What exactly is emotional care and how do you ensure that your emotional needs are met? There are at least four types of self care: physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. Physical self care focuses on meeting your fundamental needs, such as your health. Mental self care focuses on meeting your psychological needs, seeking treatment for anxiety, depression or stress or even learning how to adjust your mindset. Spiritual self care focuses on making sure that your spiritual needs are met, through meditation, prayer or healing. Emotional self care focuses on your emotive needs – especially the way you process your emotions.
While all of these types are essential for your well-being, your emotional state can often have a major impact on your quality of life. When your emotional needs are not being met in some way, everything becomes more difficult. You may struggle with relationships, you may battle with attachment, you may find it difficult to process your feelings and you may begin to put yourself at greater risk of burnout, overwhelm and depression.
In order to ensure that you meet these needs, the first step is understanding emotional self care and its role in your overall state of being. In this guide, we take a deeper look at what it really means to meet your emotional needs.
Understanding Emotional Self Care
Before we delve a little deeper into emotional self care, here’s what it is NOT. It is not about giving in to every single emotion you have. It is not about suppressing emotions, either. It is not pretending that emotions are not important or trying to ‘fake it until you feel it’.
So, what is emotional self care, then?
It is being honest with yourself.
That means confronting your feelings and learning how to accept them in a healthy way. This could take the form of journaling or it could involve seeing a therapist who helps you learn to identify and process your emotions. We all have emotions – every single one of us. There is nothing weird with being scared, angry, sad or defensive. Being honest about emotions (even the difficult ones) is the first step in accepting who you are on every level.
It is holding space for your emotions.
Once you begin to be honest with yourself, you will gradually learn how to hold space for your emotions. Although you should not ever become your emotions, you should be able to hold space for your emotions. You need to give yourself permission to feel your feelings, even if they are painful and difficult. A massive part of self love is accepting who you are and validating your feelings. This is where a therapist or coach can be very useful in helping you learn how to feel what you are feeling in a way that is safe and healthy.
It is dealing with feelings.
Now that you are starting to open up, you will be able to move to the most freeing step of all – dealing with your feelings. Do you know why you feel so frustrated or angry? Do you know why certain emotions are triggered by certain actions or situations? How do you deal with these emotions normally? You could look at working out your feelings through art, movement, breathing, meditation, prayer or talking. You could look at specific therapy models that give you the skills you need to deal with those emotions.
It is not bottling things up.
A crucial step in all of these stages is being open – to yourself and anyone you speak to about how you feel. Bottling things up is the very opposite of healthy emotion processing. All that will do is make it harder to deal with things as time goes by. Take it from someone who bottled things up for many, many years, things always seem FAR harder to face than they are in reality. When you eventually have the courage to move forward, you will find that those emotions you were so scared to deal with are actually not as hectic as you feared.
It is learning how to move forward.
Finally, the most important aspect of emotional self care is learning how to move forward. Grief, depression, long-term anger and other difficult emotional states can make you feel stuck in a huge way. That is because you really are stuck… stuck in your own head and heart. Once you begin to process things, you can move forward. You will then find it far easier to manage your emotional needs going forward.
How do you ensure that your emotional needs are met? Share your emotional self care strategies below!