International Self-Care Day (ISD), on 24 July each year, provides a focus and opportunity to raise the profile of healthy lifestyle self-care programmes around the world. ISD is a device developed by the International Self-Care Foundation to promote self-care as a vital foundation of health.
The ISD Date
The International Self-Care Day, 24 July, symbolises that the benefits of self-care are experienced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In other words, the benefits of self-care are life-long and do not just relate to a single day. ISD on 24 July simply provides a good focus and opportunity to publicise or report on self-care in action programmes. Programme organisers may work around July 24 as convenient, for example in 2014 for practical convenience organising events on the third Sunday of July.
Each year ISF proposes a general theme for International Self-Care Day. For 24 July 2017, the theme is ‘Get better with Self-Care’
WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
The WHO 1998 definition is:
‘Self-Care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication.’
ISF proposes a framework for self-care which can conveniently be visualized and organised around seven ‘pillars’ or ‘domains’:
- Health literacy – includes: the capacity of individuals to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions
- Self-awareness of physical and mental condition – includes: knowing your body mass index (BMI), cholesterol level, blood pressure; engaging in health screening.
- Physical activity – practicing moderate intensity physical activity such as walking, cycling, or participating in sports at a desirable frequency.
- Healthy eating – includes: having a nutritious, balanced diet with appropriate levels of calorie intake.
- Risk avoidance or mitigation – includes: quitting tobacco, limiting alcohol use, getting vaccinated, practicing safe sex, using sunscreens.
- Good hygiene – includes: washing hands regularly, brushing teeth, washing food.
- Rational and responsible use of products, services, diagnostics and medicines – includes: being aware of dangers, using responsibly when necessary.