The 7 pillars of self-care

Woman in swimsuit posing in front of water

International Self-Care Day — a date selected to encourage people to prioritise their own health and wellness — is celebrated on 24 July. Incorporating self-care practices into daily routines has long-term health benefits, from reducing the risk of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes to improving quality of life into old age.

The International Self-Care Foundation has developed a framework around seven pillars of self-care, which includes recommendations from the World Health Organization in each area. Using this framework as guidance, you’ll find many products and services at Camana Bay to help you take good care of yourself this month and beyond.

  1. Knowledge and health literacy

Making informed decisions about your health and learning how to make lifestyle adjustments are the first steps of self-care. There is a wealth of information available online – but be sure to check that the advice you are reading comes from a reputable source, such as the WHO.

Next Chapter also has a good selection of books on a range of topics, from diet and nutrition to mental well-being for you and the family. You may also find keeping a journal a useful tool in tracking your thoughts and progress.

Nurse standing in front of hospital door


  1. Mental well-being

WHO describes mental health as a state of well-being where individuals can realise their potential, cope with the normal stress of life, work productively and contribute to the community.

Physical and mental health are closely connected, so self-awareness and understanding your current health situation are vital if you want to make positive changes in the future. Health City Camana Bay offers assessments and outpatient check-ups across a range of services from cardiology and neurology to internal medicine and orthopaedics.

  1. Physical activity

Regular exercise improves your health and mood – and it’s never too late to start. WHO recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days, plus muscle strengthening and balance training for older adults.

Pick an exercise you enjoy. At Camana Bay, you can work out with a personal trainer at Anytime Fitness or CrossFit Cayman, or follow your own gym routine. A spin class at Ryde will get your legs and heart pumping, you can focus on your core with a Pilates class at Align, or you can jog or cycle down one of Camana Bay’s many shaded paths and trails.

  1. Healthy eating

Poor diet is one of the primary risk factors for non-communicable illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Eating foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt results in increased blood pressure and cholesterol levels, obesity and many other health problems.

Your goal is to eat more fruit and vegetables, whole grains and nuts, and limit your intake of salt, sugar and saturated fats. Although this can be hard when you’re eating out, Camana Bay restaurants have plenty of healthy options on the menu, including some delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes at The Edgy Vedge and Jessie’s.

Cooking at home gives you greater control over what you consume. Buy fresh, local ingredients at the farmers market, then visit Bon Vivant for all the kitchen gadgets a home chef could hope for.

  1. Risk avoidance

Prevention is better than cure. Not smoking, practising safe sex and wearing a car seatbelt or bike helmet are obvious risk avoidance steps. Another significant risk in a hot climate like Cayman is overexposure to the sun. Four out of five cases of skin cancer could be prevented by avoiding UV damage.

WHO recommends avoiding the midday sun, using shade, wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen. Le Visage has a good selection of mineral sunscreens that are both skin and reef friendly, and you’ll find sun hats and beach cover-ups at Sand Angels.

  1. Good hygiene

In some parts of the world, good hygiene means access to clean water. In Cayman, where we are fortunate our water is drinkable, hygiene is focused on best practices, from the handwashing drilled into us as children and during the pandemic, to good oral healthcare.

Cayman Dental at Camana Bay can assist with dentistry needs beyond your daily routine of brushing and flossing – and if you want to take hygiene to the next level, Eclipze Hair Design & Day Spa offers a range of skin and hair treatments from peels to pure pampering.

  1. Rational and responsible use of self-care products and services

While there are many ways to incorporate self-care habits into your daily routine, there are times when you should seek professional help. If you’re taking medicine, whether prescription or over the counter, it’s important to follow instructions and ask a doctor or pharmacist to explain anything you don’t understand.

The experienced team at Foster’s Pharmacy provides a professional and personalised service and can help with medications, blood glucose testing, medical equipment and more.

Self-care starts with you. Why not make 24 July the day you start putting you first?

This article was published in the July/August 2023 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

You may also like