So often, taking care of ourselves falls to the bottom of our priority list. We get caught up in our daily responsibilities and neglect self-care.  However, this is not a sensible thing to do as it can actually lead to a decrease in the quality of your life.  To find out how to live a balanced and healthy life, let’s explore the 7 pillars of self-care.

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it is easy to lose sight of the most important person in your world: YOU!

From work deadlines to family responsibilities, there are so many demands on your time and energy.  Unfortunately, this often leaves you with little to spare for self-care.

But here’s the truth: you can’t be your best self, or give your all to others, if you neglect your own well-being.

We’ve all heard the cliché about the oxygen mask, but it really is time to put yourself first in the most compassionate way possible.  The importance of self-care should not be overlooked!

So, let’s take a look at the seven pillars of self-care and understand how embracing these practices can lead to a healthier, happier, and more fulfilled version of you.

The Seven Pillars of Self-Care

According to the National Health Service in the UK, there are 7 pillars of self-care:

1 Mental

2 Emotional

3 Physical

4 Environmental

5 Spiritual

6 Recreational

7 Social


Let’s have a look at each of the self-care pillars in turn and learn new ways to use them to support your overall well-being.

1 Mental Self-Care

The first of the 7 pillars of self-care is mental self-care.  This refers to the practices you undertake to look after your mental health and cognitive well-being. It involves taking steps to maintain a positive mindset and to manage your stress levels.

Here are some suggestions of ways that you can support your mental self-care:

Mindfulness and Meditation

Practice mindfulness and meditation to help you stay more present in the moment.  By doing this, it will help to promote self-awareness and mental clarity.

Stress Management

Learn techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or time management to help you manage and reduce stressors in your life.  There are so many videos on YouTube that can help you with this.

Brain Exercises

Engage in activities that challenge your mind.  This could be activities such as reading, doing puzzles, learning new skills, or even pursuing your educational interests.  All of these activities can stimulate cognitive growth and maintain your mental acuity.

Positive Thinking

Cultivate a positive mindset and refrain from negative self-talk. This is important but often difficult to do!  You can do this by practicing optimism, reframing any negative thoughts, and using positive affirmations to improve your mental outlook.


Taking time for self-reflection and introspection can help you to gain a deeper understanding of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.  This leads to personal growth and improved mental well-being.

Setting Realistic Goals

Set achievable goals and break them down into manageable steps so that you can maintain a sense of purpose, motivation, and achievement.

Healthy Boundaries

Set and then maintain healthy boundaries in your personal and professional life to manage stress and protect your mental well-being.

Resilience Building

Learn some resilience-building techniques to help you bounce back from any challenges or setbacks that come your way.  This will also improve your ability to cope with stress and adversity.

Professional Support

Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a mental health professional, such as a therapist or psychiatrist, if you need to.  Health professionals can provide guidance and support for managing more complex mental health issues if you need help.

As you can see, there are many ways that you can look after your mental well-being.  So, choose and practice the healthy coping strategies that you need to work on to foster a healthy mindset.

Lady with her hair in a towel practicing physical self-care

2 Emotional Self-Care

Taking care of your emotional well-being involves understanding and managing your emotions to maintain a healthy and balanced state of mind. Doing so can help you better cope with stress, build resilience, and improve your mental health.

Your emotional health is not just about acknowledging your feelings though, it is about understanding and managing your ‘inner world’ in it’s entirety.  This includes working on your self-compassion, becoming more self-aware, and regulating your emotions.

As a result, engaging in activities that help you to process and express your feelings will be beneficial.  For example, you could try journaling, meditation, or talking to a trusted friend or therapist.  All of these activities provide a means to process, understand, and then release the emotions that you are holding inside.  You will feel much lighter afterwards as the weight from the unresolved feelings is lifted from your shoulders.

3 Physical Self-Care

The third of the 7 pillars of self-care is physical self-care.  This refers to the activities and habits that contribute to the optimal functioning of your body and the prevention of physical health issues.

Taking care of your body includes:

Regular Exercise

Engage in a physical activity that promotes your cardiovascular health, muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance. Good examples are activities like jogging, swimming, yoga, weightlifting, or simply going for a walk.  Exercise also leads to the release of endorphins, which help to reduce your stress levels.

Healthy Eating

Eat a balanced diet that provides you with all of the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that you need for maintaining good health. This will help to prevent chronic health conditions like heart disease and obesity, too.

Adequate Sleep

Ensure you get enough restorative sleep.  This is typically 7-9 hours a night for adults and is essential to support your physical and mental recovery, cognitive functioning, and emotional well-being.


Stay properly hydrated by drinking enough water each day to support your bodily functions, including digestion and temperature regulation.

Regular Medical Check-ups

Schedule routine medical examinations and screenings to detect and address any health issues early.  This could include high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, or chronic diseases.  We are lucky to have access to good health care so make the most of it.

Stress Management

Choose techniques and practices like meditation, deep breathing, or mindfulness to reduce stress.  This is important as chronic stress can have such adverse effects on your physical health.


Practice good hygiene to prevent illness and maintain your overall health. I know it is obvious but bathing frequently, brushing your teeth, and taking care of personal grooming are essential.

Healthy Habits

Adopting healthy habits like avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and using sunscreen will all help to reduce health risks.

Injury Prevention

Take steps to prevent injuries, such as wearing protective gear during physical activities, practicing proper lifting techniques, and avoiding risky behaviours.

