Level 7, 101 Pirie Street, Adelaide SA 5000
email hidden; JavaScript is required

How to improve your self-care

Hint: You need more than massages and pedicures

I Stock 1285447151

You will have heard many people talk about self-care and maybe even heard the phrase ‘practice good self-care’. But what does this mean from a psychologist’s perspective? Self-care is not just about painting your toenails or having a massage and is defined as a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being. This definition is referring to the steps that you take consciously in your everyday life to ensure that you have excellent physical, mental and emotional health. We all know that stress in life is inevitable, and some stresses just can't be removed. But we can prepare our self to cope better and be more resilient to cope with everyday stress.

A self-care routine could incorporate physical well-being including a good night sleep, eating to fuel your body, exercise for health benefits and managing any physical health issues you might have. Self-care also needs to include ‘’charging up your social battery’’, a current phrase that is regularly used by young people. The important point here is ensuring that you have time to maintain and build relationship with other people. Self-care of the mind, sometimes called self-compassion, is an area where psychologists can support you to understand unhelpful thought processes and beliefs you might have about yourself, teaching your strategies to be kind in your own thoughts as well as engaging in activities that stimulate your thinking. I like to use the term being your own best friend in your head to help my patients think about their self-critical thoughts. Knowing your sense of purpose in life is also an important part of self-care.

Good self care will also include learning to manage our emotional reactions. Talking to the people you are close to about emotions you're experiencing can help you to have your feelings validated and assist with making sense of why you might be feeling a certain way.

The four categories above of physical, social, mental and emotional self-care provide an overview of the kind of actions and activities that self-care requires. Research evidence reports that self-care can help with improved health, prevention of disease and a longer life.

There is no one way to develop a self-care plan, there are many factors that need to be considered when thinking about self-care strategies that promote an optimal life for yourself. If you are struggling to actively practice great self-care, then maybe the following affirmation might help.

I have the power within me to create the life I desire.


If you would like help developing or improving your self-care skills you might like to checkout this South Australian resource


Here is a YouTube video sharing tips on self-compassion

YouTube - Self-compassion tips

If this article has raised concerns about yourself or someone you know and you want to book an appointment with one of our experienced psychologists, please contact our friendly admin team by calling 08 7081 5855 or email us via our contact page.

Find out more about our services