Do you ever feel kind of bad for taking time to recharge, for taking care of yourself?
This is a normal feeling and self-care is sometimes thought of as selfish but taking time to make sure you are functioning at your best is actually a great thing for everybody!
I actually dislike that self-care has become equal to “me time” or “treating yourself”. When in reality self-care is an activity you do deliberately in order to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. It’s not an indulgence, and to get all the benefits, self-care is something you commit to for life.
Today is International Self-Care Day. It is held annually on July 24th (7/24) as a reminder that the benefits of self-care are experienced 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It celebrates the importance of self-care and encourages the public to practice responsible self-care.
Taking baths and Wine Wednesdays can be a part of self-care but they are really only a small glimpse. There are actually 7 pillars to self care.
- Health Literacy
Health literacy is a significant factor in health care disparity and equity. I encourage those that can to find a primary health care provider that they understand and feel listens to them. I often hear from my clients that they don’t know why they take a certain medication or feel confused about what their next steps are. Never feel like you can’t call and ask if you left feeling confused or had a question come up afterwards. Yes, many of them are busy but most of them want to help you and can’t if they don’t know what the problem is. If you have limited choices available because of access consider trusting a family member to come with you to all appointments. Having another set of listening ears and an extra question generating mind is a good thing.
- Self Awareness and Mental Well-being
This is the pillar that taking a bath for relaxation and Wine Wednesdays falls into. It’s only one of seven and it’s not even that big of a part of this one but unfortunately it is the most hyped.
This pillar actually involves a lot of internal, mental work. Digging into the feelings, emotions and thoughts of our day to day. Acknowledging who you are and what gives you drive, passion, your will to live! Activities could include meditation, sleeping well, channeling kindness and warmth inwards, and understanding your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
- Physical Activity
Regular activity improves health and reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases. Physical activity just means moving your body. Just walking for 30 minutes a day 5 days a week is considered regular activity. This does not have to require equipment and does not need to be punishing activity.
- Healthy Eating
This is my bread and butter, pun intended… Feeding your body what it needs with some gentle nutrition guidance based on science and your genetics is exactly what I help people do. Many people instead feel healthy eating is restricting intakes or eating salads all day every day. It isn’t. Eating more vegetables is a great start to healthy eating, but it doesn’t have to be a salad, any vegetable will do.
- Risk Avoidance
Avoiding risks, in terms of health, refers to the elimination or reduction of behaviours that directly increase the risk of disease or death. Smoking falls under this category. If you smoke and want to learn more about quitting go here.
- Good Hygiene
This refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases. Wash your hands, properly. If you don’t have clean running water use hand sanitizer. Other than washing your hands, brushing your teeth regularly can also help prevent diseases.
- Optimal use of Products and Services
The use of health products and services as part of self-care involves individuals safely and effectively managing their health, where appropriate with medicines, products or services. Using non-prescription medications responsibly and effectively and taking prescribed medications appropriately would be a part of this pillar. So is seeking help about any health concern from the appropriate service like pharmacy, dietitians, physiotherapists, mental health experts, etc.
Self-care is a lifelong habit and culture. It is the practice of individuals looking after their own health based on the knowledge and information available to them. 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.Global Self-Care Federation
Self-care is not selfish, it is looking after yourself, your community, and the health care system.
Interested in adding or starting to practice self-care? Here are my five steps to adding self-care to your day.
- I always say start small. No sense in setting yourself up for failure. Pick one of the seven pillars that resonated with you, do not pick all seven, pick one.
- Within that pillar is there something in the article that you feel you can do? Did another idea come to mind?
- If it’s something you need help with, ask for it.
- Decide how frequently you will do it. Maybe it’s not every day, maybe it’s more than once a day, decide what you can do.
- Do not beat yourself up if you aren’t able to make it happen. Maybe it was the wrong thing to start with. Pick something else if it feels too hard or decrease the frequency that you decided on.
Self-care is the very important role you play in your mental, physical and emotional health.
With kindness and compassion,
Get the FREE “5 minute guide to self care for mamas” here!