Healthy Mind, Healthy You is a weekly column written by Mental Wellness Coach Cynthia M. Each week, she will share insight on how you can be live a healthier life. You can read previous articles from this column here.
As we focus on using self-care as a guide to how we can establish a lifestyle of wellness, this week, we will look at how self-care can work for personal growth.
As women, we have a lot of things that we go through, and sometimes we shrink back and retreat from situations without realizing how these experiences could help us grow. Bob Proctor said, “…change is inevitable but personal growth is a choice.”
This just shows how growth can either be seen as a chosen course of action or as a matter of the natural order of things. In looking at this subject, personal growth has been split into five parts which show different parts of us that we can develop as we grow.
Mental development is the development of our intellectual capabilities. Yes, we won’t all get to do doctorates or other higher levels of education, but it is important that we have some form of literacy in the world that we live in. As we learn academic skills, we learn how to think critically and analyse things and comprehend the world around us. In this space, self-care is done by allocating some of your time to this practice. You may not be in school, but taking time to read some books or do some research on a subject matter that interests you is a good way to develop mentally.
I remember before I went to study life coaching, I did a lot of online courses and research on issues of mental health. I learnt a lot in this time, which added to the knowledge base I already had from studying psychology. The world today is filled with resources, and we can learn so much if we simply log on and search for it. I mean literally get to a search engine and look up something you have always wanted to learn. You will be amazed at how many podcasts, vlogs, blogs, articles, research papers and all sorts of content you can find on all sorts of subjects. Take care of your mental development by making learning time a part of your lifestyle.
Our emotional development entails understanding our emotional state so we can learn how to express our emotions correctly and productively. When we don’t understand how our emotions work, we often use them in destructive ways – sometimes toward others and sometimes towards ourselves.
Self-care in this space means checking on ourselves to see how we are feeling. As we allow ourselves to feel, we learn to regulate the feelings. By regulate, I mean when you are aware of something, you are better equipped to control it, and it won’t get out of hand.
Self-care in this space also means seeking healing for the things that hurt us in the past as well as letting go of things that keep causing us pain daily. When we take care of ourselves emotionally, we guard our wellness by keeping good things in and taking out the bad.
Our physical development is inevitable, but a conscious approach to it means you take care of your health and fitness levels. By taking care of how well you are physically, you gain so much in other areas of your life because of the vitality this gives you.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, in most places, there are free screenings; you should get checked. I used to be one of the people who was afraid of getting screened for things just out of the fear of what I might find, but I had to get over this.
After meeting other women my age who had discovered different medical conditions and were getting treatment and learning to live much healthier, I realized I also wanted to take a conscious approach to my health. I needed to start taking better care of myself, and this also meant getting screened for scary stuff.
You are never too young or too old to start taking better care of yourself. So, self-care in this space is about facing the uncomfortable and sometimes scary bits of taking care of our health or doing those gruelling exercises or diet changes. Self-care means you do what it takes to give yourself vitality so that you live healthier and happier.
Our spiritual development is the focus on the values you have and how you uphold them. Our values are an important part of us because they shape how we think about and act in the world around us. When self-care is applied to this, it means you make sure the things in your life support your values.
When we don’t take good care of the people, activities, media or influences we allow into our lives, we often go against our values. This makes us people who stand for nothing and will most likely go with whatever flow, even if it leaves us feeling miserable.
Our social development is about how we learn to understand and relate to others around us. By working with other people with shared values or towards common goals, we get a sense of belonging from these communities.
Self-care in this space means we give time to find groups that are promoting the causes we also support. Being a part of the change you wish to see helps you feel a sense of purpose and fulfilment because you are actively contributing to a solution and not just identifying the problems around you.
As you assess your life to see just how much growth you are opening yourself up to, try and see where you can make changes and adjustments. Take a look at these five dimensions of growth and work towards them in how you plan out your self-care routines. Taking care of yourself in these ways will bring so much growth in a holistic way.
Until next time, remember: when you change your thinking, you can change your life.
Cynthia M is a mental wellness coach trained in psychology. She works with different individuals and groups to help them establish a more balanced state of emotional wellbeing so they can experience a better quality of life.
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