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Posted 04/30/2024 in Christian Mental Health Tips

The Self-Care Pyramid: Building a Foundation for Inner Wellness


The Self-Care Pyramid: Building a Foundation for Inner Wellness

In our fast-paced lives filled with constant demands and pressures, it's easy to overlook the importance of self-care or reduce it to bubble baths, days of work and healthy eating. The activities have been previously described as faux self-care.

Self-care goes beyond surface-level activities like pampering oneself or indulging in temporary pleasures. It involves intentional and consistent practices that support overall well-being and personal growth. However, like any structure, our well-being requires a solid foundation and careful construction. Welcome to the Genuine Self-Care Pyramid, a guide to nurturing your inner self and achieving a balanced, fulfilling life.

Foundation: Values and Self-Awareness

Self-care is essential for both mental and physical health. At the base of the self-care pyramid lies the bedrock of self-care: your values and self-awareness. Knowing your values and being self-aware allow you to heed the wisdom of Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

Values:

Knowing your values helps you identify what is truly important in life. In fact, when individuals become disconnected from their values, they often experience a sense of meaninglessness, emptiness, and dissatisfaction in their lives. They may suffer from mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. Consider the below questions to help you identify your values:

  • What are my top three to five values guiding my life decisions?

  • What principles are non-negotiable for me in life?

  • What activities consistently bring me joy and fulfillment?

  • What qualities do I admire most in others, and why?

  • What legacy do I want to leave behind?

  • How do my values reflect the teachings of Jesus and my understanding of God's will?

Understanding your values serves as a guiding star, directing your choices and deeds in harmony with your essence. By engaging in these reflective practices, individuals can gain greater clarity on their values and make choices that are more aligned with their authentic selves, leading to a sense of fulfillment and purpose in life.




Self-awareness:

Self-awareness involves attuning to your inner landscape—thoughts, emotions, and needs. By heeding these internal prompts, you discern what drains your vitality and what replenishes it. This self-awareness empowers you to make choices that nurture your well-being, not diminish it. You can learn more about increasing your self-awareness in our article here: Six Ways to Improve Self-Awareness. You can also consider the below questions:

  • What are my emotional triggers, and how do I react to them?

  • In what situations do I feel most comfortable and confident?

  • What are my recurring thoughts and patterns, and are they serving me?

  • What aspects of myself do I tend to avoid or downplay?

  • How does my understanding of being made in God's image shape my self-perception?

Second Level: Boundaries and Hard Decisions

Ascending to the second tier, the pyramid emphasizes establishing boundaries and making tough choices, reminiscent of Ephesians 5:15-16, "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil."

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Boundaries:

Establishing healthy boundaries is essential for preserving our well-being and protecting our time, energy, and emotional resources. Boundaries empower you to decline what saps your energy and create room for what truly matters. While setting boundaries may pose challenges, it is pivotal for thwarting burnout and fostering healthy relationships. It is also important to remember your boundaries dictate your behavior and are not meant to control others.

Consider the below questions to help you establish healthy boundaries: What kind of personal space do I need to feel healthy and balanced?

  • In what situations do I struggle to say no or set boundaries?

  • Who drains my energy, and how can I limit their influence?

  • What are my needs, and how can I communicate them effectively to others?

  • Does the concept of Sabbath and rest influence my need for boundaries? (blessing of rest)

  • Does my desire for healthy boundaries stem from a place of self-respect as a creation of God?

  • How do you navigate changes in a relationship after a hurt or betrayal

Self-care is more than mental health days/quality time with yourself quote

Making Difficult Decisions:

Making difficult decisions, as advocated in James 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you," constitutes another facet of self-care. Sometimes, choices that are beneficial in the long haul necessitate short-term adversity. You navigate these trials with self-compassion and lucidity by meticulously weighing your options and aligning them with your values.

Consider the below questions to help you make hard decisions:

  • Am I prioritizing the things that matter most to me?

  • Am I making decisions based on external pressure or my values?

  • What potential consequences am I willing to accept for my choices?

  • What sacrifices am I willing to make for a more fulfilling life?

