The Seven Pillars of Self Care
Self-care has become a popular buzzword online, usually portrayed as spa days and indulgent luxury, but what is it really? Let’s dispel the myths so you can truly take care of yourself and your mental health in a weird and constantly changing world.
What is self-care?Self-care is simply taking some action meant to improve your health. Of course, there are different aspects of your health you may be wanting to improve. This is where the seven pillars of self-care come in.
Some days, you’re tending to one aspect of self-care, while on other days, you may be impacting several.
What are the seven pillars of self-care and how do you incorporate them into your self-care routine?
The seven pillars of self-care are:-
As you can see these are all important aspects of your life that should be maintained for overall happiness? Many of us are neglecting one, two, or a handful of these areas of our own life, even as we help our loved ones to maintain these pillars.
Seeing them in black and white will help you become aware of each so you can better manage areas in which you have been neglectful. You have to be your best self in order to care for others so it's time to start practicing some self-care. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Let’s look at each pillar individually so you can begin focusing on each in your self-care practices.
Mental health and the stigma surrounding it seem to be on everyone's lips these days. What exactly is it and why is it important to self-care? Mental health determines our social, emotional, and psychological wellness. It impacts the way we handle stress, interact with others, and even the choices we make when faced with major and minor decisions.
Mental health is tied in with other steps of a self-care routine, underlining its importance.
To maintain mental wellness it is important to
Many of us as children, especially boys, were discouraged from expressing our emotions. We were told to stop crying when we hurt and that being able to hide our feelings displayed strength. Vulnerability was frowned upon as being a weakness and so we became afraid of expressing our feelings.
These emotions do not go away. They build up and spin around in our minds and bodies revealing themselves in undiagnosed non-communicable diseases.
The first step to emotional healing is to become aware of, accept and express your thoughts and feelings. It is ok to be sad or angry. It is ok to feel hurt and sorry. It is ok to love.
But you cannot love anyone else unless you love yourself. Speak well to and about yourself. Celebrate your achievements. Learn to appreciate your appearance and accomplishments and most of all learn to forgive yourself for mistakes and errors made in the past. You are the most perfect and unique you. No one else can be that.
Physical self-care involves much more than just going to the gym or working out. Physical self-care involves your diet, work schedule, sleep habits, and much more.
Do you practice eating a healthy, nutritionally-balanced diet? Are you a workaholic or couch potato? Do you get physically active often and take vacations from work when needed? These are all important aspects of self-care and physical well-being.
Exercising at least 3 times a week is recommended to stay fit and healthy and this may be as simple as opting to walk to the store instead of driving or taking the train. Put on some music and dance around in your living room. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Find activities you enjoy doing.
Not many people recognize the importance of our physical surroundings and the impact it has on our well being. Having a clean, well-organized, and clutter-free work and home area not only makes you more productive, it also impacts your emotional well-being.
Are you someone who spends most of the day looking for your stuff? The frustration and stress associated with looking for misplaced items is something no one would ever miss. When your area is well organized with a designated place for everything then you eliminate this unnecessary stress. Keep a clean and clutter-free space and watch your mind follow suit.
Spiritual self-care does not imply becoming a religious person. Your choice of spiritual beliefs is entirely up to you but the important thing is that you care for your consciousness by exercising some spiritual principle. This may come in the form of yoga practice, seeking closeness with a higher power, indulging in meditation to calm your mind, or just connecting with nature.
Whatever you choose, it is important that you nurture your spiritual well-being on a daily basis. Take time out from the hustle and bustle of life, retreat to your spiritual corner and connect with whatever keeps you grounded.
When’s the last time you did something just for fun? Fun is essential, especially in a global pandemic and an increasingly stressful world. Find a creative way to relax, kick back and have some belly-busting laughter and old-time fun. For you, that might include watching a movie, heading to brunch with your closest friends, pretend-play with the children in your life, a game of football or watersports in the backyard, a dance party, or cooking a favorite meal.
Whatever you do, remember having fun is as important as everything else that matters to you because you need to be able to relax and unwind to recharge your batteries.
