Self-care is an essential part of maintaining your overall health.
We live in a busy, demanding world that requires a great deal of resilience to keep us from burning out.
Living intentionally within that hustle and bustle means we must take care of the various parts of ourselves that can negatively affect our overall well-being.
Emotional self-care is one part of maintaining and growing to be a healthier person.
Emotional self-care covers one specific section of that larger picture. It covers the way we feel about ourselves, the way we feel about the world, and how we handle stress.
Emotional self-care also includes how we interact with other people, what kind of energy we allow into our space, and the boundaries that we set with ourselves and others.
The purpose of emotional self-care is to ensure that we don’t drain our emotional reserves while trying to keep up with everything that life throws at us.
That can be an extreme balancing act if you are the type of person who spends a lot of their emotional energy in life.
Parents, caregivers, social workers, entrepreneurs all give out an exceptional amount of emotional energy.
Emotional self-care is best practiced regularly because it will keep your reserves from dipping too low.
Consider a pitcher of water. If you pour out a single glass of water, it’s much easier to top the pitcher back up with just a little bit of water.
However, if you empty the pitcher pouring into multiple glasses of water, then you need much more time and water to refill the pitcher.
These emotional self-care strategies can help you keep your pitcher topped up for the next pour.
1. Learn to say “no.”
The word “no” is a crucial tool for protecting your emotional energy and well-being.
People will just take and take and take without any real consideration or understanding of how it affects you.
And they may not even be doing it because they are a negative person or mean you harm.
They may just be lost in their own problems and unaware of how much they are really taking.
Your ability to say no will keep you from overextending yourself.
Related article: How To Say No To People (And Not Feel Bad About It)
2. Learn to set and enforce boundaries.
Boundaries help cultivate and maintain healthy relationships.
The truth of the matter is, a person who cares for your well-being isn’t going to want to do you harm. They don’t want to take too much from you.
The problem is that they also can’t read your mind or know when they are taking too much unless you can state and enforce a boundary.
People will push against boundaries to see where the line is, but that isn’t necessarily unhealthy.
They may push because they just haven’t figured out what is and is not acceptable yet.
Boundaries protect your emotional well-being. Make them clear and stick to them.
3. Accept yourself for who you are.
There is great power in accepting yourself for who you are, both good and bad.
And let’s face it, we all have some aspects of ourselves that are both good and bad.
You may do great things for other people, but have a short temper and little patience for mistakes.
Or maybe you mean well and try to do the right thing for others, but you’re kind of lazy and don’t really want to do anything as much as possible.
The key to fixing those problems and not tearing yourself down about them is to accept all aspects of yourself.
If you don’t accept your bad with your good, then you’re creating emotional turmoil within yourself by not living honestly with yourself.
On the other hand, some people need to learn to accept their good with their bad.
They have no problems tearing themselves down for all of the negative things they perceive themselves to be, but may have a hard time accepting that they can be good things too.
4. Learn to accept compliments.
Do you feel awkward when you receive a compliment?
Do you think the praise is unfair or unnecessary?
Do you feel the need to counter-compliment a person to dispel that awkwardness?
You don’t need to do any of those things.
Accepting a compliment is accepting that someone else thinks positively about a thing that you have done.
All you really have to do is smile and say, “Thank you.”
And guess what? The more you do that, the less awkward and uncomfortable it will feel.
The feelings of the person who gives the compliment are valid. Don’t disturb your emotional balance by working to convince yourself that they’re not.
5. Do not apologize unless you mean it.
Apologizing for non-issues undermines your sense of self and erodes the trust of other people in your word.
If you apologize for every small issue or things that you’re not actually sorry about, the people around you will not trust your word when it’s serious.
To apologize for things that are not yours to apologize for is to accept a burden of responsibility that may not be yours.
That is valuable emotional energy wasted and more stress for you to deal with.
Related article: Don’t Apologize! Stop Saying Sorry So Much + What To Say Instead
6. Be willing to ask for help when you need it.
Do you feel frustrated? Overwhelmed? Can’t figure a thing out?
Allow yourself the grace to be wrong or ask for help from someone who can help you.
There is no shame in seeking out assistance if you are confused or cannot find a solution to your problem.
You can’t possibly know everything. Life would be so utterly dull if we all knew everything!
There are so many other people out there with a wide variety of perspectives, experiences, and knowledge that can help you accomplish your goals.
Look for them! It will make your journey easier.
And you will very likely be able to teach them some valuable lessons yourself!
Related article: How To Ask For Help Without Feeling Awkward Or Burdensome
7. Avoid judging yourself for your emotions.
Easier said than done!
How can you not judge yourself for the emotions that you have?
How can you not feel guilty, sad, or bad about a particular emotion?
A simple (but not easy!) approach is to feel the emotion and then let it go.
The longer you dwell on the emotion, the more opportunity you have to assign other emotions to it that do not necessarily belong there.
Take the time to feel the emotion, really consider it, what it means to you, and why you’re experiencing it.
And once you’ve figured that out, force the emotion out and away by engaging in other activities or thinking about other things.
Don’t let yourself dwell.
8. Accept that you are a flawed human being.
Life is difficult. Our best-laid plans can be dashed to bits by unforeseen circumstances or because we made a mistake.
That is just part of living!
It’s okay that some of your plans didn’t work out. It’s okay that things don’t go entirely as you envisioned. And it is also okay that you failed, even though you tried your hardest to succeed
Or maybe you didn’t try your hardest, and it still failed. That happens too.
Accept it and strive to do better next time.
The plan didn’t work out? Make a new plan, try again.
Every failure is an opportunity to learn new things. The more you learn, the better you can hone and tweak your strategy until things go the way you want them to.
By accepting these flaws and knowing that you are not perfect, you will conserve and protect your valuable emotional energy.
People regularly stress themselves out because of their weaknesses, and it’s really not necessary.
It’s not going to change the outcome at all, so let it go. Strive to accept things how they are while working to accomplish your goals.
You may also like:
- 8 Signs You Are Emotionally Drained (+ 6 Steps To Recovery)
- How To Validate Yourself: 6 Tips For Self-Validation
- 20 Healthy Coping Skills: Strategies To Help With Negative Emotions
- How To Compartmentalize Your Emotions And Thoughts
- 14 Reasons Why Being Selfish Is (Sometimes) A Good, Not Bad Thing
- 7 Reasons Why Finding Hope For The Future Is So Important