Sometimes, it feels like my clients are tired of hearing the term “self-care.” I often inquire about their self-care practices, asking questions like, “How are you prioritizing your well-being during this challenging period?” or “How can we enhance self-care while you navigate through these difficulties?” However, self-care goes beyond mere face masks and bubble baths; it encompasses a much broader spectrum of intentional actions taken to nurture oneself. To provide a comprehensive perspective on self-care, I often draw parallels to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, highlighting various forms of self-care and their significance. Let’s explore the five stages of needs in Maslow’s hierarchy and how they relate to different self-care practices.
Physiological Needs: At the core, self-care entails addressing the basics of life—food and water. Ensuring that you are well-nourished and adequately hydrated forms the foundation of self-care, but it’s essential to approach these activities with mindfulness and intention.
Safety Needs: This aspect of self-care may not always be enjoyable or relaxing, yet it holds immense importance. Self-care for safety involves taking physical care of yourself. This can encompass scheduling doctor’s appointments, setting aside time for therapy or self-help groups, and even canceling plans that trigger discomfort or insecurity. Budgeting and saving for unexpected expenses also fall within this category.
Love and Belonging: Here, self-care revolves around fostering connections. Taking time for friends and family, surrounding oneself with individuals who share similar values, and occasionally letting go of relationships that no longer serve us are all examples of self-care in the realm of love and belonging.
Esteem: This stage of self-care involves activities that uplift and empower us. Indulging in face masks and bubble baths can certainly contribute to this, but it goes beyond superficial treatments. Engaging in self-care practices that boost our self-worth and make us feel good about ourselves fall under this category.
Self-Actualization: The pinnacle of self-care is centered around personal growth and supporting healthy habits. This involves nurturing the mind, pursuing knowledge, and engaging in activities that align with our authentic selves.
It’s important to remember that self-care operates on a hierarchical structure, necessitating a progression from the bottom to the top. Face masks alone won’t provide solace if your basic physiological needs aren’t met—hydration and nourishment serve as prerequisites for a fulfilling self-care experience.