Being social doesn’t have to mean becoming a social butterfly? Many people, especially now in isolation, are reporting a feeling of loneliness and crave love and friendship, which is a crucial part of our emotional well-being.
How do you seek to improve your social self-care? Becoming involved in community groups or social activities is one way to connect without the pressure of committing immediately to a one-on-one friendship or relationship.
Reaching out to old friends and staying in touch with beloved family members can help to satisfy our need for social interaction.
The opposite is also necessary. Walk away from negative persons who are present in your life causing stress and strife. It’s not easy but very necessary to your optimal mental health. It's ok to walk away, even from toxic family members.
Remember the most important person to you is you and it's not selfish to practice self-care and love yourself. If you cannot care for yourself how can you care for someone else? So go on, put yourself as your number one priority from time to time. It will create a positive ripple effect in other areas of your life.
Are There Better Uses for My Resources?
Henry Ford said, “The highest use of capital is not to make more money, but to make money do more service for the betterment of life.”
We always hear about the big lottery winners who, within a few months or years, are completely broke again. Why is that? How could they squander millions of dollars so quickly? Weren’t they just trying to better their lives, as Ford counseled? Yes they were, but only if you take Ford’s quote out of context.
In Ford’s book, My Life and Work, he talks about wealth being used to create more jobs,
improve working conditions and to solve problems that help better individuals and society as a whole. He realized that by solving problems that affect those around us we also create more opportunity for everyone, including ourselves.
Back to the lottery winner who blows all his money - is he helping to solve anyone’s problems other that his own? What is his focus? Isn’t it himself, his selfish wants, his own physical and material desires? And what is the result of that kind of focus?
On TV recently I saw a program for which some of the moon mission astronauts were interviewed. These men, when they saw how small and beautiful the earth appeared to be from 240,000 miles away, were all profoundly affected. They viewed the entire human race as occupants, in a galactic sense, of a tiny lifeboat adrift on the eternal currents of space and time, all needing to work together to survive and thrive. In an instant they became proponents of universal cooperation and peace.
Our purpose is much greater than ourselves. And when we discover how to use our divine gifts and talents and the monetary resources with which we’ve been blessed to “do more service for the betterment of life” we can create something expansive. Wellsprings of wealth and knowledge. Businesses that keep building. Gifts that keep giving.
If you would like to find out more about how I am helping others develop their own expansive lives and businesses please send me a message, check out my website, or even take a listen to some of my podcasts with many transformational stories to choose from!
Smart Money in Hard Times
As we all try to navigate the Age of COVID, many of us are finding finances to be one of our toughest challenges. Are you one of the millions who have been laid off, let go, had your hours cut, or been forced out of business? Or maybe you have a great job or business but you just don’t seem to be able to get ahead? Regardless of your current financial circumstances, you can likely set yourself up for a better future by using some of the following strategies:
1. Decide on Your Top 3 Financial Goals
If you asked me what my top three financial goals are, I would tell you that the first is to carry no debt - other than a mortgage - that I can’t pay off monthly (we have already achieved this goal); second is to own a home outright; third is to be able to comfortably retire when I’m 60. Do you see how the first two goals directly impact the third? Now, what are the three things you want to achieve financially? Give it some in-depth thought. Talk it over with your spouse or partner if you have one. Brainstorm and get your ideas on paper. This step is number one because it will drive all of your key financial decisions in the future. See where this is going? Excited yet?
2. Get a Handle on Debt
Loan interest never takes a day off. If you have any typical brand of debt, the interest on that debt is compounding every single day no matter what. That is your money working against you in the worst kind of way. And what is your interest rate on that debt? If you have a $25,000.00 car loan at the “good” rate of 3% over 5 years, you’ll pay nearly $2000.00 in interest. Some might say, “no big deal,” but I can think of a whole bunch of better ways to spend 2 grand, can’t you? And that’s small potatoes compared to consumer debt! Consider the following scenario: Let’s say you have maxed out your $10,000.00 limit card with a rate of 21%. Determined to mend your ways, you decide to quit charging money on that card and to start paying $245.00 against the balance each month until it is paid off. What’s the result? After six long years your balance is paid off. Hurray! And along the way you’ve paid nearly $7700.00 in interest. Ouch! Was all that stuff you bought with the card worth it? And how about opportunity cost? How much would you have earned by putting that $245.00 in a simple index fund for 6 years? At an average rate of return of 7% you would be holding nearly $21,700.00 in that investment. Can you see what a killer debt can be?
