Holistic Self Care Planning: A Well Balanced Method For Creating a Healthy Living Plan
An holistic self care plan combines a variety of activities and practices that support a person’s overall wellbeing. It addresses more than just healthy foods and exercise. Although these are integral parts of an effective plan they don’t by themselves constitute a well balanced self care plan. The best way to create an effective holistic self care plan is to look at some main components of healthy living.
Physical Self Care
Most commonly associated with healthy living, this component includes such activities and practices as exercise, healthy eating and , if applicable, medication management. Specific examples might include;
- working out
- eating nutrient rich foods
- maintaining fat and cholesterol intake
- managing allergies and physical health issues
Anything that people do to support their physical wellbeing falls into this category.
Mental Self Care
Activities that support mental and intellectual wellbeing can vary in need. Reading and learning new things commonly fall into this category. Other activities can be more personal. Some people may need to become more socially involved while others who work all day may need to increase their down time. Parents and childcare workers might add spending time with adults into this category.
If there are specific mental health issues present – such as post traumatic stress, depression, or bipolar disorder – a qualified professional can help people determining their specific mental health needs. While actual medication dosages – if applicable – might fall into both physical and mental health categories, other activities such as keeping counseling appointments would better fit in the mental health category.
Spiritual Self Care
This category refers to activities and practices that help people feel connected to their purpose in life. For religious people this connection is often found through prayer, actively practicing their faith or reading scriptures. For others it can come from being in nature, volunteering in birthing centers or immersing themselves in soothing music. Self awareness journaling can also be a spiritually uplifting practice.
Emotional Self Care
Activities that help people feel good about themselves fall into this category. It is important to recognize the difference between healthy activities that are emotionally stimulating and those that only pretend to be a mood booster (shadow comforts). Self medicating and smoking might provide a temporary mood boost but they are not healthy practices. Healthy examples can include taking warm baths, listening to music or even journaling.
Some of these activities are fluid and might also fit into other categories. It is okay to list activities in more than one category when this happens. For example runners might find that their workout increases their state of mental alertness. Likewise deeply religious people might find that reading their scriptures both boosts their mood and helps them stay focused for the day.
The concept of maintaining a well balanced self care plan can be overwhelming at first. Breaking it down into categories can help to isolate specific areas that may need more attention and simplify the process of choosing activities to enrich those ares. Identifying activities that provide a false sense of comfort also helps to ensure the self care plan is well balanced and healthy.