Today is International Self-Care Day. There’s even a Senate resolution designating July 24 as a day to recognize the importance of self-care in the U.S. (it’s on 7/24 because, ideally, it should be a focus 24/7 for everyone). Has your self-care — from diet and hydration to hygiene and hobbies — been slipping because of competing priorities? Bring it back into focus with these “seven pillars” recommended by health care experts – plus some easy TLC ideas from your fellow member, Laura.
What are the “7 pillars”?
The International Self-Care Foundation has developed what it considers The Seven Pillars of Self-Care:
Pillar 1 – Knowledge and health literacy: Finding health information and ways to understand it so you can make appropriate health decisions
Pillar 2 – Mental well-being, self-awareness and agency: Getting health care screenings; “knowing your numbers” for important stats like body mass index (BMI), cholesterol and blood pressure; and keeping tabs on your mental health
Pillar 3 – Physical activity: Staying as fit as possible (talk with your doctor about a healthy exercise plan that works with your condition)
Pillar 4 – Health eating: Keeping a nutritious, balanced diet
Pillar 5 – Risk avoidance or mitigation: Quitting tobacco, limiting alcohol use, getting vaccinated, practicing safe sex and using sunscreen
Pillar 6 – Good hygiene: Bathing, washing your hands, brushing your teeth, cleaning your produce and taking other food-safety steps
Pillar 7 – Rational and responsible use of care products and services: Knowing the guidelines and possible side effects or dangers of medications and services (prescriptions, over-the-counter meds, alternative or natural health products), and working with a health care professional to plan how to use these things safely
Many of these fit well with the mission and resources of PatientsLikeMe, so remember to keep tracking your conditions, symptoms, treatments and more in your profile.
Laura’s tips for TLC
PatientsLikeMe Team of Advisors member Laura — who’s living with bipolar disorder and PTSD — wrote a piece to share her 5 tips for self-care with the mental health community. She says self-care is “paramount” in living with multiple chronic conditions.
For Laura, “self-care is really about utilizing the five senses in an attempt to make you feel better, or at least to bring you to a more manageable spot until you can talk with a doctor or therapist.” So her self-care practice includes cool things like adult coloring pages, massage, singing/listening to music and more activities that deliver some “zen.”
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