From 24 June to the 24th of July (Self-Care Day) is considered Self-care month by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Self-care is defined as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health;” or “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”
Self-care recognizes individuals as active agents in managing their own health, whether for preventing or managing diseases, performing health checks, health education and promotion, rehabilitation, recovery and much more. Self-care is considered as part of preventative medicine.
It recognises the important role we each play in our own health and means putting ourselves first, even if only for a few minutes, this allows individuals to show up at their best and to be able to step up and share their resources with others.
“In an effort to care for those we love, many of us often spread ourselves too thin and forget that nothing good can happen if we don’t keep ourselves on the priority list. We need to love and be kind to ourselves, manage stress, sleep better, nourish our bodies and boost our self-esteem,” says Dr. Roxanne Sukol.
It is very important to note, however, that Self-care is not synonymous with self-indulgence or being selfish. Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, you can be well, do your job, help and care for others and do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day.
Self-care is part of the answer to how we can all better cope with daily stressors. The stress of trying to keep up with the pace of daily life, which technology has hastened more than ever. This has left others “…feeling lonelier and less able to unwind and slow down, which makes them feel more anxious and overwhelmed by even the simplest tasks,” says Kelsey Patel, a wellness expert and author.
There are many health-related issues that people can prevent, test for, as well as treat themselves and the list of the conditions that self-care can care for continues to grow. International Self-Care Day encourages individuals to be proactive with their own health, to make use of resources and empower people with the knowledge and ability on how to be active participants in their own wellness.
Self-care is not a once-off or a big event, such as an annual check-up or padding your calendar with luxurious experiences or activities which may be beyond your means. It involves a variety of steps that one can take to take care of their physical, mental and emotional needs.
Self-care is anything that you do for yourself that feels nourishing, relaxing or calming, or it can be something that is intellectual, spiritual, physical, practical or even something you need to get done.
Aspects of self-care differ based on individual and specific needs. It ranges from and includes:
Its benefits are improved physical, mental, emotional health and well-being. It promotes positive health outcomes, such as fostering resilience, living longer, and becoming better equipped to manage stress. Outcomes which are more valuable now than ever before.
Self-care also includes the ways that individuals interact with clinicians and healthcare systems in order to tend to physical and emotional health. That means activities such as getting a vaccine, scheduling cancer screenings or taking prescription medications on schedule.
To get started with a self-care routine, one can:
Practicing self-care doesn’t need to be a complicated activity, one can ease into it through:
Self-care is a lifelong habit and culture. It can have a positive effect on your health and outlook, but it requires a commitment or intention to invest in your well-being. It is the practice of individuals looking after their own health, based on the knowledge and information available to them.
We need to remove the stigma that being kind to and taking care of ourselves is self-indulgent or selfish. It is a decision-making process that empowers individuals to look after their own health efficiently and conveniently, in collaboration with health and social care professionals as needed.
Individually and as a nation we are all going through tough and trying times, in our pursuit for survival and success, through this turbulent period, it is important for us all to take time to take care of ourselves.
MISA encourages its members to take an active role, maintaining their health through the Healthy MISA Member and Healthy MISA Women Benefits. For more information on these please contact Healthy@misa.org.za or 011 476 3920.
This article contains extracts and information from: