The Mental Benefits of a Self-Care Regimen

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Self-care is a term that is used often and by a lot of people. Depending on who you ask, it’s anything from five minutes of uninterrupted reading time to a full weekend at a spa. While it is a hot buzzword, self-care for your mental health isn’t just trendy—it’s transformative.

Having a good self-care regimen can lead to a better balanced life, improved mental health, and emotional regulation. But with all the information out there, how do we know what we should be adding to our daily routines? What is helpful—and what’s hype?

Audience Questions

Ana Trueba Yepez, PhD, helps us understand the value of self-care, explains which methods are mentally helpful, and answers audience questions about how self-care doesn’t have to be all-consuming to be effective.

  • Can you provide clarification to folks about what self-care is—and isn’t—when considering it for our mental health?
  • Can self-care really be as basic as eating three square meals a day and taking five minutes to breathe deeply?
  • What are some common myths and misconceptions about self-care?
  • How can we start lessening the guilt around taking a moment to care for ourselves when we have so many other people and/or things to care for?
  • Do you have advice on lessening the stigma of selfishness or indulgence around self-care?
  • How did you get interested in self-care, and how are you incorporating it into your daily routine?
  • How can I get started on my self-care journey?
  • If folks are starting on their self-care regimen, what advice do you have if they’re unsure what activities may be beneficial to them?
  • How would you encourage folks to take an audit of what they’re doing daily to see if it’s mentally helpful to them?
  • How can we keep people from being overwhelmed by changes to their lifestyle? Is there a certain time frame they should aim for to see if self-care is being helpful or not?
  • Do you know of ways for folks to monitor their regular self-care regimens? Are there resources that you’re aware of?
  • Many people are in tough positions—single parents, marginalized communities, multiple jobs, etc.—and may feel like self-care is out of reach. How can they reach out to others for help in taking care of their own mental health?
  • How can I start the conversation with a loved one about taking better care of themselves?
  • Do you have any suggestions for those who have a hard time staying present during self-care activities? For example, worrying about other things that must be done while engaging in a self-care activity.
  • How can you encourage yourself to keep going in your self-care routines if you’re already feeling pretty good?
  • Beyond mindfulness, does spirituality play a role in self-care?
  • Do you have any suggestions for when self-care becomes a form of avoidance from engaging in other activities or responsibilities?
  • When should I talk to a doctor if my self-care isn’t making me feel less stressed, overwhelmed, tired, etc.?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.

About Dr. Trueba Yepez

Ana Trueba Yepez, PhD, is an assistant in psychology at McLean Hospital and an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She focuses on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and integration of mindfulness into treatment.

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