July is Self-Care Month, a great time to read articles about meditation, mental health, and physical indulgence. But are you actually practicing what you read?
Sure, just reading about spa therapies and quiet moments alone can lower your blood pressure and soothe your mind. But self-care matters more than that. Today’s self-care activities are important enough to be a factored into your day-to-day health practices. And they don’t just affect your own health; self-care is a valuable part of our whole Bradenton community.
How the Concept of Self-Care Has Changed?
The health practices that seem like common sense to us now never used to be taken that seriously in the past.
You exercise so many minutes per day, brush your teeth, count your steps and your calories, see your doctor and your dentist at regular points throughout the year. Today’s commonly accepted healthcare practices can all be considered self-care types.
And guess what: Other healthy habits—the ones that used to get dismissed as indulgent or frivolous—are gaining traction for what they can bring to our lives (immediately and in the long run), too.
If flossing, eating more veggies and less sugar make a big difference to your overall health, it’s time to acknowledge that taking time outside, more quiet breaks and less stress are pretty important, too.
And ironically, we don’t just practice self-care for ourselves. It’s part of how we interact with others and how we all act as a whole. Social action and interaction are good for us as individuals and as a group.
What is Self-Care, and Why Is It Important?
Especially during self-care month, you’ve probably read a lot about how things like meditation, massage, and stress management directly affect your physical health, especially for disease prevention. They lower your chances for loads of conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
But there’s another aspect of self-care that doesn’t get as many headlines: Empowerment.
According to the World Health Organization, self-care can be something you do on your own, but it can also mean seeking out the help of a healthcare worker. This month is about acknowledging that many factors of our own health can be managed through our own actions—whether it’s getting regular exercise, taking our pills on time, seeing a doctor when we need to, or scheduling regular spa treatments and practicing other ways to reduce our stress. We are empowered to create healthy lives. And it means helping others to take these steps, too.
Self-care puts the power of healthcare into individuals and communities. It helps us to strengthen our bodies and our emotions, and it inspires us to open wellness centers, and to use them, and to help our neighbors get to them, too.
When we take the health of ourselves and our Bradenton community into our own hands, that’s self-care.
What are the 6 (or 7, or 8) Types of Self-Care?
Self-care breaks down into a number of different categories. These facets can be helpful in examining your life, seeing the areas that you might be neglecting, and finding new ways to improve your wellbeing.
The 6 (or 7, or 8) types of self-care can include:
- Environmental (ie your home and workplace)
However many self-care categories you count, and however you interpret them, just know you have a lot of options.
How Should I Practice Self-Care?
The clue is in the name: Self-care is personal. It’s up to you to work through what you need and how best to get it. The hard part is starting.
One good first step can be to acknowledge that self-care is a valuable practice, and just starting wellness journey will do you good. Validate that decision.
Take some time to focus on each of the categories above and consider what little things might be bothering you in each area, and how best to address them. Set your intentions, and then pursue them—deliberately, practically and without judgment.
Bellagena’s Bottom Line on Self-Care
So this July, don’t just read about self-care. Find ways to practice it. Ask around—not only will you find new inspiration, but you’ll be rewarding yourself and those around you just with the conversation.
Ultimately the hope is that you can take this self-care month to develop habits that you’ll use year-round. Stress doesn’t stop in the summer. Neither should self-care.