11/21/2013 09:05 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Redefining Self-Care

We all know how important it is to take care of ourselves, to eat right, to exercise and to take our vitamins. I also think it's a safe bet that most of you are overworked, have too many responsibilities on your shoulders, and care deeply for the people in your life, going so far as putting their needs before your own. Come on, let's be honest, I do it, too. And at the end of the day after you have taken care of everyone else's needs you are too exhausted to think of all the things the experts say you "should" be doing for yourself.

This is what I hear from the women I work with -- all the time. And then when I challenge them with a self-care assignment, their first instinct is to indulge in a pedicure or a new scented body lotion from the high-end cosmetic counter at the mall. It's a start, but is that real self-care?

I look at real self-care as a holistic practice that affects the body's wellness and the mind's serenity and the spirit's sense of greater purpose. I'm sorry, scented body lotion doesn't cut it in my books.

Ask yourself what it is you really want, what is really going to make you happy:
  • What is going to revitalize and energize your body?
  • What is going to quiet the inner critic and allow you to be at peace in your thoughts?
  • What is going to detoxify your social circle and your energetic environment?
  • What is going to move you towards fulfilling your dreams?

Here is a list of ways you can incorporate a little more holistic self-care into your daily life and hopefully find that elusive balance we all strive for:

Mind: Start your day with love. When you wake up, and certainly before you start making your mental to-do list, ground yourself in love. Remind yourself of your worthiness before you even get out of bed. When you get to the mirror and want to mentally whine about every wrinkle or pimple, stop. Say something nice instead. Use positive affirmations to train your mind to become more loving.

Body: Make taking care of your body a fun endeavor. Find exercises you like that don't sound like a workout. Start incorporating healthy foods into your diet slowly while consciously crowding out the processed foods. Get out into nature and breathe fresh air. Let the sun shine on your face.

Entourage: Honor and respect your true self. Don't get involved with people or projects that bring you down or suck your life's passion from you. Don't allow toxic people in your life. Learn to say no. You can be compassionate and respectful to others, but be discerning about whom you allow into your innermost life. Be real. Speak up and speak out. Allow yourself to be seen, heard, and understood. Become at ease with intimacy (start thinking of it as in-to-me-see) with the right healthy people in your life.

Spirit: Seek out a connection to your spirit. Your spirit is that unique gift of being human where you feel most fulfilled, and where your creativity and intuition comes from. Yes, you can have a healthy mind and healthy body and healthy relationships, but deep down, we need more. We need a life of purpose: and that is something found only in our spirit. Whether you practice a religion or not, spend some time in spiritual investigation and find your connection.

I want to hear from you. How do you define self-care? What are some examples of holistic self-indulgence that you do for yourself? Drop me a line at my website or comment below and keep the self-care conversation going.