3. Be Selective When You Spend
Have you ever heard the saying, “Penny wise and pound foolish?” That has described me when I have been so careful about shopping for deals on little items at the market, only to turn around and make a really big stupid purchase. Here’s an example that may resonate with some of you. Let’s say you need a car to commute to work. You could buy your neighbor’s used Honda Accord for $8000, but you see that your co-worker just got a brand new blacked-out F-350 to tow his boat and which also doubles as his commuter truck. He drives you to lunch in the truck and you fall in love with the comfort, the room, the leather seats, and the idea of looking as cool as the Marlboro man when the ladies see you driving it. So, throwing caution to the wind, you go down to the dealership and finance a nicely-optioned Super Duty for $69,000.00 at 3% for 60 months. You don’t haul hay or own a boat but you are going to drop $1240.00 a month to channel your inner Toby Keith. And let’s not forget about Cost-of-Ownership concerns like depreciation, fuel consumption, insurance, repairs, taxes and fees. Not including the price of the truck, your 5 year COO @ 15k miles per year totals about $75000.00. That means you incurred liabilities totaling $144,000.00 to get you back and forth to work over those 5 years. The Accord, on the other hand, with COO costs included, would have only set you back about $18,000.00 or so. Can you think of some alternative uses for the $122,000 difference? Always consider what your decision means when it comes to your top 3 big financial goals. If it takes you further away from your objectives, go back to the drawing board!
Wrap up -
Your financial goals and strategy are completely in your control! Wherever you’re at, just take stock of the situation and start taking baby steps based on your top 3 goals. As far as other suggestions go, I would take a hard look at setting up automatic monthly transfers into investments and tax sheltered financial instruments beyond your 401k, such as an HSA, a Roth IRA, etc. I would try to set aside a minimum of 10% of your salary for investing and more if you are able. Another thing that some people find quite beneficial and freeing is practicing some degree of minimalism. In a nutshell, the idea is less stuff = less worries, stress and problems. You might do a quick evaluation of the things that bring you true joy and the things that don’t. Then get rid of the things that don’t. Lastly, there is tons of great financial advice and info to be found online. Do a little research and see what resonates with you. You can do this!
In today’s world we are bombarded with messages designed to make us believe fulfillment and happiness come from outside of us – a car, a trip, a diet plan, shoes, golf clubs, or a host of other I-gotta-have-it things. Is this really what life is all about – acquiring more stuff to fill our homes, finding more excitement or entertainment? I think we know the answer to that question.
The truth is that fulfillment expresses itself from the inside out – when you are learning, growing, mindful, compassionate, grateful, purposeful and passionate. Check out these 3 ways to help you find greater fulfillment in your life.
1. Live in the Present – Dwelling on the past, worrying about the future, focusing on things we can’t control, are all sure ways to miss out on the little miracles that today holds for us. It’s like when our phones act up because there are too many apps running in the background. Sometimes we need to shut it off, just like when we take a few minutes to breathe deeply, relax, and feel the joy of simply being. Look around, see with fresh eyes all the amazing things we take for granted each day, plants and people, sun and sky, This very moment can be filled with beauty, love, and peace, if we allow it to be.
2. Help Others Along Their Journey – An old Hindu proverb says: Help another’s boat across and lo! thine own has reached the shore! It’s true that when we bless another’s life, we bless our own as well. Contributing to someone’s happiness, filling someone’s desperate need, giving encouragement to someone who’s down, providing an opportunity to better someone’s financial position are a few of the ways we can make a difference. Then Karma kicks in and it all comes back to us in heaping measures! As many a successful business person will profess, things didn’t REALLY take off for them until traded a self-centered approach for a focus on helping partners, clients, and customers get their “boats across!”
