Even as life starts to return to normal — however your new normal looks — there’s no denying the past year and a half took a mental toll: The Census Bureau reported last year that one-third of Americans showed signs of clinical anxiety or depression. So if you felt the burnout, you’re not alone.
But improving your wellness can feel like a vague goal, and it can be hard to know exactly how to start implementing more self-care. That’s why health tech entrepreneur Lorna Borenstein, CEO and founder of wellness solutions company Grokker, created the 8:3:3:1 Stability Framework. Here’s what it is, how it could help you reach your wellness goals, and other pro tips to help you prioritize self-care.
IDENTIFY YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLES FOR WELLNESS
Borenstein’s version of the 8:3:3:1 framework looks like this: She shoots for eight hours of sleep each night, three nutritious meals a day, three sweaty workouts each week and at least one fun thing to look forward to — anything from coffee with a friend to planning a vacation. These are her non-negotiables, or what she needs to do to feel balanced.
Your version may look completely different; what's key is that each piece of the ratio depends on the others. “The framework’s mantra might be similar to the Three Musketeers’ motto, ‘All for one and one for all,’” Borenstein says. “By definition, each component — while independent — is so closely related to the others that its participation is mandatory. Most of us know, for example, how much sleep we need to truly feel and perform our best.”
DEFINE WHAT SELF-CARE MEANS TO YOU
To some people, self-care is a luxurious bubble bath while to others, it's an intense workout. Either way, it’s important to give ourselves the time and space to think about what really recharges us.
“Look at how your self-care decisions impact your daily life,” Borenstein says. “Ask yourself: Are these choices energizing, calming or otherwise balanced? The key is tuning into your body and mind’s cues and being honest with yourself about how your choices play out.”
While her framework consists of sleep, exercise, nutrition and fun, yours may include creative outlets or spiritual components. Whatever you include, be sure that each component works to keep you balanced and centered. This may mean that you try different activities and habits to find the right fit.
KEEP YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Borenstein encourages people to be their own guides by tracking “observable data” about their day-to-day routines. Noticing how you feel after a particular workout, meal or activity, and even writing down any quick thoughts, can help you course-correct if you're veering off track.
“No one else can do the self-care for you, and this framework is a practical way of checking in with yourself to maintain healthy boundaries before things get out of control,” Borenstein says. “It’s also so empowering to know the secret to feeling balanced — and to own it.”
LEARN TO LISTEN TO YOURSELF
Since life rarely goes as planned, Borenstein says this ratio can help you feel grounded when everything around you is chaotic.
“This framework is not only yours to define, but it provides a way to meet each day and week with an approachable plan” Borenstein says. “It’s a completely personal tool for feeling more in control of one’s sense of well-being.”
Sometimes, the best thing we can do when we feel overwhelmed is to tune into our bodies. Just making the commitment to listen to what you really need right now can be an empowering exercise.