Try These Self-Care Strategies to Improve Your Well-Being

The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp

The term “self-care” has become a common buzzword, but definitions aren’t always consistent. Generally speaking, self-care refers to health-promoting behaviors that improve your mental and physical well-being. There are many kinds of self-care, some healthier than others, but results often differ from person to person. Despite individual differences, focusing on self-care strategies that have demonstrated success with others is likely worthwhile. This article will focus on common self-care themes and strategies that are likely effective. 

Self-care basics

The most important part of your self-care routine might vary based on your needs, but it is likely worthwhile to ensure that you are adhering to some basic self-care principles. Many experts point to three self-care behaviors often considered foundational to the rest of a self-care routine: sleep, diet, and exercise. 


Getting enough sleep is vital for maintaining the energy you need to keep yourself physically and mentally well. Try to get enough sleep so that you feel well-rested each morning, typically 7 to 8 hours each night. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at roughly the same times each day, even on weekends and vacations. It is also often helpful to avoid using electronics within thirty minutes of going to bed. 


Much like sleep, a healthy, balanced diet is required to maintain the energy level you need to focus on more advanced self-care. Try to eat a nutritious diet low in sugar and carbs. You might also consider increasing the servings of fruits and veggies you eat daily. You may also want to consider abstaining from alcohol, which has little nutritional value and might disrupt your sleep quality, interfering with another foundational type of self-care. 


Of the three basic self-care behaviors (sleep, diet, and exercise), physical activity may have the most substantial effect on overall well-being. Exercise is associated with numerous physical benefits, such as reduced cancer risk and improved cardiovascular health. It is also associated with mental health benefits, such as an improved mood, increased stress resilience, and increased resistance to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. A good exercise routine for self-care doesn’t need to be particularly intense. Research suggests that moderate-intensity exercise for 90 to 120 minutes per week is enough to produce significant benefits. 

Beyond the basics

Basic self-care like sleep, diet, and exercise form the foundation of a good self-care routine, allowing you to adopt more advanced self-care techniques to further bolster your well-being. There are hundreds of additional self-care activities you can adopt, but many will be most effective if you continue to focus on maintaining a strong self-care foundation. 

Work with a therapist

Many people consider seeking help from a mental health professional a drastic step, something that is done only when difficulties become especially severe. However, that is a common misconception that may keep you from boosting your self-care with the help of a therapist. Therapists are in an ideal position to help you develop self-care strategies, assess which needs you should focus on first, and make adjustments as necessary to help you achieve maximum well-being. 

You may want to consider using online therapy to access a therapist. Online therapy has become especially popular in recent years. It allows you to attend therapy from home and avoid traveling to an office for mental health services, potentially reducing the burdens of attending therapy. While some people are concerned about online therapy’s effectiveness, research has shown that, in most cases, it is as effective as in-person therapy. Check out this article from BetterHelp describing the research supporting the effectiveness of online therapy:

Seek out positive social interactions

Research suggests that social interactions can be an easy and effective way to bolster your well-being. However, it is important to note that those interactions must be positive and, ideally,  supportive. If you regularly interact with people who don’t support your goals, are overly distant, or don’t seem willing to engage with you, it may be worthwhile to consider whether your social network is supportive enough to bolster your well-being. 

It may be worthwhile to seek out additional opportunities for positive social interaction. If you’re dealing with life challenges, joining a support group or speaking to others who can identify with your experience may be helpful. Similarly, finding online or in-person groups dedicated to personal growth and self-improvement may be worthwhile.

Get more time in nature

Evidence suggests that spending time in green spaces and natural environments significantly boosts overall well-being. You don’t need to head out to the wilderness to see the benefits; walking through a city park or urban green space will likely be helpful. Given that time spent in nature and exercise both support well-being independently, it might be worth dedicating time regularly to brisk nature walks or jogs to combine their benefit. 

No matter what healthy self-care activity you choose, it is likely that it will be more helpful than making no changes. Strongly consider starting with the basics of sleep, diet, and exercise before undertaking additional self-examination to determine your next self-care step. If you’re finding it challenging to stick to your self-care routine, you may want to contact a mental health professional for help with goal-setting and habit-building.

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