Learn about the 7 Pillars of Self-Care that’ll Set You Right Again
If you’ve ever found yourself in a position, where you were so overwhelmed, or frozen, unmotivated or in chronic aches and pain, most likely you’ve realized that some serious self-care is in order.
The idea that self-care is selfish is, unfortunately, one that still exists, and it’s absolutely false. Taking care of yourself leads to you taking care of others. Caring for your personal physical and mental health is the most unselfish thing you can do for yourself, for your family and your community. Your vibrancy and strength from replenishing yourself only serves to help others in need. July 24th is International Self-Care Day and the theme for 2021 is Self Care Promise. Take the time to learn more about what is self-care and why it’s so important for everyone to make a promise to self-care.
Why Self-Care is Important
It’s common knowledge that the world right now is in a bit of a pressure cooker. Dealing with a pandemic, on top of a society that worships long working hours, raising a family, caring for our elders, and the idea of the Superman or the Superwoman pervasive as always, it’s really no surprise that we all feel strained.
Introducing the 7 Pillars of Self-Care – the seven aspects of health that need to be addressed in order to achieve a balanced level of self-care. The best way to reset your whole system is by addressing the various parts that you make a whole, vital person.
Burnout and depression and anxiety are all effects of a lack of self-care. This, in turn, can lead to lost days at work or school, or trips to the doctor’s office. Breaking away from the grind is hard because it has developed into a routine. Routines are difficult to break. However, if you create a new, healthier routine, it will stick as well.
- Caring for your Mental Health – leads to destressing. Stress is the number one killer because it initiates, instigates and propels dis-ease inside us. Think of high blood pressure, heart issues, anxiety, depression, fatigue and poor eating habits. The decluttering of the mind of nonsense, self-trash talk, and easing your worries will lead to better concentration, better moods, and a reduction in stress-related diseases. Caring for your mind can include things like writing in a journal to clear out your mind, as does meditation. Brain dump lists are amazing for this too! Just take a sheet of paper and write out everything that’s been floating around in your head – appointments you wanted to make, things you wanted to do, things you want to remember….just get it out of your head and on paper. This way you can see it and remember to do them and start checking things off! AND definitely take time off technology/computer/tv screens. Once you get past the 10 minute mark of screen free time, you start to feel the positive effects, especially if you’re outdoors.
- Our emotional health has taken a hit with the pandemic. Before COVID, our emotions were on a regular roller coaster ride because of the North American concept of work, work, work. It is especially difficult for those in the sandwich generation, caring for aging parents while raising your own children. Our own emotions need to be cared for if we need to care for others. Some great ways to give love to your emotions is listening to your music, or your very favorite songs, learning to say NO, or watching a really great movie, whether it’s deep or a slap-stick comedy that makes you laugh silly.You’re starting to swerve in your lane
- Everyone knows about physical self-care from the daily media messages on the benefits of squeezing in exercise, yoga, and the latest Pelaton™ app to our very busy lifestyle. But physical self-care does not have to be super complicated. Just eating at regular times will help ease your digestion and get it regular. Drinking more water will help with brain fog and hydration. Going for a walk around the block will rejuvenate, exhilarate and strengthen you, physically and mentally. Keep it simple – do some of the things you loved as a child, and just keep moving.
- Environmental self-care isn’t new either. Clean up your room! Decluttering your surroundings equates to a calmer state of mind, reduced stress, and enjoyment. If you work from home, this is especially important. Keeping your work area as a designated work space, keeps it separated from your living space. Merging the two is not a good idea, ever! But your work space can still be an enjoyable area for you – decorate and surround yourself with items that reflect your values, your loves and your goals. Infuse yourself into your space. Arrange your workspace to be more comfortable, whether you need a better chair, or a cozy blanket.
- Spiritual self-care is one of those elusive butterflies that you need to focus on capturing. When you care for your soul, you feel the contentment and the faith that all will be well. You never feel alone. You believe in something higher than yourself, and you connect easier with other souls. But when you’re bombarded with gadgets, too busy to hear your thoughts, too busy to go to a place of worship, or swamped with work, it’s hard to listen in on what your spirit is telling you it needs. Switching off is a necessity to tap back into your soul and check in. Spending time outside, walking a trail is the ultimate in feeding your spirit. Remember what your values are, and what is important and meaningful for you, this will help you balance out your priorities.
- Recreational self-care – yup! Playing! As adults, we do not get to play as much as we used to or want to! This is the fountain of youth! Playing with friends or playing by yourself, working on your favorite hobbies, or playing a video game, is a sure fire way to get that jubilance back into your days! Just enjoying yourself, having fun, laughing and goofing around, is so good for you on so many levels – boosts all of your feel good hormones, de-stresses, offers a coping mechanism, reconnects you to your social circle and just makes life more enjoyable.
- This one was a difficult pillar to focus on in the past two years for many people. A pandemic is not conducive socializing, and therefore, social self-care routines had to morph to fit this current reality. Hanging around friends, large groups and spending time enjoying concerts, all had to change into a virtual setting. Connections are what make us feel like we’re part of our world. Connections revitalize and sustain us. But that connection is not the same if it’s virtual. But there are still ways to maintain some sort of social self-care until things get back to normal. You can go the old-fashioned route, and write a long, hand-written letter to someone far away. Everyone loves getting letters or surprises in the mail, not a bill or yet another coupon for pizza. Do socially-distant driveway get togethers….those are always fun! There is always Zoom as well – get the gang together virtually and break open a bottle of your favorite poison and just gab until you run out of free time!
By taking steps to self-care, and keeping that promise to yourself, you are well on your way to a better version of yourself as you start to enjoy a lighter mind, a more productive work day, and more and more moments of joy. Care for yourself first, and then everything will fall into place.