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5 Dimensions of Self Care

The term, “self care” has been thrown around a lot on social media lately. The 5 dimensions of self care cover a full spectrum of Mind, Body, Spirt. To fully dive deep into the waters of self care, let’s clearly define the definitions of Self Care.

*Podcast notes for the 5 Dimensions of Self Care can be found at the end of this post.

What Is Self Care?

Self Care can be defined as: “Activities and practices we engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and enhance our well-being”.

For some people, maybe you’re a little lost on what that specifically means. Maybe you have a full understanding of this term but you don’t know where to start. For some who are prone to or experience acute or chronic anxiety- maybe self care is a goal of yours to start practicing but you just start feeling paralysis by analysis. Wherever you are on the spectrum, I think a great way to start this out is to first identify the 5 Dimensions of Self Care and from there we can talk about different tips and suggestions to incorporate into your lifestyle. The 5 Dimensions of Self Care include:

  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Social
  • Spiritual and
  • Emotional aspects

Incorporating activities from each dimension into your life means you’ll be nourishing every aspect into your daily routines and ultimately getting better at practicing Self-Care. Also, when you’re looking to begin cultivating a spiritual practice or live more in tune and intuitively, balance is so important. To be fair, balance is super important in life, in general.

Self Care has been very “instagram-ized” (probably not a word, but it’s all good) and has been glorified and mistaken as pampering. Don’t get me wrong, pampering can fall into Self Care. However, it would be a huge disservice to our growth and our well being if we primarily focused on epsom salt baths and bath bombs, getting our nails done and facials as JUST the one aspect of Self Care.

Physical Self Care

Starting at the physical level of self care, this is going to primarily involve your fitness, eating and sleep habits. This area also includes how you manage stress, your dental and medical health as well as overall sexual health. I understand that all of those categories sound like a lot to manage and focus on all at once. No need to worry or stress! I like to write down a list of categories that fall into the physical realm of Self Care and think about which area I have been neglecting lately. I don’t worry about making sure I’m doing 15 things at once to incorporate self care into my routine, I just focus on the one area that has been neglected and throughout that week I find small ways to honor my physical self care. Physical self-care can often overlap with mental self-care because how you view yourself will reflect through how you take care of yourself physically.

Integrating the Physical Dimension of Self Care

The physical dimension of self-care encompasses safety, health, nutrition, movement, physical touch, and sexual needs. When you practice activities for your physical well-being, you can increase your energy levels and boost your self-esteem. Some components you can do as a daily practice to integrate the physical dimension of self care include:

  • Eating nourishing, high vibrational foods and drinking nourishing tonics and elixirs
  • Dancing or practicing yoga, Qi-gong, Tai chi, or pranic breathing
  • Taking a long, relaxing Epsom salt or magnesium flake bath
  • Take a nap or get some extra sleep
  • Schedule a dental or medical check up
  • Exploring tantric touch or sacred masturbation / Orgasm magic

If that sounds a little woo-woo for you or maybe you’re feeling a strong resistance to hearing that, I would highly suggest and invite you to do a little research and dig a little deeper into those subjects if it calls you. It’s an extremely healing and beautiful practice that works with your energy, touch, breathing, and intention. 

Intellectual Self Care

Intellectual self care involves your personal growth, the continuous pursuit for learning and education, engaging in new ideas and belief systems, practicing mindfulness and creating an overall positive mindset for yourself.

If you think way back to the age of the Renassiance, with Leonardo DiVinci, Michael Angelo, Raphael, Carravagio- these men were constantly in the pursuit of knowledge and all aspects of art and innovation. This was about a 300 year period where there was this heightened sense of pursuit of knowledge, art, science, innovation and music. And I believe right now we’re slowly waking up to a second wave of this pursuit for not only innovative knowledge and looking towards the future, but also looking back at our ancestors, and finding the magic within spirituality, plant medicine, alchemy, and incorporating that into our modern lives.

One thing I would highly suggest that doesn’t cost you anything, it doesn’t take up too much time to devote to, is addressing your inner “thinker”. The mind knows no bounds, and your intellect is bordered only by your drive to seek and learn. I know somewhere I read like, “A healthy mind is the foundation for a healthy “self” and personally, I couldn’t agree more. 

Integrating the Intellectual Dimension of Self Care

The desire to learn new concepts and expand your knowledge contributes positively to your overall well-being. Mental self-care is about finding the balance between stimulating your mind and giving your mind a break. In my own personal experience, all this can help with creativity, innovation, and continual learning. Some ways to integrate this dimension of self care include:

Social Dimension of Self Care

Social Self care is the 3rddimension of self care and this involves having a supportive network of people you can turn to when you need uplifting, guidance, or someone to talk to.

Whether it’s your circle of sisters, your tribe, your squad- whoever that is for you, it’s critically important to cultivate these lasting relationships. Regardless of whether you’re an introvert and prefer a small, intimate dinner or an extrovert who thrives on large crowds, we all enjoy human interaction. We as human beings are social by default and as such, we crave, thrive and seek comfort in a solid social network. Social connections help create a sense of belonging and acceptance, so whether you’re the life of the party or prefer to have a Netflix marathon with a small handful of friends, finding that connection with “your people” and cultivating those relationships – going beyond a surface level is very important. 

