Self-care is about more than taking long bubble baths or putting on a face mask. It’s about actively taking care of yourself. Celebrate International Self-Care Day by understanding exactly what self-care is and why it’s important.
According to the World Health Organisation, ‘self-care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication.’
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has found lifestyle diseases such as heart attacks, cancer and diabetes represent 63 per cent of annual deaths worldwide. Furthermore, WHO reports that the burden of mental disorders continues to grow with significant impacts on health and major social, human rights and economic consequences in all countries of the world. Understanding what self-care is and how to do it is now more important than ever as we face an increasing amount of risks to our mental and physical health and wellbeing on the daily.
The International Self-Care Foundation has outlined the seven pillars of self-care, providing a framework for all of us to live by. This International Self-Care Day, do yourself a favour an ensure you’re taking care of number one.
1. Knowledge and Health literacy
Your ability to learn about and understand basic health information and actively use it to make decisions that are good for you and your situation.
2. Mental wellbeing, self-awareness and agency
Taking care of your mental state and striving for positivity, being aware of your personal health situation and having the ability to take positive action when it comes to your physical and mental condition.
3. Physical activity
Regularly participating in physical activity such as social sports, walking or cycling.
4. Healthy eating
Ensuring you are eating a nutritious, balanced and healthy diet that fulfils your personal needs.
5. Risk avoidance or mitigation
being able to identify and rectify the risks you are taking with your health. This includes quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, getting vaccinations and using sunscreen.
6. Good Hygiene
Pretty self-explanatory, this pillar refers to maintaining personal hygiene.
7. Rational and responsible use of products and services
Basically, this pillar encourages everyone to understand both the positive and negative outcomes of using particular products, such as medications, and services.