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Radical Self-care: What And Why?

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

The gentle practice of radical self-care and it's long-lasting effects on well-being

Whenever I speak about holistic well-being, I also introduce the concept of radical self-care because they go hand in hand. In broader terms, if holistic well-being is a goal, then radical self-care is the vessel that brings us there.

We aim for holistic well-being and

we practice radical self-care.

Radical self-care (RSC) is a commitment you make towards taking care of your needs first, and then of others. When you adopt simple behavioural or lifestyle changes that cultivate radical self-care in your life, you begin to build a beautiful sense of integrity, self-love and compassion; towards yourself and others. More often than not, these shifts can radically change your life.

In order to understand what holistic well-being is, it helps to understand what it is not: absence of illness or lack of adversities.

We often assume that in order for us to be well, or be in a state of wellness, we need to be trim, fit and completely free of dis-ease. While that's a great theoretical aspiration to have, I think it's rather unrealistic in terms of real life experiences, and sets us up for a lot of suffering if things don't go according to (our) plan.

Holistic well-being is a state of over all balance and harmony in our lives given our individual circumstances. Radical self-care helps you look at the different aspects of holistic well-being and take pro-active steps towards it. Through personalised rituals and simple daily routines, we can create a radical-self care plan that works best for us and supports us. The fundamental belief behind RSC is that you have the right to peace of mind and that you have the power to create that for yourself. RSC, in broader sense, is nothing but self-preservation.

Holistic well-being has seven main components to it. Looking at each component and truthfully checking-in with yourself as to where you stand is the first step towards radical self-care.

Seven components of holistic well-being

  1. Mental well-being refers to your cognitive thinking. This includes your ability to think, focus, direct thoughts towards certain tasks, prioritise, weigh out consequences and make logical decisions when necessary. It also includes your attitude towards life, ability to discern between thoughts that are self-sabotaging and those that help you expand.

  2. Emotional well-being refers to your psychological functioning. Your ability to name, process and express variety of emotions as well as experiences. Do you allow yourself to experience the entire range of emotions a human being is capable of experiencing?

  3. Physical well-being includes nutrition, fitness, sleep routine and rest time. It is important, though, to really ask yourself what works for your mind and body to function best.

  4. Spiritual well-being is about freedom around exploring different beliefs + practices, and finding what makes you feel the most connected to something greater than you (or not). These include core beliefs + values that guide your life.

  5. Social well-being is all about close connections as well as being a part of a larger community. It doesn't matter whether you're more introverted or extroverted, but it matters whether you feel like you're a part of something.

  6. Sexual well-being includes your ability to fully own and embrace your sexuality.

  7. Intellectual well-being is about learning and knowledge. Do you have a pursuit for learning? Do you like to expand your ideas, beliefs and opinions about the world? Are you feeding your mind with enriching information?

Ritualise your radical self-care routine

All the seven components come together to form a strong (or weak) foundation for our individual holistic well-being. Breaking it down into different components makes it easier to sit with each one of them and introspect.

In my one on one sessions, I work with my clients to customise a radical self-care plan that includes all areas of holistic well-being. We discuss the client's goal in each area and incorporate simple tools and exercises that will take them there. Often, integrating pockets of self-care in their day to day lives, in terms of a small ritual or routine, yields amazing outcomes. Our minds and bodies love rituals. They are grounding and nourishing to our system and provide a sense of comfort. By ritualising self-care, we invite balance and harmony into our day to day lives, and also develop resilience -- the ability to bounce back if things went wrong. With that comes the beauty of acceptance and forgiveness.

Radical self-care is an integral part of my coaching process. I strongly believe that when we learn to prioritise our self-care routine, we create a more conducive space for healing to happen. As we do the deep work of healing, letting go of the past and making behavioural changes for recovery, a customised self-care routine can be really supportive of the possibly painful yet worthwhile process.

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