International Self-Care Day is celebrated annually on July 24th. It is a reminder for individuals to look after their own health and to encourage people to practice self-care and made lifelong habits.
Self-Care for Caregivers
Caregivers of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) experience significantly high levels of stress. Stress can be extremely detrimental to our health and wellbeing. It can negatively impact our physical and mental health, our family functioning and our children’s relationships. Having techniques for self-care and to manage stress is very important to improve our wellbeing.
Caregivers of people with FASD have reported time, lack of resources, their family needs, exhaustion, health issues, mood, logistics, and pride as obstacles to practicing self-care. However, researchers have found the more frequently caregivers practiced self-care, the more confident they were in caring for themselves. Those that were more confident in their own self-care reported lower levels of distress and higher levels of satisfaction, and reported higher rates of their family needs being met.
Self-care can look different for everyone. Caregivers of people with FASD have reported using various strategies including: being present, getting social supports, taking care of their physical health, doing hobbies, consuming media, treating themselves to small luxuries, and getting more information.
Pillars of Self-Care
There are seven pillars of self-care; health literacy, self-awareness, physical activity, healthy eating, risk avoidance, good hygiene, and optimal use of products and services. All of these pillars combined allow for greater health benefits, whether you are exercising, eating well, or simply applying sunscreen.
Building Self-Care Routines
Self-care is a lifelong practice focused on building our knowledge and experience to care for our health and wellbeing. Building self-care habits and routines can be challenging but can ultimately help improve our lives. Self-care practices to get you started may include:
- Meditation is something many people often overlook but is something everyone can do. There are many benefits to meditation, some of which help lower stress levels and help improve our focus.
- Reading is another great way to start a self-care routine. Similar to meditation, reading helps calm our nerves and overcome stress, while potentially exercising our imagination.
- Exercising your creativity is an important part of self-care as well and is something everyone is capable of doing. Although you may think you are not creative, creativity is focused on the action and not the product.
Happy International Self-Care Day! Be sure to take some time and care for yourself today!