Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Okay friends! Are you ready for this? Self. Care. September. Whoo!
Yeah, I heard your groan. You’ve heard it time and time again...self-care is necessary but it’s not working for you for whatever reason. Well sis, it’s because you’ve been doing it all wrong.
Say what?! I had the same reaction too. So I can’t wait to share with you what I learned. To preface, I didn’t create this at all, but it was instrumental to me figuring out what I needed when the bubble bath, sleeping all day, and nail appointment didn’t make me feel better. I love a pampering day, but that’s not always helpful. Sometimes, you have to get down to the source of what’s stressing you and address that.
Sound scary? I’m not going to lie, some of it might be, but I think you can handle it.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has this nifty little model called the Eight Dimensions of Wellness. It basically says that by looking into each of these categories and by working through them, you can gain more harmony in your life.
So let’s jump in! Take out a sheet of paper or the notes section of your phone and let’s roll through these. All you need to do is read the description below and then rate yourself on a scale of 0 to 10. 0 meaning that you have absolutely no piece of this or confidence in this in your life. 10 being it’s the best you could ever imagine it to be. Ready? Let’s do this!
Emotional: What’s your attitude like? How are your emotions? Are you able to control them or are they erratic? Do you have positive self-worth? Is the day to day easy or challenging to cope with? How are you really?
Financial: How your monies looking? Do you have a budget? Are you saving? Do you make enough? You good with retirement, college funds, buying a house, and taking vacation? When you think about your financial situation, how do you feel?
Social: What’s your connection to others look like? Do you have a good support system? Is there a group of family or friends that you feel like you belong to? What do your relationships look like? How satisfied are you with your circle?
Spiritual: Do you feel like you have purpose outside of yourself? Have you figured out the meaning of your life or what you’re supposed to do here? Do you believe in a higher power and do you feel connected to it? Are you clear on your life’s purpose?
Halfway checkpoint! Are you rating yourself? Yes? Awesome boo! Keep going! Are you just reading? Girl. It’s only as good as what you put into it! Get out that paper and go back and write down your ratings! Let’s keep going...
5. Occupational: How’s that job of yours? Do you love going, dread it, or is it just
okay? Are you making an impact in your job or just punching a clock? Is it something
you find fulfilling or is it just a means to make money? With all honesty, how does your
career fall on the rating scale?
6. Physical: Are you taking care of yourself health wise? What are you eating daily? Are
you active? Are you happy with your body when you look in the mirror? Are you
sleeping well? In terms of your health, how is it?
7. Intellectual: Are you growing or are you stagnant? When’s the last time you learned
something new? Do you have hobbies or interests that you’re constantly learning about
or getting better with just because you like them? When you consider how you’ve
grown or expanded your knowledge in general, how would you rate yourself?
8. Environmental: How are your surroundings? Is your space clean or cluttered? Do
you take care of your space? Is it aesthetically pleasing to you? Does it match your style?
Have you been doing your part to keep your community clean? When you think about
your physical settings, how do you feel?
Alright sis, where ya at?! Star your top 3 categories. These are the ones you’re doing amazing at. It might not be your personal best, but we are all works in progress and what you have now is good enough. Circle your bottom 2. These are the ones we gotta work on A-S-A-P.
You might be saying to yourself, but I need to work on like 5 of these. Aht aht...baby steps here. While a complete overhaul sounds good, you can only manage so much change at once. No one is expecting you to magically become a self-care expert in the next few mins. In fact, let me give you an example of what this looks like in real life.
Let’s say we have a friend named Micki. Hey Micki girl! Micki is doing amazing with her Social category. She has a standing Saturday bottomless mimosa brunch with either friends or family cause...who doesn’t love brunch?! She gets to see the people most important to her while enjoying good food and catching up on life. It’s her end of week release and she feels like she needs that. I mean honestly, who doesn’t?
But Micki is also super stressed in her financial category. She feels like she makes enough money, but when it gets near payday, she’s always strapped for cash and she’s living pretty check to check. She has a goal of getting a new car because hers is on it’s last leg, but just can’t seem to save for a down payment.
I’m sure you see the problem here. While Micki is addressing one of her categories, she’s neglecting another. Micki’s desire to brunch every weekend may be the very thing having an impact on her financial status. But wait?! Micki NEEDS these brunches...or does she? In order to service all of her needs, Micki’s gotta start thinking about this a little differently. A little brunch never hurt anyone, but going every week is crashing her car fund. Literally. So what should she do?
Some might say she should stop going to brunch and instead save that money. She could, but that wouldn’t service her Social category. We hate extremes over here and wellness doesn’t have to be all or nothing! Here’s what I would recommend:
Micki can continue going to brunch because completely stopping them might end up doing her more of a disservice since she will cut off her social butterfly status. Instead, maybe she could decrease her brunches to twice a month. For the other two weekends, she could host brunch at home so that friends or family can each bring a dish (save everyone’s coins!) or she could actually use that brunch time to service another category. Her Physical category was in the midrange because while she thinks she looks great, she hates how she’s winded after going upstairs or walking her dog around the block. She hates working out alone though so rarely does it. Micki could repurpose her brunch time by going on walks with friends or family or doing some other activity., Or she could suggest that they attend a class somewhere to expand her Intellectual category if she struggles with that. If she wants to directly address her Financial aspect, she could create a line item in her budget just for brunch and when she’s spent it, it’s gone. Any of these things could work. And Micki should try them until she figures out what works best for her. This won’t be a one size fits all model because we aren’t all the same. What one person would do is different from what another should do. She’s going to have to adjust and tweak to figure out what combination of her categories works best for her.
I know Micki was just an example and yours may not be as clear as hers was.. But the only way to figure it out for yourself is to deep dive into these categories and figure out what’s stressing you and decide what YOU need. Not your mama, not your sister, not your BFF. You, sis.
I gave you the formula (here it is again!), so now it’s time to go to work!
Step 1: Rate yourself on the categories
Step 2: Star your top 3 and congratulate yourself! You’re doing something right!
Step 3: Circle your bottom 2. Congratulate yourself! You’ve figured out your major stressors!
Step 4: Write down the first 2 things that come to mind that you can do to address bottom 2.
Step 5: Evaluate them. How feasible are they? How easy are they?
Step 6: Revise as needed to get them to be feasible and easy.
Step 7: Try them out and adjust as needed.
Step 8: In a month or two, rate yourself again.
It’s completely normal for your ratings to change over the course of the year or even a couple of months. You will likely never be a 10 in all areas of this because #lifehappens. But being a healthy 7 or above in most categories (NOT all) is a good place to be!
The reflection and action may not feel sexy and you likely won’t have instant gratification (like my girl Micki, she’s gonna be sad about decreasing brunch dates, but hype when she has the money for her car!). You might even initially feel discouraged about your ratings, but press forward. This is one of the best ways to DateYourselfGirl! You got this ;)