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International Self-Care Day: What It Is and Why It Matters

About International Self-Care Day

Self-care is a term that has been gaining popularity in recent years, especially in the context of wellness and mental health. But what exactly is self-care and why is it important? And how can we celebrate International Self-Care Day, which falls on July 24 every year?

What is self-care?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), self-care is “individuals, families and communities’ promoting and maintaining their health, preventing disease, and coping with illness and disability, with or without the support of a health worker.”

Self-care can include a variety of practices and interventions that support one’s physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. Some examples of self-care are:

  • Eating a balanced and nutritious diet
  • Exercising regularly and staying physically active
  • Practicing good hygiene and personal care
  • Getting enough sleep and rest
  • Managing stress and coping with challenges
  • Seeking professional help when needed
  • Engaging in hobbies and leisure activities
  • Maintaining healthy relationships and social support
  • Learning new skills and expanding one’s knowledge
  • Expressing oneself creatively and authentically
  • Setting boundaries and respecting one’s limits
  • Being kind and compassionate to oneself and others

Self-care is not selfish or indulgent. It is a necessary and beneficial aspect of health care that empowers individuals to take charge of their health and well-being.

Why is self-care important?

Self-care is important for many reasons. Some of the benefits of self-care are:

  • It improves one’s physical health and prevents or reduces the risk of chronic diseases and infections.
  • It enhances one’s mental health and reduces the symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders.
  • It boosts one’s mood and self-esteem and fosters a positive outlook on life.
  • It increases one’s productivity and performance and helps one achieve one’s goals and aspirations.
  • It strengthens one’s resilience and coping skills and helps one deal with adversity and change.
  • It enriches one’s relationships and social connections and promotes a sense of belonging and community.
  • It contributes to one’s personal growth and development and helps one discover and fulfill one’s potential.

Self-care is also important for the health of society and the planet. By practicing self-care, individuals can reduce the burden on health systems and resources, especially in times of crisis and emergency. Self-care can also promote social justice and environmental sustainability, by encouraging individuals to be more aware and responsible for their actions and their impact on others and the world.

How can we celebrate International Self-Care Day?

International Self-Care Day was initiated in 2011 by the International Self-Care Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to promote self-care as a vital component of health care. The date of July 24 was chosen to symbolize that self-care can be practiced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7).

The purpose of International Self-Care Day is to raise awareness and appreciation of self-care and its benefits and to encourage individuals and communities to adopt and maintain self-care practices and interventions. Each year, International Self-Care Day has a different theme that highlights a specific aspect or dimension of self-care. For example, the theme for 2023 was “Self-Care for a Better World”, which focused on the link between self-care and global health and development.

There are many ways to celebrate International Self-Care Day, depending on one’s preferences and needs. Some possible activities are:

  • Take some time to reflect on one’s current self-care practices and identify areas for improvement or change.
  • Setting some realistic and achievable self-care goals and making a plan to pursue them.
  • Trying out a new self-care activity or intervention that one has been curious about.
  • Sharing one’s self-care experiences and tips with others and learning from their insights and suggestions.
  • Joining or organizing a self-care event or activity with one’s family, friends, colleagues, or community.
  • Supporting or donating to a self-care cause or organization that one cares about.
  • Expressing gratitude and appreciation for oneself and others who practice and promote self-care.

The main thing to remember is that self-care is not a one-time or occasional thing. It is a continuous and lifelong process that requires commitment and consistency. International Self-Care Day is a great opportunity to start or renew one’s self-care journey, but it should not be the only day that one practices self-care. Self-care should be a part of one’s daily routine and lifestyle, and a source of joy and fulfillment.


Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about self-care and International Self-Care Day:

  • Q: Is self-care the same for everyone?
  • A: No, self-care is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Self-care is personal and individual, and what works for one person may not work for another. Self-care depends on one’s needs, preferences, circumstances, and goals. Therefore, self-care should be customized and tailored to suit one’s unique situation and personality.
  • Q: How can I find out what self-care activities and interventions are best for me?
  • A: There are many sources of information and guidance on self-care, such as books, websites, blogs, podcasts, videos, apps, and online courses. However, the best way to find out what self-care works for you is to experiment and try different things. You can also ask for feedback and advice from others who have similar or relevant experiences and expertise. Ultimately, you are the expert on yourself and you know what makes you feel good and healthy.
  • Q: How much time and money should I spend on self-care?
  • A: There is no fixed or ideal amount of time and money that one should spend on self-care. It depends on one’s availability, budget, and priorities. Self-care does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. Many self-care activities and interventions are free or low-cost and can be done in a few minutes or hours. The key is to find a balance and a frequency that works for you and your lifestyle.
  • Q: How can I overcome the barriers and challenges that prevent me from practicing self-care?
  • A: Some of the common barriers and challenges that people face when it comes to self-care are lack of time, money, motivation, knowledge, support, or access. To overcome these obstacles, one can try the following strategies:
    • Plan and schedule self-care into one’s calendar and routine.
    • Set realistic and specific self-care goals and track one’s progress and achievements.
    • Seek out and use the resources and services that are available and affordable for self-care.
    • Find and join a self-care community or group that can provide encouragement and accountability.
    • Reward oneself and celebrate one’s self-care efforts and successes.
    • Be flexible and adaptable and adjust one’s self-care plan as needed.
  • Q: How can I help others practice self-care?
  • A: One can help others practice self-care by:
    • Being a role model and an example of self-care.
    • Being supportive and respectful of others’ self-care choices and needs.
    • Being empathetic and compassionate to others’ self-care challenges and struggles.
    • Being informative and educative about self-care and its benefits.
    • Being collaborative and cooperative in creating a self-care culture and environment.


Self-care is a vital and valuable practice that can improve one’s health and well-being, as well as the health and well-being of society and the planet. International Self-Care Day is a global initiative that aims to celebrate and promote self-care and its benefits and to inspire and empower individuals and communities to adopt and maintain self-care practices and interventions. By practicing self-care, we can not only take care of ourselves but also take care of each other and the world we live in. Let’s make every day a self-care day!

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