Written by Candice Perry
July 24 is International Self-Care Day. An international campaign to encourage everyone to participate in wellness and preventative health practices. Survivor’s Hope Crisis Centre is honoring self-care throughout the month of July. We explore the seven pillars of self-care which include Mental Well-being, Movement, Nourishment, Hygiene, Informed Health Decisions, Harm Reduction, and Informed Decisions about self-care products and services. We will also look at ways we can practice self-care, barriers to achieving quality self-care, and how communities and our larger society can recognize and remove barriers and support individuals to practice self-care.
Self-care practice cannot replace quality health care, nor can it prevent all injury or illness. However, self-care practice can empower us within our health and well – being through regular habits that support us to feel better physically, emotionally, mentally, and to feel more fulfilled in our relationships with others close to us and even in our relationships within our communities. Self-care practice is a holistic way of taking care of our whole being and throughout our campaign you will become familiar with each pillar of self-care and how they interact with the others. For example, if we do things that support us physically, like making efforts to eat as healthily as we can most of the time, and regular body movement, this can support us physically, but also mentally. Our sleep can improve, which can also influence how we feel mentally as well as physically. Regular self-care measures support our overall wellness.
Measures taken to reduce the spread of COVID – 19 over the last year and a half turned every piece of health advice on its head. Before the pandemic, doctors were warning us against the dangers of isolating ourselves behind our screens. Throughout the pandemic we have been advised to stay home, not see anyone physically, and interact through virtual contacts. In some cities for periods of time, people were ordered to stay in their homes and were not even allowed to go to parks for periods of time, eliminating the ability to enjoy the outdoors and opportunities for body movement. Many people have experienced the stresses of lack of access to food through restrictions that impacted how and when we can shop, lack of opportunities for body movement, the loneliness of quarantine, and instability and loss of income. It has been a challenge to practice self-care in non-social ways. Now that the world is moving closer to re-opening, we have an opportunity to re-imagine how we can be aware of the barriers that can prevent or get in the way of self-care and take steps to make self-care available to everyone.