While there is still quite a bit of disagreement as to the best definition of self-care, it’s clear that it exists on several levels.
On one end, there is exclusive self-care, with no input or guidance from a medical professional. In fact, it’s been suggested that the majority of health-related care falls into this category, since most people attempt to treat ailments at home first. Exclusive self-care involves things like treating minor scrapes and bruises, self-medicating for seasonal allergies, and seeking advice from friends and family.
And on the other end of the spectrum, there is exclusive medical-care. In this scenario, care-related decisions are made only after consulting with a professional, and sometimes the final treatment decision is even left up to the provider.
But somewhere in the middle lies the concept of “shared-care,” where individuals seek out professional information and consultation before coming to a decision on their own.
To me, this makes the most sense. Self-care is cheaper, easier to navigate, more convenient, and creates the least burden on the health care system as a whole. (Plus, I don’t like the idea of needlessly booking an appointment when there are others with greater needs waiting.)
But sometimes self-care just isn’t enough.
So in line with my intention this year to develop a comprehensive self-care practice of my own, I chose the “shared-care” route, and consulted with a medical professional to help navigate a health-related matter.
After all, a solid self-care plan includes knowing when to seek the guidance of a professional.