Self-care represents an individual’s actions to ensure their healthy and sustainable functioning. Knowing what self-care actions are needed is as important as the many practical self-care skills. Also, without the capacity for ‘mindfulness’, or simply ‘noticing’ what is needed, self-care becomes more difficult for a young person. For example, when a person’s mind is completely consumed with anxiety about the future and feelings of being overwhelmed, they are unable to notice if they are hungry, tired or even lonely. A failure to address these basic needs can be risk factors for relapse into substance use and mental health issues, and interfere in a person’s progress towards their goals.

Effective management of substance use and one's mental health is vital for self-care. Other individual areas of self-care which may be considered are:

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Stress management
  • Social connection
  • Money management / budgeting
  • Primary health (preventative & health-literacy)

Where young people have very established patterns of self-neglect, it may be necessary to work with them on any underlying schemas or unhelpful beliefs that work against them investing in their own self-care and sustaining necessary behaviours.