Self-care is about respecting yourself enough to invest the time consistently to learn how to replenish your whole being.
Effective self-care strategies position you for sustainable and holistic health. We need to be tuned in and ready to learn about ourselves on three levels:
- Body – health, nourishment, warmth and safety of the human body
- Soul – mind (thinking), emotions (feeling) and will (deciding/acting)
- Spirit – values, meaning and purpose, belief, conscience. Sometimes called core, heart or inner self.
Problems occur when physical, emotional or spiritual replenishment is neglected. For example, some of my clients are successful people in their forties who function at a very high level but have become bored with their lives.
Little connects them to purpose in their work. They have become vaguely aware that something is wrong, but are a bit scared to stop and look into it because it’s unknown territory.
The figure below shows how to position yourself for sustainable and holistic health, under-pinned by self-respect.
Let’s look at this model in more detail.
A growing number of studies show the link between physical fitness and mental and emotional health. Good nutrition helps look after the body and the mind. Physical exercise is a great stress release, which has huge emotional as well as physical health benefits. We suffer if we neglect our bodies for more than a day.
Top tips: Eat nutritious food, exercise appropriately, develop and maintain a healthy sleep routine (6–8 hours daily), keep warm and secure. If you are quite unfit or afraid of fitness programs, rather than do nothing walk 20 minutes every day as a fitness starter.
Find what replenishes you emotionally. Find two or three positive things in which you can lose yourself, i.e. totally lose track of time. The criteria for judging healthy behaviours would be: ‘Does this activity energise and replenish me for life, or does it tire and demotivate me for life?’ We suffer if we neglect our soul for more than a week.
Top tips: Listen to or play music, draw or paint, take photographs, be creative in any mode, learn a new skill, play sport, read for pleasure, watch movies, spend time in the garden, alone time/social time, go for a bushwalk, cook and eat good food, travel, explore creative ideas, enjoy celebrations and parties, engage in lively conversation over good food and wine, practice meditation, enjoy holidays, etc.
Too many people neglect this part of their life. Attending to your spiritual life means becoming attuned to who you are as a person—learning to know and respect your true self, to know and live from core values, to know how to draw spiritual strength from prayer and meditation and to find what place faith has in your life. You need to practice activities that centre or ground you in terms of your sense of self, your place in the universe, and give you a sense of meaning and purpose. We suffer and feel flat if we neglect our spirit.
Top tips: Try meditation, faith-based activities like prayer, times of retreat, any activities that help clarify values and aid perspective, serve others or increase your sense of contribution, such as volunteering.
About the author: John Drury is a Business Mentor, speaker and author of INTEGRATE – why work-life balance is a myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle. To connect with John go to www.johndrury.biz and follow him on Twitter @JDBizMentor and Instagram @JDBizMentor