‘Self-Care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc.),
environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication.’
The COVID-19 global pandemic has been challenging in a plethora of ways. As we steer toward the ‘new normal’ taking responsibility for our own health and well-being is crucial. Self-care relates to taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.
Most people are reasonably healthy as children. As we get older however, we are faced with multiple choices and risks in the form of lifestyle challenges such as food, alcohol, and tobacco.
Unfortunately, the common result of some of these choices (e.g. obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco use, alcohol abuse and unhealthy diets) are the modern epidemics we see; heart attacks, strokes, cancers, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and other ‘non-communicable diseases.’
It is, however, possible to reduce our risk of these diseases by adjusting our lifestyles and focusing on self-care.
There is a growing realisation that self-care in the home and community environment is the foundation for people to manage life-long health. Initiatives in ‘community healthcare’ and ‘health promotion’ are aspects of the new approach.
There are many different entry points into self-care and one healthy behaviour can lead on to others, drawing people in to healthier lifestyles overall. For example:
a smoker who manages to quit smoking is more likely to start exercising.
brushing and flossing teeth regularly will reduce periodontal (gum) disease – this can also slow the progression of atherosclerosis, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
older people can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 60% by maintaining mental acuity through crossword puzzles
Caring for yourself also calls for the creation of your own routine, one that works for you! Finding the time to relax – taking just 10 minutes of your day to switch off with a short meditation can be beneficial.
Activities/hobbies such as painting, dancing, singing, or anything that helps you focus on a particular object, thought, or activity, will steer you toward achieving a clearer state of mind.
The International Self-Care Foundation has developed a framework for self-care around seven ‘pillars’ or ‘domains’…
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