What is Self-Care ?

Self-care involves taking the time to rest, reflect, replenish and renew. Most of us know the things we must do to keep us going everyday, like eating, sleeping or drinking water. 

And while we may know these things very well, too often when our lives get stressful we can get caught up in the moment, and forget the things we must do to take care of ourselves. 

Self-care is not just about meeting our physical needs for food, water, sleep or exercise. Practicing self-care also means addressing our mental, emotional, environmental, social and spiritual. Practicing self-care can help us identify our own needs, goals, health, and accomplishments in life. 

The Six Dimensions of Self-Care1

These are just a few examples of self-care activities you can do in each dimension. Keep in mind that self-care looks different for everyone! If one of these activities don’t work for you, don’t sweat it. Try as many as you want until you find something that works!


  • Cook or bake
  • Exercise
  • Get a massage
  • Go for a walk
  • Yoga or meditation
  • Practice deep breathing
  • Take a bath
  • Get enough sleep (7-9 hours), and take naps (timed) when you need it
  • Environmental

  • Clean up your space
  • Spend time in nature
  • Keep photos of loved ones around you, especially in your workspace
  • Monitor time on technology
  • Mental

  • Cross something off your to-do list
  • Listen to music or a podcast
  • Read
  • Mindfulness exercises
  • Play a game
  • Watch TV or a movie
  • Learn a new skill
  • Social

  • Volunteer with family or friends
  • Practice reaching out when you need help or company
  • Check in on friends and family regularly
  • Honor your commitments to other people
  • Meet new people
  • Emotional

  • Keep a journal
  • Focus on what you can control
  • Make art
  • Don’t ignore your feelings
  • Take a break from the news or social media
  • Setting personal boundaries - like learning to say “no”
  • Practice self-compassion
  • Spiritual2

  • Yoga or meditation
  • Spend time in nature
  • Practice gratitude
  • Volunteer with family or friends
  • Focus on your goals, values and beliefs
  • Be open to new experiences
  • Look for the good in the world, yourself and others
  • Read inspiring stories
  • Make art
  • References

    1. National Council for Behavioral Health. (2016). Mental Health First Aid USA: For Adults Assisting Young People.
    2. Mental Health America. (2021). Take care of your spirit. https://www.mhanational.org/take-care-your-spirit.