Why Self-Care is a Necessity, Not a Luxury

“Self-care” is a term that has become increasingly popular in the last decade. When people think of self-care, they often think of bubble baths, facials or dinners out. And whilst these can all be acts of self-care, at its heart there is so much more to it. 

Self-care is any form of nourishment for your body, mind, heart or soul. It’s any activity which restores, preserves or enhances your health in some way.


Have you ever felt like your energy bank is empty? That you’ve got nothing left to give? That is a sign that you’re physically and emotionally depleted. In this state, it’s a real struggle to manage your usual day-to-day activities, let alone any additional stressors which come your way. You will be more vulnerable to overwhelm, burnout, anxiety and depression, as well as other mental health concerns and disorders. 

Self-care, like many other psychological tools, should be implemented both reactively (in response to emotional exhaustion) and proactively (a consistent practice every day of your life, regardless of your current mood state). 

When used reactively it can help replenish and restore your energy reserves, and bring you back to a place of balance and calm. But wouldn’t it be better if you could minimise or avoid feeling overwhelmed and burned out at all? That’s where proactive self-care comes in; an intentional, regular and consistent practice of self-care. Intentionally committing to regular self-care, regardless of how you feel (positive or negative) has an abundance of health, personal and relational benefits. It will enhance your physical and emotional resilience, leaving you better able to cope with life’s stressors or crises when they come along. Therefore, you’ll be less vulnerable to experiencing emotional exhaustion, or any of the distressing thoughts, feelings and physical sensations that come along with it.


1. It is emotionally restorative

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, depleted or burned out, intentionally increasing your self-care practice (i.e. reactive self-care) will help you recover. If you practice regular self-care anyway (i.e. proactive self-care), you’ll already know what is (and isn’t) most effective at nourishing you. This means you can quickly identify and implement the most appropriate self-care strategies needed for restoration and a more speedy recovery.

2. It builds emotional resilience

You’ll be better able to cope with everyday life stresses, as well as crises when they arise. Regular self-care helps you “bounce back” quicker and easier, to re-establish a sense of balance and calm in your life.

3. It protects and improves your mental health

You’ll be less vulnerable to developing feelings of overwhelm, burnout, guilt and shame, as well as mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Furthermore, people who regularly and consistently practice self-care are more likely to feel positive emotions such as happiness, humour, inspiration, excitement, interest, forgiveness and hope.

4. It protects and improves your physical health

When we feel stressed we release a hormone called Cortisol (sometimes called “The Stress Hormone”). Prolonged high levels of cortisol are associated with higher blood pressure, increased abdominal fat, lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, decreased bone density, blood sugar imbalances, impaired cognitive performance and suppressed thyroid function. Self-care reduces stress, thus protecting against such medical conditions.

5. It improves your relationships

One of the biggest obstacles to self-care is the erroneous belief that practicing self-care is selfish. But research and clinical evidence suggests the opposite. The more we care for our physical and mental health, the more able we are to be fully present, engaged, connected and communicative with those around us, including our partner, children, friends and colleagues. Protecting and replenishing your emotional energy is an essential tool for nurturing the relationships you care about.


Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury. It should be a non-negotiable practice. Take some time to reflect on your current self-care practices and determine if you might benefit from any changes to your behaviour. If you struggle to implement self-care, for whatever reason, working with a therapist may help you to identify and overcome the obstacles which stand in your way. 

Dr Browne is a UK trained Chartered Clinical Psychologist, with specialist training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). She specialises in working with trauma and maternal mental health related issues.

About The Author

Dr. Tess Browne

Dr Browne is a UK trained Chartered Clinical Psychologist, with specialist training and expertise in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). She works with adults with a wide range of mental health issues and psychological problems, with a special interest in working with trauma and maternal mental health issues.