When you think of self-care what comes to mind?
Most of us would say a massage, manicures, and pedicures, a long bath, maybe exercise.
These are ways to perform self-care, but it is so much more than that.
International Self-Care Day
International Self-Care Day (ISCD) was established in 2011 to increase awareness surrounding self-care and empowering the population with the knowledge to become active participants in their health and wellness. In 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) announced self-care month running from June 24th to July 24th, with the last day of the celebration being an international day of recognition.
Why July 24th?
July 24th or 7/24 is meant to symbolize the importance of self-care seven days per week and 24 hours per day. It is a reminder, no matter how busy we are, self-care should be prioritized and modeled to future generations.
Self-Care and Self-Love Go Hand in Hand
As a parent, spouse, sibling, child, and friend it can be easy to see the beauty and positivity in others. We can look at a photo of them without judgment. We can applaud their successes and help them find the lessons in their “failures.”
What happens when it is us?
Most of us are quick to point out our flaws, shortcomings, and mistakes. We put ourselves down and expect more, expect better. We are our own worst critics and anything short of perfection is not good enough (or maybe that’s just me).
Although it is good to learn, grow and improve from our experiences, it is even more important to appreciate our effort along the way. It is important to speak to ourselves the same way we speak to our children and friends.
You would never tell your friend she looks fat in a photograph. You would never tell your child they are not smart enough or good enough.
You would come to them with love and encouragement. You would tell them they tried their best. You would tell your friend how beautiful she was.
This is how you should talk to yourself. You are the most important person in your life and you should start acting like it. Learning to love with yourself through the ups and downs, triumphs and mistakes is the ultimate act of self-care.
How to Practice Self-Care
Practicing self-care should be a priority every day. It should be written into your schedule the same as a doctor’s appointment or meeting at work. It should be a non-negotiable, no matter how full your life is.
Daily self-care does not need to be an extravagant outing. It does not need to cost money. And it does not need to take much time.
Spending 10 minutes focusing on yourself every day can be enough!
- Wake up before your children to enjoy a cup of coffee in the quiet of your home.
- Make a list of questions before you go to see any of your medical providers (doctor, dentist, chiropractor).
- Meditate while waiting in the pick-up line at school.
- Prepare healthy snacks or plan healthy dinners ahead of time.
- Stretch and breathe for five minutes after your child goes down for a nap before resting yourself.
- Do your own research regarding medical diagnoses and treatments.
- Put your baby in a carrier and toddler in the stroller with a snack and take a walk around the neighborhood.
- Learn to say no! (This is one I REALLY need to work on).
We have all heard the saying, “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” Or that you should always put your oxygen mask on first before helping others on an airplane. Although you have heard these statements before it is time you start acting on them and prioritizing self-care.
If I were a betting woman, I would say you want your children to make themselves a priority as they grow into adolescence and adulthood. You want them to feel good physically and mentally so they can continue to be the best versions of themselves. You are no different.
Make yourself a priority always. Without guilt. Without shame. Without excuses.
Your children, spouse, family, and friends will thank you for it!
On this international day of celebration, I challenge you to brainstorm ideas and start a daily self-care practice.