Seven Pillars of Self Care

Clock face with myself time identified

Health Canada has designated July 24th 2016 International Self-Care day. This is a great opportunity for those of us who are constantly focusing on everything else in life, leaving our own health and well-being behind, to take a moment and consider how we can better care for ourselves. Maybe that means taking a whole day for you, a 20 minute bubble bath, or just a short walk to re-charge. Whatever the effort, taking care of yourself will help you take better care of others. This day gives us the chance to review the 7 Pillars of Self-Care and see how we can better care for ourselves. Hopefully in doing this we will see that giving ourselves a regular break will make us a better care giver for those who depend on us.

Below are the 7 Pillars of Self-Care: You don’t have to do them in order, just pick one that you currently aren’t doing or need to devote a little more time to.  Put some energy into being better at it for a day. If you need help getting started talk to a health care provider like your family doctor, registered nurse, social worker, or registered dietitian.

The 7 Pillars:

  • Health literacy – understanding how your health can impact your wellbeing and how your actions can make a difference
  • Self-awareness – understanding your current physical and mental health as well as how you can improve in these areas.
  • Physical activity – understanding how physical activity, in all of its forms, have benefits to our physical and mental health and making efforts to increase your own activity level in ways you enjoy
  • Healthy eating – understanding the role of a healthy diet in improving your physical and mental health and including foods that promote good health.
  • Risk avoidance or mitigation – understanding the impact of unhealthy behaviours and trying to reduce their impact by quitting tobacco, limiting alcohol, getting vaccinated, practicing safe sex, using sunscreens, etc.
  • Good hygiene – understanding the risks of poor hygiene and working to avoid those risks by washing hands regularly, brushing teeth, washing food when preparing meals, etc.
  • Rational and responsible use of products, services, diagnostics and medicines – understanding  that using health products responsibly is important to avoid complications and asking experts for advice when starting medications, supplements, and avoiding potentially harmful products like cleanses, and extreme dieting practices.

For more information visit: International Self-Care Foundation