International Self-Care Day
Which aims to raise public awareness of the importance of self-care to stay healthy and prevent or delay illness.
As we get older, we are faced with the challenges and temptations of life such as food, alcohol and tobacco, and the opportunity for sedentary lifestyles.
We are faced with choices and risks. Unfortunately the common result of these choices – obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco use, alcohol abuse and unhealthy diets – are the cause of today’s epidemic of heart attacks and strokes, cancers, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and other ‘noncommunicable diseases.
The good news is that it is possible to reduce substantially our risk of these diseases by adjusting our lifestyles, taking more care of ourselves by practicing self-care.
The International Self-Care Foundation has developed the ‘Seven Pillars of Self-Care’ which provide a useful framework and starting point.
Knowledge & Health literacy – includes: the capacity of individuals to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.
Mental wellbeing, Self-awareness & Agency – includes: knowing your body mass index (BMI), cholesterol level, blood pressure; engaging in health screening.
Physical activity – practicing moderate intensity physical activity such as walking, cycling, or participating in sports at a desirable frequency.
Healthy eating – includes: having a nutritious, balanced diet with appropriate levels of calorie intake.
Risk avoidance or mitigation – includes: quitting tobacco, limiting alcohol use, getting vaccinated, practicing safe sex, using sunscreens.
Good hygiene – includes: washing hands regularly, brushing teeth, washing food.
Rational and responsible use of products, services, diagnostics and medicines – includes: being aware of dangers, using responsibly when necessary.
Through self-care people can be healthier and remain so into old age, managing minor ailments themselves. They can also better manage, delay or even prevent the appearance of so-called ‘lifestyle’ diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and many cancers.