Pain Management

Managing and addressing physical discomfort or pain through techniques like physical therapy, stretching, or pain-relief strategies will be of benefit.

In essence, this pillar is all about living a healthy lifestyle to support your physical well-being.

4 Environmental Self-Care

The environment in which you live and work can significantly impact your well-being. Therefore, it is important to create a physical space that supports your needs and brings you joy.

It may sound silly but each element in your home, from the arrangement of your furniture to the colour you paint your walls, has the potential to shape the narrative of your daily life. So, it is important to understand the impact of the environment on your overall well-being.

You know what’s coming next…time to declutter!!!  So, start by decluttering your surroundings. The very act of getting rid of your excess things will make you feel liberated, allowing you to live a simpler life.

Then add elements that inspire and relax you.  Each piece of decor, that you choose with intention, becomes a portal to your inner world.  This is because the colours, the textures and the art that you have chosen will tell a story of your aspirations, your dreams, and your values.  All of these elements add up to ensure that your living and working spaces promote a sense of calm and order.

It is also important to consider your outdoor environment, too.  Seek out places to visit that help you to connect with nature as it is in these moments spent outdoors, among the rustling leaves and the sound of bird song,  that your soul finds some respite. Spending time in nature will ground you and bring inner calm as you are transported away from your chaotic life.

As you can see, environmental self-care is more than just a physical space, you are creating a sanctuary for your soul where you can take refuge from life’s storms.  So, be sure to take care of the spaces around you and be conscious of environmental factors.

5 Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual self-care is a dimension of self-care that focusses on nurturing your inner-self and finding meaning, purpose, and connection in life.

It is a deeply personal and introspective aspect of self-care and is relevant regardless of whether you follow a specific religion, although this can play a part.

Here are some ways that you can look after your spiritual self:

Religious Practices

Engage in religious or spiritual rituals, ceremonies, or activities that are meaningful to you. This may include attending religious services, saying prayers, or reading holy books.

Contemplation and Reflection

Spend time contemplating your values, beliefs, and the larger questions of life. Journaling or keeping a gratitude journal can be a helpful part of this practice to organise your thoughts.

Nature Connection

Find spirituality in nature by nurturing your connection with the natural world. Spending time outdoors, gardening, or simply appreciating the beauty of the natural world can all be spiritually enriching.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Practice mindfulness and meditation to achieve a sense of presence and inner peace, as well as to deepen your spiritual connection.

Acts of Kindness and Service

Engage in acts of kindness or service to others as a way to connect with a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in life.

Yoga and Breath-work

Participate in practices that integrate the mind, body, and spirit, such as yoga or breath-work.

Silence and Solitude

Embrace moments of peace and quiet to connect with your inner self and experience a sense of spiritual peace.

Gratitude and Forgiveness

Practice gratitude for the positive aspects of your life and embrace forgiveness as a means of spiritual healing and growth.

This pillar of self-care is particularly personal.  It is about finding what resonates with you and feeds your spirit, providing a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and connection to the larger universe. It doesn’t necessarily have to be tied to a specific religious tradition; it’s about finding what brings you a sense of inner peace, meaning, and spiritual growth.

Lady packing suitcase to travel for recreational self-care

6 Recreational Self-Care

Recreational self-care is all about engaging in enjoyable leisure activities to relax, find adventure, and achieve personal fulfillment.

These activities will often revolve around your hobbies and interests. For example, you can enjoy things like crafting, gardening, or baking to bring you happiness and satisfaction.

Another way to fulfill your recreational self-care is to explore new places, cultures, and experiences through travel and adventure.  This lets you break free from your everyday routines and adds a touch of excitement to your life!

Engaging in these kinds of fun activities and seeking out new experiences can be a brilliant way to boost your life satisfaction and release some positive emotions. The ability to find joy in these simple things greatly contributes to your mental well-being.

So, explore your interests, embrace new adventures, and take the time to experience the happiness and satisfaction that recreational self-care brings to your life.

7 Social Self-Care

The final pillar of self-care is Social self-care.  This concentrates on creating and maintaining healthy social connections and relationships. It is essential as it fosters connection, a sense of belonging, and a support system in your life.

Here are some ways for you to practice social self-care:

Spend Quality Time with your Loved Ones

Spend time with friends, family, and loved ones to strengthen relationships, share experiences, and provide and receive emotional support.

Work on your Communication Skills

Open and honest communication is an important part of maintaining relationships, as is actively listening to others.

Set Boundaries

Establish healthy boundaries in your relationships to protect your well-being and maintain healthy connections.

Build a Support System

Create a support network of family and friends who can provide help in times of need.

Take Part in Social Activities

Participate in social activities and events that bring you joy and allow you to connect with others.  This could be through parties, gatherings, or group hobbies.

As inherently social beings, we yearn for companionship and understanding, so make it a priority to nurture healthy relationships with others.   

Final thoughts on the 7 pillars of self-care

As you can see, there are so many different aspects of self-care and by incorporating these healthy behaviours into your daily life, you can significantly enhance your overall well-being.

Remember that self-care is not selfish but essential for maintaining good physical and mental health. So, by prioritising the seven pillars of self-care, you can create a balanced and fulfilling life that allows you to thrive, even when life is so busy!

Start by taking small steps, and over time, these practices will become integrated into your daily self-care routine, helping you to win at life!

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