Step 7: Balance, Happiness & Long-Term Self-Care Maintenance A Guest Post by Amand Ghosh

self care iceberg watermarked

 

Welcome back to the series Breaking into the Self-Care Mindset for Professional and Family Caregivers!

If you’re new, go back and check out Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and spend 2-4 weeks implementing the exercises in each step. In total, you should devote about 6 months to practicing what you’ve learned in this series, in order.

If you’ve been following along, let’s dive in!

Balanced Self-Care

The last few posts have been about putting your self-care mindset into practice. We’ve spent time getting to a healthier state of mind and we’ve spent time working through the “hiccups” of practicing self-care. Now it’s time to assess where you stand in different aspects of your life to achieve balanced self-care.

Our lives can be divided into different areas. They are:

  • Physical (rest, nutrition, exercise, stress management)
  • Relational (relationships with others and ourselves)
  • Professional (work, finances, career)
  • Personal (intellectual pursuits, hobbies, creativity, play)
  • Spirituality (a sense of purpose, a connection to something bigger)

Each of these areas is like cogs in a wheel. If one is out of whack, then the wheel doesn’t turn easily or well. Likewise, if one area is neglected, then our lives can be a bit topsy-turvy. It’s necessary to practice self-care in each of these areas to live a happy, balanced, and healthy life.

Your homework this time will be to assess each area of your life and address areas in need of attention with true self-care.

Self-Care Maintenance

Before we end this series, let’s take one final moment to reflect on what self-care means. I strongly encourage you to review this post.

Self-care is a discipline.

It’s not an indulgence. It’s doing what’s in our best interest.

It’s not a band-aid. It’s the life-long pursuit of maintaining healthy mental and physical states.

It can be very easy to forget about practicing self-care. We get busy. Time will pass after this series ends, and we could find ourselves slipping into old habits. If this happens, take a moment to assess what’s happening.

Put an achievable plan into action to get back on track with your self-care. A plan could be as simple as writing down three things you want to accomplish each day as acts of self-care. For example, eating a healthy breakfast, saying no to overtime on the weekend, and practicing stress management at morning meetings. Then, rinse and repeat.

I highly suggest that you give this process a try:

  1. Review this post to remind yourself that self-care is a discipline. It’s not for the faint of heart. Remind yourself that you’re human and self-care is hard. Remind yourself why you want to practice self-care. Keep this post bookmarked and read it to remind yourself what it means to truly take good care of your body, mind, and spirit.
  2. Evaluate the different areas of your life using a self-care wheel like the one described earlier. This will help you figure out which “cog” is out of whack so you can adjust.
  3. Based on your evaluation, write down three items to accomplish in a day and prioritize them over everything else. Literally, everything else. Do this every day until you feel like you’ve regained balance and health.
  4. Schedule quarterly check-ins to evaluate each aspect of your life so that you can course correct with self-care as needed. This prevents small issues from becoming big ones. It also maintains your sense of peace and happiness throughout the year and helps you to stay connected to your internal state.

I also suggest using Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journaling Method to keep track of the different areas of your life over the course of the year. True bullet journaling can be a life changing practice. It’s not the “fluff” journaling you see on Pinterest. I highly recommend reading about Bullet Journaling on Ryder’s website using the link I provided. There’s a 5-minute video you can watch on his site that explains the process too. Bullet journaling can also help with personal goal setting, and it can be a useful way to uncover patterns and habits that derail your success, balance, and happiness.

Your Final Homework:

Evaluate each of the following areas. I’ve provided a few prompts to help you.

Give each area a score 1-5 (1=not doing well and 5=doing great).

Then, address the areas that need addressing by performing acts of self-care.

For example, if your professional life is suffering, list steps you can take to address that.

Remember, self-care isn’t about doing yoga, getting an expensive massage, or packing a bag of carrots in your lunch. It could be, but it isn’t exclusively. It’s about doing what needs to be done to live a healthy life, in all aspects of your life. So, it could be taking steps to get a promotion or picking up a hobby to challenge yourself. It could also be choosing to stay at your current level at work (as opposed to climbing the ladder) to gain more time at home with your family.

  • Physical (rest, nutrition, exercise, stress management)
    • Am I getting 8 hours of sleep each night?
    • Do I feel rested or tired most of the time?
    • How am I eating?
    • How stressed am I?
  • Relational (relationships with others and our self)
    • How are my relationships?
    • How are my relationships with my family? With myself? With my colleagues?
  • Professional (work, finances, career)
    • Am I happy in my career?
    • Am I saving enough for retirement?
    • Am I properly managing my money—do I have a budget, am I overspending?
    • AM I stressed about money?
  • Personal (intellectual pursuits, hobbies, creativity, play)
    • Do I have hobbies that I enjoy?
    • Am I challenging myself?
    • Do I have healthy outlets to let loose?
  • Spirituality (a sense of purpose, a connection to something bigger)
    • Do I have a sense of purpose?
    • Do I feel lost?
    • Do I feel connections to others or something bigger than myself?

And that’s it. I hope you enjoyed this series and found it useful. Congratulations on coming this far and taking real steps to improve your well-being.

I wish you the very best and I am so happy you’ve followed along in this series.

Cheers!

 

amanda
Author Bio:
Amanda has contributed to public health initiatives on two continents in three countries. She’s currently pursuing a nursing degree and has successfully owned and operated a freelance writing business specializing in content for healthcare organizations for three years. She and her husband and daughter live in New York. They all enjoy eating out at great restaurants. Connect with Amanda on Linkedin and start a conversation.

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