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The Art of Self-Care

Glen Ivy yoga meditation

Celebrated annually on July 24, International Self-Care Day serves as a reminder that incorporating self-care into our everyday routine is key to living long and healthy lives. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), self-care is “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote their own health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health worker.”  The phrase “self-care” continues to be used more and more and appears to have an ever-growing definition. 

Though broad, the WHO’s definition allows self-care to be an umbrella term for all aspects of health and wellness as self-care can look different for everyone. For some, self-care can be escaping the everyday routine and making time for a wellness day at the spa. For others, it can be as simple as putting your phone on “do not disturb” and getting outdoors for a walk. However you choose to practice it, self-care is important as it can help manage stress, lower the risk of illness and increase energy levels. 

Having a loose, overarching definition for self-care is wonderful as it allows everyone to practice it differently. However, it is important to acknowledge that self-care is sometimes also portrayed in a light that can be misconstrued. When many brands and organizations place heavy emphasis on “indulging” in self-care, practicing it then becomes something you’re expected to set time aside for or forced to spend extra money on. While splurging on self-care gifts and treating yourself is one form of self-care, other practices should be equally celebrated

Self-care is everyday occurrences like getting enough sleep at night, saying “no” to activities and things you really don’t want and even just letting others take care of themselves. For this reason, refining the definition of self-care, tailoring it to yourself and not comparing it to anyone else’s is crucial. As International Self-Care Day’s date, 7/24, reminds us, self-care is not just something we should treat ourselves to occasionally, but something we should strive to practice and be mindful of 24 hours of all seven days in the week.