We often hear the message that you won’t be able to be good for others if you’re not good to yourself.

It can be a hard message to take to heart – after all, self-care seems selfish. Aren’t we taught to put others first? That works until it doesn’t. And for those coping with loss or grief; particularly those caring for an injured or sick family member, being good to yourself becomes the only way you can keep going.

July 24 is international Self-Care Day – a perfect time to share favourite strategies. At the Atlantic Family Forum in June, participants in the workshop “Taking Care of You” brainstormed their go-to approaches when they need to refresh and rebuild.

Making time for self-care sometimes means asking for help, or saying ‘no’ to some task or request. Workshop leader Kate Kennington reminded everyone that while asking for help is hard, other people feel good about being able to lend a hand.

If you’re able to take even a few moments to do something for yourself, it will help you find the energy to keep caring for others, and moving forward in your own healing. Self-care is vital – not just on Self-Care Day, but every day!

Susan Haldane