Self-care is an activity that we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Even though it’s a simple concept, it’s one that often gets overlooked, put on the back burner, or skipped altogether.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month reminds both women and men that monthly breast cancer exams should be a regular part of one's self-care. If you have never performed a self-exam, ask your doctor or nurse practitioner to guide you through.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes. Due to innovations in research, surgical options, and clinical studies, women have options. With early detection, a woman’s survival rate goes up. That’s why breast self-exams are so important.
This ties in with World Mental Health Day. The goal is to help raise mental health awareness. Each of us can contribute to ensuring that our friends and family who are dealing with mental health concerns can live better lives through dignity, respect, and support. Every year one in four adults, along with one in ten children, will be diagnosed with a mental health concern. These conditions can profoundly affect millions of lives, affecting the capability of these individuals to sustain relationships, maintain work, and even make it through the day.
Why are we sharing this? Well, it goes back to what I mentioned at the start of this article…
SELF-CARE. Self-care is an important aspect of each of our lives and can help us lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
Everyone deals with some amount of stress, but what a lot of people don’t know is how actually terrible for your mind, body, and physical well-being stress can be. Stress can make you age prematurely. It can give you back pains, headaches, blood pressure problems, hair loss, weakened immunity, weight gain, or weight loss and it can even cause depression.
Who wants any of that?
So, what can we do to combat stress? We can start by taking time for ourselves.
In my past, I leaned heavily on exercise and nature. To me, there’s nothing like getting outside and going for a run to clear my mind. I always feel so much better after working out. Try taking a walk, or sitting at a local park, breathing in the fresh air and letting the sunshine warm your face.
Maybe working out isn’t your thing. Try de-cluttering your life. Clean your house. It always makes me feel organized and well-put-together when I have organized my home.
Turn to your childhood comforts. For me, one of my many wonderful childhood memories would be food. I’m 100 percent Italian. (My maiden name is Vitale.) Food has always been a very big deal in our home. We celebrated with food, and we were comforted by food. We always made sure that we had great meals at the table. So, for me, cooking helps me relax and focus.
Maybe these aren’t things you would enjoy. That’s okay, the point is to find something productive and meaningful to you. Something that allows you to relax, or focus, something that brings you peace and strength.
Remember to take care of your mind, body, and soul. While we can’t control everything in life, we can make an effort to focus on controlling the things we can, and that starts with our personal self-care.
Written by: Alexandra O'Neil, Communications Manager