3. Be Willing to Grow – In business today continuous improvement, or Kaizen, is an almost universal theme. A company unwilling to grow, satisfied with today’s staus quo, is tomorrow’s boarded-up business casualty, which clearly illustrates that if we stand still we are really moving backwards. Give yourself challenges, be hungry to learn, anxious to try new things, to bet on yourself and your ability to adapt and change. You are a force to be reckoned with when you take ACTION!
HAVE you ever looked at your behavior toward yourself and wondered if you were, at times, your own worst enemy? If so, you are not alone. Many people struggle with feelings of self doubt, a diminished sense of self worth, constant comparisons with others, or an unrealistic ideal concerning who they are and who they should be.
Sometimes we need to ask ourselves: Would a friend place on your shoulders all the burdens, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, that you place on yourself? If the answer is no, then it may be time to learn how to make friends with yourself. Here are 4 ways to help you cultivate self-kindness:
1. Understand Your Identity – We are unique threads in a divine tapestry. One religious leader said, in effect, that the very least soul among us is in reality “worth worlds.” Consider the miracle of your existence – your intellect, your capacity to love, to feel, to learn, to grow, to give. You are truly an expression of divine love and being. As such, we need to honor and respect not only those around us, but ourselves in particular. Remember, you really are worth worlds!!
2. Be Your Own Inner Advocate – What is your self-talk like? Does that voice in your head sound more like an unrelenting critic than a loving friend or a kind counselor? Remember the principle of inputs and outputs. Negative in, negative out, garbage in, garbage out. And on the other hand, if you feed yourself positivity, the results will be positive as well!
Try this experiment: Pick a day where you typically have fewer distractions – a Sunday may work well – to listen closely to, and control, your own self-talk. This is the time to be your own best friend, to remind yourself of all your good qualities, of your value as a person. Consciously feed yourself all that positive self-talk. Consciously monitor your words and your actions and try to make them as positive as possible, then review the result.
Did you feel in control of your emotions and situations? Did people around you notice a difference? It’s amazing when you realize you really do have control of your moods and the trajectory of your day!
3. Forgive Yourself – Do you readily forgive others’ faults, but struggle to forgive yourself? Do you berate yourself for all the ill-advised things you said and did or all the important things you left undone? Are you holding yourself to a standard that you wouldn’t dream of holding anyone else to? If so, you’ve got lots of company! Yes, we know we’re human and fallible and all that, but somehow we, as individuals, think we are different from everyone else, that our screw-ups are so much worse because we KNOW better and can DO better – or we SHOULD HAVE known and done better.
Now it’s time to give yourself a figurative get-out-of-jail-free card, mentally, and spiritually. Whatever it is or was, let it go. Completely! The thing you did or didn’t do is not YOU. It in no way determines your value as a human being. Choose to let go, to love who you are right now and who you’re becoming and move on!
4. Stop Comparing and Believe In Yourself – Isn’t it interesting the way we see other people as having such enviable lives while we sit and wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why can’t my life be like theirs?”
Remember this – you are doing better than you think! There are high-powered executives, doctors, lawyers, and athletes who superficially appear to have it all together while underneath their worlds are falling apart at the seams. The thing is, we know all our own problems and faults and failures intimately and I’m pretty sure if we knew those intimate things about our idols, there’s no way we would trade places with them! We not only compare ourselves with our idols, but with our relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors and everyone on social media too. We think they are more fun, more attractive, more talented, so much happier than we are, right? And while you waste time focusing on what you interpret to be your lack, you are ignoring all the wonderful, beautiful, special things you ARE, right now today!
Here’s a fun assignment: Make a list of all of your best qualities and all your finest accomplishments. Put it on your mirror, read it every day, affirm that you believe that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Then when you’re ready, decide what new life adventure you’re going to take on. Will it be developing a neglected talent, starting a business, planning a trip to Africa? Whatever it is, do it with gusto and the belief that you can make it happen!
Please comment and let me know if this article was helpful to you, if you have any suggestions, or if you just want to share an expression of love and encouragement!