Updated: Aug 3
First, you can assess your health with these 4 pillars! Then, you can start to work on the areas that need the most improvement! In this assessment it is important to look at all 4 pillars, rather than just mental and physical health. Here, we will learn what the pillars are, and simple tips to start working on each one!
This pillar is, yes, you guessed it, the physical body! Our biology is closely tied to our mental health. Typically when we are sick, or hurt, we are not in the best mental state. Making sure that we take care of our illnesses and ailments helps us then to focus on the other areas of health. This is also true for long term, more chronic issues; like mismanaged diabetes, obesity, or untreated chronic fatigue or pain. Really this can be anything related to your body that takes up mental space. Sometimes, our physical symptoms manifest themselves as thoughts and emotions about ourselves and the people around us. If we are sick, we tend to have less patience and may talk negatively about ourselves, yell at a loved one, or even get agitated at things that usually don't bother us; like the traffic or weather. It is important to have regular check ups with your primary care physician as well as making appointments when the symptoms are still persisting after home remedies.
This pillar is related to all things mental health. Look at thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. When assessing mental health, it is important to take some time on this pillar even if you do not have a mental health disorder! We are all imperfect, we are all doing our best, and we all have room for improvement. Working on this pillar could mean something simple like working on intentional acts of self-care, all the way to working through complex trauma with a therapist. There are great resources to start the process of working on your mental health. Know that you can reach out to a professional to help you along your mental health journey.
* resource links at the end of this blog post *
This pillar is about social connection. We are made as social beings and have a deep-seated need to be connected to other human beings. For some people, that connection could be as simple as sitting in a coffee shop alone but around people. For others, this connection means deep connections with a lot of other people with meaningful conversations. Regardless of where you are on that spectrum, it is important to assess whether you are getting enough, or maybe too much, social connection. It can be scary to open up to people and it can take a lot of effort. When assessing this social pillar, you should look at how you feel when you are with the people that you are spending time with. If you are around people and feel self-conscious, or feel like you cannot be your authentic self, it might be time to reassess your boundaries with others.
The spiritual pillar is not only for people who are religious or spiritual. The spiritual pillar is our sense of direction, meaning and purpose in life. It is important to identify your values and align yourself, your goals, your behaviors and your thoughts with these values. For people that are not spiritual or religious, this could mean grounding yourself in an activity that you enjoy. For people who identify with a religion, these values most likely align with your religion. Connecting to the religion, is your way of aligning yourself with your values and feeling that sense of direction and meaning for life.
What to do to work on each pillar!
- Going to the doctor when you have a physical issue
- Eat balanced meals and drinking water
- Take sick days off of work
- Be active throughout your day
(walk around the block, stand for 1 meeting a day, stretch in the morning, doing squats while you think through an email you want to send)
- Go to the doctor / therapist when you are feeling drained or overwhelmed
- Do something for self-care daily
(take a bath, get yourself flowers, put your phone away and listen to something, light a candle, get outside)
- Have hobbies that are stress relieving and enjoyable
- Create goals to work on that align with your values
(create 1-3 SMART goals to work on that can be achieved within 2-3 months)
- Connect with others on a regular bases
- Keep people around you that lift you up and support you
- Distance yourself from people that drag you down and that are not supportive.
- Hold boundaries with people when they are harming your health.
(yes, this will most likely hurt their feelings and you will most likely feel guilty about the boundary)
- Do something that gives you a sense of purpose or meaning
(volunteer, help a neighbor, donate old clothes)
- Take time to refresh your spirit / soul
(Prayer, taking a walk in nature, going to mass)
- Allow yourself to give things that are out of our control up to God
- Do something that is outside of yourself on a regular bases
Hi, I’m Kristina Anzell, I am a Clinical Social Worker dedicated to providing compassionate and tailored mental health support for moms at all stages of motherhood. My mission is to empower you to thrive in your role as a mother while nurturing your own well-being. If you enjoyed this blog post, check out my blog here! If you want more information or are seeking treatment, feel free to reach out!