Self-care, the act of carving time out for health, relaxation, friend and family time, is indisputably essential for overall well-being. Yet self-care requires a few things to be an effective strategy. First, an individual must have “extra” time, live in an environment in which self-care is possible, and have the resources (physical, mental and/or economic) to step away from their daily grind.
Enter “community care,” a newer term that describes any action that a single individual takes to benefit other people in their life. Actions can be individual (picking up groceries, checking in on an elder or texting a grieving friend) but they also take the form of collective community care. Think community-based nonprofits, neighborhood associations and faith organizations.
Community care acknowledges that self-care confers benefits, but also recognizes that self-care is too often a band-aid for much larger systemic issues. How does a bubble bath or a yoga class impact a working family’s need for better childcare and reliable public transportation? There’s value, for sure, in helping an individual respond more effectively to stress. However, community care has the potential for creating sustainable impact.
With holidays like Mother’s and Father’s Day on the calendar, the market for self-care takes center stage. Mom gets a massage, Dad gets a day out to the ballgame. Yet we might begin to consider how our community can create changes that help to alleviate the stress that precipitates the need for self care. Can we make it easier for Dad to ride his bike to work a couple days a week? Are there communal strategies that might make cooperative child care a viable solution for working families?
One possible avenue for community care is technology and the sharing economy. The community of Oakland, CA has created a tool lending library that offers tools and DIY videos to community residents. Other areas of growth include sharing economies for seniors, like Silvernest, a technology platform that allows seniors find intergenerational roommates share their homes.
Wello’s mission is, ultimately, to support community care in Greater Green Bay by promoting program, policy, system and environment changes that deepen our regions commitment to well-being for all. Want to get more involved? Learn more about our community activation group the Well-being Influencer Network, here!