Our wellness is no longer just a measure of our physical condition but rather 5 important dimensions...
Self-care has been a real buzzword in the wellness world over the last few years, but most of us are only just beginning to figure out what it really means!
It's one of those terms that's really taken off on social media, and savvy brands are marketing everything from cosmetics to travel packages as an act of self-care.
Convenience, quality and affordability are no longer enough. People are beginning to favour brands and products that promise to look after their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing as well.
But what does 'self-care' really mean?
To practice self-care is to consciously and actively take responsibility for our own wellbeing. Self-care has a fasinating political history, but in 2019, it's simply the collection of tools, habits and rituals that help us navigate and survive the constant stimulation and uncertainty of the modern world.
Our lives are busier than ever, and it's easy to burn out if we're running around in flight or flight mode, trying to take care of everyone and everything - except for ourselves.
According to the Well Economy report, our wellness is no longer just a measure of our physical condition. Our wellness is now measured by many factors, including our mental state, sleep quality, and mindfulness.
To cover every facet of our wellbeing, there are 5 dimensions of self-care:
- Spiritual self-care: are you feeling connected to the natural world and with all other life? Do you feel a sense of oneness?
- Social self-care: are you enjoying meaningful relationships? Do your social groups elevate you? Do you have support? Are you having fun with others?
- Physical self-care: are you physically healthy? How is your fitness? Do you feel free in your body, and are you nourishing yourself with healthy foods?
(If you're struggling to find healthy food inspiration, we've got you covered!)
- Intellectual/Mental self-care: what's your mindset like? Do your thought patterns empower you to live well? Or are you stuck in a loop of negative thoughts and low self-esteem? Are you growing your knowledge and opening your mind?
- Emotional self-care: do you have love for yourself and receive love from others? Do you have a positive relationship with the full spectrum of human emotions? Emotional thriving doesn't mean we're 'happy' all the time; it means we feel and process our emotional experiences in a healthy way.
Today the self-care movement is tackling the idea that someone shouldn't have to hit 'rock bottom' in any area of life before they can start putting themselves first. A self-care practise is not just something you do once in a while when life gets too much; it's what you do every day and every week, month after month.
These are the 5 ways' self-care' is taking a new direction in 2019.
1. From Indulgence to Discipline
Have you eaten cake by candlelight in a luxurious bubble bath lately? This is one of the extreme ends of the #selfcare spectrum we've seen on social media in recent years; but fortunately, the portrayal of self-care as an indulgence is on its way out.
Self-care is not an indulgence we treat ourselves to from time to time. Self-care is a discipline. It requires mental toughness and a deep understanding of your priorities, as well as respect for both yourself and others. It might look like limiting your Netflix time to just one episode before going to sleep because you don't want to sleep through your alarm and miss your workout.
Thriving is an art because it isn't something that just happens; it's something that is practiced and continually developed. A disciplined self-care practice enables us to continue growing, expanding and becoming more functional humans. The way we practice the Art of Thriving is through cultivating our self-care habits, routines and rituals.
2. The Return to Ritual
It's human nature to crave and create ritual and ceremony. They help us to grow, be guided, transition, reconnect, and move through life's changes with more ease and meaning. The need for ritual has not left us. However, there is so much external distraction these days, and our current society offers little guidance, schedule or structure for fulfilling this need.
In 2019 we need ritual and ceremony more than ever to recharge our batteries and reconnect with ourselves, and the self-care movement is beginning to reunite us with ritual in a positive way that fits in with modern life. For example, if we prioritise self-care, we might choose to celebrate with ceremony, presence and reverence, rather than celebrating by getting drunk.
Celebrations, ceremonies and rituals not only help us to manage the ebb and flow of our lives, but these practices also enable us to connect with our authentic voice and step into our true path.
3. The Birth of Boundaries
Are you saying 'yes' to things that drain you? Are you allowing behaviour that makes you feel insecure? Are you allowing your time and energy to be wasted?
It takes discipline to do the things that are good for us instead of what feels good in the moment. It takes even more discipline to refuse to take responsibility for other people's emotional wellbeing.
Putting your needs first isn't easy because we haven't been raised and programmed to do so. Millennials and previous generations weren't taught this in school, but we really should have been!
Self-care is saying 'no' when you need to, even if someone will be disappointed. Identifying and expressing our personal boundaries enables us to foster positive relationships and cultivate our stress management systems. Being aware of and implementing our boundaries also makes us more considerate of others.
4. Money Matters
Being financially well isn't just about having a fat chunk of money in the bank. Financial self-care is vital to our overall wellness, because what we can afford plays such a huge role in what we can do for ourselves. It's time for us all to start viewing money as a tool and resource that enables us to take better care of ourselves!
Rather than justifying a colossal shopping spree as 'self-care', we're now automating our finances, learning to invest in the share market, destroying our debt and refraining from pointless purchases - all in the name of self-care.
Financial Journalist Jessica Sier believes the first step to building wealth is to study your values. Then you need to learn how money works, pick up some good habits, and let it help you get where you want to go!
5. Deeper Layers of Self Awareness
Last, but definitely not least; radical self-awareness is the backbone of self-care. Rather than trying to fit the square peg of our personality into the round hole of societal norms, self-care today involves identifying our unique strengths and sensitivities.
For example, if you've taken the Myers-Briggs personality test, you might be aware that 'judging' personality types thrive with a strict routine, while 'perceiving' personality types do better flowing through a daily and weekly rhythm, rather than adhering to a strict schedule.
The reason why journaling is such a popular self-care practice is that it enables us to express, reflect on, and stay connected with our goals, desires, and who we really are.
Do you know your Human Design Type? This is a great start to your journey of deep self-understanding!
There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Self-care is taking a new direction. In 2019 and beyond, we want to take time to nourish ourselves, fill our cups, and let our friends, partners, colleagues and communities benefit from the overflow. We are placing more importance on things that have real value and real meaning in our lives - and this will be different for everyone.
Your health and wellbeing will blossom as you tap into what you personally need to thrive in the long-term and function well on a day-to-day basis. There is no one-size-fits-all for self-care!