All Posts By:

Brookelyn Cossey

  • Articles, Confidence, Goals, Health, Home Life, Lifestyle, Mental Health, Staying Healthy, Thinking Positive, Tips

    The Seven Pillars of Self Care

    The International Self-Care Foundation created the Seven Pillars of Self-Care for all people to practice responsible self-care. Each pillar is defined by the World Health Organization. 

    Pillar 1: Knowledge and Health Literacy 

    Knowledge of health literacy is the personal and social awareness of others’ motivation for spreading information and being able to process the information positively. People with stronger health literacy skills tend to have better health. They are more effective at making decisions about their health with the information given. Components of health literacy include: understanding the responsibility of maintaining one’s health, knowing where to find health resources, and recognizing the different causes of health crises. 

    Pillar 2: Mental Well-being, Self-awareness & Agency

    Mental well-being differs by situation but often includes optimism, life satisfaction, a sense of pride, and self-esteem. Pillars 1 and 2 often impact one another, as the degradation of a person’s physical health can negatively influence their mental health and vice versa. A person must have a stable state of self-awareness to advocate for themselves regarding their health. This pillar includes knowing you and your family’s medical history, heights, weights, sleep profiles, and stress levels. Using this information, a person can evaluate their diet, physical activity level, and potential risk factors. 

    Pillar 3: Physical Activity

    Physical activity is a bodily movement that uses energy and is essential, as it improves your mood and fitness levels! It may also reduce the risks of non-communicable diseases. This pillar can drastically enhance the two previous pillars. While physical inactivity is the fourth leading factor in global mortality, further enforcing the importance of maintaining this form of self-care. The key components of physical activity vary based on age but generally consist of daily aerobic activity and weekly muscle strengthening. 

    Pillar 4: Healthy Eating

    An unhealthy diet can increase risk factors for chronic diseases. Therefore, Diet and physical activity are considered one of the two primary risk factors for non-communicable disease. Evidence showed that people can remain healthy into their 70s, 80s, and 90s, but only when a range of health-promoting behaviors; including healthy diets, are followed. Individuals are encouraged to increase and maintain a healthy consumption of fruits and vegetables, limit total fat intake, as well as simple sugars, and high levels of sodium.

    Pillar 5: Risk Avoidance or Mitigation

    Risk avoidance or mitigation is actively avoiding activities that increase the potential for disease or death. This can present itself as wearing a seatbelt, not smoking or quitting smoking, wearing sunscreen, etc. Moreover, avoiding risks are vital in increasing the longevity of a person’s life in both healthy and positive ways. The fifth pillar of self-care is often tested by peer pressure and other environmental factors, meaning that it’s arguably one of the more difficult pillars to complete. However, this branch of self-care is crucial in maintaining a person’s mental and physical health. 

    Pillar 6: Good Hygiene

    Hygiene refers to the conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases. Sanitation and hygiene impact people on a personal and communal level. If a person does not maintain good hygiene, there’s a higher risk of spreading diseases, which in turn impacts a community. Hand washing is one of the more straightforward practices to maintain good hygiene, yet it can also be displayed in a clean living/working environment and sterilizing food preparation areas. 

    Pillar 7: Rational and Responsible Use of Self-care Products & Services

    Lastly, the rational and responsible use of health products and services as part of self-care involves individuals safely and effectively managing their health. Actively engaging in this pillar looks like responsible usage of prescription medication in wellness services (like gyms). Understanding the why, what, and how of self-care practices of an individual contributes mainly to the person’s responsibility in engaging in said practices. The improper use of self-care products or services can lead to substance abuse, hypochondria, or violating pillar five. 


    Self-care is so much more than you think! Click here to read Girl Spring contributor Megan’s ways to self-care beyond skincare!