Before you can develop a meaningful self-care practice, you must first have a thorough understanding of what you need to feel your best and give your best.
And that’s not as easy as it sounds.
Knowing what recharges and re-energizes you can help you determine where to allocate your time and energy — but the truth is, many of us have become disconnected from ourselves. The Rate Your 8 tool, which is based on Living Upp’s 8-dimensional self-care model, can help you identify where to best focus your time and energy.
We schlep our way through the workday, already exhausted, and then return home to a pile of laundry and sink full of dishes. Rinse and repeat. We do our best to “do it all” but neglect ourselves in the process. (And, secretly, we don’t even want to do it all.)
After leaving my corporate job to take a sabbatical in 2015, it took me six months to feel comfortable sitting alone with myself in quiet. I had become so conditioned to my phone’s incessant dinging and ringing that silence made me feel uneasy.
My body understood doing, not being.
But when I started asking myself what I truly needed — and actually listened to the answers — I was amazed at the power I held to make my life more beautiful.
Self-Care is Multidimensional
Self-Care is multidimensional, meaning it isn’t just about our physical well-being. It includes all the complex facets of our lives, which I’ve distilled down to 8 key areas:
- Systemic: How we eat, move and rest
- Emotive: How we express ourselves
- Luminescent: How we illuminate our inner truth
- Financial: How we allocate our resources
- Cognitive: How we think
- Aptitudinal: How we contribute to the world
- Relational: How we connect with others
- Environmental: How we harmonize with nature
Hint: The first letter of each dimension spells the word “SELF CARE.”
How to “Rate Your 8”
The Rate Your 8 tool is designed to help you identify the areas of your life that need more attention. If you’re like most of my clients, you’re probably doing well in one or two areas of your life, but there are others you’ve been neglecting.
Here’s how to Rate Your 8:
1. Understand the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care
Before you jump into the ratings, it’s important to get familiar with the dimensions so you understand what’s included in each of them. You can learn more in my book Uppward: A Self-Care System for Purposeful Living.
Once you have a solid understanding of how each dimension fits into your life, it’s time to assess how well you’re supporting yourself. How well are you taking care of yourself when it comes to your eating habits? Your personal relationships? Your emotional health?
2. Rate each dimension on a scale of 1 to 10
Next, on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest), rank how well your current habits are supporting each of the 8 dimensions.
For example, if your exercise routine has become part of who you are and it’s no longer something you struggle to accomplish, then you’d probably rank yourself somewhere between 7 and 10. But if your spending habits are moving you closer to debt, then you might rank the financial dimension lower.
Don’t overthink it; trust your gut.
For additional guidelines on ratings, download the Rate Your 8 Assessment here:
And I’ll let you in on a little secret: you’ll probably never be a “10” in any category.
Because perfection is an illusion.
And because people who select 9’s instead of 10’s see more capacity for growth — that alone is a motivator for achievement. So, dear overachieving friends, don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t rocking 10’s in every category. Once you start using this tool more consistently, you’ll see how your ratings change along with the ebbs and flows of your life. And soon, you’ll probably be able to predict how your life’s events will play out in terms of your health.
The purpose of using a measuring tool is to recognize changes over time so we can allocate and reallocate our resources accordingly.
3. Create (or Adjust) Your Self-Care Practice
Use your ratings as a guide for determining where to invest your time and energy. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Start with the areas you’ve ranked lowest. If your gut tells you things aren’t going well in a particular area of your life, it’s probably a sign that something needs to change. Chances are, you’ve been thinking about making a change for quite a while, but you just haven’t put any energy into it. Prioritize your plan by targeting the areas with the most obvious needs.
- Choose fun and unusual activities. As you select your self-care activities, make sure they excite you. We look forward to things we perceive as fun, and higher levels of enthusiasm increase your chances of following through with your intentions. Use your excited energy to your advantage!
- Don’t expect perfection. Don’t expect 100% from yourself. Perfection is an illusion. Just don’t even go there. You’ll create more stress for yourself and find a reason to stop trying.
- Clear your plate. Sometimes self-care involves removing something from your plate rather than adding to it. Setting a boundary, leaving a relationship, canceling a membership — at times, saying ‘no’ can feel more like saying yes, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Put it on paper. Sketch out your plan on paper and place it somewhere visible. If you journal in the morning before starting your day, use your plan as a bookmark. If you mindlessly grab unhealthy snacks from your kitchen frequently, put it there. Writing down your intentions and reviewing them regularly makes it more likely that you’ll take action.
- Rate Your 8 every day. Get into the habit of taking your self-care pulse daily on a daily basis. I rate my 8 every morning as part of my morning practice. It takes about 20 seconds to sketch out, and the impact of that simple task sets the stage for my entire day. It helps me identify faulty thinking patterns and strategically weave self-care into my day. Some of my clients carry the 8-dimensional model in their purse, or hang it on their bathroom mirror.
Ready to redesign your life?
There are a number of ways to get started designing your personalized self-care practice. Which option is the best fit for you?
To get started right away, download the self-care plan worksheet and fill it with things that make you happy and healthy. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to designing your self-care practice. As long as it’s supporting your health, you’re on the right track.
Need More Self-Care Ideas?
During the 2016 leap year, I experimented with a one new self-care activity every single day for 366 days. (Yes, it was intense!) But that experience helped me understand the depth and breadth that exists with self-care, and it helped me identify the activities that best fit my needs and personality. The possibilities are endless. If you’re not feeling especially creative, grab some new ideas from my personal list here.
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