This module will help you explore and understand:
- what self-care is and why it’s important
- basic self-care strategies
- how to create a self-care plan.
What is self-care?
Self-care means being mindful of our own needs to improve our own physical, mental and emotional health. Self-care can take many different forms, ranging from making sure we get enough sleep to getting some fresh air for a few minutes. We’ll explain some of the different types of self-care and how they can help you.
Why is self-care important?
Self-care is particularly important when working through the information on this website. This work can be difficult, especially when feeling other strong emotions like anxiety or fear about the future. Making sure we find time for self-care can help us deal with the challenges we face in a positive way.
We also suggest doing this work in a way that feels emotionally and psychologically safe. This might mean involving a trusted family member, friend, or professional, so you don’t feel isolated and have someone to discuss the information with.
Regularly using strategies like breathing techniques, grounding, mindfulness, and self-compassion can help us to cope with difficult emotions, thoughts, and situations.
Self-care is important in helping you move away from risky and illegal behaviour. When people feel happy and content, they are far less likely to offend or re-offend. People often tell us that when they offended, their relationships with themselves and other people are strained. Focusing on self-care can help us to see ourselves in a more positive light and this can help to improve our relationships with others.
Please complete the following wellbeing assessment that will ask about your physical, social, mental, spiritual and emotional self-care.
Understanding your self-care score
- 0-10: your score suggests self-care hasn’t been important to you. A good starting point would be focusing on healthy eating, daily exercise (a 10-minute walk counts), and a healthy sleep routine.
- 11-30: you’re engaging in some self-care behaviours but there’s room for improvement. Begin working on recognising the importance of self-care and try to factor it into your daily life.
- 31-40: it sounds like you’re consciously incorporating self-care into your daily life. Perhaps there is one particular area that is low scoring where you could focus your attention.
- 41-50: self-care must be important to you and an area that you consciously give attention to. Keep prioritising it. Read the strategies below to see if there’s anything you could add to what you are already doing.
Some self-care strategies are straightforward and easy to use on a daily basis, and others need more practice and attention but are hugely worthwhile.
It might help you to complete a self-care plan. There isn’t a one size fits all for this and will need to be tailored to meet your own needs. Think about what is going on in your life and which areas would benefit from attention and self-care – the scores that you gave for each of the sections above will help you.
Use the table below to set some goals to improve your self-care. You don’t need to have goals in all sections, particularly if the section is already high-scoring.
|Area of your life||Goal|
There are many strategies that can be helpful when feeling anxious, stressed discomfort, or emotional distress. Below are some examples and how to do them. Some strategies will be more effective than others for each person, and it is about finding out which works for you.
Click the below to find out more.
Using self-care strategies
Having thought about, and hopefully practiced, some of the self-care techniques, think about what you can add to your self-care plan. Using the original template, consider what other techniques and resources will be helpful for you, and add these to the bottom two rows of your plan.
|Area of your life||Goal|
|Self-care techniques that work for me|
- Anxiety UK offers advice and support for people living with anxiety.
- B-eat provides information and support for people affected by eating disorders.
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) supports men’s mental health.
- FRANK provides confidential drug advice and information.
- Hearing Voices Network runs an online forum and local groups across the country.
- Mind Out offers mental health advice and support for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+.
- No Panic offers help and advice about anxiety disorders, including a helpline and recovery groups.
- OCD Action gives support and information to anybody affected by OCD, including POCD.
- StudentMinds supports students with their mental health.
- YoungMinds supports children and young people with their mental health.
Most people say that good quality sleep is important to their general sense of well-being.
Many people who have problems related to fantasies about children, sexual preoccupation and problematic pornography use say that these difficulties can be especially tough at night, often disrupting their sleep.
Problematic sexual fantasies may be more readily triggered in the bedroom, last thing at night, if this has become your routine.
Tips to help you sleep
Following routines and practices can help good quality sleep. This is sometimes called ‘sleep hygiene’. Here are some things to try.
- Stick to a regular pattern by aiming to wake up and go to bed at the same times every day of the week. Some people choose to stay up and wake much later during the weekends, which tends to disrupt the sleep pattern into the following week.
- Avoid daytime napping. If you do nap, it is best to avoid napping for longer than 30 minutes.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and food consumption too close to bedtime. Tea, coffee, colas drinks and chocolate with caffeine can disrupt sleep if consumed in the evening.
- Regular exercise can help you sleep well.
- Daily exposure to natural light helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
- Use your bed for sleep, rather than as a place to read, watch TV, listen to the radio, or use your phone, laptop or tablet. That way, the bed becomes associated with sleep rather than with these other activities.
- Think about whether your bedroom might be making it harder for you to sleep, for example, temperature, uncomfortable bed, inadequate curtains or blinds).
- Try to avoid mentally engaging in activities close to bedtime. It can take some time for the mind to switch off and if you are feeling alert you are less likely to fall asleep.
It might take some time before the positive changes you make to your sleep routines take effect. If you regularly find you are having problems with your sleep-wake cycles or are feeling sleepy during the daytime, you should take advice from your GP.
- how has your understanding of self-care improved since you began this module?
- has this module motivated you to find out more about self-care strategies?
- how committed are you to your self-care plan?
Self-care is an important element in your journey to understanding your risky online behaviour and moving away from it, towards a better future. Investing time in self-care will enable you to feel more resilient when undertaking the upcoming modules. We would encourage you to factor in self-care after each session of working through these self-help modules.
Talk to us if you need support
The experienced advisors on our confidential helpline can support you if you want to discuss anything covered in this module, have struggled when working through it, or want to go through the information with a practitioner to guide you. You can stay anonymous and don’t have to give your real name, location, or any contact details. If you’re not ready to speak to anyone yet, you can also use our live chat or send a secure email.