The 8 Dimensions of Self-Care

self-care planning Nov 01, 2021
The 8 Dimensions of Self-Care Pinwheel

If you struggle to make time for self-care, the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care framework could change that for you.

This proprietary framework serves as an anchor, helping you stay grounded and focused while you move toward creating a healthier lifestyle.

Using this holistic approach, you can create a multidimensional self-care plan that aligns with your needs and at any moment in time.

As you begin to recognize what you need more easily, you can select effective self-care strategies that support each of the key areas of your life.

In this article, you’ll learn more about LivingUpp’s multidimensional approach to self-care, and how you can create a practical self-care plan that supports your unique life circumstances.

The 8 Dimensions of Self-Care framework provides a simple foundation to help you design a healthy lifestyle.

*LivingUpp is a participant in affiliate programs, which means we may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases on links to Amazon and other sites at no additional cost to you.

What is Self-Care?

Before we get into the framework, let’s talk about what self-care is.

The definition of self-care really depends on who you ask. That’s because self-care is personal—and only you can define what it means for you.

At LivingUpp, we define self-care as a preventive health strategy involving actions and behaviors that improve, restore, or maintain good health.

Put more simply, it’s everything you do to support your health.

Anything that adds value to your life in a positive way is probably an act of self-care.

Origins of the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care Framework

When I created the first draft of the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care framework back in 2015, my life was unraveling.

It was all sorts of ugly.

I watched in disbelief as my marriage failed in a big way. I was emotionally shattered in ways that I never imagined possible.

The emotional strain had become so intense that I eventually quit my job.

And although I’d been a registered dietitian for nearly two decades by that point, there was no amount of kale that could protect me from the stress I was experiencing physically. 

I needed more structure in my life.

I needed a plan.

And I desperately needed an uncomplicated way to heal and move forward with my life.

The idea for the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care framework came to me in the middle of the night, like so many important things do.

My mind had been reeling and I couldn’t sleep. But as I laid in bed trying to figure out how I could clean up the mess that my life had become, a vision for the self-care pinwheel came to me.

I stumbled out of bed, made my way to my office, and sketched out the very first draft of what is now the framework that everything at LivingUpp is designed around.

While the names of the dimensions have changed slightly since that time (mostly to create the acronym S-E-L-F-C-A-R-E) my original vision remains intact.

The framework provided structure.

The framework provided a solid foundation upon which I could create a clear plan.

The framework also helped me recover my sense of self-confidence as I began to rebuild my life.

Not only has the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care framework helped me recover my physical heath, but it also restored a sense of hope about my future.

The 8 Dimensions of Self-Care Framework

To be honest, the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care framework has been much more powerful than I imagined. What began as a simple way to navigate my way through that difficult time in my life has now become a tool that many others have used to move through their own transitions.

This holistic framework offers a simplified approach for identifying, prioritizing, and implementing self-care in a coordinated, organized way.

Here’s a quick overview of the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care:

  • The Systemic Dimension of Self-Care: How you eat, move and rest
  • The Emotive Dimension of Self-Care: How you express yourself
  • The Luminescent Dimension of Self-Care: How you illuminate your inner truth
  • The Financial Dimension of Self-Care How you allocate your resources
  • The Cognitive Dimension of Self-Care: How you think
  • The Aptitudinal Dimension of Self-Care: How you contribute to the world
  • The Relational Dimension of Self-Care: How you connect with others
  • The Environmental Dimension of Self-Care: How you harmonize with nature

Hint: The first letter of each dimension forms the acronym "self-care" to help you remember them.

The 8 Dimensions of Self-Care Defined

Each of the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care are unique, yet interconnected. These eight elements serve as the foundation of your life.

Here’s what’s included in each of them:

The Systemic Dimension of Self-Care

The Systemic Dimension of Self-Care focuses on how you eat, move and rest.

In this dimension, you'll explore ways to support your physical health—your habits around eating, exercising, and sleeping. By enlisting self-care strategies that support this dimension of your life, you’ll be able to:

  • Reduce your risks for costly, chronic diseases
  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Have more energy
  • Improve your strength and flexibility
  • Make better choices about how you nourish your body
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Feel well-rested
  • Maintain healthy lab values, like cholesterol and vitamin D

Need help cleaning up your eating habits? The Nourish Online Course is an on-demand, self-study program designed to help you honor your body with nourishing food.

The Emotive Dimension of Self-Care

The Emotive Dimension of Self-Care focuses on your how you express yourself.

In this dimension, you'll explore ways to support your emotional well-being—your communication skills, your emotional triggers, and your responses to what’s happening around you. By enlisting self-care strategies that support this dimension of your life, you'll be able to:

  • Manage your emotional energy
  • Return to a state of calm more quickly and easily
  • Experience more peace
  • Recognize when your energy levels are depleted
  • Press the pause button when you need to recharge
  • Feel more grounded

Need help managing your emotional energy? The Calm Online Course is an on-demand, self-study program will help you learn how to integrate calming self-care strategies into your daily practice.

