Photo of wildflowers, a nice reminder of the beauty that can follow when using these self-care tips for mental health.

Top 10 Best Self-Care Tips for Mental Health

In Education, Self-Care by Courtney Archer7 Comments

While there are plenty of articles about what you can do for self-care, there are not many with information on how to make the most of your self-care. These self-care tips for mental health are all ways to make your self-care as beneficial as possible.

After all, most people are already engaging in some form or another of self-care. Most of us check out for at least a few minutes every day on our phones, or with books, games, or television.

But being able to check-out is not the be-all-end-all of self-care. It is an easy out for taking a break but does not always lead to true relaxation or rejuvenation.

These self-care tips for mental health will help your self-care to be what you need it to be.  Even if you only have a few minutes a day to take care of yourself, these tips can help you make each minute more effective and worth your time.

Self-care is absolutely one of those things where quality matters far more than quantity. Of course, having more than a few minutes to dedicate to it does not hurt, but if that is all you have you can still make it work! These tips will help!

Photo of wildflowers, a nice reminder of the beauty that can follow when using these self-care tips for mental health.

The Best Self-Care Tips for Mental Health

As stated before, these self-care tips are meant to help you improve your self-care. For more ideas on what to do for self-care, check out this article all about it.

Using these self-care tips for mental health will help you take your self-care to the next level. You do not have to do self-care all day every day for it to be effective.

You also do not need to do every tip on this list. Try one or two at first and make note of how they enable your self-care to be more personal and rejuvenating.

At the end of the day, your self-care is about making sure you are paying attention to yourself and what you need. No one knows you better than you, but sometimes it helps to check back in with and remember yourself again.

We all grow and change. Self-care helps us to not lose track of ourselves along the way. If you have lost track of yourself, that is okay. Self-care is a great way to tune back in.

These self-care tips for mental health are for everyone. They could also be called self-care tips for depression, self-care tips for anxiety, self-care tips for chronic disease–you get it. They are self-care tips for everyone.

Find what works for you, and use it.

Photo of butterflies and wildflowers, reminiscent of the calm that these self-care tips for mental health can bring to your self-care practice.

Self-Care Tip 1: Build Self-Care into Your Routine

One of the hardest parts of introducing something new or forming new habits is remembering to do it. Self-care is only as useful as it is rememberable.

A time-honored and proven memory strategy is to add whatever it is you are trying to remember to your existing routine. When you tie something new to something you are already doing, it becomes much easier to remember!

You might not think it, but times when you are doing hygienic practices are great times to do some sensory self-care. It is a simple thing to build on your routine of putting on lotion before bed. Rather than quickly slathering it on, try taking a few extra seconds to really experience how it feels and smells.

You can also try adding some calming music to your morning coffee or tea, or a breathing practice at the beginning or end of your morning commute. Whatever you do for self-care, building it into your day and making it part of your routine will help you make sure that it actually happens.

Self-Care Tip 2: Make it a Priority

Similar to building self-care into your routine, making it a priority is the second of these ten self-care tips for mental health. Just like you have to remember self-care in order to do it, it is hard to get very far with it without making it a priority.

Note that you do not have to make it a top priority. However, since taking care of yourself leads to being able to do basically everything else in your life better, it should probably be kind of up there on your list of important things.

When one area of your life improves, generally all other areas follow suit to some degree or another. This is definitely true for self-care. Self-care has been found to significantly increase well-being.

Making self-care a priority just means that you make it a point to do it as part of your day or week. Making it part of your routine helps you make self-care a priority, but if you cannot make it part of your routine then try to figure out how to at least make it part of your week.

Another way to make self-care a priority is to tell your loved ones about it. Let them know when you are doing self-care so that they know that it is important to you and can help you make sure it gets done.

Asking for help is one of the best ways to help you reach your goals, and it is also one of the best ways to ensure time for self-care.

Photo of an empty bench, a symbolic reminder of the third of these self-care tips for mental health that you have to show up for your self-care to make it a priority.

Self-Care Tips for Mental Health 3: Do Self-Care Intentionally

While self-care benefits from being a routine thing, it is important to differentiate between routine and mindless. It can become all-too-easy to slip into a self-care rut where your self-care becomes less meaningful.

A few of these self-care tips for mental health address this issue, but the best self-care tips for making your self-care meaningful center around doing it intentionally.

