July 24 is International Self-Care Day

Jul 20, 2023

woman sits on sofa with a book, blanket, mug

From engaging in yoga and reading a book to watching a beloved TV program or heading to the beach, however you choose to take time for yourself, doing so is incredibly important.

Self-care is essential to maintaining a healthier and happier life. It involves dedicating time to activities that promote overall well-being, to better your physical and mental health. Experts say practicing self-care has proven benefits, such as effective stress management, reducing the likelihood of illnesses, and bolstering your energy levels.

International Self-Care Day (ISD), observed annually on July 24th, promotes healthy lifestyle self-care programs worldwide. Created by the International Self-Care Foundation (ISD) in 2011, ISD provides a platform for individuals and groups to independently advocate for self-care within their communities.

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

Health care contributors, including social workers, are invited to responsibly use ISD to advance healthy lifestyles and overall wellness.  The International Self-Care Foundation offers support to organizations conducting public health programs aligned with these goals and requests summary reports for future reference and potential implementation elsewhere.

According to Dr. Manjulaa Narasimhan, a scientist with The World Health Organization, “self-care is the first line of response for all health care.” There are a plethora of self-car interventions for health and well-being.  You can learn more about The Seven Pillars of Self-Care from the International Self Care Foundation.

The DEI team at NASW acknowledges there is no singular definition of “healthy lifestyle,” nor is there intended to be, because it means a myriad of things to different populations, cultures and societies, and they are intersectional and can all be valid.

NASW honors the importance of self-care in the practice of social work and encourages the practice of self-care in the Purpose section of the current NASW Code of Ethics.