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The Self-Care Iceberg

What comes to your mind when we talk about self-care? Is it a luxurious bubble bath, that much-needed spa date, or treating yourself to your favorite dessert? There’s no denying that all those instances are a form of self-care and you should definitely do more of them. But self-care goes so much deeper than taking a vacation every once in a while or a mani-pedi.

Self-care is like an iceberg; what you see on the surface is just a small fraction of what’s really there. There are many layers beneath the surface that we may not initially see or think about when we talk about self-care. Self-care is a multi-layered process that requires us to attend to all our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs comprehensively and intentionally.

The self-care iceberg has three layers; surface-level, mid-level, and deep-level. Whether you're a self-care newbie or a seasoned pro, there's something to learn here for everyone. So grab a cup of your favorite beverage, get comfy, and let us dive in!

Surface-level self-care:

This is the easy-peasy self-care; the obvious things that we all know about but often take for granted like getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, eating healthily, and exercising our bodies. This level of self-care is necessary for our survival and overall health and we often find that neglecting these basic physical needs can cause a myriad of problems like fatigue, weakened immune system, and illnesses.

The activities of this level of self-care can seem simple or mundane but they are the foundation of our well-being. They also include personal hygiene practices like s

howering, brushing your teeth, and grooming. Teach your kids this level of self-care. Getting this part right makes it easier to move on to other forms of self-care. If you’re struggling with managing your mental health, start with caring for your physical needs first because they make a huge difference in how you feel.

Mid-level self-care

Now that the physical aspect is taken care of, we then move to practices that address our emotional and mental health. These activities make us feel more balanced and centered emotionally, reduce stress, improve our mood, and cultivate a greater sense of well-being. They require a bit more effort and intention to cultivate than the basic needs but they are relatively easy to incorporate into our daily lives.

Examples of mid-level self-care activities include:

  • Mindfulness practices: This can include meditation, deep breathing, or simply taking a few moments to tune in to your body and your surroundings.

  • Engaging in hobbies or creative pursuits: Doing something you enjoy, whether it's painting, writing, or playing an instrument, can be a great way to reduce stress and boost your mood.

  • Spending time in nature: Being outdoors and connecting with nature has been shown to have numerous benefits for our mental and emotional health.

  • Practicing self-compassion: This means being kind and forgiving to yourself, and treating yourself as you would treat a good friend.

  • Setting boundaries: Saying no to things that don't serve you, and prioritizing your own needs and well-being.

Deep-level self-care

The deep level of self-care is the most profound and transformative level of self-care. It focuses on practices that help us to connect with our inner selves, cultivate self-awareness, and transform our deepest beliefs and patterns. While surface-level self-care focuses on physical needs, and mid-level self-care focuses on emotional needs, deep-level self-care is about addressing our spiritual needs.

​​Deep-level self-care practices require a greater commitment of time, energy, and resources than surface-level or mid-level self-care practices. However, they can also have a profound and lasting impact on our lives. By working on the deepest parts of ourselves, we can transform our beliefs and patterns, cultivate greater self-awareness and self-love, and ultimately lead more fulfilling and meaningful lives.

Examples of deep-level self-care practices include:

  • Therapy: Working with a qualified therapist or counselor can help us to understand and work through deep-seated emotional issues and patterns. Therapy can help us to uncover limiting beliefs, process trauma, and develop new, healthier ways of relating to ourselves and others.

  • Mind-body practices: Practices like yoga, tai chi, or qigong can help us to cultivate a deeper sense of connection between our mind and body. These practices can help us to become more aware of our physical sensations and emotional states and can help us to release tension and stress from the body.

  • Spiritual practices: Practices like meditation, prayer, or journaling can help us to connect with our inner selves and cultivate a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. By connecting with something greater than ourselves, we can feel more grounded and centered in our lives.

All three levels of the self-care iceberg are important so don’t neglect any. We understand that mid-level and deep-level self-care may need a bit of guidance so don’t hesitate to reach out to us for that! You deserve to feel at your best most of the time and self-care is how you achieve that.

Starting therapy is the best self-care decision you can make for yourself this year. Contact us today and we'll discuss your needs as well as answer any questions you might have about cost, length of treatment, and coordinating services.

We treat these common concerns:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety and Phobias

  • Relationship Difficulties

  • Life Transitions

  • Difficulties with Self-Esteem

  • Eating Issues

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Professional/Career Issues

  • College/Graduate School Issues

  • Medical and Health Concerns

  • Pain Management

  • Stress Management

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

  • Sexual Abuse

  • Spirituality

  • Gender Identity Support

  • LGBT Counseling

  • Grief, Loss, or Bereavement

  • Other Issues


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