Pillar 3, Self-Care, is about how we routinely care for ourselves and our environment to naturally cleanse, build protection, and develop our inner power.
The two most obvious ways that we care for ourselves is through our daily hygiene practices and sleep schedule. Regular cleansing and sleeping routines are critical for building protection and helping our bodies restore and regenerate. Self-Care also includes your environment. Is your environment nurturing you? How do you care for your environment? Nobody knows you better than you do, and nobody can address your individual needs more immediately than you can. Do you set aside time to care for yourself every day? Do you use natural and non-toxic hygiene and cosmetic products? Do you take daily walks?
What kind of environment most nourishes me? What is my body telling me that I need right now? How can I serve and care for myself today? What can I do to best cleanse myself inside and out? What things do I do for myself that build my innermost power? What gifts do I give myself that build my internal strength and fortify me? What practices or routines can I add in to my life that will deeply nourish me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? How can I care for, enrich, and nurture my environment in a mutually supportive way?
In our fast-paced, achievement-driven society, self-care is highly overlooked and misunderstood yet an extremely critical aspect of a healthy and balanced life. Many of us give until we are depleted, struggle incessantly to succeed, and work beyond exhaustion. In our world, this is often considered a normal or even an exalted way of living. As a result, 59% of people say they are overly stressed, exhausted, and burnt out, which all lead to symptoms of anxiety, depression, and addiction.1
The mental “concept” of self-care often gets inappropriately associated as “selfish;” however, nothing could be farther from the truth. As decades of scientific research are showing, it is not possible for a person to give to others more than they already give to themselves.2,3 Many parents and other self-sacrificing people will argue that they give much more to their children and others than they do to themselves; however, there is no scientific evidence to actually support that. As an old African proverb says, “Be wary of a naked man who offers you a shirt.” Your capacity to give wholly and compassionately to others is determined by your quality of giving to yourself.
As research shows, a person who even takes just 30 minutes per day to give themselves what they need significantly improves their overall performance and outcomes.4 Nobody knows you better than you do, and nobody can address your individual needs more immediately than you can. This is why it is so critical for each of us to regularly ask ourselves the questions at the top of the page and to make our self-care a top priority.
Self-care is a way of life, from putting on your seat belt and using the crosswalk to proper rest and routine cleansing. The two most obvious ways that we care for ourselves is through our daily hygiene practices and sleep schedule. Regular cleansing and sleeping routines are critical for building protection and helping our bodies restore and regenerate. Fasting and detoxing are supplementary beneficial practices to do on a routine basis as a way to rejuvenate the body, allow the digestive system to rest and heal, and eliminate potentially toxic substances from the body.
Also, self-care is about how we can build and support our immune system to help us heal more quickly and more easily fend off disease. This includes looking at potentially toxic substances in our environment that damage our immune system (e.g. toxic cosmetic/hygiene products, poor air quality, cleaners, chemicals, etc.; look carefully at ingredients and research ones you are unsure of). As a safe rule of thumb, don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t feel comfortable putting in your mouth.
Additionally, because walking is arguably the healthiest strategy for longevity and for improving overall health, we include a daily walk as a part of daily hygiene self-care practices and do not include it as a part of “activity.” As research has shown, there is no known upper limit to the benefits of walking, which means the more that you do it, the more benefits you will get. For example, walking for sixty minutes per week reduces your overall mortality risk by 3%, walking for 150 minutes per week (~20 minutes per day) reduces your mortality by 7%, and walking for 300 minutes per week (~40 minutes per day) reduces your mortality by 14%.5 An hour-long walk every day may reduce your mortality risk by as much as 24%!6
Lastly, true self-care requires us to examine patterns and behaviors that are no longer serving us and to make appropriate changes. As we move through life, it is often easy to get stuck in ruts and routines and to continue to live in patterns because we feel we “have to” or “ought to.” This is what our society calls “living.” However, in the light of self-care, you now have an opportunity to begin living the life that you truly want and to be the person deep down inside you know you are. In order to do this, you may need to step out of your comfort zone to break through the routines and patterns of daily living and establish habits that are truly supportive of who you are. You have that power already inside you!