“Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.”
– T Bennett
What keeps us physically, mentally and spiritually healthy? What helps us reach our aspirations, serve others and be present? What helps us live aligned with our values? What helps us set clear boundaries, know our worth, be kind and compassionate?
The answer: Self (-) Care
So, what is self-care?
When we think of self-care, we’re likely to think of the myriad ways we look after ourselves, including taking care of our personal hygiene, our appearance, our nutrition and being active, taking a holiday and perhaps even having an indulgent evening of Netflix with a good glass of our favourite red…or white wine. And you’d not be far off – as yes, that’s all part of self-care.
But you see, as I was researching self-care for this blog and for my online course (which I’m currently in the process of developing, find out more here and join the waitlist) – I came across the International Self-Care Foundation and their definition and their 7 pillars of self-care:
- Health literacy– includes: the capacity of individuals to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions
- Mental Wellbeing– includes: knowing your body mass index (BMI), cholesterol level, blood pressure; engaging in health screening.
- Physical activity– practicing moderate intensity physical activity such as walking, cycling, or participating in sports at a desirable frequency.
- Healthy eating– includes: having a nutritious, balanced diet with appropriate levels of calorie intake.
- Risk avoidance or mitigation– includes: quitting tobacco, limiting alcohol use, getting vaccinated, practicing safe sex, using sunscreens.
- Good hygiene– includes: washing hands regularly, brushing teeth, washing food.
- Rational and responsible use of products, services, diagnostics and medicines – includes: being aware of dangers, using responsibly when necessary.
No denying, these are all very important. But if you ask me, and perhaps if you’ve gone through burnout and/or suffer from mental health issues, self-care goes a little tad deeper than just these 7 pillars.
Self-care. Another perspective.
Self-care encompasses the things we do to nurture our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Self-care is about looking after the core of who we are. Self-care is about exploring those inner depths of our insecurities, to question them and not be afraid to shed light on them. To acknowledge and accept our Self, whilst also embracing and growing into the skin of the person we are and becoming the person we’ve always been destined to be.
Self-care is developing a healthy sense of Self which includes the cultivation of:
And hands up. It’s not easy. It’s an ongoing and, in many instances, a lifelong process. But truth be told, I’ve found that a lack or breach in any of these areas can certainly have a detrimental effect on our life’s journey.
You see, when we don’t take care of our Self, these elements can become a heavy burden and unless we confront the underlying reasons we behave in certain ways, why we feel stuck, why we hold certain beliefs then we’ll continue to be marred by the negative effects of Self neglect.
Refusal to take care of our Self will lead it becoming omnipresent in our external world, which you can read more about here. And ultimately lead to burnout, which positively (yes, you know I like to talk about the positive effects of burnout) and ultimately will force you to change, but it’s not a path I’d recommend going down.
But, seriously, you don’t have to go through burnout to take steps towards change. Firstly, change begins with you and your own self-care.
How about you take that first step towards change today?