You know how at the moment we become a parent we think to ourselves, no one ever taught me how to do this, no one ever taught me how to be a parent? We’re just supposed to “know” how to be a parent. The same is true for self-care, it’s something that is assumed to be innate in all of us. But the truth is, in this information and sensory overloaded world, self-care – the care of our WHOLE selves – is often overlooked.
Caring for ourselves as a whole person is key to preserving our health and optimizing our well-being. The irony of this approach is that we may need to create and acknowledge a structure that divides up our “whole” selves so that we can properly tend to it. At SOHL, we call this your 7 Sources of Health. The bottom line is we need to develop skills that support each of our 7 Sources of Health (SOH). Here’s a list of those 7 Sources and why we chose them:
- Life Purpose: Your “WHY”. Research shows that people who know their life purpose are likely to live 7 years longer than those who do not know their life purpose. They also spend less time in the hospital, have a stronger immune system, have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and stroke. And for older adults who develop Alzheimer’s, those with an established WHY have a slower decline. Want to validate your life purpose? Try out the SOHL Life Purpose micro-course. Or, our other courses to strengthen your Life Purpose SOH.
- Body: Your physical self. This includes attention to movement, sleep, and eating. Each of these activities determines the quality of your health. And, they are all interrelated. The quality and quantity of what you eat impacts your movement and sleep. Likewise, your sleep impacts your movement and eating. And, your movement impacts your eating and sleeping. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprived individuals eat about 550 more calories the next day than their peers who sleep 6 ½ hours or more a night! Courses to strengthen your Body SOH.
- Mind: Your thoughts and sensations. Research has shown that meditation, one key self-care skill, is to the mind, as sleep is to the body, a time to replenish and renew. Mind self-care skills can improve stress management, decrease anxiety, depression, pain sensation, high blood pressure, high blood glucose, and can help manage obesity. Mind self-care skills calm brain waves, increase brain activity, brain size, blood flow, neuroplasticity, cognitive flexibility, and executive functioning. They can also stimulate the immune system and balance hormone production. Courses to strengthen your Mind SOH.
- Emotions: Your feelings, intuition, and reactions. Brain structures involved in positive emotions like compassion are more plastic – subject to changes brought about through environmental input. Emotional self-care skills increase happiness, resilience, social skills, kindness, optimism, and sleep. These skills also make the practitioner more likely to exercise regularly, be a better manager, make better decisions, and be more productive. Courses to strengthen your emotional SOH.
- Creativity: What is vital or essential to you as a human being. Research has shown that self-care skills such as drawing, journaling, and even dancing improve self-esteem, increase awareness and can help overcome the effects of trauma. Practicing creativity self-care skills can result in improved well-being, a decrease in health care costs and a stronger immune system resulting in fewer illnesses. Courses to strengthen your creativity SOH.
- Community: Your relationships. Involvement in community benefits us, the recipients, and the entire community. Community self-care skills promote deeper social interaction, enhanced meaning and purpose, and a more active lifestyle. Practicing community self-care skills are linked to lower risk for cancer recurrence, higher survival rates among heart attack survivors, lower blood pressure, and better immune responses. Low community connection is worse for you than smoking, high blood pressure, or obesity. Courses to strengthen your community SOH.
- Environment: Your surroundings. The immediate environment has a significant impact on health, influences mood, impacts behavior and, depending on the built environment can encourage or discourage social interaction. Home and work environment can also impact stress levels. Elevated workplace or environmental noise can cause hearing impairment, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and sleep disturbance. Courses to strengthen your environment SOH.
Not sure where to start? You can try these 5 foundational SOH courses: Your Why, YouLab, BYOBF (Be Your Own Best Friend), Be Aware, Breathe. Or, take the self-care assessment. When you take care of yourself, aka self-care, you preserve your health, optimize your well-being, and overall live a happier life. That improvement in your life radiates to your family, friends, co-workers, and pretty much everyone you come in contact with. You’re worth it and so are they!