International health organizations encouraging focus on self-care

Self-Care Month is running from June 24 to July 24

Anyone who has been on a commercial airplane is familiar with flight attendants at the start of the trip explaining what to do in the event of a pressure change: oxygen masks will drop and you need to put yours on before helping others.

This analogy is also true when it comes to caring for others: to care for others well, people need to be caring for themselves and taking care of their own health needs.

June 24 marked the start of International Self-Care Month. The awareness month will end July 24, which marks Self-Care Day, a date chosen as a symbolic reminder that self-care can be practised “24-seven”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched Self-Care Month in 2019 to promote the importance of self-care in order to encourage people to stay healthy and alleviate pressure on health-care systems across the globe.

This is true now more than ever, given that factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic have placed added strain on health systems, the WHO says on its website.

The WHO is suggesting ways people can get involved with Self-Care Month and Self-Care Day. These include using social media, watching for local Self-Care Month events, and taking time to ponder ways to improve self-care.

The International Self-Care Federation (ISF) lists seven “pillars” of self-care it has developed as part of the organization’s self-care framework. Each of these points can be focused on in order to maximize self-care.

These are:

– Knowledge and health literacy
– Mental well-being, self-awareness and agency
– Physical activity
– Healthy eating
– Risk avoidance
– Good hygiene
– Rational and responsible use of products (medicines) and services

So, what exactly is “self-care”?

“Self-care is about empowering people to be active agents in their own healthcare,” the WHO states on its website. “As well as being the right thing to do, with more and more pressure on health systems there is a great need.”

The Switzerland-based Global Self-Care Federation describes self-care as “a lifelong habit and culture.”

“(Self-care) is the practice of individuals looking after their own health based on the knowledge and information available to them,” the organization says.

“It is a decision-making process that empowers individuals to look after their own health efficiently and conveniently, in collaboration with health and social care professionals as needed.”

You can click on these links to learn more about Self-Care Month and Self-Care Day:

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