Self-care is a popular term these days, with lots of different definitions and uses.
You often see posts promoting self-care on social media with pictures of day spas, yoga retreats and people exercising on the beach at sunset. All wonderful things, but when you live with a chronic condition, pain and sometimes crippling exhaustion, life’s not always that glamorous!
The World Health Organisation defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health worker” .(1)
That’s a rather dry definition, so for the everyday person with a musculoskeletal condition, we describe self-care as the things you consciously and deliberately do to take care of your physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
It includes everything from exercising regularly and staying active, eating a healthy diet, getting a good night’s sleep, caring for your mental health, managing pain and fatigue, seeing your healthcare team regularly, learning about your musculoskeletal condition, and staying connected with family and friends. It also involves things like good hygiene, avoiding risky behaviours and actions, and using medicines and treatments appropriately.
We have information and resources on all of these things and more.
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(1) Self-care interventions for health, World Health Organization.