International Self-Care Day is commemorated this year on 24th July.
The event is led by the International Self-Care Foundation and has been running since 2011.
Designed to raise awareness about self-care and self-care interventions, International Self-Care Day also encourages health systems around the world to promote self-care.
What is self-care?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes self-care as something that “people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness.”
WHO continues to explain that self-care “is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication.”
Research suggests that prioritising self-care can have several benefits including greater self-confidence, a better understanding of health, healthier behaviours, and improved quality of life. It’s also been shown to have a positive effect on mental health, reduce burnout and has been shown to boost energy levels.
Adopting self-care isn’t just about improving the way we feel. It’s about giving individuals control over their own health, inevitably reducing pressures on health systems. At a time when it’s estimated that there is a global shortage of around 10 million health workers, this has never been more important.
How can I practise self-care?
Self-care is about taking the necessary steps to prevent yourself from getting ill, overwhelmed and overstressed. Self-care interventions are not designed to replace existing health systems, but to enhance them and improve overall health.
MIND advises on the following strategies for self-care:
- Stay aware of your mental health
- Nourish your social life
- Stay connected
- Try a relaxing activity
- Look after your physical health
As a leading health testing laboratory, we know that self-care should also include health testing where appropriate, to prevent disease and promote good health.
For example, more than 30 different viruses and bacteria can be spread through sexual contact and, left untreated, can cause long-lasting infection, infertility and even certain cancers.
STIs don’t always present symptoms, meaning individuals can remain infected for many years without knowing. But if more people are aware of their STI status, they can receive treatment quicker, reduce the risk of serious consequences, and prevent the risk of STIs spreading.
In addition to this, we know that certain foods can trigger health conditions – which can cause a number of unpleasant and painful symptoms. By being aware of conditions such as coeliac disease and lactose intolerance, their symptoms and any personal triggers, you can take steps to not only boost your gut health, but also improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Take control of your health
At AlphaBiolabs, we have a range of health testing kits that can help you to get the answers you need to take control of your health.
This includes our Genetic Coeliac Disease Test that can tell you whether you have the genes linked to coeliac disease, while our Genetic Lactose Intolerance Test can tell you whether you have the MCM6 gene variations that indicate primary lactose intolerance. Each test costs just £99, or you can buy them both together for £168 and save £30. Only simple cheek swab samples are required, and results are available in 4-5 days.
We also offer a range of STI testing kits, which are shipped out to you in discreet, plain packaging. The kits contain everything you need to collect your samples and return them to our UK laboratory for analysis. Results will be emailed to you in 2 – 4 working days, depending on the test taken.
All of our health test kits have been specifically designed to enable you to collect your samples quickly and easily at home, before returning them to our state-of-the-art laboratory. All testing is performed in-house at our award-winning UK facilities – so your samples will never be sent abroad.
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