Did you know that July 24th is International Self-Care Day?
Did you also know that self-care is about more than getting enough sleep and exercising?
Self-care is actually comprised of 7 different pillars, that when combined, result in physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological, social, environmental, and professional well-being.
Having the desire to learn more about health and wellness in the hopes of living a healthy lifestyle. This does not mean you need to be well-educated on the subject currently. Showing yourself self-care is finding the motivation to gain access to, understand and use any information that is provided to you to promote and maintain good health. You reading this article is a perfect example of how you are showing yourself self-care by contributing to your knowledge and health literacy. Way to go! This is important as poor health literacy has been shown to result in poorer overall health, riskier behaviour and less self-love and respect.
The ultimate goal of self-care is achieving overall wellbeing. Caring for your mental wellbeing is an excellent way to do just that, which is why self-care is about making sure areas such as life satisfaction, self-esteem and optimism are all in a positive place. If one or more are struggling, self-care is using your knowledge and health literacy skills to take action to change this. This could mean seeking help from a professional, conducting your own research, or using tools you already know to improve your overall well-being.
Self-care is also about finding time in your day to get some form of physical activity. This can look different to all of us. For some, this could mean going for a 5-10km run. For others, this could mean practicing yoga at home for 10 minutes or even taking your dog out for a walk. Sometimes, self-care is even getting out of bed on those days where the thought of that seems impossible.
What we put in our bodies has such a powerful influence on our overall wellbeing. When our gut is out of wack, there's a good chance that we are too. This is why self-care is also about eating healthy - the best you can. Now nobody is perfect – eating “clean” all day, every single day is unrealistic. Chances are you are going to indulge every once in a while. On these occasions, self-care is about not feeling guilty about your choice and enjoying what you are eating to the fullest. On all the other days of the week, self-care is about being mindful of what you eat! Choosing organic foods over processed or pesticide-filled foods is one way to do this. Other ways would be to watch your sugar intake, limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption, or making sure you are getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need. Not sure what is considered “healthy eating”, taking a cooking or nutrition class, or reading a book/article on the subject is an excellent way to perform an act of self-care! Not sure what vitamins or minerals you are lacking? Consider speaking with a naturopathic doctor about your options. In the meantime, you can check out some of our articles on healthy eating.
By avoiding or limiting your use of toxic substances and risky behaviour, you are automatically showing yourself self-care. This can include things like avoiding tobacco and alcohol use, avoiding dangerous situations or choosing not to put yourself in situations that you know make you feel uncomfortable or anxious. Self-care can also be choosing to use natural body products over instead of toxic ones (ie. sunscreen, bug spray, etc), limiting your WiFi exposure, using salt lamps in your home, etc.
Of course, self-care is about taking those long epsom salt bubble baths, or going to the spa. But self-care does not have to be as elaborate as this. For some of us, having a shower or brushing our teeth is a huge accomplishment in our day. This is still self-care.
Some of us use vitamins and supplements to manage our overall mental and physical wellbeing. Some find benefit from pharmaceuticals and professional counselling. Others find relief by going to the gym or their favourite exercise class. Whatever works best for you, self-care is sticking to these products and services, but using them in a way that’s safe and effective for you! And hey, sometimes we slip or fall out of our routine. In these times, self-care is forgiving yourself and getting yourself back on track!
As you can see, self-care contributes to all aspects of life and can be performed in a multitude of ways. To see some of our favourite self-care activities, click here.
Remember...self-care isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.