Who really needs to know more about self-care? I mean to engage in self-care we just need a book, a candle, and a bubble bath, am I right? Wrong. Self-care is about much, much more than bubble baths and scented candles, but definitely not denying that those items don’t make us feel good. Self-care happens below the surface level and can bring about profound self-transformation.
The good stuff really starts happening when we take a holistic approach to our self-care practices. I say practices because it is not one practice, but instead, five separate and unique forms of practice, it encompasses social self-care, intellectual self-care, physical self-care, emotional self-care, and spiritual self-care.
What does holistic even mean?
Merriam-Webster defines holistic as relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.
So, think of self-care as different components of our lives, or different tanks, where we are engaging in positive actions to fill up each tank, thus filling up our self-care tank as a whole.
Components of Holistic Self-care
I mentioned above that there are 5 areas of holistic self-care: social, intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual. When combined, you can create your own holistic self-care practice. You may notice I relate these different self-care sectors to tanks, much like Gary Chapman references in his book, The 5 Love Languages. Big fan of that book and this whole tank concept. Get it… whole tank? Sorry, not sorry.
These are your people, your gang, your posse, you get the idea. These are the supportive network of people that uplift and guide you through this little thing called life. Positive social groups and settings help in developing a sense of belonging. Try filling this tank by joining a team, engaging with people online, setting time aside for your friends.
This is your own personal development and that continuous pursuit of learning. Learning anything that interests you, remember you are in control of your curriculum here. This could be engaging in new hobbies, reading, taking classes, having community dialogue, etc. It could also just be having a positive mindset.
Find that movement you enjoy. This is the physical stuff like working out, eating nutrient-dense foods, going to the doctor or the dentist, etc. These actions shouldn’t feel like a chore, but instead, feel nourishing to your soul.
In my opinion, this tank needs all the love and is essential to your self-care practice. This is being able to set boundaries with yourself and with others, working to understand feelings and emotions, and how to express those emotions efficiently and effectively. This could be writing in a journal, or maybe even counseling, I’m a big fan of counseling.
A spiritual self-care practice, like every other aspect of holistic self-care, will look different for everyone. Maybe you already have a practice you engage in regularly, if not, you can develop your practice by meditating, doing yoga, finding your community of like-minded people, etc.
Implementing the practice
Above are different tanks that all need some attention, some may already be full, others might need adjusting, and maybe some have had little, to no attention paid to them in a very long time.
No matter how you start your journey, practice what feels good to you, what serves you and fills your self-care tank effortlessly, and remember that self-care doesn’t have to be complicated.
For example, if meditation is not your thing, try restorative yoga, or a quiet walk without music or a podcast. Reach out to your friends. Become a part of a community, like this one!