Practice These 5 'Layers' Of Self-Care (For Greater Happiness & More Satisfaction)

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Self-care equals abundance, empowerment and happiness. Self-care, or the lack of, has been a very important theme in my life, as well as in my practice. For as long as I can remember, I have been teaching individuals and groups of women self-care tips and about the overall importance of self-care from a very personal level.

People, particularly women in this culture, have learned to put everyone and everything ahead of themselves. And in addition to this, we spend our lives attempting to please others and look for approval outside of ourselves, when in actuality, the only person that matters is us.

Many feel that if they put themselves first that they will be considered the dreaded “selfish.” No one wants to be that!

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And then, of course, the guilt sets in. Life would be so much easier if we all were able to be honest with ourselves and with others and make the best choices for ourselves first or, at least, consider ourselves in every situation. Even if we choose to put another first-let it be conscious.

The internal dramas would certainly decrease if we all followed this rule. Anxiety would decrease, decision making would become a breeze, and there would be many more happy people.

Self-care equals good boundaries. Do you say no when you mean no and yes when you mean yes? Do you consider yourself first in every situation in your life? Do you find yourself angry and resentful toward others because you have not been able to set a boundary for yourself? Do you play the victim? These are great questions to ask yourself.

Self-care can be categorized into five levels — the first directly affecting the next. If you’re not handling the level one self-care issues, then two through five are going to be more difficult. And if you're struggling in level one then you are more than likely struggling through all five.

Here are the 5 levels of self-care and how you can utilize these self-care tips every day:

1. Physical care.

Care for your body and maintain your health by using preventative measures: feeding yourself with good healthy food, being sure you get the proper rest, moving your body so it stays fit, and keeping up with prevenative doctor appointments.

Many of us, especially those in the caretaking roles — like moms or people who care the elderly or sick — can find it very difficult to take care of the basic needs because they're so busy taking care of others. But it is so important to keep yourself healthy, so make your physical self-care a priority!

2. Emotional care.

This means being sure you feel safe in all aspects of your life and that you are not subjecting yourself to abusive relationships of any kind. Many times, one area of life or another may feel oppressive to us.

We may have a great home life, but feel totally disrespected at work, or vice versa. Take stock of where your victim is showing up. You may want to do some deep inner work to understand why you are allowing bad behavior from certain people or in certain areas of your life. It might even be beneficial to get a trusted friend or professional to help you sort out your part in the acceptance of bad behavior of others.

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3. Mental care.

Participate in activities that stimulate your brain and interest you to care of your mind. Some examples might be reading great books, watching educational shows, taking a course or working toward a degree in something you are thoroughly interested in.

Sometimes, we find ourselves feeling bored with our lives. We are not sure what we want anymore. Spending some reflective time to think about what might make us feel good and acting on it is a great place to start. Even the commitment of doing one thing towards our self-growth a day will help energize us.

4. Social care.

What is the caliber of your friendships? Are they fulfilling or do they feel one-sided? Are you the one that seems to be always giving, and somehow, it feels as if you can’t find a friend when you need one?

Sometimes we have to cut loose some of those non-mutual relationships, despite how painful that may be. Letting these relationships go makes room for new and more fulfilling friends. Make dates with these great friends and have fun with them!

5. Spiritual care.

Be sure that you are practicing your spirituality, whether that be practicing in an organized religion or your own sense of spirituality in a personal way. Connecting with a higher source is so important in order to feel at peace in life. Having faith and a community to connect to gives you the strength and courage to face any adversity that may show up in life.

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Good, healthy, self-care practices equal abundance. You will feel your life transform over time when you focus on your self-care practices daily. If it seems impossible to think about shifting your life around from putting everyone else’s needs first to good healthy self-care, don’t worry. Good self-care is truly a practice!

Make a commitment to yourself that you will at least consider yourself in every situation even if you choose to put others first. Eventually, with practice, you will develop a habit of choosing you first. You will feel your self-esteem rise and you will notice others viewing you in a more respectful light as well.

Good things will come when you practice self-care!

Catherine Anesi, founder of The Lighthouse Wellness And Retreat Center, is a licensed clinical social worker, Reiki Master, and a Transformational Group and Retreat facilitator with a specialty in aiding people to make the changes required to transform their lives. Reach out to her for a virtual consultation by contacting her here.