are isn’t acceptable.
Of course, apologize where it is necessary - but stop apologizing when you may feel shame, embarrassment or like a burden. You are worthy and accepted just as you are.
15. Learn from your mistakes
One of the biggest ways we can change the relationship we have with ourselves and care for ourselves emotionally is to see our mistakes as a learning opportunity, rather than a failure.
Mistakes are an inevitable part of life and they help us grow and become better. Each time you make a mistake, acknowledge where you went wrong and work to improve it in the future.
Make sure to forgive yourself too!
16. Create a playlist of calming music
Creating a calming playlist is a great way to soothe our emotions when we need some TLC.
If you feel like you need to take some time to relax then dedicate some time to just sitting and taking in the soothing sounds of the music you love.
You can even honor your emotions further by creating a playlist for each mood. If heavy metal helps you let off some steam when you’re angry then honor that!
Related: The Best Songs for Meditation
Books on emotional self care
If you want to learn even more about how to practice emotional self care, check out some of these awesome books!
I hope that this has provided you with some ideas on how you can take care of your emotional self.
How do you practice emotional self care? Let me know in the comments!
And don't forget to share this post!
Esther is the founder of Through the Phases. Her mission is to guide others to grow to their full potential and create their dream life using spiritual and personal growth practices. Read more about her story here!