Self-Care is not Selfish
Published by: TELUS Health,
Self-care is essential for good health and wellbeing. Far from being selfish, self-care can help you to be a healthier, happier person, at home and at work.
To promote better wellbeing among employees, organizations and their leaders have a responsibility to foster a culture of self-care in the workplace and help more individuals access the resources they need to make self-care a habit.
The many benefits of self-care
Self-care encompasses a wide range of activities and lifestyle changes. It can be as simple as spending 5 minutes a day journaling or going for a walk in a green space. Alternatively, it can also be as extensive as adopting a completely new set of behaviours to help manage a chronic condition.
The beneficial effects of self-care have been demonstrated by extensive research, which has found self-care to improve well-being while lowering morbidity and mortality. As mental stress continues to rise across the western world, self-care is becoming even more imperative as a method for improving mental health and wellness.
Self-care is especially important for individuals with chronic conditions. It is a key method for improving health outcomes, especially through long-term behavioural changes such as diet management and stress relief. For organizations, effective employee self-care can dramatically reduce healthcare costs and limit absenteeism.
Barriers to self-care
While the benefits of self-care are extensive, there are still barriers to the adoption of self-care habits for many individuals. Financial worries, economic hardships, health issues and inequality can all influence self-care.
Some important factors that influence individuals’ ability to engage in self-care include:
- Difficulty deciding when to adopt new self-care activities
- Struggles in maintaining healthy behaviour change
- Knowledge gaps around what to change and when to seek help
- Attachment to unhealthy habits
- Low motivation to change
What unites these factors is a lack of knowledge and guidance when it comes to adopting self-care habits. Without resources for managing and promoting self-care practices, many people struggle to make meaningful lifestyle changes in their lives.
Making self-care a habit
It can be hard to break old habits and create new, healthier ones in their place, especially without guidance. This is where employers can have a hugely positive impact on the adoption of self-care activities among their workforce.
Person-centered interventions, especially those using digital technology, can dramatically improve self-care behaviour change. Digital health technology like mobile health and wellbeing apps can provide much-needed guidance for individuals, while also promoting better support between peers and facilitating communication with healthcare professionals.
By simplifying the patient journey, technology can help generate long-term behaviour changes and encourage better patient engagement. Integrated health solutions empower individuals and in turn improve the adoption of self-care habits.
You can encourage a culture of self-care in your workplace by implementing company-wide initiatives for improving access to self-care resources. Targeted strategies to encourage more self-care, and change the mindset that self-care is selfish, will allow you to build a healthier, stronger workforce.
Encouraging a culture of self-care
Organizations can dramatically improve employee wellbeing by building self-care initiatives into their company culture. From integrated wellbeing solutions like LifeWorks to dedicated wellness days for teams, self-care schemes can make an enormous difference to workplace wellbeing. How will you make self-care a priority in your workforce?