Treat yourself like you treat your dog

Okay, okay.  I know some of you might be thrown by the title here but stick with me.  Think about the message in this.  What are the mainstays of taking care of a pup?   Essentially, you feed it well, you take it for walks, you let it play, and you let it rest.

Now let’s translate that into self-care speak for us lowly humans.  These are the same basic things that human beings need to function well.  Good food to fuel our bodies.  Exercise.  Some form of fun or relaxation.  And sleep.

My inspiration

I started thinking about this concept when I stumbled across the work of Dr. Rangan Chaterjee.  Dr. Chaterjee is a British family physician that has published two popular books:  The 4 Pillar Plan (this is the original title; it has since been adapted for sale in the US) and The Stress Solution.

I first discovered him through the Calm app (he teaches one of their masterclasses) and moved from there to listening to his podcast, Feel Better Live More.  His overall message is one of bringing health back to the basics and focusing on the four areas noted above.  In full disclosure, I haven’t yet read either of his books, but The 4 Pillar Plan IS currently sitting on my Amazon wishlist.  I don’t like to amass too many physical books waiting to be read at any one time! 

In general, I’m really drawn to his approach.  It aligns so well with the principles of minimalism and keeping things SIMPLE. 

Set micro goals

Now, I firmly believe that a key piece to progress is not to bite off more than you can chew.  When I’m working with patients to set goals for how to improve their health, I ask what they think a reasonable goal might be. Then I tell them to go smaller, and smaller again … infinitely smaller!  The smaller the task, the easier it is to accomplish it, which then builds your confidence to move forward on the next tiny step. 

For example, if someone is looking to say join a gym, the micro goals might be as small as:

  • Day 1: google what gyms are in the area (don’t click on any results, just simply type in the google search bar and hit enter, that’s it!)
  • Day 2: pull up each gym’s website on your browser (don’t even look at them really, just open them each in a separate tab, done for the day!)
  • Day 3: peruse the websites, compare starting membership rates
  • Day 4: decide which gym is right for you 
  • Day 5: write down their phone number
  • Day 6: call the number to register
  • Day 7: put your shoes by the door   

          … and so on and so forth 

Now of course, if you’re a goal-setting machine, you don’t have to break it down this small.  But if you struggle with taking action on your goals, try this strategy.  I promise you it will help move you forward! 

But I digress. 

Pick one of the four areas

Anyhow, in line with this concept, I would recommend picking only one of the four areas (movement, food, fun/relaxation, sleep) to tackle at a time. 

The majority of us are able to quickly identify the area that is most lacking attention in our life (listen to your gut on this!).  Start there.  Or, if that seems too difficult, start with the area you think you’ll have the most success in.  Remember, progress builds momentum. 

Upcoming mini series

To fully give this topic the attention it’s due, over the next month I will devote a separate post to each of the four areas.  I’ll share my best tips on small, actionable ways to help boost your overall health and well being by bringing it back to the basics.  So if you’re interested to learn more, be sure to check back frequently!

For now though – go walk your pooch 🙂



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