What is Wellness?

According to The Global Wellness Institute, wellness is the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. In reflecting on your own state of wellness, there are several domains that we invite you to explore. We also ask you to consider the influence of culture, and the potential benefit of a mindfulness practice, in determining your path to personal wellness. We acknowledge that Self-Care is largely a Western concept that may not resonate with everyone; you may find that referring to wellness rather than self-care is a better fit for you.     

What is Self-Care?

Self-care can include, but is not limited to:

  • Daily activities to relax and maintain your health and well-being.
  • Altering your thought patterns, belief systems, habits, and routines to promote well-being and optimal functioning.
  • Mitigating health risks and engaging in responsible consumption of products, services, and health interventions.
  • Preemptively creating a self-care plan for when emergencies arise and accessing the appropriate resources needed.
  • Advocating for systematic changes that address structural barriers to implementing self-care initiatives.

Self-care is a life-time practice that requires 4 core elements: “intentionality, structure, accountability” (Eaves, Grise-Owens, & Miller, 2016, p.19) and adaptability. When developing a self-care plan, it will be important to remember those 4 core elements, as they help to ensure that you create a plan that is flexible, well prioritized, and can be tracked via S.M.A.R.T goals, ensuring they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.


The Pillars of Wellness and Self-Care:

Self-care is inherently individualistic in nature and what works for some may not work for others; that is why it is important to explore a variety of methods to create a dynamic toolbox that will assist you on your life journey.

While everyone’s self-care practice will look differently, the overall goal of self-care is to promote health, well-being, and balance in the different areas of your life. This website addresses the following life domains and ways to promote wellness with your: 

  • Body
  • Mind & Emotions
  • Spirit
  • Relationships
  • Work & School
  • Environment
  • Finances
  • Technology

It is up to you to determine which of these domains are most important to you and what sort of balance you seek between them. Self-care allows you to explore these life domains, as they relate to your individual needs, and develop a plan to address areas of vulnerability and distress.


Why Practice Self-Care?

As a social worker, you are expected to balance a multitude of personal and professional demands while promoting health and wellness. Be it classes, assignments, practicums, outside work, volunteer activities, or your personal life, there can be a sense of never-ending commitments amidst a sea of responsibilities.

But life doesn’t have to feel that way.

Self-care is considered a core professional competency in social work practice (NASW, 2008). As part of a helping profession, social workers deal with frequent issues of high stress, limited resources, burn-out, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. As such, it is important that social workers take the time to implement strategies, activities, and routines that promote their own health and well-being.

Self-care is a vital skill required to succeed in life, as it can assist you in balancing professional and personal commitments while optimizing your long-term health and well-being. Self-care can help you:

  • Manage and alleviate stress.
  • Deal with work-life challenges. 
  • Develop a deeper sense of self-awareness.
  • Identify your needs, strengths, and areas of growth.
  • Build a healthy relationship with yourself on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level.
  • Practice adaptability throughout the lifecycle.
  • Achieve a greater sense of balance in your life.

When Self-Care Gets Messy

Often, self-care can be an uncomfortable process, as it requires you to be aware of the ways in which you self-sabotage while holding yourself accountable for engaging in activities that may not satiate your immediate desire but will benefit your health and well-being in the long run.

To do this, you must step out of your comfort zone, re-strategize, ask for help, and act as your own parent. Whether it’s making sure you get a proper night’s sleep, or sweating through that workout you’re dreading, or limiting your time with toxic people, or taking the money you were going to blow online shopping and putting it in your savings account; self-care involves the ability to monitor and control your actions to ensure long-term success and well-being.

Creating your Self-Care Plan

When beginning your self-care plan, it is important to include a day-to-day maintenance section and an emergency care section. The following materials may be helpful to you in creating your self-care plan:

Additional Info: We have endeavored to accurately cite and obtain permissions (where applicable) to all relevant materials included in our self-care website. If you find materials with missing or mistaken cited information (for which you can provide the source), or you find links that no long work, please contact us at: fieldassistant@kings.uwo.ca

Additionally, if you find new resources that you believe would be beneficial for the website, or you have other suggestions for how we can make the website more helpful to you, please contact us.