What Is Intellectual Self Care? (10 Examples)

Someone participates in intellectual self care by doing a rubix cube

When many people consider self-care, they simply think of it as taking baths or papering themselves. However, true self-care has so many more aspects to it. There are eight main areas of self-care, or eight different areas that we need to take care of when we look after ourselves. Intellectual self-care seems to be one of the least popular or less talked about areas. 

In this article, we are going to focus on intellectual self care, including what it means, why it is important, and some examples of it. 

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What does intellectual self care mean? 

Intellectual self-care means we look after ourselves by expanding our knowledge and mindset. Humans are constantly learning and evolving, and our brain needs to grow and learn new facts and information in order for it to remain healthy.

A healthy mind creates the foundation for all other forms of health. 

Why is intellectual self care important? 

Intellectual self care is important because it recharges your brain 

Life can be exhausting and stressful at times, and while some of us can be so good at physical self care–we get a massage or take a bath to help our bodies unwind and relax– our intellectual self-care needs often get neglected.

But our brains need to relax just as much as our bodies do.

It keeps your brain strong 

While physical self-care helps to keep our bodies strong and in their best condition, intellectual self-care helps to exercise our brains and keep it as strong as possible. 

It helps you feel accomplished 

When we use our mind to finish a task, it can help us feel accomplished and send a rush of endorphins flooding through us which keeps us motivated and enables us to accomplish even more.

It keeps your brain active as it ages 

As we age, certain parts of our brain begin to shrink including the parts that are important to learning. By participating in intellectual self-care we are helping to keep it active for as long as possible. 

It may lower your risk of dementia  

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, several observational studies have shown that people who participate in “cognitively stimulating activities” may have a lower risk of dementia. However, these types of studies are fairly new and need to be looked at more in-depth.  

Can increase your levels of happiness 

Those who participate in learning and growth outside of what they may be required to do for work have better physical health, mental health, and satisfaction in their lives.

Examples of intellectual self care practices and activities

Learning a new language 

Learning a new language can develop new areas of your brain and strengthen your mind’s natural ability to focus, consider different possibilities, and process information. 

Reading a book 

This is probably my favorite on the list. I know that not everyone loves to read, and that is perfectly okay. But reading can do so many good things for you. Getting a mix of genres, or fiction and nonfiction can really help to mix things up and keep it interesting. 

Watching a documentary 

With the increasing popularity of streaming services, there is an unending amount of documentaries now available at our fingertips. Mixing in some interesting documentaries along with your normal comforting or entertainment type of shows can be great for your mind and expanding your knowledge. 

Having in-depth conversations 

Having an in-depth conversation or even a healthy debate about a subject can stimulate your creative and analytical thinking, which can help build our cognitive function. 

Listening to podcasts 

Podcasts have become such a great form of delivering new and exciting information and knowledge. You can consume a podcast while doing other things, which makes it easy to fit into your daily routine. 

Teaching someone 

Teaching is more than just sharing your knowledge with someone else. The collaborative part of teaching can cause people to challenge the way you think about information you already know. Considering things from a different perspective is a great exercise for the brain. 

And revisiting information you already know is never a bad thing.

Completing a puzzle 

An example of intellectual self care. A puzzle my husband and I completed.
The most recent puzzle (2000 pieces) that my husband and I finished. You can this puzzle we have here.

This is one of my favorites. In fact, my husband and I have been on a puzzle streak since Christmas and are in the middle of completing another puzzle together right now.  I like that puzzles aren’t too challenging and that after a stressful day I don’t find them too overwhelming to accomplish. It is a nice task that helps you relax, and unwind, but still stimulates your brain in a different way to make you think. 

Learning a new skill 

Is there something you have always wanted to try, or think you may be good at, but you haven’t put in an effort to try to learn it? There is no time like the present to learn something you have always been interested in. For example: attending a cooking class, or watching your favorite DIY channel on Youtube and attempting those pesky home renovations. 

Playing a mental game like chess, checkers or scrabble 

Mental games like chess and checkers have more benefits than just being a part of intellectual self care, they can also help to increase your intelligence, empathy, memory, problem-solving skills, and your creative side.

Visiting a museum 

Not only will visiting a museum get you out of the house and trying something different, but museums are packed full of knowledge, history, and tons of really interesting facts to stimulate your brain.

Self-care is meant to be something personal. Trying out new self-activities, and then choosing the ones that you enjoy and that you can fit into your life is the best way to ensure you are taking care of your intellectual self-care.

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