Self-Care Proficiency – Do we need a Licence?

In life we have a number of proficiency licences, such as a driving licence, which demonstrates that we have reached a certain level of proficiency in handling and driving a vehicle. In having the licence there are certain rules of the road and road conduct that you agree to abide by, and when you don’t there can be further education, or even fines or other penalties.

For the last decade, as inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon, I have realised that from birth through to death there is very little or no guidance or proficiency expectation about how we live in our own body. Yes, some of us may have had parents or an upbringing where self-care and health and wellbeing were foundational, but many of us didn’t.

Whilst at school we learn maths, English and other topics such as history, religion, social studies, languages, and possibly biology and physics. But do we understand how our body works and how to inhabit this body for best effect so that we have an ever-deepening relationship with it, understanding the language of the body and how to take super care of it in any given circumstance? In reality, how proficient are we in taking care of ourselves in work and in life?

One of the reasons I ask this is from my own learning and inspiration from Universal Medicine workshops. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-forties that I even began to seriously consider building a relationship with my body, and to understand that there is a cause and effect in regards to the way I live: if I don’t take care of myself it has a detrimental effect on my body – when I do take care of myself, it has a supportive and nurturing effect on my body and on the way I am in life.

I also ask this as over the last decade I have undertaken a number of studies regarding self-care, particularly in a workplace setting, including a PhD about developing self-care at work. During this time I have spoken with over 4,000 people about their health and wellbeing at work and in their lives. Resoundingly, the same conclusions come up again and again:

  • We know that there are things in the way we live our lives that do not support our body – e.g. smoking, drinking alcohol, sugar, caffeine, not getting enough sleep or rest.
  • We know there are things that support us, e.g. hydration, eating nourishing food, stretching and exercise, and asking for support when we need it.
  • We know when we get sick that we need to take greater care of ourselves, e.g. if we have a cold, flu, or virus.
  • We know how to take care of others, whether we work in healthcare or not – we have all cared for a relative, friend, pet, child, elderly parent etc.
  • We know that when we are ‘off our game’ that the quality of the work we do suffers, as does the quality of our relationships and life.
  • When we are ‘on our game’ we are more able to focus, concentrate, maintain perspective, feel balanced, be open to those around us and go the extra mile if needed.

Yet somewhere along the way – even with this knowing – we (collectively across the globe) are not taking care of our bodies. For example, there are statistics every day in the media that indicate this:

“Illnesses associated with lifestyle cost the NHS £11bn.” (1)

“Nine in 10 cancers caused by lifestyle.” “Our research has shown that many cancers are caused by external factors, and that there are changes that we can all make to our lifestyles to significantly reduce our risk of cancer.” (2)

“’Lifestyle’ diseases the world’s biggest killer.” “Non-communicable diseases are now the leading cause of death around the world, with developing countries hit hardest, according to a new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO).” (3)

“Nearly Half of US Deaths Can Be Prevented With Lifestyle Changes.” (4)

So, whilst we may know certain aspects about our health and wellbeing, somewhere along the line we are either not applying them or we have a gap in our understanding as to how to live with proficiency (not perfection) in this physical body.

Given the pressures on healthcare systems worldwide and the impact this has on society, with:

  • The need for dementia friendly towns and cities
  • The decline in productivity and quality in the workplace from increasing illness rates: or the remodelling of our infrastructures due to the pandemic rise of obesity…

Wouldn’t it make sense that, from cradle to grave, we had some gentle (not ‘one size fits all’) approach to support us:

  • With learning how the body is an exceptional barometer of our daily living choices (if we so choose to listen and or observe)
  • In learning how to care for our human body so as to understand the phenomenal design and order that governs it all?

It may not be that we need a licence, but what if some degree of proficiency was expected from us, as our part in being a responsible citizen on the globe? And whilst expecting us to accept a degree of responsibility and care for our own body may not be agreed with by all, at the very least, what if we were all offered a form of self-care study during our upbringing, education and working lives that gave us the choice so that we could understand the way to care for and live in our body?

By Jane Keep, London

References:

Further Reading:
Self Care – ‘Walking the Talk’
Self-Care at Work Does Make a Difference
Self-care at work makes sense, why is it not common practice?

467 thoughts on “Self-Care Proficiency – Do we need a Licence?

  1. This is a great article, and what I find interesting is how children are naturally wise and astute to their own body’s needs and the care that they need. Children are open and expressive about all the hurts that they experience, and they know when they are cold or are hungry and will let you know. So it seems that only as adults do we override this natural relationship with our bodies. But thankfully and with huge appreciation, I am pleased to say that we do have Universal Medicine, which not only introduces the possibility of living in such self-care as an adult, as naturally as we would as children, but also that it is a responsibility to do so, so that the generations that follow do not have to experience that shutting down of one’s innate lovingness towards oneself.

