I’ve been posting self-care ideas, but it occurred to me that not everyone will know what self-care is.
According to the WHO, self-care is,
“the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
So, it’s not just something you do for yourself. It’s not selfish. It’s not indulgent (though some indulgent things can be a form of self-care). It’s never harmful to yourself or others.
But wait, how does a family or a community engage in self-care?
A family engages in it by working together, supporting one another during times of stress or illness. The same goes for a community. We don’t often think of it, but our doctors, support groups that deliver food to shut-ins, religious organizations, and so on are all a part of our community. These are people who aren’t in our immediate circle of support, not just neighbors who we may not even know.
Looking at the definition, we can see that self-care promotes health (staying hydrated), prevents disease (take your allergy meds and vitamins), copes with illness (like the flu, diabetes, and everything else), and disability (like long-covid).
Nothing in that says go to the spa, even though I’ve suggested a spa day because it can help with stress and anxiety. Sometimes, self-care means going to bed early, sometimes it means doing something to alleviate depression, sometimes it just means making sure you eat meals instead of snacks.
This is why self-care practices are so varied. What works for one person won’t work for everyone. We have to find out what works for ourselves.
My self-care this weekend will be to get my nails cleaned up. I’ve neglected them and it is making me feel like I’ve given up on myself when I haven’t. I’m also going to get my hair color out again because my roots look terrible, and man, I can beat myself up about my appearance when I let things slide. I’ll wrap it up with a ton of powerful lotion which will leave my skin feeling wonderful. I’m also going to wash my bedding because my allergies are nuts at night lately, which means the cat dander has reached critical levels and I need to do that to keep from getting sick.
Look at the things you’re doing today and consider what you do that promotes your physical and mental health, what copes with a disability or illness, and give yourself a pat on the back. You’re already doing self-care and didn’t even know!
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