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The Impact of Self-Care on Teenager's Lives

Hi everyone!

My name is Sara Sharma and in this blog, I will be sharing a story about how self-care played a pivotal role in getting through the hardest moments of my life.


What is Self-care?


You may ask what is self-care? Well, self-care is everything related to staying physically healthy — including hygiene, nutrition, and seeking medical care when needed. It’s all the steps an individual can take to manage stressors in their life and take care of their own health and well-being.


My story


As someone who's always been a bigger child, I've always struggled with my self-image. I'm a girl and I'm 6ft tall, but I weigh much more than the average girl my age would. I was always bullied about being overweight and eventually it got to me to the point where I wasn't able to focus on school, I wasn't able to eat properly and I wasn't able to socialize with my family and friends. I knew something was wrong but I wasn't sure what it was.

One day while looking at myself in the mirror I realized I had no self-love and that's where I realized that I needed to start practicing self-care, for my body and for myself.

I had no idea what I needed to do to start loving myself, so I did some research on Google and found out about the Seven Pillars of self-care. I began analyzing each of them very closely and then I realized that I didn't currently do any of these and I really needed to start soon.


Pillar #1- Knowledge and Health Literacy


Knowledge and health literacy for me meant that I had to research even more to discover the science behind self-love. I came across many articles describing how my mental state was extremely important when trying to practice self-love. I also realized that people with strong health literacy skills enjoy better health and well-being, while those with weaker skills tend to engage in riskier behavior and have poorer health. Good health literacy skills allow an individual to interpret the information they are given about health, to find and use their own sources of health information and to understand when information is poor or misleading. After finding out about this, I began reading more novels, writing journal entries and I noticed a huge difference in myself. I began feeling more productive and confident.


Pillar #2- Mental Wellbeing


There are many different definitions of mental wellbeing but they generally include areas such as life satisfaction, optimism, self-esteem, mastery, and feeling in control, having a purpose in life, and a sense of belonging and support. To improve my mental well-being I decided to get away from all of the toxic influences in my life and I started fresh. I made new friends and I began spending more quality time with my family and friends. I also began limiting my screen time. I realized that social media was taking up a lot of my time and so I decided to take a break from all the social media I had such a Snapchat, Instagram, Tik Tok and so much more. Within 3 days of deleting all social media, I realized my mental state was much better. I was calmer, less stressed out, and happier.


Pillar #3- Physical Activity


After fixing my mental well-being, I was always motivated to go outside with my family to be physically active. I began going on morning and afternoon walks and runs and I began spending more time outside in the nice weather than inside on my screen. I also began spending time cycling with my best friend which also allowed me to socialize and work out. Staying physically active is so important and if it wasn't for these pillars I wouldn't have realized this.


Pillar #4- Healthy Eating


I've always enjoyed food and I love trying new foods but I realized I have to start eating right. I only have to eat when my body is hungry. I don't want to starve myself but I don't want to overfeed myself. I began trying new and healthy recipes such as smoothies, salad, soups, and sandwiches. When I began eating healthy I realized that it helped me in so many different areas, it helped me lose some weight but it also helped fix the glow on my face. I made sure to eat three times a day and I took my vitamins and drank lots of water.



Pillar #5- Risk Avoidance


Risk mitigation, in terms of health, refers to the avoidance or reduction of behaviors that directly increase the risk of disease or death. Broadly, risk mitigation involves activities such as:


- Making sure you are vaccinated

- Not smoking or quitting smoking

- Drinking in moderation

- Protecting yourself from the sun

- Driving carefully and wearing a seat belt

- Wearing your helmet when you ride a bicycle


For me it was pretty easy, however, I did have to go and make sure I was caught up with all of my vaccines.


Pillar #6- Good Hygiene

Hygiene refers to the conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases. Good hygiene includes a specific set of practices associated with this preservation of health, for example maintaining a clean living and working environment, sterilization of drinking water, handwashing, and preventing the spread of communicable diseases. To practice good hygiene, I began to wash my face and body more frequently and effectively. Also began to clean my work environments, such as my room and my desk space. In addition, I went and bought a couple of new hygiene products to help make me feel clean.


Pillar #7- Rational and Responsible Use of Self-care products and services


The rational and responsible use of health products and services as a part of self-care involves individuals safely and effectively managing their health (and any everyday ailments or minor conditions) with appropriate medicines, products, or services. Self-care products and services are the ‘tools’ of self‐care, supporting health awareness and healthy practices, and may include the use of:


- Prescription medicines (in conjunction with a doctor)

- Nonprescription medicines

- Preventative health products, e.g. dental care, mosquito netting, sleep aids

- Natural health products, traditional medicines, and vitamins, minerals, and supplements

- Devices and diagnostics, e.g. home blood pressure monitors

- Substance control products, e.g. nicotine gum for tobacco cessation

- Wellness services, e.g. nutrition planning, gym memberships

- Health services, e.g. acupuncture, chiropractic, smoking cessation programs


I did not relate with this pillar too much but just to make sure I was healthy, I did a blood test to make sure everything was alright and it was. I took the blood test just to make me feel reassured.


Conclusion

In conclusion, after focusing on self-care for a couple of weeks, I noticed a change in my body. The change was physical and mental. I began noticing feeling less tired and felt more motivated to do my work. I also realized that I had lost 20 pounds just by focusing on myself. I now practice self-care as a daily activity.

I hope you found my story inspiring and I hope you take the time in your day to practice some self-care because you deserve it, trust me.


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