Assessing Your Self Care : Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

Assessing your self care needs can seem like a daunting task, especially when the media and society can make self care seem expensive or out of reach. When people think of self care they may conjure up images of face masks, bubble baths or vacations. While these are all fantastic forms of self care they are not the only ones and sometimes may seem unmanageable if you are struggling with things like depression or anxiety or even just a busy schedule. In this article, we will be talking about how to assess your self care needs and some different forms of self-care depending on what your needs are!

But what is self care? According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

At the end of the day, self care is anything that you do in order to take care of yourself. Self care is subjective so there isn’t any formula that states what self care can be or cannot be. It absolutely could consist of the things mentioned above like baths, vacations and pampering yourself, but these things may not be available to everyone or maybe they don’t fit in with the reality of our busy days. And let’s be honest, your busiest days are typically the one where you could benefit the most from self care because it helps pull your mind back to the present and out of whatever is going on around you. Self care helps recharge your batteries and fill your cup in those moments so that you feel ready to take on the next day or set of activities, and can even be things like habits or boundaries!

Before we start assessing what your self care needs are, let’s look at the different types of self care out there (and the benefits!). Being aware of the different types and uses of self care can help set more realistic expectations than things that require lots of time, money or energy. Basic self care needs can be split into five categories: physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual.

Physical Self Care: According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

Physical self care means taking care of your physical health or wellbeing. Paying attention to our physical self care can help with routine and motivation by encouraging small daily habits that can be worked in throughout the day. These can be things like drinking a full gallon of water each day because keeping your body hydrated is physically caring for yourself! The same goes for items like eating, showering, changing clothes and moving our bodies!

Emotional Self Care: According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

Emotional self care means taking care of yourself emotionally! This includes activities that help you connect with yourself or process and reflect on emotions. Giving yourself time to process and reflect on emotions and events can largely decrease feelings of stress or overwhelm. Maybe unwinding at the end of the day and writing about everything that happened helps prepare you for the next day or listening to music helps you release emotions you have been holding in.

Social Self Care: According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

Social self care includes activities that nurture and strengthen relationships with those around you or increases feelings of belonging. Making time to see friends or family can increase feelings of gratitude and joy. If you are looking to make new friends, try finding somewhere that offers an activity you like to meet like minded people like a coffee shop, bookstore or even yoga studio! Getting out of the house, even if by yourself, has been shown to have a positive impact on mood!

Spiritual Self Care: According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

Spiritual self care can be religion, but it does not have to be if that isn’t your thing! Spiritual self care means nurturing your spirit and values in any religious or non-religious way. This is all about doing things that make you feel good and strengthen your belief in yourself. Call on your ethics and values to find things that speak to a part within you–do you value silence, helping others, challenging your body or mind? Channel that energy!

Intellectual Self Care: According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

Intellectual self care is any activity that stimulates your mind or helps to create work-life balance. Maybe this means spending more time on homework or work on Monday in order to give yourself a break on Tuesday if you know it will be a rough day. Alternatively, intellectual self care can be bringing stimulation to your brain through researching a topic of passion or learning something new to tell your friends!

Practical Self Care: According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

Practical self care means taking care of core aspects of your life in order to prevent future stress. This can include home activities or chores that may not typically be viewed as self-care, like vacuuming, dusting or cleaning the bathroom. These are all activities that help declutter or organize your life which has been shown to lead to higher levels of satisfaction. Even if it is one dish at a time, it is one less dish to do later and your future self will thank you!

Below is a “self care check-list” that is broken down into the different categories discussed above, with various examples of types of self care that could fall into each category. There are also some blank spaces for you to add your own if you do things not on the list, since self care can look different for everyone!

Go through each list and check off things that you already do and star things that sound like they could be beneficial to you.

Physical Self Care: According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

  • Take a 15 minute walk

  • Eat something nutritious

  • Drink a full glass of water

  • Take care of personal hygiene

  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep

  • Rest when you’re sick

Emotional Self Care: According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

  • Talk with a trusted individual

  • Write in a journal

  • Participate in hobbies

  • Reduce distractions

  • Find a reason to laugh

  • Engage in a comfort activity like art or music

Social Self Care: According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

  • Spend time with friends and family

  • Call an old friend to catch up

  • Participate in an activity that you enjoy with others

  • Meet new people

  • Do something kind for a stranger

  • Ask for help

Spiritual Self Care: According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

  • Meditate/Do yoga

  • Volunteer for a cause you believe in

  • Spend time in nature

  • Go to a place of worship/pray

  • Listen to music

  • Set aside time for reflection

Intellectual Self Care: According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

  • Read a book

  • Solving a puzzle

  • Go to a museum

  • Learn something new

  • Listen to a podcast

  • Stick to a schedule

Practical Self Care: According to the Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA, Santa Fe NM

  • Saying “no” sometimes

  • Make a budget

  • Organize a closet

  • Doing the dishes

  • Take out the trash

  • Create a plan


When you are done making your selections, reflect for a moment and gauge your current checkmarks. Are there a lot, or only a few checked off? If only a few, this may be a sign that additional self-care in this area may help increase happiness and reduce stress. Try adding a few of the ones you starred into daily practice and see how they impact you!


If this tip about assessing your self care needs was useful or you would like more specific information about self-care and how you may be able to decrease stress and increase happiness, you can self schedule with one of our skilled self care therapists or call (215) 922-5683 x 100 to book a virtual or in appointment at one of our physical locations in Society Hill Office - Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Art Museum Office Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Ocean City Office New Jersey, Mechanicsville Office Virginia or Virtual Therapy in Florida and Georgia.