  • How can I seek God's guidance and discernment when making difficult choices?

mental health pyramid of self-care Pin & Save for Later!

Third Level: Self-Compassion and Deeper Self-Awareness

Continuing our ascent, we encounter self-compassion and a deeper self-awareness.

Self-compassion:

Self-compassion, reminiscent of Lamentations 3:22-23, "Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness," entails treating yourself with tenderness and empathy, particularly in times of adversity or lapse. It involves acknowledging that imperfection is universal and that it's acceptable not to be flawless continuously.

Consider the below questions to help you make hard decisions:

  • How would I talk to a close friend struggling with the same issue I face?

  • What are my strengths and positive qualities, even if I don't always recognize them?

  • Am I holding myself to unrealistic expectations or standards?

  • How can I practice self-forgiveness and move forward from past mistakes?

  • How does God's grace and forgiveness help me extend compassion towards myself?


Deeper Self-Awareness:

Delving into deeper self-awareness, as inspired by Romans 12:2, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will," transcends basic emotional and need recognition. The level of self-awareness entails exploring your motivations, convictions, and constraining patterns. This introspective depth enables you to pinpoint areas for advancement and make mindful choices congruent with your evolving self.

Consider the below questions to help you develop deeper self-awareness:

  • What limiting beliefs are holding me back from achieving my full potential?

  • What are my unconscious biases, and how do they influence my perceptions?

  • What parts of myself am I afraid to explore or acknowledge?

  • What hidden talents or aspirations are waiting to be discovered?

  • How can I find my unique purpose and calling within God's plan?

Level 4: The Pinnacle - Authentic Self

Finally, at the apex of the pyramid, the fourth level, lies the authentic self also known as self actualization. Here, all preceding layers converge: living in accord with your values, establishing healthy boundaries, practicing self-compassion, and perpetually deepening self-awareness. It entails embracing your unique essence and authentically expressing yourself in the world, echoing Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Consider the below questions to help you live life consist with your authentic self

  • Who did God create me to be before the world attempted to tell me who I am?

  • How can I express my true self more authentically in the world?

  • Am I living with integrity and purpose, aligned with my values?

  • How can I continue to grow and evolve as an authentic individual?

  • Am I living according to my true values and desires?

  • Am I expressing myself authentically in different aspects of life?

  • How can I live a life that feels meaningful and fulfilling?

  • What steps can I take to further embrace my authentic self?


 The Self-care Pyramid of mental and physical Well Being Pin It & Save for Later!

Final Thoughts on Self-Care Pyramid

The Self-Care Pyramid serves as a roadmap for cultivating holistic well-being and living a life of purpose and authenticity. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it's a fundamental necessity for nurturing your mind, body, and spirit, echoing 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, where our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, deserving of care and respect. 

Take the time to invest in yourself, prioritize your needs, and honor your journey. By building a strong foundation rooted in values and self-awareness, establishing healthy boundaries, practicing self-compassion, and embracing your authentic self, you can embark on a transformative path toward inner peace and fulfillment. Start building your Self-Care Pyramid today and watch as it becomes a beacon of light guiding you towards a life of radiant wellness.

If you would like to download the above questions in a PDF formate, you can do so for a donation of any amount including zero dollars by clicking the below picture. PDF of self-care questions

Remember, the above questions for personal growth and genuine real self-care are just starting points. The most important aspect is to engage in honest and introspective self-reflection to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and build a life aligned with your values and aspirations.


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About the Author:Christian Counselor in Maryland, New York and New Jersey Corine Williams, Ph.D.

Corine Williams, Ph.D. is Clinical Psychologist that is currently seeing clients in the States of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. You can find out more about her practice by visiting www.therapyforchristians.com/corinewilliams. In addition to providing individual therapy, Dr. Williams is also passionate about writing books and designing merchandise that educate, uplift, and normalize mental health subject in the Christian community. You can find out more about her at  www.booksbycorine.com or by visiting her amazon profile here:  https://www.amazon.com/Corine-Hyman/e/B00AWZ5FL2


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Disclaimer: the information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this article are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are looking for a Christian counselor near you, please check out our directory located here: Christians Therapist Near Me




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