Self-Care for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul

Self-care is one of those things that we know is important but, time after time again, we tend to not really set it as a priority. I get it though…we get busy. We have got to go to work, we have to go to school, we have to take care of our kids and family, so of course it’s hard to find time for ourselves. However, if self-care gets neglected for too long, you might find yourself completely exhausted, tired, burnt out, and overwhelmed. Consequently, you might find it very hard to care about anything or anyone at the time. After all, we can’t pour from an empty cup. In order to be there for others and function at our best, we have to attune to all the dimensions of our own wellness. Self-care is NOT being selfish. It’s important to put ourselves first sometimes and self-care tends to be the first thing that gets neglected in times of stress when things get busy. It can be hard when you’re already trying to juggle all your current responsibilities but with some time management and conscious effort, you CAN refill your cup.

In order to optimize your total wellness, I’m going to show you how you can engage in self-care in all areas of your life. But first, let me explain a little about what those areas are. There are 5 dimensions of wellness including, physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and lifestyle. The physical dimension is the one most people think about when they hear wellness. It includes anything we do to take care of our body and physical health whether that’s eating healthy, exercising, or going to your annual physical check-up. Our emotional wellness focuses on our ability to regulate our emotions, understand and share those feelings, and cope with life’s challenges. The social dimension is about our interactions and relationship with others, whether it be family, friends, loved ones, partners, co-workers, acquaintances, or the community at large. Our spiritual wellness is not solely focused on religion but also incorporates our search for meaning and purpose in life whether that be through spirituality or personal self-reflection. It involves gaining a better understanding of your values and beliefs and behaving in ways that are consistent with them. And then we have the lifestyle dimension which includes all other aspects of life including professional, financial, hobbies/interests, and intellectual. By becoming aware of the factors that influence wellness, you can make positive choices that contribute to your overall quality of life.

All these factors are interrelated, therefore, when one dimension starts to struggle, the others are usually affected as well. For example, when someone is stressed, anxious, or depressed and they neglect their emotional wellness, it will take a toll on physical (no energy or motivation to workout, appetite changes), social (withdrawal/isolation), spiritual (loss of faith), and lifestyle (poor work performance). Now, there isn’t necessarily one dimension that is more important than the others or a direct cause and effect relationship between them, but more so an association and interaction. Just as one affects the others, that also means there are activities and self-care strategies that we can do that benefit all dimensions. One example would be yoga. Yoga is a physical practice and can improve sleep, which benefits the physical component. Yoga is known to improve anxiety as a relaxation technique, which means it’s a part of emotional self-care. Yoga was originally founded as a spiritual practice and if you do it with friends, then it has social wellness benefits. Not to mention, it can be a hobby therefore a part of one’s lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at how you can start to incorporate self-care into your daily lives to improve your overall well-being and develop a well-rounded and balanced lifestyle. The best way to do this is by starting small. By implementing even just one self-care habit for your mind, body, and soul every day, you will start to notice a refreshed sense of energy and feel more connected to yourself and the world around you.

Physical Wellness
• Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet
• Obtaining nutritional information
• Exercising regularly and safely
• Maintaining regular sleeping patterns
• Practicing healthy hygiene habits
• Scheduling regular doctor appointments
• Staying aware of personal health and taking care of health issues
• Taking medications consistently
• Increasing water intake
• Taking vitamins/supplements
• Acupuncture
• Resting when sick

Emotional Wellness
• Identifying and utilizing healthy coping mechanisms
• Learning about stress management skills
• Using relaxation techniques (breathing, grounding)
• Seeking help when needed
• Taking responsibility for own actions
• Attending programs that teach conflict resolution strategies
• Anger management
• Attending therapy appointments
• Restructuring cognitive processes (Cognitive-behavioral therapy)
• Practicing positive daily affirmations
• Releasing negative beliefs
• Taming the inner critic
• Charting your moods
• Feeling your feelings
• Keeping a gratitude journal
• Self-forgiveness
• Working through grief
• Expressing feelings in healthy ways (journaling, art, talking)
• Developing self-awareness/insight

Social Wellness
• Participating in group activities
• Volunteering in the community
• Spending quality time with romantic partner (date night)
• Spending time with friends and family (game or movie night)
• Going out to lunch with a friend
• Getting to know a roommate, co-worker, peer, or people who may share similar interests
• Including some social or fun activities into your week
• Putting yourself out there to meet new people
• Participating in support groups
• Call or write friends who are far away
• Maintaining appropriate boundaries
• Developing assertive communication skills

Spiritual Wellness
• Engaging in prayer
• Practicing meditation
• Taking time to reflect each day
• Giving your time to help others
• Participating in spiritual/religious activities or rituals
• Practicing yoga on a regular basis
• Forgiveness
• Inspirational texts
• Reading the bible
• Spending time in nature
• Appreciating art that is impactful to you (music, film, literature)
• Engaging in self-discovery/self-reflection

Lifestyle Wellness
• Creating a budget to manage finances
• Finding a hobby/interest
• Attending leadership programs or participating in experiences (workshops, internships) to develop career skills
• Maintaining a structure/routine
• Having a fulfilling job
• Setting goals
• Music therapy
• Time management
• Learning new things related to your profession
• Taking breaks during work
• Debriefing from work
• Advocating for fair pay, benefits, & other needs

Self-care means taking the time to give yourself the love you give to others. It is vital for building strength and resilience against life’s stressors and inevitable challenges. Therefore, make self-care a priority and watch yourself thrive.

If you find yourself mentally, emotionally, or physically exhausted or drained and stuck in a fog, there are professionals that can help. Our counselors at Life Enhancement can help you refill your cup and guide you toward overall wellness and an improved quality of life. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Orlando mental health counselors.

An Invitation to Self-Care by Tracey Cleantis

The book of self-care by Mary Beth Janssen


LECS Counselor