  2. We are all global citizens and as such have a responsibility not only to ourselves but to each other. Part of that responsibility must include making more supportive lifestyle choices.

  3. We take driving much more seriously than our self care, when you consider how much more effort we put into maintaining the vehicle, keeping it in check and ensuring it never ‘crashes’/burns out.

  4. I definitely feel that self-care is something that is worth nurturing more in our society and from that greater self-responsibility can also grow and greater responsibility for All.

  5. Self-care is actually very simple and makes complete sense, especially to our bodies. What doesn’t make sense and is not normal is abusing our bodies and harming them with drugs, alcohol, sugar, over-eating etc and then wondering why we are sick or get ill conditions.

  6. “Nearly Half of US Deaths Can Be Prevented With Lifestyle Changes.” (4) If we really stop and feel what is written here, it is huge, that we could prevent many illnesses and diseases that result in death by making simple life style choices that are based on self care

    1. It is huge and it shows us that something is not right if so many intelligent beings are choosing such levels of disregard… Enter Universal Medicine bringing the understanding behind why we make the kind of lifestyle choices that we do (whether they are harming or healing) and this awareness is so needed.

  7. It’s shocking when even the research is telling us that 9 out of 10 cancers are caused by lifestyle choices. So why isn’t this type of information shocking us out of our disregard, and what will it take to turn things around?

  8. “Yet somewhere along the way – even with this knowing – we (collectively across the globe) are not taking care of our bodies. For example, there are statistics every day in the media that indicate this:” Yes and despite this information now being freely available we are not making lifestyle changes – and the obesity crisis deepens as does the rise in diabetes – much of which is now preventable.

  9. Beautiful, when we are not absolute with ourselves and see truth for what it is, we fool ourselves and the world – make it look like its something that it is not. This is where we have come to as a society and this is what we need to tackle, coming back to our truth again.

  10. If we were as intelligent as we think we are, you would think that we would wake up to the fact that “Nearly Half of US Deaths Can Be Prevented With Lifestyle Changes.” The fact we are ignoring this shows our own lack of responsibility, that we are not taking for ourselves, and how our intelligence is flawed. It is a wake-up call but we are still dozing.

  11. Having licences is designed to give us standards or guidelines and consequences for when we step outside them. To have a self-care licence would mean we as a society value and expect a certain standard of self-care. Currently this is not the case and free will allows us to be as abusive of ourselves as we like, as we will not admit that lack of care for ourself is the starting point of all that pollutes society, the environment etc

  12. Building a relationship with the body is an ever expanding opportunity to develop a deeper relationship with God.

    1. That’s beautiful Stephanie, so often Divinity or God is presented as being something outside of us or that we need to go to a special building or monument to connect with rather than appreciating that we can connect with God from inside of us.

  13. “learning how the body is an exceptional barometer of our daily living choices (if we so choose to listen and or observe)…” Yes, ‘barometer’ is a great word to describe how, when we connect and feel how our body is feeling, it very clearly & honestly indicates exactly where its.. the real question is, do w take notice, listen and respond or ignore, numb and override?

  14. Self care and self love are subjects of much misunderstanding and bastardization.
    When people talk about it it’s often about eating some rewarding food or going to spa once a while or something very superficial. But in truth it is so much deeper. Thanks Serge Benhayon and Natalie Benhayon for their presentation on this matter and reminding us all we know-we need to care about our body, looking after ourselves like we look after the babies, listen to our needs in terms of diet, sleep,exercise, wearing appropriate clothes, getting rest and so much more. Only when we can take proper care of ourselves we can care about the others-and it is far from being selfish, it’s being self loving.

  15. It will be wonderful when self care is part of the school curriculum for children, there are so many studies like yours Jane that prove without a shadow of doubt, how important this subject is for us all. I wish I had learned about it decades ago.

  16. Not taking care and even abusing our bodies impacts others. What parent enjoys seeing their child addicted to drugs, in an abusive relationship or just generally not enjoying themselves and the simple things in life as we all naturally do when we are young. What child enjoys seeing their parents in a ‘make do’ relationship again not really enjoying themselves and each other day in and day out. Sometimes we can forget how much we care for one another and that it is in our nature to do so. Perhaps if we started to register the impact on others these lifestyle choices are having we may consider taking greater care of ourselves. There are people that care for you and want you to shine.

  17. What’s interesting about the way self care is often used these days is that the focus is more on self and not really about true care. Truly caring for ourselves is about building a relationship with our bodies where we tune in to what’s needed, which generally takes care of everyone; not a quick fix solution to compensate for our self abusive choices.

