An M.D., Health & Wellbeing Consultant’s view of self-care
The importance of women in self-care.
International Women’s Day on March 8th gives me the opportunity to underline the importance of women for self-care. Commonly the primary care-taker of families and households, women are often unacknowledged change-makers. They are the one ensuring the wellbeing of their entire family. Women are in charge of making sure basic needs for their loved ones are met with a shelter, sanitation, security, food, water and much more. Health is a major need they tackle on an ongoing basis, thus providing self-care without even realising the power of their actions.
Self-care is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the ability to take actions to improve self-health and wellbeing. Women are self-care champions by providing, every day, thousands of small but meaningful actions – such as choosing healthy food for family meals, encouraging hygiene for family members and the living environment, and organizing family activities.
Though women are “others-care” champions, they can sometimes forget that to maintain that role, caring for themselves is the foundation, taking care of self, body, mind and most importantly health.
Self-Care contributes to enhancing mental and physical wellbeing. It is about actions one takes to be healthier with lifestyle, to prevent illness as well as to care for any ongoing health condition. It is about undertaking small yet soothing personal activities such as taking a relaxing bath, starting an anti-stress activity such as a walk or light jog in the park, a yoga session or even playing music or singing in a choir. A great part of self-care is about planning and preparing the family’s favourite healthy meal to cheer moods and nurture bodies.
Self-care is the cornerstone of health, helping to prevent disease, maintain health and cope with any chronic illness. It is crucial that women have the mindspace to acknowledge their daily – too often mechanically performed – actions as foundations of health.
Women need to be empowered with sustainable health management skills and knowledge to make health choices. There is an absolute necessity to recognize the importance of physical and mental fitness by exploring the many forms of self-care as a key tool for health. To thrive, women need to be empowered to take informed health decisions while increasing their self-health management competencies. Ultimately, all this comes down to understanding and recognising the importance of self-care.
Dr. Anbreen Slama-Chaudhry
Dr Slama-Chaudhry is a doctor (GP), Health & Wellbeing Consultant, and Chronic Diseases Patient Education and Self-Care specialist in Switzerland. She is the founder of Medical Training Services, a Swiss-registered health training company.