Spain’s Dual Perception of Self-Care

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A new study shows that the Spanish population is unclear on the meaning of self-care and often seeks a second opinion online post-visiting the doctor.

 

Although 82.7% of Spaniards go to their family doctor when they need to ask about self-care, 49.2% admit that they find a contrasting diagnosis on the Internet.

77.1% of Spaniards relate self-care to personal hygiene or beauty.

25.2% of respondents consult information on self-care in Wikipedia.

46.2% of Spaniards claim to suffer a disease treatable through self-care.

Hypertension (12.8%), asthma (11.4%) and obesity (11.2%) are the most common.

11.8% of men entrust their own self-care to their partner.

 

Issues pertaining to health are one of the most searched topics on the internet, but information found online can often contradict doctors orders. This was illustrated from the results of the second Barometer on Self-care of the Spanish population, prepared by PiC Solution, an Italian self-care brand.

“Self-care” has recently become a trending buzzword in social media marketing and advertisement of health and wellness products, especially in the beauty arena. 2018 became the year of the “Self-Care Movement” and saw a saturation of Instagram and Twitter posts of females face-masking, getting pedicures and practising crystal cleansing techniques.

From a healthcare standpoint self-care is the act of responsibly maintaining one’s health to bypass avoidable chronic diseases such as obesity, hypertension, asthma and diabetes.

Alongside the social media storm that is the “Self-Care Movement,” governments and associations worldwide have been actively encouraging self-care and the use of non-prescription over-the-counter (OTC) medicines in an effort to reduce the burden on healthcare systems.

Health blogs came out as the source of choice on self-care in Spain with 55% of users doing their research there (even though this advice may not come from a professional), followed by professional medical pages (51.1%), online doctors (27.2%) and Wikipedia (25.2%).

These results also indicate that Spaniards may not associate practices such as control of one’s weight and sugar intake with self-care. When asked to define what is encompassed in self-care many indicate habits such as personal hygiene and beauty (77.1% ) or correct hydration (71.6%).

In public consciousness, it appears that self-care is seen as more of an act of self-love to support mental health and mindfulness. While these are valuable sentiments, the disparity in the understanding of the meaning of self-care to prevent chronic illness could be detrimental and the clinical meaning of self-care could be getting lost amongst the hashtags. Also, it presents an opportunity for big brands to package self-indulgence as self-care in order to monopolise on the health-conscious.

While there is still uncertainty among the public around what constitutes as self-care, more unanimity was found amongst the Spanish population when it came to who was responsible – with 87.9% affirming that they themselves are in charge of performing self-care practices.


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