The Power of Self-Care

Self-care is the most widely practiced form of health care, it’s cheaper than professionalized health care, and it’s the most powerful preventive tool we have. It’s clear that self-care is growing in popularity — not just among millennials, but around the globe. While the term has been a trending Google search term in recent years, it’s not a new concept.

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Most care is self-care

In a 2009 SEARO report, the World Health Organization noted that 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. In 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 might even call self-care an act of civil disobedience in today’s commoditized healthcare system.

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 our complicated, over-priced healthcare system, 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 offers everyday Americans the opportunity to be part of health care reform.

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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.

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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

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. Examples of self-care include exercising, bandaging wounds, icing or heating injuries, taking medication, testing blood sugar or blood pressure, getting restful sleep, and preparing healthy meals.

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Learn more about the 8 dimensions of self-care in Uppward: A Self-Care System for Purposeful Living:

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