How to Care for your Mental, Spiritual, Physical, and Emotional Self

The Urban Monk

Ever reached the end of your rope and thought to yourself, “I need to get up and go for a walk”?

That’s self-care.


Try reading a nonfiction book for 15 minutes every day. It doesn’t matter how much you read, as long as you stick to 15 minutes (or longer) and make sure you really understand what you’re reading.

Declutter your space. By organizing your visual experience, you’re encouraging your mental experience to fall in line.

Clear your head by journaling. Plenty of studies indicate that journaling has a positive effect on not just mental, but overall health.


If you’re a religious person, and you’re feeling out of touch and isolated, contact your spiritual director. Your priest, rabbi, imam, sheik, or whatever your denomination calls a religious leader. Go to confession. Attend a service. Pray.

If you’re not a religious person, you still have spiritual needs (whether or not you realize that’s what they are.)

Go to a counseling session. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Commune with yourself in the woods — no technology, just you and the verdant living world.


Stand up. Hinge at the waist. Try a few quick exercises. Take a walk. Take a run.

Stretch your legs. Stretch your arms. Exercise — even yoga or pilates.

At the very least, engage in your physical world. Touch something cool. Touch something warm. Run your hand against the bark on a tree. Lie in wet grass.


If you play an instrument, play it. If you don’t play an instrument, play whatever’s around you — drum on the pots and pans, harmonica with a blade of grass.

Be creative. Paint your flower pots. Dye your bedroom curtains with a natural dye. Color in a coloring book.

Focus on positivity — write down on a notepad five things that happened today that made you smile, or would have if you weren’t feeling so low. Practice positive self-talk.

See a therapist! Practice stream-of-consciousness venting with a close friend. Unravel your thoughts about a complicated emotional event through journaling your reflections. Educate yourself on trauma.



NY Times Best Selling Author, filmmaker, and founder of

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