By Ginny Dorn, NASM-certified nutrition coach
Although people occasionally make fun of self-care because it can, at times, appear frivolous (hello, bubble baths), the underlying concept is critical for your well-being. If you want to feel healthy and balanced, you have to do the work to manage your mental, physical, emotional, and social well-being. That means self-care has way more to do with upholding boundaries and seeing your therapist than it does with a manicure.
Still, there’s a misconception that your well-being is a solitary responsibility. Likewise, others should be able to care for themselves on their own. This leaves no space for a key component of a healthy society: community care. Here’s why community care is so important - and how to bridge the gap between these two key concepts.
What Is Community Care?
Community care is simple. It refers to the actions people can take to leverage their own resources and power to better the lives of others. We can practice community care on several levels, both caring for people close to you, like a neighbor or coworker, as well as groups of people you may never meet.
This practice involves asking others what support they need, as well as seeking out ways to help on your own. For example, you may start a fundraiser for a friend who has lost everything in a house fire. Or, you might donate your time or money to your local food bank. In both cases, you’re caring for the community.
Self Care and Community Care
At this point, you might be wondering - what does self-care have to do with community care? As it turns out, a lot! While self-care is important, it implies that we can solve all of our problems on our own. This inevitably leads people to turn inward - focusing solely on themselves. By doing so, we remove community from our wellness routine. Yet, by ignoring community, we unintentionally limit our ability to have our needs met.
People need to feel linked to others. In fact, our brains are literally wired to seek out social connections. So, when we lack those relationships (and science shows we need a variety of relationships, not just romantic love) we may have higher levels of anxiety and depression. With more social connections, we increase empathy and self-esteem. In fact, more social ties also means we may have a better ability to fight off germs and avoid getting sick.
Personal wellness aside, we all have needs that can’t be met on our own. For example, you may not have the resources to feed your pets during a tough financial time. Or, perhaps you don’t have the know-how to cook healthier meals for yourself. Another person taking part in community care could use their own power and resources to help you meet these needs.
How You Can Get Involved in Community Care
If you’re ready to advance your own self-care practices into the world of community care, we’ve got some ideas on how to start below. The good news is that there are many ways to do so. You can start small, helping people in your local community as well as larger communities.
Help those close to you by:
-Bringing someone a meal
-Offering child care services
-Driving someone to a doctor’s appointment
-Buying someone groceries
-Asking those close to you how you can support them
-Volunteering at a local food bank
-Offering a listening ear to someone in need
Ideas for helping on a larger scale:
-Speaking up for others when you see injustice
-Joining a support group to give your time to others in need
-Donating to a cause
-Voting/supporting politicians that align with your views around social or environmental initiatives
-Creating a charity and eliciting donations for others in need
Although it will take time and effort, community care has the potential to improve people’s lives. While it is your own responsibility to manage your needs with self-care, you don’t have to do everything on your own. By learning to lean on others and offer help where we can, we can all make an impact.
ALOHA’s Take on Community Care
It’s important for all of us - including companies - to do our part in caring for the community. ALOHA takes this responsibility very seriously. In fact, we’re a Certified B-Corp, which means we are committed to using our business for the greater good, which we do by focusing on people, planet, and product. It’s worth noting that only 4% of all companies who apply to become a Certified B-Corp gain approval. It’s an honor to make the cut, and that honor fuels our mission to do good.
We’re an employee-owned company, so our employees have a greater stake in the company and get more out of it. As employee-owners, we choose to put people first before profit. We also prioritize company transparency and encourage our community, customers, and employees to hold us accountable and provide feedback. By doing so, we ensure that we’re held accountable for our environmental mission.
Our products are created with sustainability for all in mind. We offer Fair Trade-certified, USDA Organic, Certified Vegan, and Non-GMO Project Verified products that are better for people and the planet. We also put money from every sale back into the community. We currently support Kupu, Conscious Alliance, Social Works Soul Fire Farm, and the West Hawaii Community Health Center.
So, what is community care at ALOHA? We aim to leave the planet better than we found it, so all can enjoy it. Read more about our impact here. And, if you’re looking for a healthy snack to fuel your community care mission check out our Certified B-Corp plant-based protein bars!
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