Newly minted with my Life Coach Certification, I got really out of my comfort zone last week and decided to lead a workshop about self care at Strictly Salt. A dear friend of mine who is a mental health professional and also a life coach lead a class here last year when we started wellness Wednesday. She really helped to expand on my knowledge of self care, and I have since picked up a few tricks, some of which I would love to share with you today.
The Science of Self Care: Why it's more than just pampering.
The best way to combat the symptoms of stress in your life is to practice regular self care. A long hot bath with a glass of wine (or bottle, depending on how you roll) is definitely top of most self care lists. but there are many ways of relieving stress.
The Self Care Wheel
I want to share with you guys a document that my friend shared with me at my first self care class, the Self Care Wheel, inspired by a workbook by Saakvitne, Pearlman and Staff of the TSI/CAPP. Recreated by Olga Phoenix for her website. This little wheel is AWESOME! Take a look!
Your physical needs are the things that you need to feel physically safe. I, for one, jump into my shower every morning before work and thank god for modern day plumbing. Having spent some time in third world countries as a child, I really value a flushing toilet and hot running water more than most of you could ever understand! Practicing gratitude will totally be another topic for a blog, but modern plumbing is DEFINITELY on my list of physical needs for mental health! Others may put going to bed early, or sleeping in, some need some nurturing from their significant others, I know I'm constantly asking mine for neck rubs! Others get stress relief from walking in nature or taking vacations! Think about what activities you need in your routine that make your physical body feel whole, and write them down in that section of the wheel.
Psychological self care is probably in my opinion the most important on the wheel. Surrounding yourself with positive people, journaling, meditation and self awareness are things that may fall into this category. What do you like to do after you have had a long hard day to process what has happened? Just take the time to be nice to yourself. Step back and appreciate the marvel that is you!
Emotional self care is all about paying attention to your emotional needs and figuring out what you need to balance them out. If you are feeling sad from a loss of a family member, sometimes you just need to get together with loved ones to talk it out, or spend some time telling funny stories about that family who was lost or just lock yourself in your bathroom and have a really good ugly cry. Not all emotional self care is about sadness, sometimes you just need to give yourself a reminder that you are beautiful inside and out, or you need to find peace by practicing forgiveness. Holding a grudge can be very stressful! It's very healthy to just let go and forgive!
As a student of history, I often struggle with this part of the wheel. When I think of spirituality, I think of religion, and as a trained anthropologist, well, I just love religion! I find beauty in almost every religion! So many religions have such beautiful practices like meditation, prayer, music... But not all spiritual activities have to do with worship. Sometimes just singing can make you feel more spiritual, enjoying a day out of doors, or even volunteering for a cause can fulfill that spiritual need.
"Know thy self" The ancient greeks knew a thing or two about personal self care. There are ancient volumes written about it! The power of knowing yourself means understanding your needs and meeting them. In our western culture, a lot of us don't have the luxury to follow a dream. One thing leads to another and we end up stuck in a routine, living paycheck to paycheck living unfulfilled lives. This can sometimes lead to the stress of unhappiness. What tools do you need to make your personal dreams a reality? Tools such as vision boards, or bullet journaling can be useful for many. Making a list of your long term goals and short term goals, or just figuring out what you want in life in general!
I feel like professional goals often go by the wayside in the U.S. This particular aspect of self care isn't about where you want to be professionally, its about finding balance in the work place. Taking long lunches, taking your days off, leaving work at work and learning to say no. Some of find balance by planning the next step in our career paths. These are all great tools to incorporate into our routines!
My challenge to you is to take the time to fill out a blank copy of this wheel below and try to do at least one thing on that wheel every day for yourself, even if its only 20 minutes of your day.