The Widespread Benefits Of A Self-Care Day

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated April 24, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Getting through each day can be challenging for many, regardless of mental health status. Dedicating a few minutes to a few hours daily to caring for your body and mind can help you relieve tension, stress, and worry and prepare you for future responsibilities. This process is often referred to using the term “self-care.” 

While self-care includes daily practices that many people partake in, like personal hygiene or maintaining a sleep schedule, you can also devote a set period to unique self-care strategies or activities. Setting aside a whole day of your week every so often to focus on self-care relieves stress and can allow you to relax and check in with yourself.

Getty / Maskot

What is self-care?

In the United States, National Self-Care Day is April 5th, and it is a day to celebrate taking care of your mental and physical health. Self-care is the steps you take to promote your physical and mental health. It can include hobbies, activities, mindsets, practices, and goals, which look different for every person.

What feels comforting or brings peace for one person may feel draining to another, and everyone has different interests they can incorporate into their self-care routine. 

What isn't self-care? 

Although self-care looks different for everyone, there are a few activities or concepts that self-care may not fit. For example, although self-care is often recommended for those experiencing mental health issues, it's not necessarily a guaranteed solution.

Self-care can often be unhealthy if used to put off essential tasks. For instance, spending rent money on a new piece of furniture might be more harmful than beneficial if it puts you in danger of losing your home. Ask yourself if you are using self-care to nourish yourself or to put off another task. If you're putting off another task, devise a schedule to prioritize both self-care and the activity.  

International Day for Self-Care

July 24th is International Self-Care Day, which is sponsored by the International Self-Care Foundation. International Self-Care Day was founded to encourage individuals to spend time with themselves. No matter where you come from or who you are, you can celebrate International Self-Care Day with a variety of self-care activities. 

For example, you could set aside time for something fun or relaxing. Some people may practice self-care by watching a movie or getting a pedicure, while others may find it relaxing to go for a jog or relax in the sunshine. Find an activity that makes you feel cared for and happy. 

The benefits of taking a day for self-care day

Self-care may allow you to promote and safeguard your health physically, mentally, and emotionally. Without it, you may experience an increased risk of the following: 

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Heart disease

Practicing self-care offers benefits such as: 

  • Decreased anxiety 
  • Improved overall well-being 
  • Increased self-compassion 
  • Lower health care costs
  • Lower mortality and morbidity rates 
  • Reduced stress levels

Self-care practices might also help you get more sleep and feel more energized. However, self-care benefits may look different for everyone because it's a personalized and unique practice. What you do to partake in self-care may not have as much of an impact as allowing yourself the time to find fulfillment.  


Examples of self-care

It can be challenging to find self-care strategies that work best for you, and it is easy to put self-care on the back burner. However, note that 10-15 minutes per day of self-care can be beneficial and may be the perfect opportunity to improve your mood. Studies found that those who practiced at least 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation daily experienced mental health benefits. 

Below are self-care activities you can try: 

  • Take a bubble bath or a long shower
  • Relax in the sun and get fresh air
  • Read a good book
  • Take a break from social media
  • Record your thoughts and emotions in a journal 
  • Enjoy your favorite meal or drink 
  • Go for a short or long walk
  • Spend time in nature
  • Cook and eat a healthy meal 
  • Eating more fruits
  • Watch a favorite movie or an episode of your favorite TV show
  • Practice sleep hygiene and get enough rest
  • Drink enough water
  • Exercise 
  • Meet with your therapist
  • Spending time with friends
  • Play an instrument
  • Draw, paint, or color
  • Practice mindfulness breathing exercises
  • Do yoga
  • Listen to music
  • Play with your pets 
  • Go to a spa 

All the things above may not work for everyone. You might find that rotating your self-care practices helps you feel happy as you try different activities. For example, if your habit of listening to music isn't as helpful as it once was, maybe you'd prefer to take a bath, go for a long drive, or grab a coffee with a close friend. 

You may not see the positive effects immediately but try to be patient and give it time. After a few weeks or months, you may look back and see that your life has been changing positively since you started implementing self-care.

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Counseling options 

You might benefit from help finding your routine if you're new to self-care. Whether you're experiencing anxiety, depression, or not feeling like yourself, speaking with a mental health professional might give you the support you need to address the major source of your mental health concerns. In addition, therapists can help you develop more self-care ideas and wellness strategies to try. 

If you face barriers to treatment, like cost, distance, or availability, you can also work with a therapist online. One study found that internet-based treatment was as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy for treating mental health conditions like anxiety. Plus, therapy can be effective for anyone, regardless of diagnosis or lack thereof. Studies have also found that therapy can help people address and treat mental health concerns like depression.

Through an online platform like BetterHelp, you can match with a qualified therapist based on your preferences. You can chat with your therapist according to your schedule from the comfort of your home and choose between phone, video, or live chat sessions. With an online therapy platform, you may also have more time to focus on self-care after sessions, as you can cut out the commute to a therapist's office. 


International Self-Care Day can be a good time to think about what self-care means to you and then start a self-care routine. Self-care can be subjective, but it is often effective in improving mental health and reducing distress. If you're new to self-care, exploring activities can be beneficial until you find one that works. Therapy is often a helpful element of a self-care routine for many people, as well. If you’d like to

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