There’s little doubt that self-care is growing in popularity — and not just among millennials. Individuals who find themselves transitioning to a new life stage, such as new parents, empty nesters, or retirees, are also discovering the importance of preserving good health. Physicians are focusing more time on patient education and empowerment. And individuals are taking greater interest and ownership of their health by becoming active directors of their care.

What is self-care?

Self-care is a preventive health strategy involving actions and behaviors that improve, restore, or maintain good health. And for those who may be managing existing health conditions, self-care also includes preventing the progression of disease. Self-care activities can include exercising, bandaging wounds, icing or heating injuries, taking medication, testing blood sugar or blood pressure, getting restful sleep, preparing healthy meals, and just about anything you can think of that supports good health.

Self-care is a preventive health strategy involving actions and behaviors that improve, restore, or maintain good health. Click To Tweet

In fact, it’s the most widely practiced form of health care. Not only is it less costly than professionalized care, it’s also the most powerful preventive tool we have when it comes to preserving good health.

The term “self-care” has been trending upward as a Google search term in recent years, but it’s not a new concept. But it is becoming a movement.

Self-care is the most widely practiced form of health care. Click To Tweet

Most care is self-care

According to the World Health Organization, self-care is “the most dominant form of primary care in both developed and in developing countries,” and it has been estimated that “65% to 85% of health care is provided by the individual or the family without professional intervention.” Likewise, in the UK it’s been estimated that 80% of all care is self-care.

Self-Care isn’t a trend; it’s a basic human right.

As far back as 1978, the International Conference on Primary Health Care (Alma-Ata, USSR) declared that “people have the right and duty to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of their health care.” In fact, some consider self-care an act of civil disobedience in today’s commoditized healthcare climate.

So why is self-care making so many waves?

Health care is expensive

Let’s face it: Health care is expensive. According to the CDC, healthcare was 17% of the GDP in 2015. From insurance premiums to deductibles to coinsurance to copays to out-of-pocket expenses (and that doesn’t include the time we spend coordinating appointments and trying to make sense of our medical bills), being unhealthy creates stress and financial strain.

Despite being among the highest in health-related expenditures, America continues to lag behind other countries when it comes to overall health. In the U.S., life expectancies are lower and chronic conditions are on the rise. According to a NCHS data brief on 2012 (No. 237), obesity was the reason behind 11 million visits to physician offices, and 74% of those visits were associated with an accompanying chronic condition. It’s clear that it’s time for a major disruption within the health care system.

As Americans, we’ve become passive recipients of health care. Instead of owning our health, we’ve transferred the responsibility to our health care providers. In contrast, self-care is a largely overlooked and undervalued preventive health tool that offers everyday Americans the opportunity to be part of health care reform.

Self-care offers everyday Americans the opportunity to be part of health care reform. Click To Tweet

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Self-care is a powerful tool

Self-Care is a powerful, multidimensional tool that we can use to not only navigate life’s heavy moments, but to make a meaningful contribution to the world. By carefully investing our energy into key areas of our lives, we’re able to experience more beauty and joy — without the complications of chronic health conditions.

Our traditional healthcare system focuses primarily on the physical aspects of our health — our nutritional status, fitness level, laboratory values, organ function, signs and symptoms of disease, and our mental and emotional health, but Living Upp has identified 8 unique dimensions that enable us to live up to our fullest potential.

Self-care isn't a trend; it's a basic human right. Click To Tweet

The 8 Dimensions of Self-Care

8 Dimensions of Self-Care

Systemic – How we eat, move and rest
Emotive – How we express ourselves
Luminescent – How we illuminate our inner truth
Financial – How we allocate our resources
Cognitive – How we think
Aptitudinal – How we contribute to the world
Relational – How we connect with others
Environmental – How we harmonize with nature

You can learn more about the 8 dimensions of self-care in my book Uppward: A Self-Care System for Purposeful Living.

Here’s what one reader sent me after reading the book:

Your book was exactly what I needed!  I am a lover of mind maps but just writing this out really showed me some glaring boundaries I was not setting and some other dimensions of self-care that I have not addressed…”

Are you ready to expand your practice to support yourself more fully?

Learn more about the Self-Care Mastery Program here.

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