It is undeniable that self-care is essential in our life for a general sense of well-being and happiness. While this is all very true, not many people may know that there is more than one domain. For example, there is your emotional self-care, which means identifying your emotional needs, paying attention to them, and nurturing those feelings constantly. This is a critical practice that helps us feel satisfied and happy emotionally in the long run. Unfortunately, many people tend to ignore their feelings and push them into the corner of their heads, hoping that they will all disappear one day. Most of the time, this is not the case, and those feelings bottle up, creating a sense of discomfort, until one day they come to the surface and explode.
Being aware of how to better care for your emotional needs is a really powerful tool, especially when things get challenging.
Most likely, this practice will take a different form for each and every one of us, but there are a few simple and general steps that may help you in your journey:
Allow yourself to feel
This may probably be the most important thing when practicing emotional self-care. As we previously said, most people don't allow themselves to feel the emotions that come to them. This may be because of fear. We don't like it when we are feeling uncomfortable and tend to do everything in our power to change that, even if it means that we need to bottle up those feelings and never experience them.
However, by allowing us to feel and accept them, we are already taking a healthy step forward for our emotional well-being. So, even if it feels uncomfortable for a while, try to sit with your emotions, process them, and understand them. You will heal, and it will be much better for you in the long run.
Consciously choose how to respond
While we cannot control what we feel, we can control how we respond to our feelings. At the moment, usually, everything appears way more significant than it is. In reality, after the trigger moment passes and you can take a step back and reflect on what happened, you realize that it usually is not so terrible as it seems in the moment.
So, do yourself a favor and try to respond with kindness and patience as much as you can.
Set and enforce your boundaries
These are important topics when discussing emotional self-care. Setting boundaries for yourself and respecting them takes a lot of courage and sometimes, even time, until you can do so without feeling guilty or a bit uncomfortable.
Try to stick to it anyway, and in time, it will become easier and easier to do so. Even if some people may not like this, it is you who matter the most and whose needs you should respect, in the end.
Put your own needs first
This one should be self-explanatory, but all of us may sometimes forget or even struggle with this golden rule. When we value and love others so much, it can be very easy to fall into putting them and their own needs before ours. After a while, this will take up too much energy and will probably leave us feeling exhausted.
While it is a good thing to be compassionate and care for those around you, don't forget that the only person who can completely meet your own needs is you. That is why switching your focus on you may be the best thing to do, not only for you but also for others. Remember, when your cup is full, you can also pour it onto others.
(Research sources: throughthephases.com, wellwo.es, habitsforwellbeing.com, choosingtherapy.com)