We all know that self-care is incredibly important for care-givers, especially parents. But if you're like most of my clients, knowing that and implementing that are two totally different things.

Did a big chunk of free time and a sack of cash fall in your lap lately? Mine either.

But I want you to know that you don't need a lot of time OR money to fit self-care into your daily life - even with small children jumping on you all day.

6 Types of Self Care for Busy Parents

First off, let's redefine self-care - what it IS, and what it is NOT.

Self-care is NOT an optional luxury.
Self-care is anything you deliberately do that improves your physical, mental, or emotional well-being.

We also tend to think of self-care as solitary activities ("me time") away from home. Especially right now, that may not be an option, and then we feel trapped and resentful.

Just me? No?

For introverts or highly-sensitive people, that may be part of it. But there are 6 categories of self-care that are all important, so let's break those down now.

6 Types of Self-Care

  • Physical
  • Mental/Emotional
  • Social/Community
  • Lifestyle
  • Creative
  • Spiritual

But what do they all mean in practice? Some are more obvious than others, so let's break them down a bit. And some of them will double-dip, which is great!

What is Physical Self-Care?

Physical self-care is simply taking care of your body. This can be as simple as finally getting that weird mole checked out, making a dentist appointment, or incorporating physical movement into your life.

It can also be staying hydrated, taking your medication or vitamins, eating nutritious food, and the ever elusive "getting enough sleep." (I know, I know.)

Here are 50 ideas to get you started!

What is Mental/Emotional Self-Care?

Mental or emotional self-care improves the state of your mental and emotional health. On your own, this might include a gratitude practice, journaling, and mantras or affirmations.

With support or on your own, therapy or coaching, feeling your feelings, grieving, and setting healthy boundaries all contribute. Read more about mental and emotional self-care here.

Social self-care is connected to this as well, so let's look at that next.

What are Social Self-Care and Community Care?

Humans are social beings, and we need to connect with other people--yes, even introverts--and feel part of a greater community. Having contact and interactions with family and friends, and a romantic partner (if applicable) are fairly obvious. It can be easy to withdraw when we really need to reach out.

Other ways we can feel part of a community are activities like social or support groups (like book clubs, or Semi-Crunchy Mama® Circles), a religious community, or participating in community service or social advocacy to rally behind a shared cause. Here are some fleshed out ideas.

What is Lifestyle Self-Care?

Lifestyle is often the area I focus on most with my one-on-one clients. We focus on setting goals, then creating a schedule, structure, or routine that support them. We work on personal development and finding fulfillment as well.

Fitting in relaxation, enrichment classes or continuing education, and simply activities or hobbies that you enjoy are part of your self-care as well. Create a lifestyle more aligned with your needs with some of these ideas.

What is Creative Self-Care?

You may feel resistance to this if you don't consider yourself creative, but I would push back that many of us have literally made new human beings. Can't get much more creative than that!

If you ARE artistically inclined, this might be an obvious one if you already have a preferred outlet like painting, drawing, pottery, etc. But writing, blogging, photography, music, cooking, home decor, crafts, and gardening are just a few other examples. This is any activity that gives you an outlet to make something.

There are so many ways to be creative every day if you think about them differently.

What is Spiritual Self-Care?

This is another one where non-religious people might raise an eyebrow, and this absolutely could be your religious practice. If prayer or reading religious texts works for you, do it!

If that's not up your alley, meditation, time spent in nature, or even your choice of exercise also qualify. Whatever makes you feel more connected to a sense of greater purpose.

Here are some spiritual self-care suggestions, whether you're religious or not.

Need Some Ideas?

Here are some suggestions to get you started in each category. If you're really overwhelmed, check below the image for some next steps on how to get more support.

6 Types of Self Care for Busy Parents

And now a tiny bit of homework...

  • Which category are you doing the best at?
  • Which category needs the most attention?
  • What's the next step you can take that will have the biggest impact?

Reading about self-care is fine and dandy, but actually doing it is what counts. That's what my work is about, and that's what I want for you.

CLICK HERE to download a printer-friendly PDF of the 6 types of self-care, plus a Self-Care Survival Kit with a few more tools to support you.

Need some accountability and inspiration? Join the Semi-Crunchy Mama® Club where we have a weekly self-care check in and support each other, no scrolling past news or drama required.

Or if you're feeling overwhelmed and can't imagine how it would work in your life, schedule a free call with me. Let's find a path forward for you.