As the old saying goes, “Prevention is worth a pound of cure.” A big part of prevention in the area of Wellness involves taking good care of oneself. Mothers and fathers too often are so busy taking care of their families that they don’t pay enough attention to their own health. The truth is, we can take care of others only if we are in good enough health ourselves.
According to the World Health Organization, self-care not only helps to promote better health, but it can also help people cope better when illness hits. Specific forms of self-care have also been linked to different health and wellness benefits. For example, exercise, having a sense of purpose in life and consistently getting restful sleep are all connected to living a longer life. On a daily level, a wholesome self-care routine is believed to help reduce anxiety and stress, improve energy levels and social interactions, and boost resilience and happiness.
What makes for an effective self-care plan? Since each of us is different, with varying priorities, body types and mental dispositions, an effective self-care plan needs to be customized. Consider what in life is overwhelming to you. At Nikken, we use the 5 Pillars of Wellness as a way to achieve balance. These 5 Pillars serve as a gauge to assess what we need to work on most in our lives. Is it physical (Body), mental (Mind), Family, Finances or social standing (Society)? Which of these areas stress us out and require the most attention? That’s how to devise a self-care strategy.
• Make a list of the different parts of your life. This can be work, school, family members, non-family relationships, community events you’re involved with, and so on.
• Evaluate what stresses you out. Then think about what you can do to ease the stressors. Sometimes easing stress requires setting boundaries and saying “no” without feeling guilty. In other words, we need to recognize when our plates are full and when they’re overflowing. Prioritize.
• Think about the things that make you happy. Consider the activities that produce a relaxing effect. It can be as simple as a daily walk, a swim, a self-massage, grounding and meditating, talking to a friend or favorite relative, playing with a baby or your dog, listening to the birds—so many small and simple things that we sometimes forget to appreciate.
• Taking care of yourself is just like everything else we learn to do: practice makes perfect. If we haven’t been practicing self-care for a long time, we’re not going to have a great plan we can work with right away. Take small steps, but do take a step. Take a deep breath and tell yourself: “It is ok.” Exhale and get on with it.
• Every single day, take time to do something for yourself. It doesn’t matter whether it’s making your favorite cup of tea or going in a room and having a good scream. You know yourself best and whatever works for you is what’s best for you! Do not judge yourself!
• Realize that your self-care strategy can change from day to day, definitely from year to year. Go with the flow. Assess and reassess your personal needs and adjust your plan to fulfill the changes in your life.
The International Self-Care Foundation includes health literacy as a pillar of self-care, meaning that any steps you take toward better understanding health information you need to make appropriate decisions about your health and well-being counts as self-care, too.1 Good self-care can help decrease the number of visits to a health practitioner but it also requires that we know when we need to get checked out by a doctor or hospital.
We can certainly make it a point to be knowledgeable in the six basic areas of Wellness and self-care: Health, Fitness, Nutrition, Appearance, Sleep and Mindfulness. At Nikken, we practice Active Wellness through the 5 Pillars of Wellness and our products reflect our commitment to self-care. Our magnetic, support, energy, PiMag® Water and HEPA air purifier products address Health & Fitness, we have organic Kenzen® Nutrition, True Elements® marine organic skin care addresses Appearance, Kenko Sleep Technology provides solutions for Sleep and Humans Being More training to emphasize Mindfulness.