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What Are the Elements of Self-Care?

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What Are the Elements of Self-Care?

The concept of putting your oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs isn’t a practice reserved only for airplane emergencies. You can’t fill from an empty cup, either. Although they may sound like overused cliches at this point, that doesn’t make them any less true.

Everyone understands the importance of self-care nowadays. A quick Google search yields thousands of articles touting the need to take care of yourself before taking care of anyone else. But empty, directionless self-care is just as useless as not caring for yourself in the first place.

What are the elements of self-care, and how can you make sure you include them in your self-care routine?

What is self-care?

What do you think of when you hear the term self-care? Face masks and lavender baths might come to mind. Massages and aromatherapy are two other images often associated with self-care. While these might be elements of a person’s plan, self-care involves much more than these things.

Self-care is an intentional plan that leads to enhanced health and well-being. Effective self-care plans help reduce stress, show up in your relationships, and manage daily life. According to the Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration, self-care is important to maintaining emotional wellness and strengthening your overall wellness.1

What are the elements of self-care?

Developing a dimensional approach to caring for yourself should involve the elements of self-care. These include the eight dimensions of wellness:2

  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Intellectual
  • Physical
  • Environmental
  • Occupational
  • Financial

Ensuring your self-care practices address each aspect provides a well-rounded path to wellness.

Setting up your self-care routine

The following ideas are a great way to start a self-care routine. But remember: there is no one-size-fits-all approach to self-care. It is a very personal matter. Your self-care routine might look completely different from your best friend’s approach. Self-care doesn’t even have to be a solitary activity; spending time with people you care about counts, too.

Here are some ideas to get you started as you determine a plan that works best for you.

  • Dedicate time to relaxing and unwinding
  • Develop a consistent sleep schedule
  • Spend time with friends and family
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Move your body (going for walks, yoga, lifting weights, swimming, riding a bike, etc.)
  • Practice meditation
  • Talk through tough days with a close friend
  • Seek support for your mental health (i.e., counseling, group therapy, peer support)
  • Engage in spiritual practices
  • Acknowledge things you do well

Self-care does not replace mental health treatment

While developing a self-care routine is crucial for your well-being, you must also remember that self-care does not replace mental health treatment. If you’re struggling with your mental health, you might not be able to manage your symptoms with a simple self-care routine.

Seeking treatment at a facility like Lifeskills South Florida is the first step to finding more intentional support for your mental health. Your time in treatment will help you lay the foundation needed to build a happy, fulfilling life. To learn more about the programs we offer, call us today at 954-953-1742.


  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Creating a Healthier Life.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Promoting Wellness.


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