Balanced Health : Self-care for your mind, body, and spirit

Woman breathing fresh air outdoors in summer

The “to do” lists of studio owners can be massive.

There’s work involving budgets, marketing, employee scheduling, classes, and performances. Add to that the social demands of engaging prospective students, connecting with the community, and other activities that build and serve your clientele—plus entrepreneurial endeavors and ongoing mentorship.

Squeezed in between those items are your family’s needs and schedules. Then, on the last line (or possibly written on the empty space that curves up the page’s edge), is “haircut.” Finally, something for you.

Look at this list. It seems that 99.9 percent of your daily actionable items are in service to others. You may know this is not sustainable; it isn’t a manageable balance. Self-care is often confused with selfishness. Yet to live our fullest lives, we need to normalize daily self-care.

What is self-care?

The definition can vary. Self-care for some is a massage, manicure and pedicure, or facial. For others it’s choosing nourishing foods for energy and health benefits. In a life of constant interactions with others, it might simply mean a moment alone.

For each of us, our daily life will define how to normalize self-care to meet our own mind, body, and spiritual needs. Let’s look at some basics of each to learn how we can best do that.


Our brains and our minds are different things. 

As the central nervous system organ, the brain sends signals to the body that control our memory, movement, senses, and functions. The mind is the cognitive center of energy and actions: perceptions, decisions, and feelings live here. Our mind is how we experience thoughts and life, yet the mind can change and rewire the brain. It is believed we have over 6,000 thoughts per day. Since a significant portion of those thoughts can be negative and repetitive, there is a great need for positive self-regulation of our minds. Here’s three ways to normalize mind-care. 

Allow space to understand, forgive, and extend grace to yourself.

When we take time to give and receive self-acceptance, we acknowledge that the good of who we are (our identity) is not based on the good that we do (our performance). Talking to ourselves with kindness—“I have value,” “I am worthy of compassion”—can soften the judgmental and critical voices that often live in our heads.

Recognize when you are stressed, then assess and reset with wisdom.

Acknowledge rising tension that might trigger a negative response, and, instead, counteract with positive tactics. You might pause to put the event or incident causing the tension in perspective, or take a series of deep breaths, and ask yourself “Is this something within my control?” or “Do I have to make a decision right now?” This pause allows you to come back later when emotions have settled, and thoughts are clearer. 

Other stress alleviators include engaging in calming, pleasurable activities: listening to music, reflecting on a happy memory, taking a walk, or drinking a cup of herbal tea.


The body is the house where the mind and spirit interweave and connect. It’s important to be attentive to how we feel physically—this self-awareness can lead to better self-care. We affirm our personal value and worth when we nurture our bodies with good choices. Here are three ways to normalize body-care.

Real food and water are necessary for a body’s long-term health.

The human body is more than 50 percent water, and a steady intake of water is needed to flush out toxins and replenish the water reservoir in organs and bones. (While some might wish we were half-made of coffee or soda, remember those drinks can have a diuretic effect by flushing out needed water and salt.) 

The best way to maintain hydration is by drinking plain water or water enhanced with fruit or herb flavors and/or nutrients. A simple way to determine your hydration level is by checking the color of your urine. Clear or slightly straw-colored is optimal; darker urine might be a sign of dehydration.

When eating, stick to whole foods. Plant foods close to their original source provide the optimal nutrients for illness and disease prevention. Whole foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and grains. Eating well has an impact on both our body’s and brain’s performance: serotonin, which is obtained from some foods, is our mood regulator, and there is a direct correlation between gut and brain health. 

Physical activity, which sets “feel-good” endorphins in motion, can relieve stress.

Just 30 minutes a day of weight-bearing exercise and/or exercise that raises your heart rate can help rid your body unwanted toxins. Educators who demonstrate in class might meet this criterion, but there are emotional and physical benefits to exercising outside of your work-related duties. Take a yoga class with a friend, go for a swim, or get outside and enjoy nature. In the sun your vitamin D levels will rise, and movement helps to set your circadian rhythm for better sleep. 

Your body needs time for restoration.

During the day, unplug from devices for a time to give your eyes and brain a break. At night, intentionally prioritize self-care by creating a peaceful environment (perhaps by using essential oils, reading, or taking a warm bath or shower) and sticking to scheduled sleep (and awake) time. 


Spirit can refer to engaged faith, religion, and the core of the inner person, or perhaps that which gives us purpose and meaning or provides hope or peace. Spiritual wellness is often linked with healing and wholeness and can be attributed to one’s morals, ethics, and beliefs. Here are three suggestions for normalizing spiritual-care.

Seek out inspiration that encourages and uplifts.

Memorize a text that speaks to you: that way it can be easily recalled during trying times. Biblical passages, motivational quotes, and life-affirming writings can support and restore your inner person.

Say thank you and show appreciation with intention.

If we practice gratitude, positive results can pour into our emotional, mental, and physical states, and into our relationships as well. Giving thanks for the goodness in our lives reminds us that we are part of something greater than ourselves.  

Develop supportive relationships.

Share your dreams with one or two close confidants—and give them permission to hold you accountable. 

The benefits of sustainable self-care are numerous. Self-care improves our happiness, reduces stress and anxiety, boosts our energy, and decreases burnout. You can start down the road to normalizing your self-care by choosing just one tip in this story and adding it to the top of your “to do” list. Your self-care will become second nature as you see the personal benefits that flow into your days in a variety of life giving ways.

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