Prioritize self-care for holistic wellness

Self-Care Blog by Candace Washington

I am going through a significant time of experiencing many changes, and my workload is quickly increasing. I’m a multifaceted woman. I am a psychotherapist, author, speaker, minister, and the most important hat of them all, I am the mom of two active boys. Finding a healthy work-life balance can be challenging, but every day, I have to give myself the same amount of attention that I provide to my family, clients, and the community. Self-care is, therefore, an essential component of my wellness journey.

Placing ourselves at the top of the hierarchy in our lives has been viewed as self-serving within some contexts of society, but self-care has become more common and has a less negative connotation. Many definitions of self-care now focus on overall well-being and identifying and meeting individual needs to enhance our quality of life, physical and mental well-being, and ability to carry out our duties healthily.

As a therapist, I frequently hear many refer to self-care activities as only occurring when they are being pampered, but it’s multidimensional. Some people characterize self-care as spending time with family and friends, while others depict it as going to the gym daily, sharing good meals, or even moderating and succumbing to that sweet tooth. For some, it can mean spending time with their spiritual community or taking a break from their job. Again, self-care is multidimensional and personal, as what is soothing and beneficial to me might not be to you.

For this reason, I ask myself, and I encourage you to do the same, what do I need today? It’s a daily question. Do I need to rest? Do I require excitement? Do I need to be still? Do I need to interact socially? What do I need today? Asking yourself this question can help you better meet your needs on an all-encompassing level and manage stress. I utilize the Olga Phoenix self-care framework when addressing my self-care needs and would like to share it with you.

Phoenix is a self-care and well-being expert who created a self-care wheel that causes us to self-identify areas of focus, including physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, personal, and professional. I will share a few strategies for ensuring optimal health from this six-dimensional framework.


  • Eat balanced and healthy meals
  • Engage in physical activity and exercise
  • Get enough sleep


  • Seek out professional mental health services
  • Join a support group
  • Practice asking and receiving help when needed


  • Practice positive affirmations
  • Give yourself permission to feel and cry
  • Engage in self-love and self-compassion


  • Find a spiritual community
  • Pray and recognize a higher power
  • Identify a spiritual mentor


  • Become self-aware of personal needs
  • Plan short and long-term goals
  • Engage in healthy relationships


  • Take mental health days
  • Set boundaries and not take work home
  • Practice saying no

I also utilize this framework with my clients, as it allows them to self-identify where they need to become more intentional in taking care of themselves. For all of us, every day will look different. Hence, my daily question to myself. There might be more time on Monday, but time is strained throughout the rest of the week. You might plan a self-care activity, and then an unexpected change appears. Giving yourself grace for the adjustments is also practicing self-care. Again, every day is different, but the key is to show up for yourself and strive to give back to yourself as much as you pour out and show up for your responsibilities and others. We need us, too.

Self-care is also about setting boundaries and not overexerting yourself. As the framework mentions above, practice saying no and understand this is a complete sentence. If anything in your life no longer serves you, you must disengage; your health matters in all ways. Make it a priority to place yourself at the top of your list of commitments—schedule time daily to care for yourself, prioritize your engagements, and set attainable goals. Again, your needs matter. Therefore, take care of yourself and live well.