Making Self Care a Priority

Qualia StaffCognitive Behavioural Therapy

Making Self Care a Priority
By: Jennifer Hackbart, BASc, MSW, RSW

Self care! Self care! Self care! We’ve all heard this promoted from the rooftops and yet it remains greatly neglected within our society. I’m sure the thought “It’s so nice outside I wish I had time to go for a walk” sounds all too familiar to most of us. Well, here is your opportunity to make change! July 24th is International Self Care Day.

What is self-care?

Self-care is defined as the act of looking after ourselves. I often relate self care to a flight emergency protocol -a passenger must first fit their own oxygen mask on before helping others. The idea being, if we don’t first care for ourselves we will be less effective in all other realms of life.

Self care is often portrayed as the “big ideas”, but in reality it is simply the small day to day decisions we all make.  Do I choose to finish the laundry or go for a walk? Do I choose to sit and play with my kids or wash the dishes? Do I choose to make plans with a friend or send off a few more work emails before bed? If we are seldom choosing the nurturing/relaxing option, we are likely not meeting our self-care needs.

How do I  improve my  self-care?

Firstly, improved self-care requires a level of self awareness where we are able to identify our own needs and take steps to fulfill them. Take some time to focus on what your body, mind and emotions are telling you. Are you worn out? Does your mind often use those “should” statements? Do you notice you’re always doing things for others and feel a bit of frustration regarding this? These are all signs we may be neglecting our self-care needs.

Secondly, improved self-care requires a change in belief around it’s importance. Most people believe “the longer we tough it out, the tougher we are, and therefore the more successful we will be” (Anchor & Gelian, 2016).  In reality, many of us simply need a reality check. We need to realize that when self-care becomes a priority, the potential for success actually increases. Our mood and energy levels increase, allowing us to not only do more but also enjoy more of what we do.

Here is an example of how a change in belief has the potential to change your behaviour:

Old belief:

New belief:


Thirdly, establish routines. Getting started is usually the hardest step in changing behaviours. Set small self-care goals and work these into your daily life. Then, build on these goals once effective routines are established.

Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Qualia Staff’s Favourite Self Care Strategies

  1. Lay in a hammock and reading
  2. Going on a hike
  3. Taking a nap
  4. Starbucks date with a good friend
  5. Going to the gym
  6. Lighting a candle
  7. Having a glass of wine on the patio
  8. Using essential oils
  9. Playing video games
  10. Riding a bike
  11. Getting outside on lunch breaks
  12. Spending time with good friends and family
  13. Taking the dog for a walk
  14. Put my phone on airplane mode for an hour
  15. Lay a blanket down and watch the clouds

More great ideas can be found at:

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Qualia StaffMaking Self Care a Priority