What is Self-Care?
The World Health Organization defines Self-Care as: “An individual’s, family’s, or community’s capacity to promote wellbeing, prevent disease, preserve health and cope with illness or disability with or without the assistance of a healthcare provider.” In other words, it is looking after yourself in a way that takes into account parameters such as hygiene, diet, lifestyle, and socio-economic and environmental factors.
Self-care induces positivity and enhances your vision of life. According to Dr. Amsellem, the approach towards self-care varies among people. Besides, when we take good care of ourselves, we can respond better to the events in our lives.
Benefits of Self-Care
Self-care is significant for both mental and physical health; they both go hand in hand. If your physical and mental health is in balance, you can handle the stress and stressors conveniently. The benefits of self-care are broad and connected with positive outcomes when practised regularly. Some of these benefits are listed below:
- Improves self-awareness
- Well functioning immune system
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increases positivity
- Enhances productivity
- Higher self-esteem
The framework of self-care relies on the following domains:
· Health Literacy
The ability of individuals to access, process, and comprehend basic health information and the resources needed to make health-related decisions is known as health literacy. Therefore, being literate about healthy practices helps develop strategies to live a healthy life. But why are we discussing health literacy and persuading you for it? Because the first step towards healthy living is learning the ropes of it. Therefore, healthcare enthusiasts can seek a mental health degree such as psychiatry to learn about mental wellbeing. Similarly, aspiring nurses can opt for a terminal degree in nursing to develop essential healthcare skills.
· Mental Wellbeing
Self-care has three types: emotional, physical, and spiritual. All these three types are associated with your mental health. Valuing yourself and your emotions, treating yourself with kindness, and avoiding self-criticism is a part of emotional needs.
· Risk Avoidance
In terms of self-care, risk avoidance involves minimizing factors or circumstances that increase the risk of disease or death. For example, it is imperative to control high-risk behaviors such as alcohol intake and tobacco and smoking. Also, staying up to date with the vaccinations, increased sexual education to avoid STDs, and self-medication helps in mitigating risk.
Other pillars of self-care proposed by the International Self-Care Foundation include physical activity, healthy eating, good hygiene, and rational use of products.
We have listed down some self-care tips for you to maintain your mental and physical wellbeing.
Mindfulness or meditation is the best practice to ensure self-care. It provides you quality “me time.” You can utilize this personal space efficiently by connecting with your inner self, focusing on your thoughts, and reflecting. Mindfulness improves the quality of life by revitalizing your thoughts and bringing happiness and satisfaction to your life. It reduces stress and increases emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and gratitude. Hence, meditation nurtures all the domains of self-care.
2. Take care of your body
The body needs proper maintenance for its functioning. The healthier the body, the better will be the state of your mind. To ensure physical self-care, you should take adequate sleep, exercise, and breathe out the negativity. Although scientists debate aromatherapy benefits, research suggests that citrus scents, especially orange essential oil, can help reduce stress and anxiety. Besides, drink plenty of water, eat healthily, and take vitamin supplements.
3. Connect with others
Socializing and the need to connect is the key to self-care. People with good and lasting relations are healthier than those who lack socializing. Try discussing your problems with people you trust. Speak and listen. Plan a family outing or a trip with your best buddies. Working on relationships that make you feel cherished and appreciated is worthwhile. Look for activities where you can connect and meet with people from diverse backgrounds. Due to COVID-19, work from home is a common practice. Seeing and talking to your colleagues is highly centered on technology. Therefore, communicate and broaden your social networking channels.
4. Set realistic self-care goals
We should continue to set self-care targets that are realistic and not unattainable. The goal-setting should be based on tasks instead of outcomes. Also, they shouldn’t be vague. Determine what you want to do academically, professionally, and socially, and jot down the steps required to get there. Identifying activities and practices that support wellbeing helps to understand self-care, develop a self-care plan, and put it into action.
5. Practice good hygiene
Practicing personal hygiene will prevent illnesses and is an optimal way to care for yourself. Washing hands often, showering with anti-bacterial soaps, trimming and cleaning nails, caring for your teeth and gums, and keeping germs at bay are included in hygiene. People with mental health issues may find it challenging to keep a personal hygiene routine. So, one can create a hygiene routine by practicing it regularly, setting reminders, and investing in good toiletries.
6. Spiritual Self-care
Any ritual that binds you to your true self, the real you, is a spiritual self-care practice. Spiritual self-care may include cultural traditions and religious sentiments. You can practice spiritual self-care through praying, yoga, meditation, clearing the space around you, and forgiveness. Nurturing the soul does not necessarily involve religion. It can be anything that connects you to your inner self and the universe. Spiritual self-care involves activities that develop a connection to a Higher Power and the purpose in life. Practicing it will bring calm to your mind and soul.
We don’t practice self-care as much as we should because of a lack of energy and time. Self-care is the combination of physical and mental health factors, and one should never compromise on them. Enduring self-care has more permanent effects. Practicing self-care rituals provides enough calm to get us through the day and wake up fresh for the next day. Gradually incorporating these self-care ideas into your routine will reap the rewards in the long term.