Self-Care Journal

What is self-care?

Self-care is more than taking the perfect selfie at Pilates

In this article, we explore what self-care actually is, and how to get started with a routine that works for you.

What does self-care actually refer to?

When you hear the term self-care, you're probably thinking of candles, face masks, yoga and expensive wellness retreats.

That's no surprise. We seem to live in a world where self-care equals skincare routines set against the background of calming music, mixed with messages that basically tell you that it's your own fault that you're so stressed because you fail to do all the things to create a calm and meaningful life.

The irony being that all this just adds to the levels of stress we experience, always feeling like we're never good enough.

Why does self-care always have to be bubble baths and face masks?

If you think about it, self-care can absolutely be a wellness retreat, going to yoga or having a bath with candles and calm music - why not!

BUT (and it's a big But), self-care is so much more than that. 

Sometimes, you might feel pretty sad or angry - and a face mask is probably not going to cut it. Maybe you need a hug, a chat with a friend, or a sweat-it-all-out boxing class.

Self-care means different things, to different people, at different times!
It is whatever you need it to be right now.

Imagine what could happen if you stopped asking yourself "What's wrong with me?" and instead started to think about “What do I need right now to feel okay?”

What self-care is…

Putting your (mental) health first without feeling guilty for doing so.

What self-care isn’t…

Anything that makes you feel sh*t, judged or pressured.

Why is self-care so important?

True self-care comes from a place of self-compassion.
While it might feel a little indulgent at first, once you’re in the swing of things you’ll actually realise that when you care about yourself, you can better care for others.

Is true self-care a movement?

Hell yeah, it is! We are all for destigmatising the way we view prioritising ourselves, particularly our mental health. Self Cared’s mission is to ensure every Australian has access to the tools and services they need to properly support their mental wellbeing.

How do I get started with self-care?

When you’re feeling off kilter, healthy self-care practices might be the furthest thing from your mind – even if it’s what will help you feel better.

We suggest creating a plan when you’re not *in crisis* so that it’s there for you when you need it.

Some simple, go-to self-care practices loved by the team at Self Cared include:

  • unplugging from the news and/or switching your phone into flight mode
  • sweating through a Youtube exercise class
  • scheduling a call with a friend and having a “venting happy hour” to air grievances
  • going for a walk in the sun
  • making time to journal and reflect
  • spending Saturday binge-watching feel-good movies

Having your self-care list already sorted is a literal game-changer. No extra thinking required!

When we take the time to create space in our schedules just for us, we’re telling ourselves that we matter.

So when you sense that you’re not feeling right, physically or mentally, pause, take a long, slow deep breath, consult your self-care plan and ask yourself: “What do I need right now to feel okay?”

And when all else fails, don’t forget to drink water and get some sun because we’re all basically a houseplant with more complicated emotions 😉


If you’re in crisis and need to talk to someone, remember to call a friend or contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 44 for 24-hour support. You're never alone.

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