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International Self Care Day is on July 24. By Our Student Pharmacist, Torie VonSeggern.

Since 2011, July 24 has been celebrated as International Self Care Day.

This date (7/24) was selected to represent the importance of everyday self-care and signifies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What is Self-Care?

Self-care can be defined in a variety of ways. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “self-care is the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health worker.”

According to Oxford Languages, self-care is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health… protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”

Although there are a variety of definitions, overall self-care consists of caring for oneself in order to maintain health and wellness.

The Seven Pillars of Self-Care

The International Self-Care Foundation created the ‘Seven Pillars of Self Care’ to express the various aspects of self-care. When utilized together, the Seven Pillars will result in overall wellbeing and consist of:

1. Knowledge and Health Literacy
2. Mental Wellbeing
3. Physical Activity
4. Healthy Eating
5. Risk Avoidance
6. Good Hygiene
7. Rational and Responsible Use of Products and Services
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What Do the Seven Pillars of Self-Care Mean?

The ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make health decisions.
The definition varies, but overall includes the feeling of belonging and support, improved self-esteem, feeling in control of one’s life, satisfaction and purpose with life.
Participating in moderate physical activity on a regular basis which leads to improved health, fitness, and mood.
Eating a nutritious, balanced diet consisting of an appropriate amount of calories. A healthy diet consists of fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains. Unhealthy eating is a leading cause of diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes, and others.
Avoiding actions that may increase the risk of disease or death which include: quitting tobacco, limiting alcohol use, getting vaccinated, using sunscreen, practicing safe sex, etc.
Preventing the spread of disease by washing hands regularly, brushing teeth, and washing food.
Safely and effectively managing one’s health such as taking medications as prescribed, understanding proper use of over-the-counter medications, using devices such as blood pressure monitors, and more.

Why is Self-Care Important?

Self-care has so many benefits which can be noticed daily and long-term. Overall self-care leads to:

Improved daily performance
Improved quality of life
Boosted self-esteem and self-confidence
Improved resilience (handling challenges better)
Increased energy, sleep, and clarity
Reduced stress and anger

Although self-care may seem a bit selfish, taking care of yourself leads to a better quality of life which can be shared with others!

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Ways to Care for Yourself Every Day

There are so many small activities that help to promote self-care!

Here are a few ideas to incorporate some self-care activities into your daily routine.

Drink water first thing in the morning
Go outside or take a walk
Watch the sunrise or sunset
Take 5 minutes each day to just breathe and reflect on the day
Write down 5 positive things that happened during the day
Listen to music
Go to bed early
Play a game
Try a new hobby
Practice positive self-talk
Read or write

These are just a few of the countless activities to incorporate into a daily routine to help improve overall wellbeing.

In general, it is important to find activities, whether big or small, that bring joy and relaxation. Setting aside just 5 minutes a day for yourself can be beneficial to your overall wellbeing.

Sometimes it may seem difficult to fit self-care into a daily schedule, but there is no better day to start than today!  Take a moment today, and every day, to do something that makes you feel better.

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References:

1. International Self Care Day – July 24, 2022. National Today. https://nationaltoday.com/international-self-care-day/ Accessed July 20, 2022.
2. International Self-Care Day. International Self-Care Foundation. https://isfglobal.org/international-self-care-day/ Accessed July 20, 2022.
3. Pillar 1 Knowledge & Health Literacy. International Self-Care Foundation. https://isfglobal.org/practise-self-care/pillar-1-knowledge-health-literacy/Accessed July 20, 2022.
4. Pillar 2 Mental Wellbeing, Self-Awareness & Agency. International Self-Care Foundation. https://isfglobal.org/practise-self-care/pillar-2-self-awareness/ Accessed July 20, 2022.
5. Pillar 3 Physical Activity. International Self-Care Foundation. https://isfglobal.org/practise-self-care/pillar-3-physical-activity/ Accessed July 20, 2022.
6. Pillar 4 Healthy Eating. International Self-Care Foundation. https://isfglobal.org/practise-self-care/pillar-4-healthy-eating/ Accessed July 20, 2022.
7. Pillar 5 Risk Avoidance or Mitigation. International Self-Care Foundation. https://isfglobal.org/practise-self-care/pillar-5-risk-avoidance-or-mitigation/Accessed July 20, 2022.
8. Pillar 6 Good Hygiene. International Self-Care Foundation. https://isfglobal.org/practise-self-care/pillar-6-good-hygiene/ Accessed July 20, 2022.
9. Pillar 7 Rational and Responsible Use of Self-Care Products & Services. International Self-Care Foundation. https://isfglobal.org/practise-self-care/pillar-7-rational-and-responsible-use-of-self-care-products-services/ Accessed July 20, 2022.
10. Self-Care Bingo Game. Albemarle Hopeline. https://www.albemarlehopeline.org/get-connected/blog.html/article/2020/07/07/self-care-bingo-game  Accessed July 22, 2022.
11. Self-Care: Develop a Routine That Works for You. SoundGirls. https://soundgirls.org/self-care-develop-a-routine-that-works-for-you/  Accessed July 22, 2022.

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