What does your ideal life look like? If you’re like most of us, it’s one in which you have the ability to be your best self, one in which your body feels good, your spirit feels buoyant, and you enjoy the freedom of good physical and mental health.
In our increasingly busy and fast-paced world, this ideal can feel distant and difficult to achieve. Our energy is depleted by the demands of work and home, and by the pressure to stay “plugged in” to the chatter of the information age. Our work often keeps us indoors, isolated from the natural world and its rhythms. Even as we try to make healthy food choices, dietary recommendations shift with exhausting frequency, leaving us confused and unsure of the best diets for our families. When we do make lifestyle changes, we want results to be immediate, and are frustrated and discouraged when this isn’t the case. As we care for those around us, it’s easy to forget to care for ourselves.
Life Ideals is a personal, individualized health plan that integrates 6 essential self-care practices. These practices are proven time and again to reduce stress and increase resiliency. They include relaxation, social support, thought restructuring, sleep hygiene, physical activity, and nutrition. This list shouldn’t be surprising—really, it’s just common sense. But the majority of people in our society would have trouble saying that they’d mastered the list.
One reason for this is that we live in a society that does not place high value on self-care. While we are taught from a young age to care for others, we are also given the message that paying the same attention to our own needs is indulgent, selfish, and unnecessary. Yet self-care is essential to a healthy body and mind. Understanding and honoring our own needs is the antidote to the stress that causes so much suffering in mind and spirit. When we neglect ourselves, there is a physical and emotional toll that prevents us from being our best selves, and compromises our ability to care for others.
Life Ideals is a process for better self-care. The 6 practices of self-care that we discuss are overlapping and when progress is made in one area, it reaches into another. Just as every part of your body is connected, all elements of self-care are related.
It’s important to remember that change happens incrementally, and over time. Life Ideals is a process, one that encourages you to be patient with yourself. Even small achievements can have great benefits, and as areas of Life Ideals overlap, you’ll notice improvements in all parts of your life: techniques for relaxation will give you skills to improve thought patterns and sleep hygiene, choosing a better diet will increase your energy level for physical activity.
Life Ideals is achievable and sustainable, though it takes some work, and a shift in thinking. Building on your strengths, Life Ideals helps you reduce stress and create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and free of denial and extremes. Using the Life Ideals curriculum, we will create realistic, sustainable and individualized self-care practices to increase your joy in the world. In a supportive environment, Life Ideals will enable you to:
- Increase self-awareness
- Create time for self-care
- Learn new skills for coping with stressors
- Lower stress levels
- Boost immunity
- Allow you to address your needs
- Lead a healthy life
- Alleviate physical discomforts
- Strategize to accomplish your goals.