International Self Care Day – July 24, 2018

What is International Self Care Day?

Self care is defined as any activity that an individual does deliberately to take care of their mental, physical and emotional health. It is not something one forces themselves to do – it is taking care of needs by doing activities one enjoys. It is key to living a balanced life (International Self-Care Foundation, 2018). International Self Care Day is celebrated on July 24th every year, with a purpose of spreading awareness about the health benefits of engaging in self care. Created by the International Self-Care Foundation in 2011, this day is intended to get individuals talking about self care practices and the impact it has on overall health. The organization promotes how the benefits of self care are life long and do not depend on just a single day. Activities need to be ongoing and recognized frequently as a vital part of well being.

Forms of Self Care

Ways of engaging in self care vary from person to person, but essentially it is something an individual does to bring themselves joy. It can be physical, mental, emotional or a combination of the three. What one person may consider self care may have the opposite effect on another – so it’s important to recognize what works for you and makes you happy. Self care doesn’t always have to be elaborate – sometimes it’s as simple as wearing something that makes you feel good or taking a daily shower. Listed below are some common forms of self care (Olga Phoenix Project, 2013).

Physical Self Care:

  • Exercising – any form: walking, working out, playing sports, etc.
  • Spa day – massages, pedicure, manicure, etc.
  • Wearing clothes that make you feel good
  • Showering, bathing
  • Simple relaxation

Emotional/Spiritual Self Care:

  • Practice mindfulness – feel your emotions without question or judgment
  • Read a good mood
  • Spend time with loved ones
  • Compliment yourself
  • Spend time in nature
  • Meditation

Psychological Self Care:

  • Say “no” to extra or unnecessary responsibilities
  • Self-reflection
  • Participate in games or puzzles
  • Learn a new skill or topic

Self Care and the Workplace

All of these self care practices can be transferred to the workplace to maintain professional self care. Practicing self care regularly has an impact on your professional performance in the workplace. Research shows that employees who practice self care tend to achieve greater productivity, workplace satisfaction and overall success.

As an employer,

  1. It’s important to check in with your employees to ensure they are taking care of themselves. Employee well being and mental health impacts their work capabilities and when they feel supported by their employer, they are more likely to engage in the care they need to be a better worker.
  2. Remind employees about your Employee Assistance Program and all the options for support from that service.
  3. Examine ways to include self care into the workday such as; taking breaks and lunches away from the desk, build in walking meetings, remind employees to use breathing or mindfulness during the day, assist with time management strategies and mindful delegation. (Gowan Consulting: Mental Health – Manager’s Toolkit)

Sometimes people fall off track with their self care regimen and the results can be detrimental to the worker’s health and workplace. When an employee is struggling due to a lack of self care and various other health concerns, early intervention is one of the best ways to ensure a timely and successful stay at work and return to work. Our Occupational Therapists can provide reactivation programming to assist an employee in getting back into a routine that maintains self care. Following the reactivation program, we can assist with a return to work program to support the employee and implement sustainable stay at work strategies and solutions. Those interested in learning more about how to improve mental well-being to assist with return to work should register for our Mental Health and Return to Work Workshop being offered in September 2018. Gowan Consulting also offers a variety of webinars on mental health, such as mindfulness and resiliency training, as well as understanding and supporting employee mental health training.

For more information on the resources and training we provide, contact us!


Work Cited

Gowan Consulting. (2018). Mental Health – Manager’s Toolkit.

International Self-Care Foundation. (2018). International Self-Care Day. Retrieved from

Olga Phoenix Project. (2013). Self-Care Wheel. Retrieved from

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