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Self-care includes various areas of your life. Learning about the different self-care definitions will help you organize the areas of your life that need care and attention. Develop a self-care routine based on the areas that need attention.
In this guide, I’ll help you understand the different areas of your life that require care, ways you can attend to those areas, and how you can take care of yourself based on your attachment style and love language.
Self-care routines are not set-it-and-forget-it. You are a living, breathing being so your self-care habits will be a living breathing experience. As you grow and change, you will uncover new needs and revisit certain habits and behaviors.
This practice of checking in and revisiting your needs will help you build trust and rapport with yourself. You will learn to trust your inner voice and the adjustments to your self-care and self-love will come through fluidly.
What is Self-Care?
Imagine yourself as a beautiful, green, potted plant. To keep the plant luscious, green, and growing, you’ll need to learn what it needs and take balanced measures to provide that. The plant needs sunlight but would not do well with too much. The plant needs water, and would not do well to restrict it. Plant care requires mindfulness, balance, and discipline.
Your care also requires mindfulness, balance, and discipline. You are your own potted plant, and you are the person responsible for keeping the plant luscious, green, and growing.
Self-care is the process under which you review your needs, your balance, and how you’re showing up. A self-care routine is simply gardening.
Defining Self-Care with Your Attachment Style & Love Language
Self-care is often touted as spending time on yourself. You can find suggestions of self-care relative to a human experience but not necessarily yours or the one you’re trying to cultivate. Spending time on yourself is a foundational aspect of self-care, time spent without a roadmap often leads to waste.
Creating a roadmap for your self-care routine starts with understanding how you feel about relationships and how you communicate your feelings.
Attachment styles are how we participate in relationships. You may think of this as external relationships but we mirror relationships internally as well. Each person has a relationship within themselves between the experiencer and the representation of the experiencer. This may be referred to as inner child and defender, or higher self and ego.
Working with Your Attachment Style
To work within your internal relationship, it’s helpful to understand how you’re operating between the experiencer and the representation of the experiencer.
Take the attachment style quiz to find out how you operate within relationships. I invite you to be compassionate with this exercise and avoid any judgments of attachment styles at all.
When you know your attachment style, write it down. Under it, list three ways you experience this attachment style within yourself.
Here are some examples:
- I listen to my needs
- I’m happy with myself
- I’m gentle with flaws and mistakes
- I seek outside reassurance
- I use ‘should/shouldn’t’ statements about feelings
- I tend toward people-pleasing
- I’m hyper-independent
- I don’t say the names of my feelings or emotions
- My confidence is inconsistent or unsteady
- I don’t trust my own judgment
- I seek out self-soothing behaviors to my detriment
- I feel nervous and afraid when I’m in a safe space
Recognizing these behaviors and how you show up within yourself will allow you to work with that energy to promote responsive self-care. When a plant is over-watered, it will do well with more sunlight. Knowing that it’s been overwatered is the first step in solving for the balance.
Using Your Love Language to Respond
Knowing your attachment style is half the work. Responding to your attachment style, in your love language, is the other half.
Take the Love Language quiz to find out how you show and receive love.
Combining your attachment style and love language will allow you to work alongside your experiences and respond to your needs. Using a love language to respond to your needs would start with identifying how your attachment style shows up and then counterbalancing the attachment with your love language.
Acts of Service
- Lay a journal and pen by your bed upon waking so you can journal before going to sleep
- Take yourself to a yoga class
- Stop yourself mid-task to get a glass of water or take 5 deep breaths
- Reward yourself with trinkets; candy bar, new pens, a $5 gift card
- Ritualize treats like a dessert or a movie you’re seeing for the first time
- Sign up for a recurring subscription service like Fab, Fit, Fun, Ipsy, etc.
- Spend time alone, use a timer or stopwatch to bookend the time
- Do something creative; writing, knitting, painting
- Schedule ‘self’ dates or lunches
Words of Affirmation
- Write a list of things you want to hear, place them in a jar and pick one out each day
- Write note cards to yourself and label with moods you’ll be experiencing, open for some self-talk
- Look in the mirror and give yourself a balanced assessment of how you’re doing; bad, then good
- Give yourself a hug before going to sleep or upon waking up
- Interlace your fingers and squeeze your thumbs around your index and pinky fingers
- Rub and tap your thighs in a reassuring way
Applying Your Love Language to Your Attachment
Understanding your attachment style allows you to use your love language to respond to that part of you. If you have a secure attachment style, it’s likely that you are open with yourself about your needs. A love language of words of affirmation, gratitude, acknowledgment, and sentiments spoken out loud, will help you access your most authentic needs within your secure attachment.
If your attachment style is anxious, and your love language is acts of service, you may benefit from a trust-building practice.
- Consistent journaling until you’ve filled the notebook
- Daily walks or meditation
- Refilling your water glass at least once per day at the same time
Combining your attachment style with your love language will be an individual process requiring time and patience with your inner voice.
Breaking down the areas of self-care and self-care definitions provides an opportunity to apply your attachment style and respond with your love language more effectively.
Recognizing how your attachment style either obstructs or promotes access and care to each area is the first step in balancing your needs.
Your attachment style will either over-promote a certain need or underpromote a certain need depending on how you believe you need to show up to receive love. Using your love language to communicate with yourself reassures your inner voice, or authentic self, that expressing any needs, regardless of perception, is safe.
Creating a safe environment allows you to tune in to the realities of your peace so you can then hear what your true needs are and how best to serve them.
- Preventative medical treatment
- Physical health monitoring
- Hair, skin, teeth, nails
- Opening to your feelings
- Asking for support
- Speaking your truth
- Setting and reaching goals
- Seeking a new skill set
- Having fulfilling conversations
- Contending with your feelings about your mortality
- Contemplating life and purpose
- Seeking guidance and alternative perspectives
Each of these self-care definitions gives you an idea of what areas of your life fall into the different categories. Your self-care routine will include responding to any unbalanced areas of your life by first, uncovering them through your attachment style and then responding with your love language.
Attachment | Love Language | Self-Care
- Choose an area of self-care to evaluate
- Identify how your attachment style shows in this area
- Use your love language to counter your attachment and uncover your true need
- Create a list, log, or calendar that outlines how you’ve expressed, responded to, and served your need
- Return to your list when you feel stuck, confused, or unmotivated
Keep your plant luscious, green, and growing by serving your core needs first.