On our podcast, we have mentioned many a times how important it is to take care of yourself and put yourself first before anyone else. We have mentioned previously how to use your love language for self-care and Aristotle’s Golden Mean to find purpose. In this blog post, we will look at how using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory can help you take better care of your mind, body and soul.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a psychological theory that helps us understand what needs humans must have in order to, not only to survive, but also thrive. It is divided into a pyramid composed of five different categories, depicted in a hierarchal fashion.
1. At the bottom of the pyramid are the physiological needs, things that the body needs to survive. These needs are linked to our primal instinctual needs, such as food, water, air or shelter.
2. Following this are safety needs, which are needs that help us feel secure in ourselves and allow us stability and control of our lives, such as employment, health, prosperity, etc.
3. Next comes love and belonging needs, which are social relationships that satiates our thirst for emotional connection and being part of a group or community. Examples include friendships, relationships or family.
4. Second-to-last, we have esteem needs. These are tangible needs that feed our self-esteem and boost our confidence. These include things such as recognition, achievements, respect, etc.
5. Lastly, at the top of the pyramid, we have self-actualisation needs, which is basically anything that allows us to feel purposeful, creates the space for personal growth and recognises our potential.
How to Apply the Pyramid to Your Life
When you are having a hard time, this theory can help you get through it with a pre-made step by step guide. If you feel that you haven’t been taking great care of yourself and your environment lately, know that there is no shame in that. Recognising that you have not been taking the upmost care of your body and mind is the first step in the process.
Remember that you can stay in each stage as long as you need. This is not a race. It is slow and peaceful walk.
Step 1: Physiological Needs
Once you feel motivation to get going, use the pyramid to get you started. Start with your physiological needs. Ask yourself:
- Have I been eating a balanced diet lately?
- Have I been getting enough sleep?
- When was the last time I left the house to go on a walk?
- Have I drank enough water today?
If most of the answers to these questions are no, start there. Make yourself a balanced meal (it doesn’t have to been anything fancy or time-consuming: a simple BLT can do the trick), drink a large glass of water with that, go out for a walk (even if it is just for 5 minutes) and aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
Step 2: Safety Needs
If you’ve completed all this, you can move on to the next stage: safety needs. In this stage, you can work on your health and well-being (both mental and physical), finances and social stability.
Let’s focus on health and well-being first. You can start by doing a workout even if it is just for 10 minutes, and do something you enjoy. There are so many different types of exercise you can do, but here’s a condensed list of some of our favourites here, at A Cup of Growth Podcast:
Next, get your finances in order. We are all guilty of spending on things we don’t need, and creating a budget can help immensely with that. Sort through your finances and create a monthly budget depending on your income. If you don’t have an income, see if you can seek job seekers allowance or benefits, start a side hustle or put your skills to use by offering your work on websites like Fiverr. Then, make a budget of how much you can spend a month. Divide it into different categories, such as food, transport, non-essential and savings. It will make you feel more in control of your life and offer you long-term financial stability.
Lastly, let’s talk social stability. When was the last time you met up with your friend(s)? When was the last time you visited a relative or spent time with your family? If it’s been a little while, take time out of your week to meet up or call your friends and/or family. It will make you feel less alone, and you’ll feel good when you see how happy they are to see/hear from you.
Step 3: Love and Belonging
This stage is pretty self-explanatory, and as we mentioned just above, make sure you take the time out of your (busy) schedule to deepen your social connections. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things you can do with either friends or family to spend quality time with them:
- go to a café and catch-up
- do an exciting activity together, such as escape rooms, etc.
- go to the cinema and watch a movie
- go for a day trip to a new town/city or to the nearest beach
- have a picnic in the park and read together
Step 4: Esteem Needs
Next, we are working on improving your confidence and self-esteem, which ties in nicely to our episode on Imposter Syndrome (go and give it a listen if you haven’t yet!). This step will allow you to grow your confidence by achieving things and developing your skills and/or hobbies.
One great way to boost your self-esteem is by repeating or listening to positive affirmations every morning. These allow you to reframe your mindset and set a positive intention for the day. There are many videos on YouTube to get you started. Here is a video by one of our favourites, Lavendaire: https://youtu.be/yo1pJ_D-H3M.
Another way you can boost your confidence is by achieving something. Whether that’s completing a task on your to-do list, improving your skills through an online course or practising your hobby, these can make you feel accomplished and give you a sense of value.
Step 5: Self-Actualisation Needs
You’ve made it to the last step! Let’s now focus on helping you recognise your potential. Maslow describes this category as difficult to attain, as these can include major life events, such as childbirth or passing an exam. Many of these events don’t happen in everyday life, but we’ve compiled a list of things you can do to achieve self-actualisation more or less on a daily basis:
- journal to see how far you’ve come and reflect on what you could still learn,
- set and work towards long-term goals to give yourself a sense of purpose and direction,
- practise activities that make you feel powerful and confident every day,
- meditate to become aware and conscious of your existence on Earth.
Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can help you improve your well-being in a clear and concise step by step guide, taking care of your body first, then mind, then soul. Just like in The Sims, we all have physiological, social and personal needs that need to be fulfilled in order to feel our best ( and have that little green diamond on top of our heads) to help us on our path of becoming the best adults we can be!