Getting Real and Radical About Self-Care

We have a misconception about what it means to self-care, and it’s time to get set things straight.

Self-care has little to do with yoga classes, meditation retreats, food supplements, or “treating ourselves to something nice”. Those are nice to have if you have the budget, but more than that, they are an optional decor to the real thing once you understand the true principles and essence of self-caring.

Self-care is about respecting the requests of the heart, soul, and body, making long-term health & wellness decisions, releasing attachment, setting brave boundaries, and being honest with ourselves and others about what we need.

It can become messy and bring up old issues of self-worth and limiting beliefs, AND it can also be a political act of redefining traditional social, religious, and gender roles and standing up against oppression.​​

Self-care is about caring for the self, and caring for the self is the most profound expression of self-love.

For those reasons, coaching people on self-care must be grounded and practical with as little BS as possible. In addition, it needs to be customized to the client because no “one size fits all” exists.

Medical Coaching and Caregiver Coaching address self-care on five levels of needs:

  • Health Needs – addressing the current medical or health challenges the client is facing (this includes stress-related issues). If you are a Health, Wellness, or Medical coach, this includes medical care and adherence to medication.
  • Physical Needs – addressing the body’s nutrition, hydration, rest, movement, and touch needs.
  • Emotional needs – expanding emotional agility and addressing issues of love, acceptance, authenticity, connection, and self-expression.
  • Spiritual needs – creating/updating a vision, and exploring purpose, connection to a higher self, intuition, creativity, and identity.
  • Social needs – addressing the current relationships and the beliefs and practices regarding connection, identity, boundaries, communication, and support.

Seven things you need to remember about self-care:
1. Self-care is a part of our regular physical, emotional, and spiritual maintenance.
2. Self-care is personal and subjective.
3. Many people get ideas from the media about the “right way” to self-care. But, unfortunately, trying to self-care “the right way” can become a stressor.
4. Self-care is not selfish or selfless – it is simply a manifestation of SELF-LOVE.
5. Without self-care, one cannot care for another loved one for an extended period.
6. Self-care is the foundation of your health and can save your life!
7. Self-care doesn’t always feel fun and easy, and that’s ok.

As coaches, it is our job and responsibility to be curious and explore self-care with our clients, as we do with values.

This is a simple and basic matrix to help you invite your clients to explore different aspects of their self-care:


Values Personal Growth Mind-Body


Work Finance

Friends and Support Systems

Nutrition and Hydration Movement Rest

Living Environment

If you are coaching a client that is coping with a health challenge, ADHD, or is a caregiver, this matrix is not enough. You will need to take additional professional training that addresses these clients’ unique self-care challenges and needs.

In this fast-paced world, coaches often overlook their own self-care as they stretch thin to help more clients. So before using this information to add value to your clients, please take a few minutes and tend to your own self-care.

You are worth it.

Shiri Ben-Arzi, MCC
Health and Medical Coach, founder of MCI – Medical Coaching Institute
Shiri is a coach, supervisor, workshop facilitator, author, and international lecturer.
She holds certifications in Health and Medical Coaching, Caregiver Coaching, End of life Coaching, Embodiment Coaching, and ADHD Coaching.
In addition, she is a Grief Educator, NLP trainer, and co-president of ICF Israel.
Over the past 15 years, Shiri has worked with leading international pharmaceutical companies, medical organizations, patient associations, and hospitals.
Her vision is to promote empowerment and a patient-centered medical practice within medical systems through a coach approach

For more information, please email:


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