Helpful Tips for Mental and Emotional Self-Care

Let’s be clear – self-care is not “selfish”.  Self-care is wise and necessary.  After all, we can’t “pour from an empty cup” or “drink from an empty well”.  As the old adage goes:  You need to feed yourself first before you can feed your baby.  The best contribution you can give to the people around you and to the world is a healthy and happy you.  So taking care of yourself is actually one of the most selfless things you can do.

We’re familiar with physical self-care – taking care of our bodies by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.  But what do we do every single day that intentionally contributes towards our emotional or mental good health?  For most of us, when we’re asked that question, nothing springs immediately to mind.  And that’s a troublesome thing. Now, more than ever, our stress levels are at an all-time high, and mental health issues are skyrocketing.  Our need to self-care in terms of our mental and emotional health is now paramount.  We really need to make it just as much a priority in our lives as our physical care.

So how do we do that?

Here are some ways that we can take care of ourselves both mentally and emotionally:

Practicing being aware of and observing our emotions without judgment.

Becoming emotionally literate (being able to identify, accept and use our emotions), increasing our emotional intelligence (the partnership between our intellect and our feeling heart).

Practicing being aware of our thoughts without judgment.

Managing our emotions and thoughts.

Letting go of the stories that we tell ourselves – these stories disconnect us from our reality.

Stopping over-identification with our labels. We are not our labels.

Practicing acceptance (acceptance does not mean agreement!).

Avoiding using unrealistic positivity or unfounded negativity as coping mechanisms or avoidance techniques.

Avoiding cognitive “traps” like catastrophizing, rationalizing, black-and-white thinking.

Recognizing and changing our inner dialogue or negative self-talk.

Facing our fears.

Setting mental and emotional goals and working towards them, the same as we do with our physical bodies.

Building our critical thinking skills and logic.

Maintaining a balance between challenging ourselves and taking time out.

And here are some helpful practices that can support us in pursuing wise self-care:

Mindfulness – the practice of observing our inner world (and also outer) without judgment & without the need to change what we are witnessing. We can also do any activity mindfully.

Breathwork – slow and deep diaphragmatic breaths that oxygenate our brains and improve mood.

Spending time in nature – nature is our mental & emotional “reset” button.  Walk barefoot & hug a tree.

Bringing ourselves into the present moment – focus less on the future, less on the past & more on the present.

Spending some time “being” versus “doing” – we need a good balance of both.  Balance is key.

Body-awareness practices like yoga, qi gong, tai chi – best done while paying attention to your body and thoughts / mindfully.

Self-hypnosis – taking advantage of our natural hypnotic states to reset our emotional and mental patterns.

Cognitive-Behavioural techniques like reframing.

Social interaction and participation in community / tribe – we are pack creatures in need of positive social interaction in order to be healthy.

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Heidi Light
Heidi Light

Heidi Light is an Author, Blogger, Counsellor, Speaker, Leader of a social movement called The REAL Revolution, and Creator of Wisdom House - a blog, resource centre and community portal. Her websites are:,,

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