Self-care is taking action to care for your emotional, physical, and or mental well-being.
How does it help?
Self-care is an important component in combatting the negative consequences of every day stressors in your life. Creating and appropriately utilizing self-care techniques may be used as preventive measures for a number of every day life stressors. Despite the significant role self-care plays on an individual's overall well-being, it is easily ignored – especially during those super busy seasons in life (when self-care is needed the most)!
Where you can start:
Evaluating your current behaviors
A good starting place to implementing self-care or to increase self-care in your life is to evaluate your current coping techniques. When you experience a stressful situation or are going through a stressful time, how do you cope? Coping strategies are divided into one of two categories: healthy or unhealthy. Healthy coping strategies include talking to a friend or family member for support, hitting the gym to clear your mind, or enjoying a spa night to relax. Unhealthy coping strategies include avoiding the situation altogether, consuming excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages, or social withdrawal.
Make a list of what you typically do when experiencing a stressful situation or during a stressful time in your life. Now, take a look at this list and think: are your coping methods healthy or unhealthy? (not sure what category your coping methods fall in? see the link below for a comprehensive list!)
Identify which coping methods are unhealthy and need to be replaced.
Replacing unhealthy coping methods with healthy ones is a great first step to implementing self-care!
So, you've made your list and labeled each behavior as healthy vs. unhealthy, now what?
Implement small changes
After identifying the areas that need improvement, set goals to start implementing small changes. Start with targeting one or two unhealthy coping behaviors. Changing too much at one time can be overwhelming and hard to sustain – potentially making a stressful situation worse.
Need ideas for healthy coping behaviors to pick up? Check out the link below:
1. Ackerman, C. (2017, Oct 4). 10+ Coping Skills Worksheets for Adults and Youth. Retrieved from https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/coping-skills-worksheets/
2. Anderson, K. (2016, March 28). The Importance of Self-Care. Retrieved from
3. Shapiro, S. L., Brown, K. W., & Biegel, G. M. (2007). Teaching self-care to caregivers: Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on the mental health of therapists in training. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 1(2), 105-115. doi:10.1037/1931-39188.8.131.52