The Luminescent Dimension of Self-Care

The Luminescent Dimension of Self-Care focuses on how you illuminate your inner truth.

In this dimension, you’ll explore ways to support your spirituality, beliefs, values, and personal brand, which encompasses your unique strengths, personality, and individual preferences. By enlisting self-care strategies that support this dimension of your life, you'll be able to:

  • Show up more confidently
  • Clearly define your personal brand
  • Grow spirituality

Need help identifying your unique personal brand? The Personal Brand Online Course is an on-demand, self-study program designed to help you uncover your 2-word personal brand.

The Financial Dimension of Self-Care

The Financial Dimension of Self-Care focuses on how you allocate your resources.

In this dimension, you’ll explore ways to support your fiscal fitness—how you earn, spend, give, save, and manage your finances. By enlisting self-care strategies that support this dimension of your life, you'll be able to:

  • Make better financial decisions
  • Feel confident about your ability to manage your financial resources
  • Create a financial plan that supports the lifestyle you’re creating

The Cognitive Dimension of Self-Care

The Cognitive Dimension of Self-Care focuses on how you think.

In this dimension, you’ll explore ways to support your thoughts—your mindset and beliefs. By enlisting self-care strategies that support this dimension of your life, you'll be able to:

  • Focus your attention on what you want (rather than what you don’t want)
  • Reframe your life experiences into something positive and meaningful
  • Shift your thought patterns toward what’s within your control
  • Find creative solution to problems

The Aptitudinal Dimension of Self-Care 

The Aptitudinal Dimension of Self-Care focuses on your contribution to the world.

In this dimension, you’ll explore ways to support your life’s work—what you’re uniquely suited to do in this world. By enlisting self-care strategies that support this dimension of your life, you'll be able to:

  • Align your profession with your strengths
  • Make a meaningful contribution to the world
  • Enrich the lives of others through your natural talents
  • Continue to grow your natural skills and abilities

The Relational Dimension of Self-Care

The Relational Dimension of Self-Care focuses on how you connect with others.

In this dimension, you’ll explore ways to support your personal relationships—friendships, partnerships, and family relationships. By enlisting self-care strategies that support this dimension of your life, you'll be able to:

  • Build and maintain supportive, mutually-beneficial relationships
  • Establish healthy boundaries
  • Communicate more clearly

The Environmental Dimension of Self-Care

The Environmental Dimension of Self-Care focuses on how you harmonize with nature.

In this dimension, you’ll explore ways to support the world around you—how you engage within your community and impact the environmental through your daily choices. By enlisting self-care strategies that support this dimension of your life, you'll be able to:

  • Create sacred spaces
  • Connect with the rhythms of nature
  • Minimize habits and behaviors that have a negative impact on the environment

Need help simplifying your life? The Simplify Online Course is an on-demand, self-study program designed to help you simplify 12 key areas of your life.

How to Use the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care Pinwheel

Now that you have a better understanding of what the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care is all about, it’s time to explore how to put it into practice.

You can use this simple framework as a form of preventive health care. That’s because you’ll be able to recognize your needs much earlier—before you experience a “meltdown moment” that leaves you feeling drained and helpless.

Preventive self-care makes big life transitions easier. When you’re functioning at your highest level, your body can withstand more stress. You’re also better equipped to solve problems, recognize opportunities, and maintain the resilience to move through life’s rough patches.

Using the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care pinwheel, you can learn how to weave self-care into your daily life. This will enable you to go-with-the-flow and maintain your focus on what matters most, no matter what’s happening around you.

As you become more familiar with the 8 dimensions of self-care, you’ll feel more confident in your ability to identify and prioritize self-care.

No more feeling guilty for taking care of yourself.

No more excuses about not having time for self-care.

No more feeling lost about how to practice self-care.

Living the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care

Living the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care is about honoring this one beautiful life.

As you begin to support each key area of your life, you’ll slowly build a healthier lifestyle. And as you being to deepen your self-care practice, your daily self-care rituals will become part of who you are, not just something you do.

If you’re looking for some structure to help bring self-care into your daily life, the Lifestyle Design Planner* incorporates the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care framework and the Rate Your 8 self-care assessment tool into its daily planning pages. This makes it easier to prioritize and plan your self-care rituals.

Which dimension of your life needs the most attention right now? Learn how to use the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care system to invest your time more effectively and efficiently.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Information on this website should not be interpreted as providing or replacing medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is intended for adults over the age of 18. 

*LivingUpp is a participant in affiliate programs, which means we may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases on links to Amazon and other sites at no additional cost to you.