  18. It really has been a life of taking the body for granted, not appreciating the remarkable way it communicates. To care deeply for our body is to love ourselves in full and knownthat we are worth taking that time to look after it. Saying No to things that do not support us.

  19. I love what you say about the body being an exceptional barometer, Jane. I used to love being allowed to tap my Grandpa’s barometer as a child, it was so sensitive to the atmospheric pressure changes. When we liken this to the body, the slightest dip of change in a drop of a hormone, rise of a mineral or dip of an element can alert us to a change that causes a faster than speed reaction that the body can alert us to. It can bring the changes of energy to the physical plane to raise our awareness.

  20. I do observe that people know what is healthy for their well-being and of that of others but at the same time there is the but, the but I choose differently. And when I then ask why, the answer is mostly just because firstly they are used to it and actually very happy with and that they like to have these pleasures in life.

  21. While we say the lifestyle diseases are non-communicable that is true on a physical level, but when we look to human behaviour we are more than happy to copy behaviour from others, so too life stile. Thus in a way these are equally communicable as for instance influenza, HIV and hepatitis A.

  22. We should really be brought up in school to look after ourselves and not have the focus on what we do and what we achieve. The more I focus on myself and bring my all to whatever I am doing, then everything I need is there before and with me. So when we start from this basis we can then learn tools which can aid our work, but we then never make them the focus. It has completely changed my approach to work rather than going in with all I know and making that the focus, coming at it with my essence and allowing that to guide me and utlise the skills I have learnt.

  23. We are already in possession of this license as we have had held within since birth, not only that but we have a handbook and personal coach to guide us through every step of this life. Yet we also have a mind that thinks it can override this all and take it’s own course, a course full of obstacles, bruising, injuries and shut downs of our systems. It is up us to use which ‘ride’ we would like to take and should know that we can change course at any given moment.

    1. Sure Carolien, I feel the same and do experience it actually every day when I observe people. We do know but we constantly tend to choose to override this inner knowing which is mostly justified with the phrase “but I deserve to have my pleasure in life”.

  24. ‘do we understand how our body works and how to inhabit this body for best effect so that we have an ever-deepening relationship with it, understanding the language of the body and how to take super care of it in any given circumstance?’ – No we don’t, because if we did we would not be faced with all the abuse that is playing out in and amongst us humans.

  25. When such astounding statistics are revealed about our lifestyles, how is it that we are not sitting up and taking notice! Are we ok with being sick, so given up or numbed to this world we live in, or do we blatantly not want to take responsibility for our daily choices?

    1. We have disengaged ourselves to such an extend and are so deeply invested that these numbers do not shake us enough to stop and realise that they are about us, ourselves and all those around us. It is like we are bystanders watching a disaster develop.

  26. When we realise what an exceptional barometer the body really is, how we can read it and how it can guide us to stay vital and healthy, it’s natural that we want everyone to have the same knowledge and wisdom. It seems sensible then to make the science of looking after ourselves more widespread. It also would be wonderful if this were shared with children, not in a teaching preaching sort of way but in a way that children could find out for themselves, or have what they already feel confirmed by their experience.

  27. It is true we do know the basics when it comes to looking after our bodies but are choosing to be reckless with our health. Why is it that we do not see the body as something that should be cared for?

  28. “In reality, how proficient are we in taking care of ourselves in work and in life?” This is a very good question Jane. Most of us learn, or are at least taught in depth about so many aspects of life as we grow up, but never are we given the tools that help us to understand that building a true and deep relationship with our own bodies will actually support us and our health and well being as we grow older. Well that was at least not until Serge Benhayon came along.

  29. Self care can be seemingly contagious, or at the very least we can inspire others and offer them a choice and a reminder that it’s up to us how we are with ourselves and that this affects everything else in our lives too.

  30. “Illnesses associated with lifestyle cost the NHS £11bn.” (1) This is huge and something that we ought to take very seriously because it shows that our actions have consequences.

    1. When these kinds of statistics are exposed, society as a whole needs to be pulled up, where we all become accountable and responsible for our lifestyle choices.

  31. Like a code scrambling machine used by wartime spies we take what’s needed in life and rearrange it meticulously – so it looks like we are doing what is right but actually block things from being easy as ABC.

    1. great analogy – we do indeed complicate so many things in life, systems processes etc when self-care is actually very simple – and keeping things simple is self-care.

    2. So true Joseph, there is no recognition or sense of achievement if things are simple and easy, yet make them complicated and we have something to work ourselves through and feel proud – even if we created the struggle in the first place!

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