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Self Care

the 8 areas of self-care

July 21, 2021

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What comes to mind when you hear the words self-care?

For me, I used to just think of alone time, exercise, monthly facials, therapy, and acupuncture. The past year has been a whirlwind for all of us and while I navigated my own personal struggles, I sought out different healing modalities. What I learned in my healing journey is there are several other facets to my well-being other than physical and emotional.

Many therapists* believe there are 8 areas of self-care. Self-care is defined as the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health. See the complete list and definitions below.

  1. Physical – Moving the body, nutrition, sleep, bodyworks treatments, and overall physical health.
  2. Psychological/Intellectual – Mindfulness, creativity, learning a new skill, device-free time, and reading.
  3. Emotional – Stress management, acknowledging and processing emotions, therapy, empathy for others, emotional boundaries, and saying “no.”
  4. Social – Belonging to a trusted community and/or support system, relationships with friends and family, meeting new people, honoring your commitments, and asking for help.
  5. Professional – Living into your purpose, having a fulfilling career, seeking development and growth opportunities, and setting boundaries at work.
  6. Environmental – Clean and decluttered living spaces including your home, workspace, and car as well as clean clothes.
  7. Spiritual – Core values, religious beliefs, meditation, being in nature, and writing in a journal.
  8. Financial – Being responsible for your finances, knowing where money is coming in and going out, completing your taxes on time, and spending and saving money wisely.

Did anything on this list surprise you?

Some of these are obvious while others I had not previously categorized as self-care. For example, spending and saving money wisely did not resonate as something I do for my well-being, it was just something I was supposed to do. When I consider the peace of mind I gain because of paying my bills on time, saving, and knowing where/when my money comes and goes, it really is an act of love I give to myself and my family.

Also, I never considered keeping my house decluttered and car clean as acts of self-care. There is a shift in energy when I get into a clean car vs. a dirty car with papers, trash, food crumbs, and empty water bottles. Did you cringe a little and relate as you read that? A clean car is a joy to drive. Why wouldn’t we always keep it that way?

By eliminating these stressors, we are taking care of our well-being. Some are easier to address than others. For instance, it might be easier for you to read a book every night than it is to change a career that is not fulfilling you. My motivation in sharing these areas with you is to bring awareness to these 8 areas and remind you that you are the only one who can take care of yourself. We are in choice every day and a healthy well-being is something you choose, or you don’t.

Currently, I am bringing more awareness to my environment and decluttering my closets and drawers. I bought a new desk and cleaned up my workspace. I hired a life coach to support my professional growth and intellectual well-being. Lastly, I have monthly acupuncture and cupping appointments to support physical and emotional healing.

Your awareness is the first step in improving your overall health. Identify things you can commit to, be consistent, and use your support system to hold you accountable. That is what is so wonderful about this community. We are all in this, together.

What area(s) stands out to you that you want to focus on?

*Resources and references for this post: Modern Therapy, Talkspace, and Wellness Council of America (WELCOA).

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