9 Elements of Success: Self-Care — Laying the Foundation

Self-care. I’ve been writing and speaking about self-care for over two decades. I’ve been striving 

A good night's sleep is an essential building block of good self-care.

A good night’s sleep is an essential building block of good self-care.

to achieve it for just as long. I hold it as an ideal, but staying true to it has been difficult. It was a long, slow process for me to establish some good habits –eating well, getting a good night’s sleep, getting regular exercise, drinking plenty of water, and controlling my exposure to toxic people and negativity. 

If my clients are any indication, many people struggle to make self-care a priority. Almost without exception my organizing and coaching clients either are unaware of the value and true necessity of self-care, or have not made it a priority in their lives. Why is this? For one thing, productivity is revered far more than self-care in our culture. Often self-care takes a back seat to striving for success and managing life’s many activities and demands until there is a crisis. Heart attacks, diabetes, cancer, divorce . . . the possible outcomes of a lack of self-care, shine a light on the need for it.

Also, people who struggle with clutter and issues with productivity are usually working so hard to keep their heads above water that self-care never makes it on their radar. An overwhelming, harried, overly busy life is the breeding ground not only for clutter, but also for behaviors that actually cause health issues that could be prevented by self-care: over-eating, working late, and having no time or energy for exercise.

If you want positive change and a life of choice instead of crisis, reactivity and chaos, self-care must be part of your action plan. It really is not optional. It’s a necessity. Self-care is the foundation from which all change is possible. It is essential to generate the best brain power, best attitude, best energy and best results.

What is self-care? When Certified Organizer Coaches® were asked about their self-care in 2013,  most viewed self-care as regular exercise, eating well, and getting good sleep. Their priorities were right on the money! Those three practices are key essentials of good self-care and are what most people think of as self-care. They lay the groundwork to create the physical balance that makes possible good thinking and good emotion regulation. When they are in place, they create the physical, mental and emotional conditions needed to be able to thrive in all areas of your life. 

Starting with the big three, regular exercise, eating well, and getting good sleep, is a great place to start if daily self-care is not yet on your radar. Clients who practice those forms of self-care get immediate results not only in feeling better physically, but in effectively handling challenges, improved mental clarity, and accomplishing their goals. Conversely, when their self-care slips, and it will from time to time even for the most committed, everything is more difficult. Getting stuck is also much easier.


If you make the big three a priority in your life, you will find that you are better able to handle the rough waves of your life as they roll in. You will be less easily knocked down and carried away by the waves. When you do get knocked down and find yourself off track, you can more easily get back on your feet, supported by your self-care practices. With good self-care in place your confidence will grow making it more probable that you will be able to take on the risks of change necessary to achieve your goals and live a life in which you thrive instead of merely survive.

Make self-care a priority. The quality of every aspect of your life depends on it.