Join Us in Celebrating International Self-Care Day

July 24th is International Self-Care Day, an annual opportunity to spotlight the value of self-care practices, and the approaches people use every day to prevent illness and maximize their health. This day was established in 2011 to raise awareness of the importance of self-care and provide people with the knowledge and ability on how to be active participants in their own wellness.

Self-care has been around considerably longer than 10 years, but the concept has gained increased attention recently with a special focus on wellness. This can be anything from healthy eating and good hygiene to practicing lifestyle habits that prevent disease to maintaining good mental and physical health. 

 Significant strides in the availability and accessibility to new self-care interventions have been made and the self-care movement continues to grow. New approaches and technological advances have expanded the reach of self-care to health areas ranging from mental health to treatments for chronic diseases—shifting the center of gravity for many diagnostics, drugs, and devices from a clinical setting to individuals self-administering at home or in their workplaces. 

As we reflect on the past 10 years, we are faced with a unique opportunity to advance self-care, making it more consistently available, safe, effective, affordable and convenient to those who need it. 

On the 10th anniversary of the inaugural International Self-Care Day, we’re celebrating the progress made toward advancing self-care policies and practices while recognizing that our work can’t stop here. We’ve compiled a list of 10 exciting self-care resources and opportunities to support advocacy efforts as we strive for a more inclusive, equitable, and people-centered approach to optimizing health and well-being across the globe. Dive into these opportunities below!

        1. Get back to the basics with WHO’s resources on self-care!

Explore the official WHO definition of self-care, learn about challenges and recommendations, and explore the scope of the problem. Through videos, fact sheets and tips about safe, health behaviors during a pandemic, the WHO’s self-care intervention home page is a great starting point for advocates, implementers, policymakers and those working to advocate for self-care and advance universal health coverage (UHC).

        2. Dive into recently released and updated WHO Self-Care Guidelines.

COVID-19’s disruption on health systems worldwide exposed the need for high-quality and evidence-based health interventions to lessen the burden on the health care system – and reach consumers with essential health services. Self-care offered a solution. 

As such, the WHO released updated guidance on self-care interventions with new and existing recommendations to help meet the health needs for people worldwide. And they didn’t stop here. The WHO also released new guidance on self-testing for Hepatitis C, adding to their growing base of self-care intervention specific guidance.  Explore the new guidance and join WHO in their goal of reaching UHC by 2030!  

       3. #DiscoverSelfCare with us

The Self-Care Learning and Discovery Series kicked off at the start of Self-Care Month, welcoming hundreds of participants to engaging sessions on access, policy integration, menstrual health, digital health and more!  

The series gives participants a platform to gain new knowledge, share self-care approaches, and connect with people across the self-care movement through 16 virtual sessions. Whether you are an implementer, researcher, advocate, health provider, government representative, youth champion or other stakeholder, the Self-Care Learning and Discovery Series is for you! Don’t miss out, register now!

      4. Make your #SelfCarePromise

This International Self-Care Day, join SCTG member the Global Self-Care Federation (GSCF) in making a personal commitment to engage in positive self-care action today, and in the future. 

Submit your #SelfCarePromise here! By committing to specific self-care actions, you will join a community of folks like yourselves bringing critical care into the hands of consumers around the world.

     5. Advocate for the integration of self-care policies

Countries are increasingly integrating self-care into national policies and programming – and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. We’ve developed a case study on two pioneering country governments-Nigeria and Uganda-who developed national guidelines for self-care, taking the first step toward adopting self-care as an approach to achieve UHC. The case study includes next steps and recommendations on institutionalizing self-care into policy and health systems to inform how you develop guidelines for self-care integration into government policy and practice.

     6. Prioritize Quality Digital Self-Care Interventions

Digital self-care has great potential to fill existing gaps in access to health information and services. Explore ways to maximize digitally enhanced self-care through this Digital Self-Care Framework. With lessons learned, practical guidance for implementers, advocates and policy makers, and a call to action for all who want to improve health and wellbeing for all through the digitization of self-care, our framework aims to stimulate the movement for health to transition towards more digital options. 

    7. Ignite a Self-Care Movement

If self-care is about putting the power in people’s hands, that must also apply to self-care advocacy. To ignite a broad-base movement for self-care, advocates must come together to pave the way for thoughtful and deliberate integration of self-care into health policy, program and practice change.

White Ribbon Alliance, on behalf of the global SCTG, developed an advocacy roadmap that focuses on self-care interventions for which evidence exists, as well as cross-cutting principles and values of people-centered care. Download the advocacy roadmap and template in English and French to start advocating today! 

    8. Ensure Quality of Self-Care

As we strive for UHC, it is imperative that we adopt approaches that support individuals as active participants and decision-makers in their own healthcare. Equally as important is reorienting the health system so that, as people become more engaged in their health, the health system is there to meet them.

Population Services International and partners under the Self-Care Trailblazer Group developed a Quality of Care Framework for self-care to help health systems monitor and support clients accessing health care on their own—without hindering clients’ ability to do so. Whether you are an implementer, policymaker, investor or government official, this framework can be used to ensure quality of care across the health system.

    9. Integrate Self-Care into Health System Policy

Are you a practitioner, service provider, administrator or organization aiming to support and expand the role of self-care practice in healthcare? Dive into the National Policy Blueprint for Self-Care for Health, developed by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration, and explore a suite of priority policy proposals for implementation. With 12 action areas for policy development and nine priority policy proposals, the blueprint identifies three strategic priorities to consider when integrating self-care into policy – discussed, refined and endorsed by a network of over 50 diverse experts.

    10. #InternationalSelfCareDay: Join the conversation!

Follow the SCTG on Twitter to share how you’re celebrating self-care with us! 

Use the sample social media message below to let your community know which of our 10 opportunities you are engaging in as you advocate for self-care! Make sure to tag us in your post @selfcare4UHC

Social Media Messaging: 

#Selfcare interventions for health can help us to achieve global health and reach #UHC. This #InternationalSelfCareDay, I’m joining @selfcare4UHC to celebrate the power and potential of self-care by: (activity of choice here) 

Are you interested in even more self-care opportunities and eager to be a part of the self-care movement? 

Join the Self-Care Trailblazer Group and gain access to a host of opportunities like learning exchanges, advocacy and communication efforts, and a members-only platform to engage with other self-care experts and stakeholders! Members are invited to participate in working groups to help inform and drive the self-care agenda globally, nationally, and locally. 

Don’t miss out on all of this and more – become a member of the Self-Care Trailblazer Group today!