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  • Writer's picturePaula Robertson

Top tips on how to practise self-care

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

Exploring the benefits of a consistent self-care practice

What is self-care anyway?

The Oxford Dictionary defines self-care as: ‘the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness.’ Although a simple concept, it’s something we very often overlook. Self-care is not only about considering our needs; rather it’s about knowing what we need to do in order to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others as well.

The Oxford Dictionary defines self-care as: ‘the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness.’

A good analogy is the golden rule of airplane emergency procedures – you need to put your own oxygen mask first, before you can tend to others. Just like being on a plane, it's important for us to nurture ourselves first before we can effectively serve or care for others; otherwise we risk getting burnt-out. With that in mind, ere are some good self-care principles:

  • Self-care needs to be something you actively plan. Add self-care activities to your calendar, announce your plans to others in order to increase your commitment, and actively look for opportunities to practice self-care.

  • Make conscious self-care choices. If you don’t see something as self-care or don’t do something in order to take care of yourself, it won’t work as such.

  • Create a “stop doing” list. This will include things you know don’t serve you well. Examples might include: not checking emails at night, not attending gatherings you don’t like, not answering your phone during lunch/dinner.

  • Eat a nutritious, healthy and balanced diet.

  • Get enough quality sleep. Adults usually need 7 to 8 hours of sleep on average each night.

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is good for both emotional and physical health. It increases serotonin levels, improving mood and energy.

  • Follow-up with medical care. Have regular routine checkups with your doctor.

  • Use relaxation exercises and/or practice meditation. Your daily practice doesn't have to be long - even five minutes of reflective practice daily has been shown to reap benefits.

  • Make time to spend with your loved ones and enjoy their company.

  • Aim to do at least one relaxing activity every day, whether it’s taking a relaxing bath, listening to music or talking a walk.

  • Look for opportunities to laugh!

  • Practise gratitude. At the end of the day, think about 2 to 3 things you are grateful for in your life.

Remember, good self-care takes practice, so be patient with yourself!

Be well,


Dr Paula Robertson is a paediatrician and a mom with over twenty years' experience working with children and young people.

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