Self care from a holistic perspective

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Laura Lillo Pulido

Laura Lillo Pulido

Forensic health psychologist

Self care and productivity are two concepts that are more closely related than we might think, as  Grupo Geard explains. Although our society constantly feeds the rush for constant productivity, it is impossible to be productive without taking care of ourselves first. 

What is Self Care

Simple, yet mysteriously not easy. Self care is about taking care of oneself, acquiring responsibility and commitment, and treating ourselves as a priority. While getting a massage, playing sports or having a nice drink are forms of self care, at Wemby we believe that self care can go beyond that: what if we prioritize our wellbeing as a way of life?

According to the World Health Organization, self care is “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.” 

Even chimpanzee moms exercise their role better when they take their self care time, as they explain in this National Geographic study.

Types of Self Care

There is no single or perfectly prescribed way to take care of ourselves. It will depend on each person and even the same person will appreciate more some approaches over  others depending on what they may be going through in life. For this reason, at Wemby we maintain a holistic vision of self care. 

It is important to maintain a balance in all points to find our wellbeing. This will help us if we have sleep problems, acute stress, lack of free time, anxiety, work overload and particularly if we are close to burnout.

1. Emotional Self Care

Learning to manage our emotions and acquiring the ability to self regulate them is the basis of emotional self care. Every day we feel different emotions of different types, some more unpleasant than others, so it is important to know them and pay attention to the message they bring us. It will help us to have a regulated self esteem and to avoid somatization in the form of physical and mental illnesses. 

It can be fostered by journaling, meditating or learning different ways to express your emotions, such as dance, writing, art, etc.

2. Social Self Care

Human beings are social beings by nature. There are bonds that harm and bonds that repair. Social self care involves learning to differentiate between them and nurture those that are healthy and detach from those that are unhealthy. Learning to relate in a balanced way with the people who are part of our world is key to creating a support network in which we can sustain ourselves and evolve together. 

Some examples include: taking care not only of the quantity but also of the quality of the time you spend with your loved ones, being grateful for what the relationships you maintain bring you, learning to detect and get out of toxic relationships, being part of groups and associations with common values and interests.

3. Physical Self Care

Taking care of your physical body is one of the most valuable investments you can make because you are going to spend your whole life in your body. When you take care of yourself you feel better, because your body actually functions better and your immune system can do its job. 

Physical self care includes any activity you can do to improve your physiological well-being such as walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, staying sufficiently hydrated, taking care of your nutrition with healthy food and not with products, or maintaining proper sleep.

4. Spiritual Self Care

Giving meaning to our passage through the world, putting consciousness in everything we do, makes us enjoy life in a full way. All our actions gain strength, and our existence takes on meaning when we find the fuel, the essence, the reason or our personal mission. There are many ways to call it, but there is a very powerful way to feel it: spirituality. Spiritual self care doesn’t have to involve any religion, although of course it can. It’s about finding ways to nurture our soul, our deepest self.

Meditation, getting closer to nature, doing yoga, reading philosophy are some examples on how to nurture spiritual self-care.

5. Mental Self Care

What we feel and do has a lot to do with what we think, so cultivating a proper mental hygiene will help us to have healthy habits and therefore, to have a more fulfilled life. It is very important to cultivate mental self care to put our mind at the service of what is valuable to us and not become an obstacle that hinders our personal development, but to turn our mind into our ally. 

If we want some concrete exercises; we can write a gratitude diary with 3 positive things that have happened during the day, learn something new, read about a topic that interests us or take care of the quality and veracity of the news and information that reaches us through social networks. 

6. Professional Self Care

Professional self care encompasses any activity that contributes to strengthening and developing your professional role so that you feel more fulfilled and therefore happier. We spend a large part of our lives working, so it is very important to attend to this area.

If we plan our breaks and respect them, if we continue to train throughout our career and share knowledge and skills in work groups, or if we work on constructive communication, we will be cultivating professional self care

7. Practical Self Care

One of the most important assets we humans possess is time, so learning to manage it effectively is key to enjoying your life to the fullest. And this involves knowing and integrating into your daily life the time management tools that are most effective for your specific case. 

Practical self care is precisely about this, about organizing and optimizing your time and the quality of it, distributed in a balanced way in the different areas of your life. You can keep an agenda, learn to differentiate the urgent from the important, dedicate part of your day to organizing tasks or take care of your physical and virtual desk. 

About the Author

Hi! I’m Laura Lillo, a forensic and clinical psychologist. I  strongly believe that psychology services should be accessible to all.  I’ve worked in prisons and with kids with risks of social exclusion. This has taught me the importance of constant learning and improvement as a person and as a therapist.

If I’m not cooking, drawing or singing, the most likely scenario is that I’m playing board games. Right now, I’m busy learning and writing content for Wemby, an online psychology platform. During my weekends I’m Game Master in Exit Madrid, a escape rooms company.

Wemby provides online therapy and wellbeing services delivered by experienced psychologists. Our team is here to help you start building your balance and emotional wellbeing today.

Download the app, complete a matching questionnaire and get paired with a therapist with the best licensed professional to match your needs.

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