What is the meaning of self-care during this crisis?

How can we recuperate after a traumatic event like cancer, a bad accident, or a bad experience with the pandemic? How can a person convalesce their body, without paying attention to the mental and spiritual wounds that have been caused?

A programme in BBC Radio 4 , considered how the pandemic has made apparent systemic inequalities that our society has in terms of assistance, wellbeing, and self-care. Some different approaches to promote wellbeing are mentioned, from yoga and mindfulness to more commercialised activities and changes in lifestyle (Source: BBC Radio 4 (22/06/20). What do we get wrong about self-care? Analysis. Radical Self-Care. Shahidha Bari looks at the radical roots of self-care and what it tells us about how we are looking after ourselves during the current crisis. Online at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000k7k0 [Accessed 02/11/20])

The discussion focuses on the fact that different people face the challenges and trauma, cancer, and corona virus, under very different circumstances …

In addition to acknowledging that many of the complex issues and problems affecting the less well-off people in society are real, and therefore, encapsulated neither by the solutions available to more fortunate people in society nor by governments implementing generic policies which disregard deep socio-economic disparities, the radio programme reflects about the matter of self-care under an ethical and practical perspective. Should self-care be considered an individualistic and privileged matter?

Some of the interviewees refer that political groups like the Black Panthers and the feminist movements of the past pushed for a vigorous consideration of health and wellbeing as crucial for minorities and society. These factions, it is pointed out in the programme, intended an enlargement of the conception of wellbeing as a question of human integrity and appreciation. These political ideas emphasised the need to reduce existing disparities in society, many of which still remain, as it has been made apparent during the pandemic in 2020.

Practical problems such as access to appropriate housing, food, education, working conditions, and government assistance, are all contributors to the wellbeing and self-care capabilities of the population. For those who have no other means to deal with their urgent problems and circumstances of unemployment, lack of mental health support, and shortages or delays of medical treatment for conditions like cancer, self-care may need to become an expression of willpower, and demand cooperative and pragmatic responses.

The provocative ideas considered by the programme suggest that self-care should strive towards preserving the dignity of all human beings. In cases such as the current pandemic, this will require a collective action in which each one of us has a responsibility and a role to fulfil, even if the requirements to minimize the virus make us temporarily uncomfortable or force us to live with more limitations that we are used to. There is no easy solution, particularly for those who have less resources. We need to be aware of this and help whenever possible, small, or big, starting with ourselves, everything counts.

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Specialist Cancer Coach looking after patients and caregivers

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Dr Carolina Valiente

Dr Carolina Valiente

Specialist Cancer Coach looking after patients and caregivers

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