As a dad, your responsibilities are numerous and demanding. From providing for your family financially to being emotionally present and supportive, the role of a father can be both fulfilling and overwhelming. To help you lead a life of excellence, success, and joy, it’s essential to focus on your well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the four pillars of well-being and how they can help you excel in your role as a dad.
Well-being is a topic that has been covered extensively by various authors, bloggers, and other experts. While different people may use different names for the 4 pillars of well-being, they all essentially refer to the same four essential elements of life: physical health, emotional health, mental health, and spiritual health. Robin Sharma calls these the Four Interior Empires, which include your Healthset, Heartset, Mindset, and Soulset. The Maori people refer to these as taha tinana (physical health), taha whānau (social well-being), taha hinengaro (emotional and mental health), and taha wairua (spiritual health) (as noted by Health Navigator NZ).
Regardless of the different labels they may carry, the core message remains the same: to lead a successful, joyful, and fulfilling life as a father, all four pillars of well-being must be cultivated and nurtured. Your children are always observing you — observing how you handle different situations, the way you treat others (especially their mother), and whether your actions align with your words. By dedicating time to improve and strengthen yourself in these areas, you are providing your children with a gift that will endure for a lifetime.
Physical well-being is all about taking care of your body. This includes regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep. As a dad, you need to be in good physical shape to keep up with the demands of your family. Regular exercise and movement helps to reduce stress, boost energy levels, and improve your mood. A balanced diet ensures that you have the energy and nutrients to take on the challenges of fatherhood. And getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy body and mind.
Most of my life, I never really focused on my fitness. Yes, I worked out. Yes, I tried to eat decent. But this was never a focus for me. I always felt that there were other, better ways to become a better person, and all this exercise and diet stuff was hard and just not as important. I felt I needed to focus my limited energy elsewhere in order to be successful.
This sentiment from Robin Sharma was a game changer for me. He states in his book, The Everyday Hero Manifesto, that “there’s a direct and profound relationship between the grade of my Healthset and the quality of my craft.” He finishes that chapter with this:
Yes, become a creative athlete. Not just for leaner abs and tighter glutes. But for the building of a better civilization.Robin Sharma, Chapter 70: Become a Creative Athlete, The Everyday Hero Manifesto
Spending time, and not just a little bit of time but significant time, building your physicality and improving your fitness does not just benefit you. When you increase your fitness, you also benefit society because of these results:
- Increased Energy: Regular exercise helps to increase your energy levels, making it easier to keep up with the demands of life and fatherhood. Whether it’s playing with your kids, working long hours, or simply dealing with the stresses of daily life, having more energy can make a big difference in your output.
- Improved Mood: Exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on mood and can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Feeling happier and more relaxed can improve your relationships with your spouse and children and help you to be a better dad. The same can be said of your relationships in the workplace.
- Better Sleep: Regular exercise has been linked to improved sleep quality, which is essential for overall health and well-being. A good night’s sleep can help you to be more focused and productive during the day, allowing you to be a better father and provider for your family, and increasing the “quality of [your] craft”.
- Better Health: By focusing on physical well-being, you can reduce your risk of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. This can help you to be around for your family and loved ones for many years to come.
- Positive Example: Children learn by example, and by taking care of your physical health, you are setting a positive example for your children. Showing them the importance of exercise and healthy living can help to instill these values in them and encourage them to lead healthy, active lives, extending your legacy for years to come.
Nurturing your physical well-being can help you to be a happier, healthier, and more energetic father. By taking care of your body, you can better meet the demands of fatherhood and provide the support your family needs. So make sure to prioritize exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep, and you’ll see the positive impact it has on your life and the lives of those around you.
Emotional well-being is focused on managing your emotions and relationships. This includes taking care of your mental health, connecting with others, and building strong relationships. As a father myself, emotional well-being is critical to being able to connect with my children and provide the emotional support they require of me on a day-to-day basis. Acknowledging when we need help, seeking help when we need it, spending time with family and friends, and practicing self-care are all essential to our emotional well-being.
Despite societal pressure for men to hide emotions and suppress them, it’s essential to remember that emotions are a natural part of being human. It’s important that we are able to effectively manage our emotions and relationships in order to set a solid example and foundation for our children.
Here are some specific ways that focusing on emotional well-being can help you excel as a dad:
- Better Relationships: When you’re emotionally well, you’re better able to connect with others, including your spouse and children. By managing your emotions, you can create a more positive and supportive environment for your family, which can lead to stronger relationships.
- Increased Resilience: Being emotionally well-balanced can help you to be more resilient and better equipped to handle life’s challenges. When you’re feeling strong and confident, you’re better able to support your family during difficult times.
- Improved Mental Health: By managing your emotions, you can reduce your risk of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Good mental health is essential for overall happiness and well-being, and it can help you to be a better father.
- Better Communication: When you’re emotionally well, you’re better able to communicate effectively with your spouse and children. This can lead to better understanding and a more harmonious family dynamic.
- Personal Growth: Focusing on emotional well-being can help you to grow as a person, allowing you to be a better father and partner. By exploring your emotions and relationships, you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself and others, leading to personal growth and fulfillment.
