Self-care is not selfish

Updated: Aug 28



What is Self Care?

Self care is the practice of actively engaging in activities that improve and preserve one’s health. In 1998, the World Health Organization defined self care as what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. This encompasses hygiene, nutrition, quality of food, lifestyle, environmental factors, socio-economic factors, and self-medication. There are 7 official pillars of self care. 1


  • Knowledge and Health Literacy

  • Mental Wellbeing

  • Physical Activity

  • Healthy Diet

  • Risk Avoidance and Mitigation

  • Good Hygiene

  • Rational Use of Products/Services


Why is Self Care Important?

Life can get really busy and hectic, with a lot of people depending on you to get certain things done. Everyone has a lot of responsibilities to juggle and not enough time to balance everything out. People often make time for all these things but compromise their own well being. This could come in the form of cancelling trips, socializing less, or even skipping meals. It is easy to just prioritize everything else above yourself, but there are plenty of reasons why your own well being may be just as important. 2


  • Know Your Worth - Maintain a healthy relationship with yourself. Self care can serve as a reminder to yourself and other people that your own personal needs are just as important. By prioritizing yourself, you are holding yourself to a high regard, creating positive feelings and boosting self confidence

  • Healthy Work-Life Balance - In today’s society, working really hard has been romanticized so much to a point where people naturally overwork themselves. The stress and exhaustion from overworking can actually lead one to be less productive. This can also lead to feeling disorganized and emotionally drained, putting you at risk for health problems including anxiety, depression, insomnia, heart disease, etc. It is important to take breaks, set boundaries, and avoid overworking to stay healthy and motivated.

  • Stress Management - Constant stress and anxiety can take a toll on your body both mentally and physically. Be aware when stressors in your life are getting the best of you. Take a step back and take a break. Do whatever you need to relieve yourself of stress.

  • Start Living, Stop Existing - People have many responsibilities, whether it’d be working on a group project picking up the kids from school. However, taking care of yourself should also be a responsibility. Doing things for yourself no matter how small, is an important reminder to enjoy life. Things as simple as reading a book, taking a walk, watching the sunset, or whatever it may be that makes you happy.

  • Better Physical Health - Diet, hygiene, sleep, and exercise all contribute to better physical health. Working on your physical well being is a form of self care. Make a conscious effort to care for yourself physically and it can help you create a more positive image of yourself


Self Care Activities

There are many things that can fall into the category of self care activities. Self care activities are activities that cater to the individual and encourage them to be more conscious of their well being. Activities that work for some may not work for others. The important thing to remember is to actively prioritize and engage in self care activities. Dedicate specific times throughout the week for yourself to engage in those activities. Some examples include: 3


  • Sleeping/Napping

  • Exercising

  • Indulging in hobbies/activities you love

  • Spending time with friends/family

  • Practicing self compassion

  • Being mindful/Live in the moment

  • Practicing gratitude/ List out things you are grateful for

  • Taking a break from technology

  • Practicing deep breathing

  • Writing in a journal

  • Meditating

  • Doing yoga

  • Spending time in nature/outdoors


Remember! Self care is not just limited to the examples listed above. Self care can be any activity that contributes to positively uplifting your physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, and social well-being.



References

  1. “What Is Self-Care?” ISF, 20 Nov. 2020, isfglobal.org/what-is-self-care/

  2. Bankable. “Practicing Self-Care Is Important: 10 Easy Habits To Get You Started.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 29 Sept. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/payout/2017/09/19/practicing-self-care-is-important-10-easy-habits-to-get-you-started/?sh=6b98fd04283a.

  3. Self Care Activities, cmhc.utexas.edu/selfcare.html.

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