You know by now how important self-care is. Between the stress of work, the constant doom-mongering on the news every day, and the pressures of trying to do and have it all in life, it’s way too easy to become overwhelmed and burnt out. Thankfully, taking time out to relax, regroup, and reenergize makes all the difference in maintaining our equilibrium, but there still may be something we’re missing out on: soul care.
Soul-care is all about not just ensuring our physical bodies and our minds are in good shape, but also getting up close and personal with that deeper part of ourselves to make sure our spirits are in a good place. “Soul care is a term often used to describe practices and activities that nurture and nourish the inner self, the essence of who we are at our core,” licensed professional therapist Marissa Moore, LCSW tells Bolde. “It goes beyond physical and emotional well-being to focus on our spiritual and existential needs.”
It’s important to note that soul-care isn’t separate from self-care but rather an integral and often ignored part of it. However, once you start including it in your self-care routine, you won’t want to be without it.
With that in mind, here’s how to do it.
- Take time for self-reflection. Getting in touch with your deeper thoughts and feelings won’t be alien to you if you’re into self-care, but soul care is all about digging deeper. This level of introspection will connect you to your higher self. “Find a quiet space and dedicate time for self-reflection. You can journal your thoughts and feelings, meditate, or engage in mindfulness practices,” Moore suggests. “Ask yourself meaningful questions about your values, purpose, and what brings you joy and fulfillment.”
- Try meditation. Yes, your mind will wander constantly and you’ll find it hard to stay on track, but it does get easier the more you do it. By finding quiet time to clear your mind and focus on your breath, you’d be surprised at the discoveries you can make about yourself. Your heart and soul will open up in ways that other forms of self-care have yet to do.
- Connect with your spirit. If you’re someone who’s religious or curious about a higher power, going to church or seeking spiritual guidance is a good way to practice soul care. Or, maybe you simply want to read the Bible, the Qu’ran, or the Torah, depending on your beliefs. Figuring out your relationship with your God/gods is a good way to improve your relationship with yourself too.
- Check in on your needs. This is really the essence of soul-care. It’s all about asking yourself what each element needs, says certified life and wellness coach Andrea Perry. For instance, start by assessing your body and what it needs to feel and operate at its peak. “This could be things such as drinking enough water, meal prepping for healthy food each day, setting aside time to focus on exercise, or getting enough rest at night,” she suggests. You should then follow the same line of questioning when it comes to your mental and spiritual selves. When it comes to keeping your mind in tip-top shape, Perry says, “This could be about making lists, sharing the mental load with a partner, engaging in talk therapy, journaling, learning something new, etc.” Spirituality is all about what feeds the soul.
- Get out in nature. As Moore explains, there’s nothing more soul-filling than getting some fresh air and appreciating the beauty of Mother Earth. Leave your phone at home (or at least put it away for a while — you don’t need photos for your Insta feed!) and just sit and be in the natural world around you. “It allows you to disconnect from the busyness of life and connect with the natural world and yourself,” she adds.
- Spend time alone. Some of us find this easier than others, but all of us need to get good at it. It’s great to spend time with people who make you happy, but if you’re not content in your own company, there’s a problem. Soul care requires a bit of solitude from time to time, and the more you have that time, the more you’ll begin to relish it. It’s amazing the thoughts and feelings you become attuned to when there’s no other noise to cause distractions.
- Embrace the uniqueness of your own journey. When on the path of nurturing your soul, it’s so important that you adapt your practice to suit yourself and your needs. Everyone is different, which means how you go about connecting with this part of yourself and ensuring it’s in good shape will be unique to you. Explore what feels right.