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International Self-Care Day

Taking time for yourself - two people playing Fooseball
Taking time for yourself

Date: 2019-07-24

Taking time for yourself means you can give your personal and professional best

July 24 is International Self-Care Day. Described as a day to raise public awareness about the importance of self-care to stay both physically and mentally healthy, and also prevent or delay illness, it is gaining momentum around the globe. “Our society is go-go-go,” says Catharine Tombs, a physiotherapist in the Neurology Outpatient Services at St. Joseph’s Hospital. “But our bodies give us clear signals that we need to stop and slow down and pay closer attention to our health.”

Erin Puhalski, a physiotherapist with the Rheumatic Diseases Program, echos the same sentiment for those living with chronic disease: “Healthy living can have a positive impact for people living with chronic disease. Together with a good relationship with your health care provider, choices around healthy eating, physical activity, getting good rest, and staying hydrated can help you manage disease better.”

It can be easy for anyone - family members or health care providers - as well as those living with illness to lose sight of their own self-care. So what can you easily do to get more self-care into your life?

Physical Activity - Go for a walk, dance, or try a water activity that’s easy on your joints. “Aim to do about 30 minutes of activity each day. The research says instead of doing 30 minutes of exercise all at once, three 10-minute blocks can be just as effective for maintaining health,” says Puhalski.

Mental and Emotional Health - “My favourite little practice to share with people is what I call ‘self check-in,’” notes Tombs. “What is your body telling you? Do you need more sleep? Better food? More water? Just taking a few moments to check in physically, emotionally, spiritually: where are you at right now and what do you need?” Remember to settle down and breathe-taking some slow, deep breaths, for as little as two minutes a day, can help down-regulate the nervous system too, she says.

Better Sleep - A good mattress, going to bed at a similar time every night and getting up at a similar time every morning, sleeping in a dark room, not bringing your phone to bed with you, and taking time to wind down before bed, are all good ways to get some quality sleep, says Puhalski.

Socializing - Fun is important! Make time for friends and family, and for activities you enjoy. “People who have an active social life keep all those good neurons firing in their brain,” says Puhalski.

According to Tombs, “The key is to be creative when life is busy. For instance, I offer a weekly lunchtime yoga session for my colleagues at St. Joseph’s Hospital, and together we recharge our minds and strengthen our bodies. It’s a great way to stay healthy while building connections with coworkers.”

The bottom line, according to Tombs: “Self-care is not a selfish act: there is a connection between the quality of care that you’re able to give as a caregiver and your own self-care. You need to connect with what makes you ‘you’ regularly, so that you are able to bring your best self to everything that you do in life.”

St. Joseph’s Care Group provides a range of services in Rehabilitative Care, Addictions & Mental Health and Seniors’ Health. Learn more by browsing our site or follow us on Facebook.

 

       
       
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