Counseling and Psychological Services

Utah State University Logo

Self Help/Self Care

What is Self Care?

Self care is a way of living that incorporates behaviors that help you refresh yourself, replenish your personal motivation, and grow as a person. It is a vital part of maintaining good health and a vibrant life. Building up a repertoire of reliable self care habits now can affect your quality of life today and in the future. You can begin building self-care into your lifestyle by setting a goal for yourself in each of the following areas.

Three Main Components of Self Care


Physical self care involves activities that improve your physical health, including diet and exercise. Moving your body is important, whether it is through structured sport or exercise, or through entertainment like dancing or going on a hike. Feed your body healthy foods with high nutritional value on a daily basis, and get plenty of sleep. Go to the doctor when you are sick, and get rest when you need it.


Mental/emotional self care involves practices that maintain your mental strength and emotional health. Developing reasonable expectations of yourself is an important part of mental and emotional health. Your goal should be to stretch yourself, not break yourself. Learning to be more accepting, kind, and forgiving of yourself can reduce stress and anxiety, and can create a generally more balanced lifestyle. You may need to remove some "shoulds" from your vocabulary, or say "no" to requests from time to time. Focus on improving and expanding your social supports, and create friendships with people who respect you and don't expect you to do all of the work to maintain the relationship. Do a variety of things for fun and stimulation each week.


Spiritual self care involves practices that exercise your mind and soul. Spirituality can be defined in many ways, and there are a variety of activities that can improve one's spiritual health. Some activities that may contribute to your spiritual self care include: prayer, meditation, attending services with like minded others, self exploration and clarifying your values and priorities, reading literature and initiating meaningful discussions with others, finding a way to contribute to the well being of others.

Isn't it Selfish to Put Myself First?

Taking care of your needs exists in a balanced, steady place on the middle of a continuum, with intense selfishness on one end, and extreme sacrificing what you need or want for others' sake on the other end. Nurturing oneself is a key factor in being able to maintain strength, resolve, motivation, and inner resources to continue to give to others. In fact, doing too much for others could deprive them of the opportunity to learn how to provide their own self care.

Self Help Resources

An important component to self care is utilizing resources that can assist you in understanding yourself better and improving your quality of life. Many people find that self help literature and web-based resources are highly informative and convenient to access. Common self help topics include: Anxiety, depression, stress and time management, eating and body image, addiction, substance abuse, trauma, coping with mental illness, assertiveness, sexual identity, grief, sleep issues, relationship problems, motivation, procrastination, perfectionism. Below is a list of recommended resources that you may find helpful in your own personal growth pursuits.

CAPS videos

The Joy of Depression a 1 hour workshop.

Stress Management and Wellness a 6 part workshop, each between 15 to 25 minutes long. The following brochure has been developed to help you practice the skills discussed on the video. Stress Management and Wellness Online Workshop Brochure

Web-based Self help Pamphlets and Brochures:

The following on-line brochures contain general information on a variety of mental health and related topics. The brochures were produced by a variety of agencies, many of which are not affiliated with Utah State University. As a result, the opinions expressed in the following brochures do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Utah State University or CAPS. For more information on where Utah State Students can obtain help for the issues described below, please call CAPS at 797-1012.

Self-help Brochures from University of Illinois Counseling Center

General Topics:

Specific Topics:

Self Help Literature:

Counseling and Psychological Services has a self help library available to students who are interested in checking out materials from our collection. If you would like to browse our library, drop by anytime during normal business hours (Mon-Fri, 8:00-5:00). We also encourage students to do your own research into self help literature that may be a good fit for you. Most bookstores have a substantial self help section both in-store and online.

Self Help Workshops:

Counseling and Psychological Services offers a variety of educational workshops throughout the academic year. If you are interested in learning more about our workshops, drop by to pick up a Workshop Brochure, (see Related links, right column) or call us during normal business hours (Mon-Fri, 8:00-5:00).