International Self-Care Day
International Self-Care Day (ISD) – July 24
International Self-Care Day was established in 2011 to bring awareness to the importance of self-care as a vital foundation of health.
ISD has been celebrated around the world, in countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, the United States, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. The World Health Organization reports that the are at least 400 million people worldwide who don’t have access to the most basic and essential health services. ISD is about creating innovative strategies that go beyond the traditional models for healthcare.
In 2019, the WHO announced “Self-Care Month”, which starts on June 24th and ends on July 24th. The goal is to establish a community of practice for self-care. ISD-related activities have been focused on youth, seniors, the general public, occupational health, pharmacy, research, and the media.
Self-care benefits include:
- Enables you to respond better to difficult situations
- Can improve emotional health
- Helps you be kinder to yourself, cultivates self-compassion
- Builds resilience, allowing you to bounce back from stress, trauma, and burnout
- Teaches you effective coping skills that can be used in a variety of situations
- Can be a powerful way to reset your life
- May boost physical health
- Gain clarity on your core values
Self-care ideas to try now:
- Learn something new
- Catch the sunrise or sunset
- Create something
- Take a mental health day, un-apologetically
- Write in a journal
- Give yourself a facial
- Do gentle stretching or yoga
- Have a picnic
- Treat yourself
- Make a vision board
- Do a digital detox
- Take a walk in nature
- Have a spa day
- Start a gratitude practice
- Seek help with Serenity!
Setting Boundaries Is A Radical Act of Self-Care
An important part of self-care is also setting boundaries. When you recognize your needs and communicate them, you are taking care of yourself. It is okay to say no or take space when you are feeling tired or just need a mental break. It is ok to set your phone to do not disturb and take time for yourself without being bothered. When you speak up and advocate for your needs, you are respecting yourself and doing what is right and true for you. If you don’t set boundaries, you end up taking on other people’s feelings and taking responsibility for their problems; this can quickly get exhausting and you may end up becoming resentful. This is especially true for family, which is why we offer family therapy PTSD treatment. We also have workshops for more general self care practices, and balancing your self care with life. In order to take care of your emotional and physical needs, it is important to set boundaries.
Self-Care During the Pandemic
Self-care during the pandemic is particularly important. From a somatic perspective, we are constantly being activated because we have to stay vigilant in order to be safe throughout this challenge time. Activities that would normally make us feel safe, such as face-to-face interaction and social gatherings, are now the most dangerous settings. We are wired towards social engagement for safety, and these are the exact encounters we are discouraged from engaging in right now. Social engagement has become the danger itself, and this causes stress in our nervous systems. In order to reduce the cortisol levels spiked by this stress, we must practice deactivating our vigilant and activated nervous systems.
Similar to a natural disaster, the pandemic is likely to have psychological aftereffects. However, unlike a natural disaster, this pandemic is unpredictable, large in geographic scope, and may cause vast and ongoing disruption to our economies and health systems. Not knowing when or how the pandemic will end is the most challenging part. Coping strategies during this time are essential to our well-being; they are our survival mechanism. This is particularly why engaging in regular self-care, whether this looks like a short walk at the end of the day or assessing your boundaries, is crucial to preventing burnout and maintaining our health. This pandemic is best thought of as a marathon and not a sprint. Effective coping strategies can help mitigate some of the negative effects of this challenging time.