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What is a self-care day and why are they important?

When was the last time you paused to check in with yourself and did something nourishing? With so much on our plates, it’s easy to switch on ‘autopilot mode’ and push through the never-ending to-do list without paying close attention to how we feel and what we need. But when signals of tension from the body are ignored or left too long, it can lead to a buildup of stress, fatigue, or various health issues. It can also lead to burnout.

This is what self-care is all about: allocating regular time to refill your cup and stay on top of it. Building a regular self-care day into your routine is an effective way to maintain your health and wellbeing. Keep reading to explore ways to get started.


What is a self-care day?

A self-care day is a regular commitment to set aside time for things that will help you to recharge your batteries and maintain your health and wellbeing. This can look different for everyone, which means it’s important to explore what works for you. It can be social, mental, physical, or even spiritual activities.

There is no specific formula to how often or how much self-care we need, but ensuring we build a self-care day into our routine is vital, so we don’t put it off too long and risk running ourselves down. For some people, this could be once a month, for others, once a week. The key is listening to your body and responding to its signals for rest and care.


Things to do on a self-care day

Here are some examples of activities of things to do on a self-care day you might like to try to help you unwind, recharge, and feel good. Ultimately, it’s up to you as everyone is different, so remember you can get as creative as you like!

  • Get outside and spend time in nature
  • Do some physical exercise
  • Prioritize a good night’s rest
  • Unplug from the digital world for the day
  • Read a book
  • Spend time with family or friends
  • Practice meditation or mindful breathing exercises
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings
  • Organise or tidy your living space
  • Do a craft or hobby you enjoy
  • Explore a new spot in your local area
  • Prepare a healthy meal for yourself, or meal prep for the week ahead
  • Practice saying no / setting personal boundaries
  • Visit your healthcare professional
  • Speak to a CAREinMIND


Benefits of a self-care day

Often when we are under the pump or preoccupied with the responsibilities of everyday life, it’s easy to let self-care slide – but this is when we need it the most. To maintain our energy levels, build resilience in times of stress and find joy and satisfaction in life.

Research has shown regular self-care activities to help to reduce levels of stress and improve wellbeing1. While specific types of self-care are also backed by research to improve our health. For example, a 2017 study of sleeping habits showed getting enough sleep helps to promote better cardiovascular health and life longevity2, while a 2019 study showed spending time in green spaces such as nature and gardens was associated with better life longevity3.


How to plan your self-care day

If you want to start building self-care into your routine and aren’t sure how to get started, below are some great free resources to help you plan them out.

We recommend reflecting on some of the activities you like to do, how you relax and what brings you joy. If you are feeling overwhelmed or need support and want to talk it through, our counsellors are also here to help.

Our CAREinMIND counsellors are available 24/7 on 1300 096 269 or click the floating chat button on the right. The service is free for people in north, western and central Melbourne and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.