The 8 Dimensions of Self-Care

8 dimensions of self-care wheel

These days, healthcare is anything but affordable, so it’s easy to see why self-care has become more popular. Even Google has seen an uptick in the search term in recent years. 

What is self-care?

Self-care is a preventive health strategy involving actions and behaviors that improve, restore, or maintain good health. And for those who are managing existing health conditions, it also includes preventing the progression of disease through self-management. There’s little doubt that it’s a powerful tool that you can use to achieve better health

Self-care is a preventive health strategy involving actions and behaviors that improve, restore, or maintain good health. Click To Tweet

Self-care can include getting restful sleep, preparing healthy meals, exercising, as well as bandaging wounds, icing or heating injuries, taking medications, testing blood sugar and blood pressure. Just about anything that can be performed safely by an individual to support good health can be considered self-care.

Most care is self-care

According to the World Health Organization, self-care is “the most dominant form of primary care in both developed and in developing countries,” and it has been estimated that “65% to 85% of health care is provided by the individual or the family without professional intervention.” Likewise, in the UK it’s been estimated that 80% of all care is self-care.

Self-Care isn’t a trend, it’s becoming a movement.

Self-Care isn't a trend, it's becoming a movement. Click To Tweet

As far back as 1978, the International Conference on Primary Health Care (Alma-Ata, USSR) declared that “people have the right and duty to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of their health care.” In fact, some consider self-care an act of civil disobedience in today’s commoditized healthcare climate.

So, why are we seeing such a growing interest in self-care?

Healthcare is expensive

Let’s face it: Health care is expensive. According to the CDC, healthcare was 17% of the GDP in 2015. From insurance premiums to deductibles to coinsurance to copays to out-of-pocket expenses (and that doesn’t include the time we spend coordinating appointments and trying to make sense of our medical bills), being unhealthy creates stress and financial strain.

Despite being among the highest in health-related expenditures, America continues to lag behind other countries when it comes to overall health. In the U.S., life expectancies are lower and chronic conditions are on the rise. According to a NCHS data brief on 2012 (No. 237), obesity was the reason behind 11 million visits to physician offices, and 74% of those visits were associated with an accompanying chronic condition. It’s clear that it’s time for a major disruption within the health care system.

As Americans, we’ve become passive recipients of health care. Instead of owning our health, we’ve transferred the responsibility to our health care providers. 

pink diabetes supply kit

Self-care is powerful 

In an article that I wrote for The Costco Connection, I explained how having a multi-dimensional self-care practice can create more ease and better health.

Stacy Fisher's article on self-care in The Costco Connection

While our traditional healthcare system focuses primarily on the physical aspects of our health — our nutritional status, fitness level, laboratory values, organ function, signs and symptoms of disease, and our mental and emotional health, Living Upp’s unique 8-dimensional model takes a more holistic look at health.

8 Dimensions of Self-Care

The 8 Dimensions of Self-Care: An Overview

Click to expand the boxes below to learn more about each dimension.


The systemic dimension involves your habits related to eating, moving, and resting. It focuses on the physical aspects of your health, the area we most often think about when we discuss health and well-being. In this dimension, you’ll explore how to honor your physical body with nourishing food, restful sleep, and regular physical activity.


The emotive dimension involves how you express yourself. Emotions are closely tied to the cognitive dimension of self-care, and are often an outward expression of your thoughts. In this dimension, you’ll explore healthy outlets for your emotions.


The luminescent dimension involves how you illuminate your inner truth. It encompasses everything that makes you unique as an individual: your spiritual beliefs, life experiences, perceptions, values, strengths, innate gifts, family traditions, and culture. In this dimension, you’ll explore who you are and what you truly want to experience in life.


The financial dimension involves how you allocate your resources, and includes your behaviors around money — earning, spending, saving, and giving. In this dimension, you’ll explore what sufficiency looks like and how you can adjust your lifestyle according to your resources.


The cognitive dimension involves how you think – your mindset, how you approach problems, and how you learn. In this dimension, you’ll explore how to focus your thoughts and cultivate a positive mindset.


The aptitudinal dimension involves your contribution to the world, which is usually closely tied to your career (how you earn a paycheck), but in some cases, your greatest contribution may not produce an income at all. In this dimension, you’ll explore how to use your strengths to make a meaningful contribution to the world.


The relational dimension involves how you connect with others, and includes your romantic relationships, friendships, family relationships, and professional relationships. In this dimension, you’ll explore how to create a supportive inner circle set healthy boundaries in relationships.


The environmental dimension involves how you harmonize with nature. It also includes the physical spaces where you spend time – your home, workplace, community, and happy spaces. In this dimension, you’ll explore how to be a good steward of the earth and create inspiring personal spaces.

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