It’s Self-Care Month! Running between June, 24th and July 24th, self-care month celebrates the benefits of self-care and raises awareness of the importance of taking care of ourselves and eachother. The month culminates on International Self-Care Day on July 24th.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is about taking care of yourself and ensuring that you make choices that help your physical, mental, and overall health. No matter how busy our lives can get, this day is a reminder for everyone to take a step back and ensure that we are all practicing self-care.
There are seven pillars of self-care, including health literacy, self-awareness, physical activity, healthy eating, risk avoidance, good hygiene, and optimal use of products and services. There are resources and tools we can use to support self-care, like medicine, counselling, and digital technology. These are called self-care interventions.
Caregivers of individuals with FASD
Caregivers of individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) experience significantly higher levels of stress, even more so than caregivers of children with other developmental disabilities. These high levels of stress can negatively impact their physical and mental health, which in turn directly impacts their relationships with their children and family functioning. Therefore, it is especially important for caregivers of individuals with FASD to find stress management and self-care routines that work for them.
In one study, researchers found that the more often caregivers practice self-care, the more confident they were in taking care of themselves. Those that were more confident practicing self-care had lower levels of distress and higher levels of satisfaction. They also reported higher rates of their family needs being met.
Individuals with FASD
Similarly, it is also important for individuals with FASD to establish and practice a self-care routine. However, they may have challenges with daily living activities and may need support in their self-care routine. Structure, routine, and consistency can those with FASD to manage their every day activities and better support them to care for themselves.
Self-care is a life-long practice focused on building our knowledge and experience to care for our health and well-being. Building self-care habits and routines can be challenging but can ultimately help improve our lives. Self-care looks different for everyone, and it’s important to find what you need and enjoy! Here are a few ways you can get started with a self-care routine.
- Sleep: when you get a good night’s sleep, you may find yourself energized and excited to take on your day ahead.
- Breathe: unclench your jaw. Separate your tongue from the roof of your mouth. Notice the sensations you can feel in your body. Notice your feet planted firmly on the ground. What comes to you when you take a moment to pause just for you?
- Physical Activity: regular physical exercise boosts energy and mood and decreases stress.
- Try not to judge yourself: try not to engage in negative thoughts, just acknowledge it.
- 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: helps calm our nerves and overcome stress, while potentially exercising our imagination.
- Exercise your creativity: 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.
- Practice Saying ‘no’: say ‘no’ to social events that you don’t want to go to or requests of you that you don’t actually want to do. It’s okay to say no, to do less and to lay low when you need to!
- Treat yourself to small luxuries:
Happy International Self-Care Day! We hope you take the time to practice self-care today, however this looks for you!