Health and Fitness

Necessary Selfishness: How Good Self-Care Makes it Easier to Care for Others

Presented by BetterHelp.

Self-care is arguably one of the most important skills a person can build. A strong self-care routine is known to increase confidence, productivity, happiness, and overall well-being. It forms the foundation of mental and physical wellness and gives you the strength for security and growth. Sometimes, it may be challenging for you to prioritize yourself and your needs, but learning how to support your well-being will likely make it easier for you to dedicate time and energy to others. 

Self-care basics

Self-care refers to routines and behaviors that support physical and mental well-being. Many different actions constitute self-care, but it will likely be worthwhile to start with an understanding of the basics. Many experts consider sleep, diet, and exercise to be foundational components of self-care and likely necessary to enable more advanced self-care behavior. 


Try to get enough sleep so that you feel well-rested each morning. Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule and avoiding electronics immediately before bed will likely be helpful. High sleep quality is associated with better mental health and well-being, and sleep disturbances might make it much harder to find energy to care for others. 


Similarly, a healthy diet is closely associated with adequate energy to promote health and wellness. Eating a nutritious, balanced diet low in sugar and carbs and high in fruits and veggies is important. Abstaining from alcohol, or consuming it sparingly, will likely also be helpful. In addition to being calorie-dense with little nutritional value, alcohol is known to reduce sleep quality, potentially interfering with other self-care behaviors. 


Exercise is one of the most impactful self-care behaviors one can adopt. It is associated with both long-term and short-term mental and physical health benefits. Mood and outlook improve quickly after a workout, and an exercise routine that is sustained over time can provide protection against depression, anxiety, and other mental concerns. Of course, regular exercise also helps with physical well-being, further bolstering energy levels and overall health. 

Why should self-care be a priority? 

Many selfless people struggle to prioritize self-care. They often believe that self-care should come after the needs of loved ones and others they care for. However, it is likely that self-care is one form of necessary selfishness. Prioritizing yourself lets you better assist those around you, giving you more energy to help those who matter most. Some of the common benefits of self-care that can help you nurture others are below: 

Burnout prevention

Good self-care routines are associated with significant reductions in stress. It will likely be difficult to help those around you if you are overwhelmed by stress to the point of feeling burnt out. Self-care can help you avoid the worst of burnout’s effects, such as a lack of energy and motivation. 

Improved efficiency

Meeting your emotional and physical needs will likely allow you to think faster and more effectively. Even if you’re not pushed to burnout, a lack of self-care can have you running below your normal threshold, making it harder to take on extra tasks or help those around you. 

Healthy relationships

A good self-care routine is part of having a healthy relationship with yourself, which likely improves your relationships with others. When you feel your best, it will likely be easier to set healthy boundaries, practice understanding, and model behaviors related to self-improvement. 

Other forms of self-care

Starting with the basics, diet, exercise, and sleep will likely be helpful, but there are other ways to boost your self-care once you master the foundational skills. 

Seek therapy

Many people think of psychotherapy as something that you do when all other options have been exhausted. However, therapists are well-equipped to focus on self-improvement and prevention, even when you’re not experiencing acute distress. Finding an LMHC therapist or other type of mental health professional may be helpful, offering you a chance to proactively address concerns or build robust self-care routines. 

Spend time in nature

Evidence suggests that time spent in nature is one of the most effective forms of self-care, especially when paired with exercise. You might consider making outdoor activities – as the weather allows – part of your self-care routine. 

Spend more time with people who care about you

An important part of self-care is allowing others to care for you. That might mean seeking help from friends or family when necessary, but it can also mean prioritizing positive social interactions within your life. Having enjoyable experiences with those around you is important, especially those who bring energy into your life. 

Prioritizing yourself is worth it

Putting yourself first when needed may be challenging, but it will likely become easier with practice. Remember, a good self-care routine makes it more likely that you can take care of those around you, not less. It will likely be best to start by working on the basics like sleep, diet, and exercise and move on to more advanced self-care once you have stable foundations. You might also want to talk to a mental health professional for guidance related to building strong self-care routines that meet your needs. 

One Comment

  • Apart Cy

    Self care is A mUst
    This is really Important for us !!
    Para manatili healthy ang ating Puso’t Isipan at buong katawan ,bet ko yung spend time in nature , sobrang nakakarelax talaga , can Refresh my mind soul and Body

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