The Systemic Dimension of Self-Care

1. systemic self-care Mar 03, 2020
healthy food to support the systemic dimension of self-care

The Systemic Dimension of Self-Care, one of LivingUpp’s 8 Dimensions of Self-Care, focuses on your physical health—how you eat, move and rest. This dimension of self-care helps you nourish your body, incorporate exercise into your daily life, get sufficient amounts of restful sleep, and stay current with preventive care.

In this article, you’ll learn how to develop and maintain a systemic self-care practice that helps you live up to your highest potential.

*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 Systemic Self-Care?

Systemic self-care is any action you take to improve your physical well-being. Over time, the small choices you make every day can have a big impact on your health.

LivingUpp defines self-care as a preventive health strategy involving actions and behaviors that improve, restore, or maintain good health. By implementing a holistic self-care practice, you’ll spend less time and money on sick care and more time living your life.

Examples of Systemic Self-Care

Here are some systemic self-care examples to help you design a healthy lifestyle:

Healthy Eating

Creating a personal eating style is a foundational element of a systemic self-care practice. Nourishing your body with health food helps you achieve and maintain good physical health.

There are countless ways to nourish your body to support good health. More than two decades as a registered dietitian have taught me that there’s no such thing as a “perfect” diet. Your personal eating style is influenced by your spiritual beliefs, personal values, family of origin, cultural traditions, flavor preferences, health conditions, personal experiences, and more.

Systemic self-care strategies that support healthy eating:  

  • Planning your menus in advance
  • Creating a personal food list
  • Taking a cooking class
  • Installing a home water filtration system*
  • Taking a self-study nutrition course
  • Cleaning out your refrigerator
  • Using a grocery delivery or prepared meals service
  • Consulting with a registered dietitian

Need to clean 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.


According to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, most adults need between 150 and 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week, or just 20 to 40 minutes every day. Yet only 23% of Americans are meeting that recommendation.

The health benefits associated with exercise are extensive, ranging from supporting a healthy weight to strengthening immune function to increasing cardiovascular fitness. But there are also mental and emotional upsides to being physically active. Moving your body regularly can improve your memory, boost your mood, and even help you get better sleep. And it can also reduce unhealthy food cravings.

For your safety, if you have any medical conditions or physical limitations, it's a good idea to discuss activity recommendations with your healthcare provider before making any changes or beginning any new fitness programs.

Systemic self-care activities that support movement:

  • Hiring a personal trainer
  • Using a digital fitness tracker*
  • Registering for a 5k event
  • Having a fitness assessment completed
  • Joining a gym or exercise group
  • Creating a home gym


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that most adults get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Getting enough sleep makes it more likely that you’ll make healthy food choices and have the energy necessary to exercise consistently.

Researchers who study sleep architecture, the amount of time you spend within each sleep cycle, found that people who don’t get enough deep sleep are more likely to be overweight. If you're struggling to get enough high-quality sleep, explore some evening self-care strategies to unwind and relax after a long day.

Systemic self-care activities that support sleep:

  • Setting a bedtime alarm
  • Buying new sheets* (these sheets are the softest ever!)
  • Rearranging your daily routine
  • Discussing insomnia concerns with your doctor
  • Upgrading your pillow*
  • Tracking your sleep using an app
  • Doing an evening meditation
  • Adding essential oils* to your pillow (lavender is my favorite!)

Preventive Care

Staying current with your health screenings and exams will help you address health concerns earlier. Knowing your health numbers, such as weight, glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure, will help you adjust your habits and correct imbalances before they become irreversible chronic health conditions.

Unless you know where you stand, it will be impossible to know where to focus your self-care efforts. If you’re not up to date on your health screenings and exams, add that to your self-care to-do list right now.

Systemic self-care activities that support preventive care:

  • Scheduling your annual health visits at the beginning of the year
  • Getting a flu shot
  • Quitting tobacco
  • Requesting copies of your medical record
  • Updating your first aid kit*
  • Making a list of questions to ask your doctor
  • Opening a health savings account (HSA)

Using the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care Framework

The 8 Dimensions of Self-Care framework simplifies the healthy lifestyle design process. Using the 8-dimensional self-care pinwheel, you can easily develop a holistic self-care practice that supports the key areas of your life.

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

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.

How to Support Your Systemic Dimension of Self-Care

The Systemic Dimension of Self-Care plays an integral role in building and maintaining good health. To design a systemic self-care practice, choose specific self-care strategies that strengthen your physical well-being.

You may need to experiment with different forms of self-care to determine what is and what isn’t effective for you. Over time, you’ll be able to curate a collection of self-care activities that align with your needs and your personal brand.

When you consistently honor your body with nourishing foods, include physical activity in your daily routine, get sufficient amounts of restful sleep, and stay current with health screenings and exams, you can minimize your health risks and maximize the quality of your life.

How do you support this dimension of your life? Share 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.