How does your Ideal Life look? If you’re like most of us, it’s one in which you can 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
This ideal can feel distant and challenging in our increasingly busy and fast-paced world. 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 nutrition plan for our families. When we 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 six 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 most people in our society would have trouble saying they’d mastered the list.
One reason is that we live in a society that does not value self-care highly. While we are taught from a young age to care for others, we also hear 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 needs is the antidote to the stress that causes so much suffering in the 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 six self-care practices we discuss overlap; when we progress 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 significant 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, and choosing to eat healthier 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 help you reduce stress and create a happy, healthy life 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.