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Drawing Parallels between Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Self Care

I think it is almost every day, I tell myself, “Treat yourself! You can have all the things the world has to offer!” Some days I pamper myself, I eat what I want to, I buy myself some good clothes but can I call it self-care? Is there more to self-care? What can I do to practice self-care daily? Let us answer these questions with respect to “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” and “Self-Care”.

The basics of self-care are known by everyone: have a good sleep schedule, eat properly and healthy, exercise daily, take out time for yourself and reward yourself. Almost everyone experiences burnout due to stress, work, and other related factors every day. People can't take out time for themselves and people must work to their full potential and this can only happen when they take care of themselves and save themselves from burnout.

Why is Self-care important?

Self-care has a very deep meaning to it, and the World Health Organization (WHO) describes self-care as: “The ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.” WHO pushes people to be empowered and self-reliant by practicing self-care. It also gives people a sense of autonomy, makes them responsible towards themselves and makes them efficient to carry out daily activities by themselves!

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can be broken down into levels which consist of physical needs, safety needs, emotional needs, self-esteem, and self-actualization. All the needs are conative in nature meaning they’re driven by motivation. It stresses the fact that the purpose of humans is to reach their full potential and attain self-actualization.

Now keeping these in mind, we can break down what is self-care and how it can be practiced by fulfilling all our needs one by one and reaching our full potential.

  • Physiological Needs constitute our basic needs and when people think of self-care, this is the first thing that comes into their minds. This involves getting adequate nutrition, a night of good quality sleep, and drinking lots and lots of water. A gentle reminder to keep yourself hydrated at all times :).

  • Moving on, we have safety needs which include a sense of security and stability, stopping ourselves from risk-taking behaviors, dependency, and protection. The needs for law, order, and structure are also safety needs. We can take care of ourselves by keeping ourselves safe, staying free from any kind of emotional or physical harm. Adolescents and adults can avoid situations that can be harmful to them.

  • The third important need is the need for love and belongingness. People should focus on fostering good social relationships and start new friendships. We should try to eliminate any kind of relationship that is toxic for us and affects us in a harmful way. Critically examining your relationships and being aware of the same is key. Devote your time to think about your friends and family members.

  • Keeping all these things in mind, one can boost their self-esteem. Self-esteem needs require self-respect for oneself and confidence. Self-esteem is based on competence and the need for achievement. We can work on that in several ways. Critical decision-making techniques, using the correct problem-solving strategies, planning can do wonders for you. Prioritizing your work could be beneficial for you. Make a to-do list for yourself! Keep a checklist and maintain a record of the things you’ve done and reward yourself. It is these little things people often forget to emphasize which might affect them greatly.

  • Last but not least is self-actualization. Self-actualization needs constitute fulfillment of the self, realizing one’s own potential, are very creative, and can think of novel ideas. Self-actualization focuses our emphasis on our dreams, goals, and achievements. For anyone who wishes to prosper and flourish in their professional and personal lives, self-actualization is key. People who wish to attain this need can practice spiritual self-care techniques such as meditation, reading spiritual texts, and do yog-asana. Seeking peace and joy in little things, giving yourself affirmations, and believing yourself are recommended.

Self-care for everyone is different and no matter what you do for yourself, devote time to it and cover as many things you can in the hierarchy. This will help you to maintain a balance in your emotional and personal well-being and will improve your mental health. Life has a lot to offer, and make sure you gain what you can!

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