Reading Time: 2 minutes

What is Self Care?

  • What people do for themselves to establish and maintain health and to help prevent and treat illness
  • Broad concept that encompasses hygiene, nutrition, lifestyle, and socio-economic factors
  • Highly individualized
  • Health care workers often overlook this aspect


  • When a nurse promotes their own health, they are more likely to provide optimal care to others
  • Nurses are able to serve as role models by adhering to their own set of self care standards and health standards
  • Self care reduces compassion fatigue (often experienced by nurses who work in emotionally and physically exhausting environments)
  • Thoughtful self care practices can help to minimize the detrimental effects of stress by enhancing mood and boosting energy
  • By incorporating self care practices into the workplace (e.g. taking breaks) this can increase the nurses energy and concentration levels which may result in better patient care
  • Self care can lead to lowered stress which decreases turn over rates and increases job satisfaction


  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Personal hobbies (listening to the music, drawing/colouring, journaling)
  • Accessing workplace resources (counselling, recreation/fitness passes, using extended health benefits)
  • Limiting work hours to decrease burnout rate
  • Incorporating regular exercise outside of workplace
  • Consuming a balanced diet
  • Deep breathing exercises (meditation, yoga)
  • Stress reduction activities (taking a bath, cuddling pets, cooking, writing lists)
  • Stats

Do we practice what we preach?

A survey of 335 nurses regarding levels of physical activity, amount of time being sedentary and fruit and vegetable consumption concluded that Job satisfaction = Promotion of Self Care

Additionally, 80.1% of those interviewed spent at least 3 hours per day being sedentary.


Adimando, A. (2017). Preventing and Alleviating Compassion Fatigue Through Self-Care: An Educational Workshop for Nurses. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 36(4), 304–317. doi: 10.1177/0898010117721581 -International Self Care Foundation. (n.d.). What is self care?. Retrieved from -Ross et al. (2018) Nurses and health-promoting self-care: Do we practice what we preach? Journal of Nursing Management, 27(3), 599-608. Retrieved March 4, 2020. doi:10.1111/jonm/12718