The Power Of Self-Care: Psychological Strategies For Improving Your Well-Being

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

Self-care has become a particularly popular topic in recent years, largely due to increasing awareness of mental health. Individuals are becoming more interested in self-care as a means to cope with the fast-paced world where work-life balance can be challenging to achieve. 

At its core, self-care refers to intentional actions to prioritize health, happiness, and overall wellness. As the world increasingly demands attention, time, and energy, it can become challenging to carve out space for self-care, but doing so can be nurturing not only for the physical body but also for the mind.

Learning about the psychology of self-care and strategies for incorporating self-care practices into daily routines may help individuals feel more balanced. Using psychological strategies for self-care, such as mindfulness, self-compassion, and boundary setting, can be helpful when starting. Individuals who learn about the psychology of self-care and practice related strategies may find that they can support their mental and emotional well-being and lead a more fulfilling life.

Are you ready to prioritize your self care?

Understanding the power of self-care

Self-care can be a powerful tool that, when integrated into daily life, can lead to a plethora of benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. One of the most notable advantages of self-care is the reduction of stress, which can affect both mental and physical health. You might find that you can alleviate stress and achieve a better work-life balance by engaging in self-care.

Research published in Frontiers in Psychiatry shows that resilience may be another benefit of self-care. Life is full of ups and downs, and having the ability to bounce back from adversity may lead to less stress and possibly better outcomes. Self-care practices can help build and maintain resilience by providing individuals with the resources and support they need to navigate challenging situations.

Self-care can also contribute to enhanced mood and emotional stability. When people take the time to care for their mental, emotional, and physical needs, they may be better equipped to handle life's challenges and experience more positive emotions. Engaging in self-care activities that bring joy and relaxation can promote feelings of contentment and happiness.

When individuals prioritize self-care, they are not only investing in their mental and emotional health but also contributing to their overall wellness.

Research shows that self-care can improve one’s physical health and lead to better outcomes, including lower morbidity, lower health care costs, and greater well-being.

Psychological strategies for self-care

Incorporating psychological strategies into self-care routines can significantly enhance one's well-being; cultivating a healthy and nurturing mindset can empower individuals to navigate life's challenges with greater resilience. The following psychological strategies may be effective for self-care:

  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness is an evidence-based practice that typically entails being fully present in the moment and paying attention to one's thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without judgment. By fostering an attitude of non-judgmental acceptance, you may become more aware of your internal experiences, which may help you to manage stress, anxiety, and negative emotions more effectively.
  • Self-compassion: Self-compassion typically involves treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and empathy, especially during times of struggle or perceived failure.
  • Self-Talk: Positive self-talk can be a powerful psychological strategy for self-care, as it involves transforming negative self-talk into positive, encouraging, and empowering thoughts. By consciously reframing self-critical thoughts, you may be able to boost your self-esteem, confidence, and overall emotional well-being.
  • Self-Acceptance: Self-acceptance entails embracing oneself, recognizing unique qualities, and acknowledging areas of growth. By cultivating self-acceptance, you may find that you can develop a healthier self-image and a more loving relationship with yourself.
  • Gratitude: Gratitude is widely recognized as an evidence-based component of self-care. Gratitude may help you shift your perspective from what may be lacking to the abundance surrounding you. Regular gratitude practices, such as keeping a gratitude journal or expressing thanks to loved ones, can foster a more positive mindset and a deeper sense of contentment.
Getty/Luis Alvarez

Examples of self-care activities

You may find that you can enhance your overall well-being and lead a more balanced life through self-care activities that promote relaxation, personal growth, and connection. The following examples are a small sample of evidence-based self-care activities you might consider trying:


Research shows that journaling can have a positive effect on mental health in several ways. Forbes cited psychotherapist and self-care expert Dr. Zoe Shaw and stated the following about journaling: “Journaling is an effective form of emotional self-care because it can help you process and understand your emotions, explains Dr. Shaw. There are many journals with specific purposes—gratitude, self-love, intention-setting—and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Even just taking five minutes a day to reflect can be beneficial.”

Engaging in hobbies

Engaging in hobbies or creative pursuits can provide a valuable outlet for self-expression, personal growth, and relaxation. Activities like painting, writing, playing an instrument, or even gardening may help you tap into your creativity, develop new skills, and find a sense of purpose and fulfillment.


Socializing with friends and loved ones can be an important aspect of self-care, as it can help foster connections and build strong support networks. Telling your experiences, enjoying laughter, and offering emotional support can contribute to a greater sense of belonging and well-being.

Seeking help from a therapist

Lastly, seeking help from a mental health professional can be a valuable self-care strategy for individuals experiencing emotional challenges or seeking guidance on their self-care journey. Mental health professionals can often offer personalized support and coping strategies to help individuals prioritize their well-being and maintain a balanced lifestyle.

Online therapy to enhance self-care

If you feel too busy to sign up for in-office therapy, you might consider online therapy. Online therapy can be a valuable resource for individuals looking to harness the power of self-care and improve their overall well-being. By connecting people with mental health professionals from the comfort of one's home, online therapy can help overcome barriers like time constraints or transportation challenges, making it easier for people to prioritize self-care. With an online therapy service like BetterHelp, you can engage in sessions via phone, live chat, or videoconferencing—or a combination of these methods.

Engaging with a therapist in a virtual setting may also make it easier to be open about personal challenges and self-care needs. This honest dialogue may lead to a deeper understanding of individual self-care requirements and allow the therapist to develop tailored strategies for enhancing well-being. 

Various studies have confirmed the efficacy of online therapy as a support for managing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. That said, there is no requirement to have a mental health diagnosis in order to enjoy the benefits of online therapy. Should you need assistance in discovering self-care practices you can enact at home, getting to the root of why it's challenging to make time for yourself, or asserting boundaries to achieve a more sustainable work/life balance, online therapy can provide a space to brainstorm and get professional advice.

Are you ready to prioritize your self care?


Fundamentally, self-care tends to involve specific, mindful, and purposeful actions to prioritize health and overall well-being. Allocating space for self-care can be important for individuals who are focusing not just on physical health, but also on mental and emotional health. Employing psychological approaches to self-care, such as mindfulness, self-compassion, and boundary-setting, can be beneficial for those beginning their self-care journey. 

It may also help to speak with a licensed counselor to obtain personalized strategies to build a self-care plan. With BetterHelp, you can be matched with a licensed counselor who has experience helping people improve their self-care. Take the first step toward implementing a self-care plan that works for you and reach out to BetterHelp today.

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