Self-care is the ability of people to prevent disease, promote health, maintain health and cope with illness (WHO,2021). It also includes everything possible, enabling one to stay physically and mentally healthy, maintaining proper nutrition and hygiene (WHO,2021). Self-care can also be described as all the steps one needs to manage life stressors and manage her well-being. Researchers suggest that a good self-care program promotes positive health outcomes, living longer, and being better position to manage stress. selfcare also involves engaging in a set of activities throughout life or daily focused on promoting health preventing illness. Self-care also means the self-initiated behavior that people incorporate to encourage health and coping strategies to deal with stressors (WHO,2021). It also includes how we interact with our social circle, family, and healthcare workers.
Self-care includes taking the vaccine, going for cancer screening, participating in physical exercise, or taking your prescribed medicine on time. In other words, they are a lot of factors and people that help an individual achieve a stress-free life. Self-care interventions promote individuals’ active participation in their healthc and push towards greater self-determination, self-efficacy, autonomy, and engagement in health ( Shenk , 2019). The type of healthcare that one chooses is dependent on many factors; convenience, confidentiality, and cost. Individuals may choose self-care over healthcare if healthcare compromises their privacy.
As nursing students, we are constantly faced with psychological or emotional health problems resulting from long working study hours, ward rounds, and clinical practice. Student nurses are also taught to hide their feelings so they cannot deal with the stress anymore (Walker & Mann, 2019). Nursing students are encouraged to incorporate mindfulness; it helps us get rid of stress and bridge the gap between what happens in nursing care and reality in life (Walker & Mann, 2019). Scientists noted a difference among students who incorporated mindfulness into their careers and life. Mindfulness is a good self-care method for newly enrolled students and those in progress. As students, we are urged to incorporate mindfulness into our everyday nursing student lives, as it will give us the tools to deal with stressors in the course and enhance the student experience.
Engaging self-care regularly will help us put our best foot forward and maintain positive well-being. A normal daily routine, i.e., praying and singing gospel hymns in the morning before going to work, will help a nursing student have a positive start. Simple exercises like Yoga, jogging, or aerobics will help build our physique ready for the day. Another self-care tip that I practice is reading or going through my notes before stepping for the next class or next clinical experience (Moira , 2021). This self-care tip helps me build confidence and trust in myself. They help calm my nerves and clear any doubts about myself. Ensuring you get enough rest and sleep between shifts will help you have high reproductivity at work, an improved immune system, and higher self-esteem (Moira , 2021).
Other life stressors include poverty and financial constraints, especially when we have to pay for medical care out of our pockets. Furthermore, the marginalized communities lack access to affordable healthcare, services, and quality products; sometimes, they face stigma and discrimination in health facilities. Hence an urgent need for people to find self-care tips that go beyond a conventional health system to address the challenges in accessing quality healthcare (WHO). This population has developed self-care tips to help them deal with poor healthcare system including; over-the-counter drugs and contraceptive products, pregnancy tests, condoms and lubricants, HPV and HIV self-testing, self-monitoring of blood pressure and blood.
In recent years, COVID-19 highlighted the role of self-care in helping prevent the spread of diseases. Personalized self-care actions such as self-quarantine, wearing masks, and physical distancing played a great role in mitigating and saving lives.
Stressors are universal, and they cut across all genders, ages, social and economic statuses. Stressors are found everywhere, and appropriate self-care techniques help one get out of danger or improve performance .when we cannot take care of ourselves, stress may be harmful to our overall health ( Murdaugh et al., 2019). We can engage in many activities to help reduce stress and take care of ourselves well. Physical activities like jogging, Yoga, and running are good starting points (Shank, 2019). Activities that help calm your nerves and help you cope with stress well are a good starting point for self-care. Self-care actions seek to promote own resilience and are also important for the well-being of health workers.
Markle, E. (2020, March 26). Four things to do every day for your mental health. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/four_things_to_do_every_day_for_your_me ntal_health
Murdaugh, C., Parsons, M.A., & Pender, N., (2019). Stress management and health promotion (Chap 8) Health promotion in nursing practice. (8th ed.). Pearson.
Shenk, J. (Director). (2019). Stress Reset [Film]. The US Healthy Collaborative, Inc. https://takecare.org/films/stress-reset
Walker, M., & Mann, R. A. (2016). Exploration of mindfulness in relation to compassion, empathy and reflection within nursing education. Nurse Education Today, 40, 188–190. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2016.03.005
World Health Organization(WHO) June 21,2021. Self-care interventions for health. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/self-care-health-interventions