Doing something with intention means that you are doing it with a focus on what you would like to experience. If you are doing self-care as a means to check in with yourself, do something that will allow you to actually check-in.

All too often self-care becomes about escaping reality rather than enhancing reality. While we all need a break sometimes, checking out is only self-care when you need to check out. Otherwise, it can get in the way of taking the time to do what we really need.

Zoning out with social media or games can either be a great break from a busy day, or a major time-waster when what you really need is something much more restorative. If you are exhausted and just need to relax, are you going to feel more relaxed after 15 minutes on Facebook or after 15 minutes sitting outside experiencing your surroundings?

When you do self-care, it is helpful to ask yourself what you need. A mental break? Relaxation? Rejuvenation?

Figure it out, and then do something that will bring you what you actually need, not just what is the easiest or most accessible.

Self-Care Tip 4: Make it Special

Another way to avoid falling into a self-care rut is to make your self-care special. As with all good self-care tips, self-care is done best when it is truly reflective of the self.

The fourth of these self-care tips for mental health is to find a way to make your self-care more reflective of your self by bringing some of the things you find special into it. For me, that means scented candles, piano or kalimba music, and writing.

Each of those are things that I truly enjoy and that help me feel like I am doing something special–especially scented candles. There is just something about a tiny flickering flame and the scent of vanilla that makes me feel cozy and peaceful.

Figure out some things you can do with your self-care to make it special. You might use a blanket gifted to you by a loved one, or put one of your favorite quotes somewhere you can see it in the area where you do self-care.

Whatever you do, make it something special for you. Not only does this make your self-care more personal, but it also gives you something to look forward to every time you do self-care.

Photo of a butterfly, symbolic of the fourth of these self-care tips for mental health to make self-care special.

Self-Care Tip 5: Make it Comfortable

Similar to making your self-care special, making it comfortable can go a long way too. After all, the less comfortable your self-care is, the less likely you are to do it.

Out of all these mental health self-care tips, making your self-care comfortable might not be the most important one but it can really go a long way in helping you make it a priority.

As mentioned in the last self-care tip, bring a blanket to your self-care! Or a pillow! Do your self-care sitting or lying down, or standing up–whatever makes it more comfortable for you.

Wear your coziest socks and sweater, or your breeziest shirt and shorts. Knowing that you will be comfortable while you do your self-care adds to its appeal.

Making self-care comfortable does not have to be complicated either. You do not need to buy new clothes or furniture, just find a comfy place in your home or neighborhood to spend a little time and you are set.

Self-Care Tips for Mental Health 6: Unplug

While you are making your self-care special and comfy, leave your technology behind if you can. If you have to have your phone you have to have it–no judgment. There are plenty of valid reasons to need it, and you are the one who gets to decide whether you need it or not.

If you cannot leave your phone in another room, at least try to put it out of reach where you cannot see the screen. If you can leave it behind do, but if you cannot then out of sight is good enough.

The thing about technology is that it can be addictive. Not only that, but it can be demanding. All the best self-care tips for mental health just do not have much of a chance to work if you are going to interrupted by notifications every few seconds or minutes.

Another solution to needing constant access to your phone is to make your self-care short and simple. If you only do your self-care for 2-5 minutes, it is harder to rationalize needing to have your phone on you the whole time. (Again, ultimately it is up to you whether or not you need to have your phone with you.)

Being able to unplug helps increase your self-care’s effectiveness by increasing your ability to focus. It is a lot easier to be intentional about what you need and taking care of yourself if you can limit interruptions.

Photo of wildflowers, a reminder of sixth of the self-care tips for mental health to unplug.

Self-Care Tip 7: Find the Sun

It should be noted that it is perfectly alright to do your self-care inside. Being comfortable is generally more important than being outside when it comes to self-care.

However, if weather and temperature permit, getting outside can do you a lot of good when trying to clear your mind and gain some clarity. Changing your physical environment and scenery can help you change your internal thoughts and dialogue as well.

Going outside is also an excellent way to pull more of your senses into any grounding practice. Usually, there are more things to see, feel, and observe outside than inside. In addition, it is less of a controlled setting and so allows for a wider overall experience.

As far as self-care tips for mental health go, going outside may not be the most powerful one but it can absolutely be a game-changer. Sunlight alone can change and improve your mood.

