Self-Care: Building Your Toolbox

The topic of “Self-Care” is on repeat in many of my sessions. So, what does it actually mean, and why is it so important? 

For those who live with mental illness, a regimen of Self-Care is crucial to maintain mental well-being and support relapse prevention. It is a toolbox of feel-good activities that help to keep you balanced, grounded, and moving forward day-to-day. It is an intentional effort to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. 

Self-Care, however, is not only for those who live with a mental health condition, it is for everyone. In today’s world, we are constantly all pulled in many directions–meetings, daycare drop-offs, sports practices, family gatherings, deadlines, appointments, and so on. It is incredibly easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all and effectively lose ourselves. By incorporating Self-Care into daily routines, you can stave away the blues, feeling overwhelmed, losing your cool, and disconnecting from yourself or others.

With my clients, I talk about the importance of having a toolbox of self-care practices for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly mental health maintenance. This consists of keeping a list of self-care options to turn to when life becomes tough, and creating a habit and daily practice of scheduling time for you to take care of yourself. Below are some examples of Self-Care practices to include in your routines:

Daily Care:

  • Affirmations and/or gratitudes 
  • Journaling 
  • Listening to music
  • Playing music
  • Exercise 
  • Calling a loved one
  • Breathing/meditation 
  • Taking a warm bath or shower
  • Playing with a pet
  • Using essential oils 
  • Reading 

Weekly Care:

  • Seeing your therapist 
  • Bodywork (chiropractor, massage, acupuncture, yoga)  
  • Going for a hike 
  • Getting coffee with a friend
  • Sitting at a park 
  • Pampering yourself (nails, facemask, hair treatment) 
  • Indulging in a hobby (knitting, archery, cooking, woodwork…) 


  • Bodywork (chiropractor, massage, acupuncture, yoga) 
  • Adventure to a new place (hike, restaurant, park…) 
  • Visit a friend 
  • Plan a date with yourself 


  • See your medical care team (physical, eye exam, dentist…) 
  • Go on a vacation or getaway
  • Go camping
  • Take a class
  • Go on a retreat 

To put this into practice make the decision today to prioritize yourself. Schedule in time for self-care daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. Taking just a small amount of time to love yourself on a regular basis can pay off in a huge way.  


Written by Katrina Rude MA, LPCC


Photo credit: Negative Space from Pexels