Self-care is an important daily activity that should not be overlooked or treated lightly, particularly if you’re busy juggling a business and a family.
Yet, more often than not, self-care gets placed on the back burner with the needs of others and work prioritised over your own needs.
But I encourage you to switch this around and take back the power – because self-care is truly a very important activity. And how do you take back the power, I hear you ask? With the 5 Dimensions of Self-Care. Before I tell you what these dimensions are and how you can embrace them, let me first explain what self-care actually is and why it is so important.
What is self-care?
Well… let’s start by identifying what self-care is not.
A common misconception associated with self-care is that it is a #TreatYoSelf moment, a reward, a self-indulgence, or a pampering session. Don’t get me wrong, these are important, but it’s not self-care. Self-care should be a routine, not a one-off, or a ‘treat’.
Self-care is also not selfish. It’s about taking the time to take care of yourself so that you can live as the best version of yourself, with passion and purpose, and thus have more to offer the world.
So, after all that’s been said and done, let’s define what self-care is: Self-care is a matter of health and well-being. It’s self-initiated action intentionally taken to improve personal health and maintain well-being.Self-care is self-initiated action intentionally taken to improve personal health and maintain well-being. #selfcare Click To Tweet
Why is self-care important?
As we identified above, self-care is all about health and well-being. So obviously it’s got to be important. But if I haven’t quite convinced you yet as to why it is important, then consider these positive effects experienced by those who regularly engage in self-care:
- Improved productivity and efficiency.
- Reduced anxiety.
- Increased immune efficiency.
- Increased patience.
- Elevated mood.
- A more balanced and happier life.
- Greater ability to take care of others.
Sounds pretty great, right?
Now that you know what self-care is and why it is important, let’s take a look at the 5 Dimensions of Self Care and how you can apply them in your daily life.
The 5 Dimensions of Self-Care
The 5 Dimensions of Self-Care can be used to break down the various areas of ‘self’ that you should be looking after. These dimensions are:
So now that we know what the 5 Dimensions are, let’s take a thorough look at each of them individually. I’ll also list some examples of the self-care activities that you can implement in your daily life to achieve your maximum state of wellness.
This physical dimension relates to the things that your body needs in order to survive and flourish. This encompasses everything to do with exercise, nutrition, and health.
To look after your physical self-care, try out some of these activities:
- Take a shower or have a bath.
- Go to the gym.
- Eat nourishing food.
- Brush your teeth (and don’t forget to floss too!).
- Walk the dog.
- Drink a glass of water.
- Take your daily vitamins.
The emotional dimension is all about being aware of your feelings and emotions, managing stress effectively, cultivating a sense of empathy and being compassionate of yourself and others.
Some emotional self-care activities that you can implement into your daily life include:
- Practise breathing exercises.
- Allow yourself to cry.
- Address your stress.
- Create healthy boundaries (such as saying ‘no’).
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Say positive affirmations.
Yes, self-care is all about the self but social connections play a big part in this. It’s important that you have a sense of connectedness and that you are developing and deepening relationships. Even if you’re an introvert, it’s important that you remember social self-care.
To look after your social-side, try out some of these self-care activities:
- Set up a dinner date with a friend.
- Attend networking events.
- Work from a coffee shop.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Organise a family catch-up (dinner, a picnic, etc.).
- Reach out to an old colleague.
In the wise words of chef Ruth Reichl, “One of the secrets to staying young is to always do things you don’t know how to do, to keep learning.”.
This brings us to the intellectual dimension (sometimes referred to as the ‘mental’ dimension). This dimension is all about being a life-long learner, with particular emphasis on sharpening the mind, enhancing your thinking and staying up-to-date with current affairs.“One of the secrets to staying young is to always do things you don’t know how to do, to keep learning.” – @ruthreichl #QOTD #selfcare Click To Tweet
If you’re unsure how to engage in self-care for your intellectual side, give some of these activities a go:
- Signup for a class on something that interests you.
- Read a book.
- Check a news website.
- Watch documentaries.
- Learn a new language.
- Do some creative writing.
This dimension can be a bit fuzzy because it really depends on your own spirituality. Generally speaking, the spiritual dimension is concerned with those activities that align with your personal values and beliefs. Ultimately, it is about finding a connection to something that is bigger than yourself. This will help to create a sense of belonging and it will help give some sense of meaning or purpose to your life.
Some ways in which you can engage in your spiritual self-care include:
- Attend a religious service.
- Practice yoga.
- Go on a nature walk.
- Volunteer at an organisation you connect with.
- Set time aside for daily devotion.
So, what next?
Now that you know what self-care is, why it’s important, and the different areas (or dimensions) that it is comprised of, you need to consider how to make it work for you.
It’s particularly important that your self-care is not just focused on one or two of the dimensions, but rather all of them. If you miss just one dimension, you compromise your state of wellness and your ability to be the best version of yourself.
So address how you can practice self-care for each and every dimension and the activities that you can incorporate into your daily life in order to achieve your best state of wellness.
Also be aware that self-care activities aren’t confined to one single dimension – they can transcend between multiple. Signing up for a class, for example, is located within the intellectual dimension, however, it can also be considered as social because you may meet and engage with new people.
And don’t feel limited by the examples laid out in each of the dimensions above – self-care is not a ‘one size fits all’. Find and add your own and figure out what works for you, and what doesn’t.
But most importantly: start today and get on your way to living your life more positively by engaging in self-care.
Are there some self-care examples that I missed? Or did this article resonate with you? Make sure you let me know in the comments below!
Anna Gratte is a marketing intern at Fempire. She has a keen interest in social media and content creation and is passionate about creating engaging content that inspires women to achieve success and live a fulfilled life.