“The ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness with our without the support of a healthcare provider.” This is the definition of self-care according to the World Health Organization. While we may associate self-care with taking a day off school, spending time with friends, doing a face mask, and staying in, there is a whole world of research and science behind the idea.
The basics of self-care include incorporating habits that contribute to your overall well-being. It means you are actively taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy and thrive and also care for others. According to Gracy Obuchowicz, a self-care coach, the practice of self-care involves three main pillars: care for your body, care for your inner self, and care for your community.
Tending to your body and implementing a routine that will allow you to maintain a healthy diet, get some exercise, and plenty of sleep every night, leading you to live a healthier lifestyle. Looking after your inner self considers your thoughts, emotions, and feelings. This essentially means that you should be vulnerable and practice emotional intelligence. For some, this may include going to therapy, but other ways to perform this is stress-management tools, mindfulness classes, and mind-body techniques such as yoga. Building strong relationships with your family and friends, and enjoying spending time with them provides you with social support as you care for your community. Being involved in causes and activities you support can help you feel heard and helpful. This can be done through clubs, religious groups, charitable organizations.
Self-care is important to include in your daily routines and be mindful of as you carry out tasks throughout the day. It is vital to engage in self-care to relieve the stress and pressure of work and school so that you can bounce back and start a new day feeling healthy and happy. It is also crucial to take time for yourself to prevent burnout; feeling overwhelmed and stressed due to schoolwork. Overall, self-care helps us improve energy and concentration, reduce stress, aid us in leading a healthier lifestyle and increase happiness.
Self-care is much more than a spa day, or a vacation, it is about physically, emotionally, and socially caring for yourself and your relationships in order to lead a happier, healthier lifestyle. Remember it is different for everyone, so do whatever relaxes and calms you, whether that’s reading, watching TV, or going on bike rides! An easy way to remember self-care is to compare them to the masks on airplanes - help yourself before helping others.
Cassata, Cathy. "Why You Don’t Need a Lot of Time or Money to Make Self-Care a Priority." Healthline, 3 Sep. 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health-news/self-care-is-not-just-treating-yourself
Glowiak, Matthew. "What is Self-Care and Why is it Important For You?" Southern New Hampshire University, 14 Apr. 2020, https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/2019/04/what-is-self-care
Lawler, Moira. "What Is Self-Care and Why Is It So Important for Your Health?" EverydayHealth, 18 May 2021, https://www.everydayhealth.com/self-care/