How often have you heard people say “take care” or “take care of yourself”? Have you ever stopped to wonder what that means exactly? How do you “take care of yourself”? Well, keeping your mind and body healthy and safe are fundamental to staying alive and thriving as a person. This would include things like making sure you get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet, taking steps to get healthy if you are ill, managing the stress in your life effectively and making choices to keep yourself safe. Being safe means not misusing dangerous substances, driving safely and not taking needless physical risks, for example. There are a lot of things you need to do to “take care of yourself” but many of these things are not that hard to do.
Luckily, we are built with automatic alert mechanisms. If we pay attention, our bodies let us know when we are tired, need to rest or need to sleep. We feel hungry when we need to eat and often feel sick when we eat too much of food that is not healthy for us. We usually have pain, fever or some other signal when we are sick.
Even though our bodies give us plenty of information, as we grow up we still need to learn how to pay attention and respond when our body tells us that it needs something. We need to learn how to make good choices about what will keep things from going wrong or from putting ourselves into unhealthy or unsafe situations.
When we are small children our parents, family, and caretakers make most of our health decisions for us and they work to keep us safe. As we grow, we have to combine our experiences and what we learn about the world to achieve and maintain a healthy mind and body and to keep ourselves safe. We need to learn to interpret the signals our bodies provide and understand how to respond. As we grow up we will manage more and more of our own self-care.
For more information about self-care, see the following:
Taking Care of Yourself
Improving Your Quality of Sleep
Using Your Judgement to Keep Yourself Safe and Healthy
Asking for Help