You are designed to live a fulfilling, purpose-driven, joyful life. You are worthy and deserve to wake up each day with excitement coursing through your body and spirit in anticipation of what lies ahead.
Unfortunately, this kind of life is elusive for many women. It can become easy to put yourself last in our distracting, face-paced, demanding world. As a mom, you often put your needs at the bottom of your ever-growing to-do list. Maybe you actively prioritize the needs of everyone else above your own. Perhaps you’re depleted at the end of the day, exhausted from trying to satisfy every else but yourself. Sound familiar?
The antidote is self-care. Self-care is something you do to take care of your physical, emotional, social, intellectual, or spiritual health. It is done thoughtfully and intending to care for yourself to increase happiness, focus, stability, joy, peace, feelings of gratitude, and self-love.
The world continues to move quickly, and this demand for your most valuable resource, time, is unsustainable. Taking care of yourself allows you to reclaim your power, recalibrate your body and mind, and establish your own natural pace. When you practice self-care, you can harness your energy to make more intentional decisions. You’ll also decrease anxiety, gain fulfillment, and attract more of what you truly want into your life. It also increases confidence and helps you stay happy. As you love yourself and others, you will bring light into an otherwise chaotic, fast-paced world.
While ensuring basic needs has been pinnacle to survival since the beginning of humankind, the concept of “self-care” as we think of it today wasn’t clearly defined until the late 20th century (Kickbusch, 1989). Over time, several disciplines have come up with their own definitions of what self-care means. Yet it is crucial we understand the attributes, precedents, and goals in order to understand our needs and communicate them clearly with others (Martinez et al., 2021). Throughout this course, we will be focusing on the five pillars of self-care: physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual.
Physical self-care is probably what most of us think of when we hear the words self-care. Humans benefit from movement, no matter how minor it may seem. Studies have shown exercise helps our bodies and minimizes the effects of anxiety and depression (Sharma, 2006). So it makes sense it is a critical part of your self-care regimen. But physical care is more than just exercise. Nutrition, hydration, touch, being present are all parts of caring for your body.
Emotional self-care is all about becoming aware of, identifying, and allowing yourself to lean into your feelings. You can attempt to ignore, suppress, or deny your emotions, but they will eventually come out one way or another. When our emotional needs are not addressed, we feel defeated and depleted. Engaging in emotional self-care regularly and giving yourself grace, you’ll develop healthy coping mechanisms that vastly increase your happiness and sense of well-being.
Humans are social beings, so we need regular connections with others to thrive (yes, even introverts!). The problem is, often when our lives get hectic and overwhelming, we tend to cancel our plans and withdraw. Though we all need to say “no: sometimes, it’s also important we make time for social interaction.
Social self-care isn’t just about spending time with others; it can also mean identifying who you shouldn’t have in your life anymore. Recognizing when certain relationships are no longer uplifting and fulfilling is part of caring for your social self.
Intellectual self-care is about understanding and developing a loving relationship with your mind. It also encompasses learning how to manage your thoughts and realizing when professional help would be beneficial. Ultimately, intellectual self-care is about nurturing, stimulating, and listening to your big, beautiful brain.
No matter your religious beliefs, this form of self-care can still apply to you. While turning to a higher power may be part of your spiritual self-care, it also encompasses practices such as manifestations and meditations. Spiritual self-care includes any activity you engage in to connect with and nurture your inner spirit or soul.
People who pay attention to the five pillars of health can handle the challenges of supporting and caring for others. They can deal with changes, develop strong relationships, and recover quicker when dealing with setbacks. Being a support to others can significantly impact your physical and emotional health. Practicing self-care by maintaining your physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual health makes it easier to cope during hard times and enjoy the good ones. In the following lessons, you will find more information for creating your self-care strategy in each of these areas.
– What negative effects have you noticed in your life when neglecting self-care?
– What do you think instituting a self-care routine could change?
– Which pillar do you think you need to focus on the most?
Up next, we’ll discuss the first pillar: Physical Self-Care.