Self-care can have a life-long impact on your health and well-being.
Today we look at the International Self-Care Foundation’s “Seven Pillars of Self-Care” as well as our top recommendation on how you can love and care for one of the most important people in your life - you!
Pillar 1: Health Literacy
Health literacy includes the capacity of individuals to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.
- Do your research—Know where to look for health information and how to use it to improve/sustain your health
Pillar 2: Self- Awareness
Self-Awareness encourages us to be aware of our bodies and our physical and mental condition. This includes things such as knowing your body mass index (BMI), cholesterol level, blood type, blood pressure, etc.
- Learn your body-- Speak to your doctor and engage in health screening to identify your physical and mental condition.
Pillar 3: Physical Activity
Physical activity is essential to good health, and regular exercise can reduce the risk of many non-communicable diseases. Pillar 3 focuses on the need for, and benefit gained from regular physical activity.
- Exercise Regularly—Take a look at the World Health Organization’s “Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health” and determine an exercise plan that best works for you.
Pillar 4: Healthy Eating
Healthy eating is important because a healthy diet plays a significant role in self-care. Maintaining a healthy diet has been repeatedly shown to have preventative benefits, reducing the risk of many non-communicable diseases.
- Maintain a healthy diet-- Limit the amount of simple sugars in your diet and foods that are high in fat, while increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. Follow the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide if you are unsure what a healthy diet should include.
Pillar 5: Risk Avoidance or Mitigation
Risk mitigation, in terms of self-care, refers to the avoidance or reduction of behaviours that directly increase the risk of disease or death.
- Reduce your health risks—Do not smoke, wear a helmet when necessary, protect yourself from the sun, etc.
Pillar 6: Good Hygiene
Good hygiene increases health and well-being and reduces the risk of communicable illness spread, protects the people around you, and reduces the economic burden of preventable illness.
- Wash your hands regularly—hand washing reduces the development of and spread of harmful bacteria. Regularly washing hands with soap and water, for twenty seconds, followed by thorough drying, is universally recommended.
Pillar 7: Rational and Responsible Use of Products, Services and Medicines
The rational and responsible use of health products and services as part of self-care involves individuals safely and effectively managing their health where appropriate with medicines, products or services.
- Follow instructions—read the directions and labels on your health products carefully and always follow the directions of your pharmacist or doctor. Remember to have them explain anything you do not understand.
By following these Seven Pillars of Self-Care you can improve your health and well-being on a life-long basis.