Why is it so hard to fit self-care into our lives? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that we’ve all struggled to create healthy habits—those practices that help you love yourself—body and spirit.
At one point or another, most of us have probably wished for a quick fix—some magic wand we could wave to suddenly transform into a self-care champion. You know, the kind of person who gets up early, exercises every day, drinks green juice like it’s their job, reads two books a week, journals for fun, never stresses, swaps meditation tips with the Dalai Lama and never misses their weekly lunch date with their dearest friends.
Oh, and they totally prefer kale over cake.
Maybe self-care doesn’t have to be so hard, sweetheart.
True, there’s no such thing as a magic habit wand. But there is a simpler approach to health and wellness—one that feels nurturing instead of nagging, refreshing instead of restricting.
If you’re tired of the endless task list and ready to find an easier way to love yourself, I’m excited to tell you about how I practice simple self-care using the 5 Pillars of Wellness. It’s a system I tapped into through years of trial-and-error. We’ll unpack each below and talk about how you can use these pillars to support your own self-care.
But let’s pause for a second, because I have a special gift just for you!
My free 5 Day Self-Care Kickstart is open now! (It’s actually based on these same 5 pillars.) You’ll get 5 days of fun, free self-care challenges—plus tons of support and encouragement along the way. Sign up NOW to reset your self-care!
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. 😉
My 5 Pillars of Wellness: The Path to Easy Self-Care
So what are the 5 pillars?
1. What you’re eating
2. What you’re drinking
3. What you’re thinking
4. How you’re resting
5. How you’re renewing
Together, they form my secret sauce for simple self-care.
True, there are tons of other practices you can use to support your health and wellness! But all of the best sauces start out with a strong base… and that’s exactly what the 5 Pillars of Wellness are all about. Think of the pillars like the tomatoes to your favorite marinara, the avocados to your guac (ok, not technically a sauce, but you get the picture!).
They’re the foundation. Out of all the ways you can love yourself, I’ve found that these five categories have the biggest impact on our overall well-being. In other words, the pillars are the self-care must-haves. You can always layer more on top, if you’d like. But as long as you’re engaging each of these pillars for a few minutes a day—your self-care will be well-supported.
Let’s explore each pillar now.
Pillar #1 – What You’re Eating
Is it any surprise that I’m starting here? The produce aisle was my first stop after my cancer diagnosis, after all!
I will never forget the moment in my Healing Cancer World Summit interview with Dwight McKee, MD when he said, “Cooking is a survival skill.” Boom.
I couldn’t think of a better way to sum up this first pillar than those words. Knowing how to nourish our bodies is at the core of health and wellness. I’m not talking about deprivation. I’m talking about respecting ourselves by bringing simple self-care to our plates. That looks like:
- Cooking and eating plenty of whole, plant-based foods.
- Reducing inflammation and increasing our joy in the kitchen.
- Savoring the flavors we love and trying new stuff too—without compromising our health.
- And ultimately, accessing and trusting our own inner wisdom when it comes to what we eat.
This may sound like a big shift, but I promise that it’s easier and a lot more fun than you might think. It all starts with eating your veggies. So just put one extra serving of veggies on your plate today (or in your glass, gorgeous!). See—simple!
Pillar #2 – What You’re Drinking
I love having coffee a couple times a week and indulging in the occasional cocktail, but no drink gets me more excited than good old H2O. (Well, green juice is a close second!)
If you’ve been tuning into my weekly Wellness Wednesday broadcasts on Facebook and Instagram (join me live!), then you know how passionate I am about hydration. And it’s not just because I know how good I feel when I get enough water.
Dehydration (especially if it’s chronic) can be a serious problem for your health. It can cause fever, low blood pressure, fatigue and even mess with the way your brain functions. And you can bet that stuff will stand in the way of the vibrant health and wellness you hope to create.
So pour yourself a big glass of self-care! To find out how much water you should drink per day, divide your body weight (in pounds) by two to get the approximate number of ounces you need. If you’re on the metric system, divide your weight in kilograms by 30 to determine how many litres you need.
Psst… here’s a pro tip to get you started on the path to better hydration: If you feel thirsty, chances are you’re already dehydrated. So let that be your cue to catch up. Keep sippin’ sweetheart!
Pillar #3 – What You’re Thinking
Now that we’ve covered the first two pillars of wellness—what you’re eating and drinking—it’s time to talk soul stuff. Because at the end of the day, all the kale and water in the world won’t add up to our healing if we’re out of balance in other areas.
The thinking pillar is about noticing your thoughts, especially the thoughts you have about yourself. It’s about letting go of judgement about your feelings (the good, the bad and everything in between). And, perhaps most importantly, it’s about managing stress, because that’s the number one catalyst for disease.
Learning how to manage stress and be kinder to yourself is different for everyone. Meditation is my personal favorite. (In fact, I just created a new meditation for my Inner Circle Wellness family that’s all about shifting the way you think about your body—and celebrating its power instead of criticizing its flaws. You can check it out today, if you’d like. Explore the membership here.) You can also soothe stress with tapping, mindful breaks and more. Try different options until you find a practice that works for you.
Remember: If you can change your mind, you can transform your life.
Pillar #4 – How You’re Resting
The fourth pillar of wellness may sound like a snooze, but it’s just as critical to your overall well-being as the rest (heh… pun intended!).
I’ve written extensively about sleep because, while we all know it’s a vital part of self-care, many of us still struggle to get the recommended 7.5–8 hours per night. Here are some of the need-to-know details:
- An estimated 20-40 percent of adults aren’t getting enough sleep. In the United States alone, 70 million people suffer from some sort of sleep disorder.
- Getting sleep is necessary for everything from building your immunity and regulating your appetite, to cleaning out your brain’s waste products and saving your memories.
- Not all sleep is created equal—your bedtime routine and environment can have a huge impact on the quality of your rest.
- There’s more to rest than sleep. Taking time to refuel your energy tank while you’re awake is important, too.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do (minimal effort required) to create healthy habits for sleep.
Pillar #5 – How You’re Renewing
This last self-care pillar is about movement, play and connection. (Yup, having fun is part of the pillars!)
Let’s start with movement. According to the CDC, less than a quarter of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. I’m a firm believer that this isn’t because we lack understanding—we know about all the benefits of movement for our health and wellness. It’s really because exercise has an image problem that we desperately need to clean up. If you take nothing else away from this pillar, I hope you’ll remember this: Exercise does not have to be a chore. It should be something you actually enjoy doing. You have one beautiful body. Love yourself by moving for a few minutes today.
Now let’s discuss play! When’s the last time you had a little fun, lovely? Allow yourself regular, unstructured free time to follow your whimsy. Enjoy a hobby, see great art, travel (once that’s safe again!), connect with friends and fully recharge. Just because you’re a grown up, doesn’t mean you don’t need playdates. In fact, your soul comes alive through joy. So if you crave a well-lived life, make play a non-negotiable part of your self-care.
The final part of this pillar is connection. We need each other. We’re not meant to do life—or wellness—alone, sweetheart. Find yourself a wellness family: One that’ll offer you daily reminders to prioritize your self-care and the community you need to make it fun.
Let’s Build Your 5 Pillars Together!
Self-care matters. It steadies you. It allows you to bring your best self to every part of your life. Your relationships, work, hobbies and health all see a boost when you take better care of YOU. And ya know what? You deserve that.
So give your self-care some support, sweetheart!
Spend just a few minutes a day on each of these 5 pillars. It’s the easiest way to support your well-being—and start feeling better fast!
Your turn: Which of the 5 pillars will you start with? Let me know in the comments below so we can support each other!
Peace & pillars of wellness,