Another point in favor of going outside is that doing so is not typically that difficult to accomplish. Making self-care easier is always going to make it more likely to happen, and self-care that happens is always better than self-care that does not happen.

Self-Care Tip 8: Be Your Own Best Friend

This tip is either going to be a total lightbulb moment for you or a no-duh moment. Use kind language when talking to yourself during self-care.

Using kind language when talking to yourself, in general, is a great idea, and also pretty difficult for a lot of people. If it does not come easily to you, practicing it during self-care is a wonderful way to start incorporating it into your life.

While some of the other self-care tips for mental health in this article are more functional, this one is more emotional. Negative self-talk is a great way to shut yourself down and make sure you do not pursue your needs or take the time to care for yourself.

Naturally, then, it is a huge factor in whether or not you do self-care, let alone how effective it is. While you do self-care, really strive to speak kindly to yourself. Treat yourself as you wish you had been treated as a child, with unconditional love, compassion, and understanding.

We all make mistakes, big and small, and we all need compassion and understanding to overcome those mistakes. The progress that is made as a result of beating ourselves down is progress that is too easily unraveled.

While practicing self-care, practice being kind toward yourself. Be your own best friend as much as possible during your self-care efforts.

Photo of friends in a meadow, a reminder to be your own best friend during your self-care practice.

Self-Care Tips for Mental Health 9: Incorporate Gratitude

Gratitude is a lovely way to make space for kindness toward yourself and your life. Things cannot be all bad and dreary if there is at least one thing to be grateful for. They might be mostly bad and dreary, but not all bad and dreary, and sometimes one bit of light can make all the difference.

An extra perk of gratitude is that it does not have to take very much time and can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. For example, your gratitude practice might just be reviewing things that went okay in your day before falling asleep. Or it might be writing down something you are grateful for and why in a notebook.

The thing with gratitude is that it gives your brain a respite from all the things it’s worrying about. Brains are wonderfully good at noticing the things that are going wrong–it is a protective action to keep us safe from harm. The problem is that all that focusing on things that go wrong does not lend itself toward noticing what is going right.

While noticing what is going right does not fix all the wrong, it does remind us that there are good things in the world. Of all the things that are important to remember, the fact that there are good and worthwhile things in our lives is one of the most important.

So do yourself a favor, and pull some element of gratitude practice into your self-care routine. Give yourself a leg up in being able to notice the good things that you experience and do.

Self-Care Tip 10: Give Yourself Options

The last of these self-care tips for mental health is to give yourself options. While it is important to establish a routine with self-care, that does not mean that you have to do the same thing every day.

As mentioned above, self-care is great for addressing any number of things. It can help with adding relief, wonder, satisfaction, rejuvenation, and relaxation into your life.

Some self-care practices can address more than one thing. For example, reading a good novel can increase my sense of relief and wonder at the same time. Knitting utilizes creativity to target both wonder and satisfaction.

If reading and knitting are not your cup of tea, figure out what is. What are some things you can do that will target different needs in your life?

Make a list of them, specifying which needs each action/activity targets. Keep this list easily accessible so that when you take the time to do self-care it is easy to choose something that will more specifically address whatever it is you need.

This will also help you avoid falling into the self-care rut–having options is always a great way to stay interested and engaged!

Photo of a flower bouquet to remind you that you can pick which tips to use like flowers in a bouquet.

In Conclusion

These 10 self-care tips for mental health are a great start to improving the quality of your self-care and tailoring it more specifically to you. Remember, you do not have to do every single one of these tips to be successful with self-care.

The most important self-care tips for mental health are to prioritize your self-care, do it intentionally, and be kind to yourself. If you can only choose one, I recommend kindness.

Please feel free to share in the comments if you have some different self-care tips for mental health that are not listed above. If your self-care tips are different than mine, that is great! It means that you have given it some thought and personalized it!

Best of luck on your self-care journey, and thank you for making Lighten the Dark part of it.


  1. I love the different elements that this article goes over in regards to self care. It is such an important topic, that gets simplified in a way that often makes it really unhelpful. This article really clarified to me things I can be doing better with taking care of myself in those self care moments. Thanks xx

  2. Very good post about the best self care tips for mental health. Highly informative. Nicely written. Keep up the good work.

  3. Good suggestions to follow for all who are stuck in modern day busy life. Even i have to follow many of these.

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