These days, it seems as though being stressed is par for the course: More than half of workers reported feeling job burnout in 2021, while one in three Americans dealt with depression. So if you feel like your mental health has been taking a backseat, you’re not alone.
But simply “improving your wellness” or “implementing more self-care" can feel like vague goals. 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 how it works, and how it can help you reach your wellness goals.
Identify your wellness must-haves
Borenstein’s version of the 8:3:3:1 framework looks like this: She sleeps eight hours each night, eats three nutritious meals a day, gets in three sweaty workouts each week and plans 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 looks like
To some people, self-care is a luxurious bubble bath; to others, it’s a meditation session or an intense workout. Whatever the activity, it’s important to give yourself the time and space to think about what really recharges you.
“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.
Track your own data
Borenstein encourages people to be their own guides by tracking “observable data” about their day-to-day routines. See how you feel after a particular workout, meal or activity. Write down any quick thoughts so you can course-correct if you feel like you're going 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.”
Listen to yourself
Since life rarely goes as planned, Borenstein says this 8:3:3:1 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 is be in tune with our bodies, so just making the commitment to listen to what you really need right now can be an empowering way to meet wellness goals.