What is self-care and why is it important?

The term self-care is used a lot these days, but what does it really mean? 

The World Health Organisation 1998 definition is: 

“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 “ 

Self-care is not a new concept. Self-care is just what it sounds like: put simply, it is taking care of yourself 

 Along with the difficulties and disruption that Covid 19 has brought into our lives by not been able to see family and friends, not been able to go about our lives in the way we would like. We are also leading increasingly busy lives with multiple responsibilities. It can be easy to forget to put yourself first.  Looking after yourself will make you feel better, and the better you feel, the better you will be in all areas of your life – from work to relationships.  

Self-care doesn’t have to involve a huge time commitment and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. It could be taking a bath, relaxing with a good book, taking a walk outside or eating your favourite food. It’s about making a commitment to putting yourself first, even just for a while. Below are some suggestions of what you could try  

  1. Get a good night’s sleep 
  1. Drink lots of water 
  1. Go for a brisk walk 
  1. Take a relaxing bath 
  1. Say no to something you do not want to do 
  1. Listen to your favourite music 
  1. Watch your favourite film 
  1. Make something healthy yet delicious for dinner 
  1. Make a list of five or more things you like about yourself 
  1. Spend time with loved ones 

Why is self-care so important? 

Any activity that makes you feel more relaxed can help to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety and to lift your mood. 

Taking time to relax and look after yourself can have a positive impact on the way you see yourself, treating yourself with kindness can make you look upon yourself more kindly. 

Making changes to prioritise self-care can help to manage mental health issues and might even prevent them from getting worse. 

Self-care is not a substitute for professional help and if your mental health is suffering, you should always talk to someone. You should’nt feel you have to tackle your problems alone. 

International Self Care Day is on the 24 July 

The benefits of self-care are lifelong not just for a single day but maybe you could use this date to kick start you into action. 

 Develop a plan that works for you,  

Start with 5 steps that are achievable.  

Think about the things you enjoy but maybe have not taken the time to do recently.  

Most importantly have fun taking care of yourself. 


Marie Wright

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