Integrating the Social Dimension of Self Care

The health of our relationships with others plays a significant role in our overall well-being and happiness. As humans, we are social creatures and need to be around other humans. Some ways to integrate this dimension of social self care could be:

  • Meeting up with friends for coffee, tea, or a lunch break
  • Engage with family members, neighbors or people in your community
  • Reaching out to someone in need
  • Organizing a gathering or dinner party/potluck

Spiritual Dimension of Self Care

The 4thdimension I’m going to discuss is spiritual self care. There are SO many ways to define spirituality because it means different things to different people. Getting in touch with your spiritual side doesn’t mean you have to start going to Sunday mass every week or book a flight to India and volunteer at an ashram. I mean you can if you want- but when I talk about spirituality as self care, I’m focusing on cultivating a sense of peace, self-love and purpose, not only within yourself but within the earth and the universe that is all around you. Spiritual self care involves the beliefs and values that help guide your life. Finding your own understanding and practice of spirituality can be of great benefit to your life, as it helps you gain perspective and comfort, enables you to focus on the bigger picture, understand more of the why, disconnect from the modern world and detangle yourself from a love of material possessions.

A spiritual practice will help nourish your soul, seek better understanding and explore different dimensions of the spiritual realm for those who gravitate towards that. Spirituality for me is something that not only is crucial for me to acknowledge and incorporate in my daily practice 

Integrating the Spiritual Dimension of Self Care

Spiritual self-care is focused on giving greater meaning or purpose in your life that extends beyond our physical form.This is ultimately about connecting with the deepest level of your soul and your inner wisdom so you can begin to live in alignment with your purpose in the world. If this language isn’t something that aligns with you, look at this dimension of self care helping to guide you to the most authentic, abundant and joy-fueled expression of you. Some examples of this dimension of self care includes:

  • Meditation
  • Writing down your dreams every morning and reflection
  • Spend time alone in nature
  • Develop a regular yoga, tai chi or qi-gong practice
  • Take a kundalini Yoga class
  • Volunteer at a local shelter or organization

Emotional Dimension of Self Care

Emotional self-care involves awareness of your feelings and emotions, dealing with stress POSITIVELY, and cultivating a sense of compassion, kindness, and love for ourselves and others. Emotional Intelligence is so important and is a big factor for those who may be looking into the self-discovery and self realization realm. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

Take a moment and ask yourself, how is your emotional strength? Do you cave under pressure or can you face things head-on with a smile and a clear head? By focussing on your emotional self-care, you can build resilience, lessen stress and anxiety, and cultivate an overall feeling of being capable and successful.

Once you allow your inner happiness to blossom, and start spending quality time for and with yourself, you’ll start to see that self-love becomes  a priority, not an obligation or burden. You will then start to attract the right attention. Your friends, significant others, and family can never supplement this feeling because it comes from deep within your soul. Your sense of self-worth will radiate out and will allow you to prioritize in a way that will form honest, healthy, and genuine lasting relationships. 

To be honest, I feel like there needs to be a huge paradigm shift when it comes to self care and the stigma or shameful feeling that typically arrives soon after we make that conscious decision to do things just for ourselves. Society makes us feel like when we have downtime, we should be spending it on work, creating more work, creating content, or helping someone with their work. We have created a culture that idolizes “being busy”. 

Integrating the Emotional Dimension of Self Care

Emotional self-care is so essential to our health, well being and happiness. When we face difficult and challenging emotions it’s super easy to want to numb out the pain, disconnect, run away, and turn to our vice of choice and forget about the issue altogether. When we allow ourselves to feel the full spectrum of our emotions, we build up the internal strength and resilience we need to face the next challenge that comes along. Some ways to integrate a practice of emotional self care include:

Creating healthy boundaries 
self-care means that saying ‘no’ is sometimes necessary and creating healthy boundaries for what we allow. You are not a asshole for changing your mind – you are human and have every right to make the best decisions for you.

Practicing gratitude
what we focus on expands so taking time each day to write down or think about what is going well in your life and what you have to be grateful for is an instant way to shift your mood. 

Practicing Forgiveness
Forgiveness isn’t always easy, especially when we feel betrayed, or when people project their issues on to us, or we find ourselves in a tornado of someones aggression, insecurities, or just plain insensitivity. Ultimately, forgiveness is especially challenging because it’s hard to let go of what’s happened. 

Positive Self – Talk 
How we talk to ourselves matters! We need to fuel ourselves with positive self-talk that lifts us up and creates alignment with the future vision we have for our lives. It’s easy to fall into the trap of overthinking and believing every thought we think, but the reality is that just because we think something it doesn’t mean it’s true. What we say matters, as well as our thoughts. Words are like prayers that manifest into our reality. Imagine – we are composed of 60-70% of water. The frequency and vibrations of our words affect us not only on a mental scale but on a physiological scale as well.

For example, in Dr. Emoto’s water experiment, he exposed water in glasses to different words, pictures, or music and then freezing and examining the aesthetic properties of the resulting crystals with microscopic photography. Other scientific studies have done similar experiments with plants. The results show that the elements exposed to negative words, images and sounds had a more chaotic composition vs. the elements that were exposed to positive words.

Self Care Isn’t Selfish

Lastly I want to finish with a common misconception people have when it comes to self care- Self Care isn’t selfish!! As I mentioned before, we need to dismantle the stigma of feeling guilty for taking care of ourselves on all dimensions.

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