Expressing your emotionality and truly feeling your feelings is not weakness — it is a great strength! Emotional well-being can help you to be a happier, more resilient, and more connected dad. By managing your emotions and relationships, you can create a positive and supportive environment for your family and provide the emotional support they need. Make your emotional health matter, connect with others, and practice self-care, and you’ll be happy you did.
Mental well-being is just as important as physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. As a man and a father, taking care of your mental health is crucial for leading a successful, joyful, and fulfilling life. Unfortunately, mental health can often be overlooked and stigmatized, leading many men to ignore or avoid seeking help when needed.
There are many aspects of mental well-being that are important to consider, including stress management, goal setting, and mindfulness. One of the most important things you can do for your mental well-being is to practice self-care, including getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in regular physical activity.
As a father, it can be easy to get caught up in the daily grind and neglect your own needs. However, it’s essential to prioritize your mental health in order to be the best dad you can be. Spending time with loved ones, practicing mindfulness, and engaging in hobbies that you enjoy can all help to improve mental well-being. Focusing on mental well-being is important for dads for several reasons:
- Improved Relationships: Taking care of your mental health can improve relationships with your children, spouse, and other family members. Being mentally healthy allows you to communicate effectively, manage stress and emotions, and enjoy quality time with your loved ones.
- Better Decision-Making: When you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed, it’s difficult to make sound decisions. Prioritizing your mental well-being can help you think more clearly and make decisions that are best for you and your family.
- Increased Productivity: When you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, it can be difficult to focus on tasks and get things done. Focusing on your mental well-being can help you be more productive and get more done in your day-to-day life.
- Better Role Modeling: By prioritizing your mental well-being and seeking help when needed, you are teaching your children the importance of mental health and the value of self-care. When they see you take care of yourself or reach out and get help when needed, they see and understand that they can do the same.
- Improved Quality of Life: When you’re mentally healthy, you’re better equipped to handle life’s challenges and to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, which enhances your quality of life.
Taking care of your mental well-being is essential to leading a successful, joyful, and fulfilling life as a man and a father. Don’t neglect your mental health — prioritize self-care and seek help when needed. Your children and loved ones will thank you for it.
Spiritual well-being is all about finding meaning and purpose in your life. This includes connecting with something greater than yourself, exploring your values and beliefs, and finding a sense of peace and contentment. Nurturing your spiritual well-being can provide a sense of direction and fulfillment that can help you to be a better father. Practicing mindfulness, connecting with nature, and spending time in quiet reflection can all help you to cultivate spiritual well-being.
As a dad, developing a strong spiritual foundation can help you find meaning and fulfillment in your life and be a positive role model for your children. Here is an example.
I grew up in a religious home, so spirituality has always been a part of my life, but it always felt very rigid and unnatural. As I have grown into my own life, however, those same seeds that were planted by my parents during my childhood have grown into something I consider beautiful and powerful. I now understand that each person gets to decide for themselves what their own spirituality looks like. And I get to teach these principles to my own children!
A few years ago, I introduced my kids to meditation. My wife and I are both very competitive and have spawned some incredibly competitive children. As I have learned to curb my competitiveness with meditation, and enter a more creative plane of thinking, I wanted my kids to learn this skill as well. Over the years, I have seen my kids better manage their own competitiveness and allow space for creativity. In sports, they can appreciate amazing athletic feats by others instead of getting angry that they lost the game; or in school they have a stronger sense of community and seek for ways to include others, rather than excluding them because of a worry their own status would diminish. I consider this as one of my biggest wins so far as a father.
Here a few other ways that focusing on spiritual well-being can help you excel as a dad:
- Increased Sense of Purpose: When you have a clear sense of what you stand for and what you want to achieve, you’re better equipped to provide direction and guidance for your family.
- Better Coping Skills: When you have a sense of purpose and a connection to something greater than yourself, you’re better equipped to handle life’s ups and downs.
- Improved Mental Health: Research has shown that having a strong spiritual foundation can help to reduce the risk of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. When you have a positive outlook and a sense of purpose, you’re better equipped to maintain good mental health.
- Positive Role Model: As a father and your children’s primary example of being a man, you play a crucial role in shaping your children’s spiritual beliefs and values. By developing a strong spiritual foundation of your own, you can set a strong, positive example for your children and help them discover meaning and purpose in their own lives.
- Better Relationships: When you have a powerful sense of purpose and a positive outlook, you’re better able to connect with others and create a supportive and harmonious family dynamic.
Nurturing your spiritual well-being can help you to be a happier, healthier, and more purposeful dad. So go out into nature, connect with something greater than yourself, and develop a positive outlook, and you’ll see the positive impact it has on your life and the lives of those around you.
The four pillars of well-being — physical, emotional, social, and spiritual — are essential for dads to lead lives of excellence, success, and joy. By focusing on each of these pillars, you can improve your overall well-being, become a better father, and provide the support and guidance your family needs. Please prioritize your own self-care! By doing so, you really can lead a life of excellence, success, and joy.