Prevention through Self-Care is the Best Medicine!



A message from Dr. Shannon McDonald, FNHA Chief Medical Officer

International Self-Care Day is July 24. There are many ways we can take care of ourselves throughout the whole year to ensure optimal health.​

You've likely heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." It's a reminder that being mindful about your wellness and making healthy choices now can prevent health problems in the future – and is far more effective than having to work to treat problems after they've taken hold. 

Here at the First Nations Health Authority, our work is based on this “upstream" kind of thinking – we promote “health through​ wellness." This means we support and promote programs, resources, and activities that provide First Nations people in BC with services and options for lifestyles and health care that will help make and keep communities strong. 

At the same time, we work to improve or change things in the health care system that do not meet this standard for our people. We are deeply committed to helping build our shared vision of healthy, self-determining, and vibrant First Nations children, families, and communities. 

Making healthy choices is one way we can supply ourselves and our loved ones with powerful doses of prevention – preventive/good medicine -- so that we don't need cures. Not every facet of health is in our control, of course, but there is much we can do individually to promote health and prevent sickness. 

On International Self-Care Day, I'd like to highlight some of the ways we can take care of ourselves throughout the year to ensure optimal health. My personal favourite is gardening whenever I get the chance. I find it is healing and soothing for body, mind, and soul! 

Take good care of yourself spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically by: 

  • Nurturing your spirit. Provide a space for spirituality in your life. Find the things you love to do, and make time to do them – whether it's gardening, beading, painting, drumming, reading, playing games, or spending time with your family and friends. Laughing and having fun together is extremely good medicine! Read about some other ideas in our FNHA Wellness Diary. 
  • Being active regularly. Do whatever you enjoy, whether that is walking in nature with a friend, swimming, dancing, or playing in team sports. If you're a beginner, check out these tips from our 30x30 Active Challenge for some inspiration and Indigenous-led workout videos. 
  • Eating well. Eat food that looks good, smells good, and tastes good. Enjoy your food! Eat with friends and family. Eat outdoors when the weather cooperates. Make your meals an event! Eat whole / traditional foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, lean poultry/meats, seafood, fish, grains, berries) and avoid processed foods. Drink lots of water and avoid sugary drinks. For information about eating nutritiously, check out the many resources on our website, including this awesome Food is Medicine Recipe Book! 
  • Getting enough sleep every night. Sleep allows us to consolidate and store memories, process emotional experiences, and replenish our physical systems. It is extremely important for a happy, healthy life. Don't take your devices to bed with you! Short (up to 20 minutes) naps are good, too, if you need them. 
  • Taking time to rest and relax at least one day per week, or even for one hour each day. The benefits of rest and relaxation have been extensively researched and proven. They include a healthier body, more balance, less stress, deeper relationships, an increased ability to think clearly and evaluate one's life path/priorities, a rosier outlook on life, and increased productivity. 

If you have something that works wonders for your health and it's not mentioned above, please feel free to share with us at and we might include it in a future article or resource! Quoting you, of course! 

Be Well,

Dr. Shannon​

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