What does self-care mean to you? 10 real self-care ideas from busy people


by Baylor Scott & White Health

Apr 12, 2024

There’s so much talk about self-care these days, and rightfully so. We could all use a little more time to relax and recharge in our busy, go-go-go lives. But for many, the concept of self-care seems like a distant luxury reserved for those with ample time and resources.

The truth is, prioritizing self-care is not a luxury—it’s a necessity for our overall well-being.

Self-care is about nurturing yourself so you can show up fully in every aspect of your life. It can be anything that positively impacts your mental, emotional and physical health. The more you pour into yourself, the more you’ll be able to pour into what matters most to you, whether that’s your work, your family, your health or your hobbies.

So, what does self-care look like, really? It’s one thing to talk about making time for self-care and another thing entirely to put it into practice.

For inspiration, we turned to our experts—our own doctors, nurses and staff—to see how they make self-care a priority in their busy days. Here’s what they said.

1. Stay grounded

“Self-care for me is multi-faceted. I use my family (especially my wife) to help me remain grounded and focused on what is really important. I am also very diligent about exercising every day. That gives me time each morning to prioritize what I need to accomplish that day so I can start the day with clear purpose.” 

- Michael N Sills, MD, MHA, FACC, FASE, RPVI, cardiologist on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center

2. Get outside

“Self-care for me is anything I can do outdoors. I try to include running, walking, swimming and biking as self-care to take a few minutes of quiet time regularly. I also enjoy reading books as often as possible.”

- Anne Marie Eschberger, MD, family medicine physician on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Bryan West Villa Maria Road

3. Be intentional

“My new word for the year was ‘intentional.’ I am trying to be intentional with all that I do and that includes self-care. There are a few things I try to do for this:

  • I try to walk at lunch a couple of times per week or walk with my husband in the evenings.
  • I treat myself monthly to something relaxing (like a massage or facial).
  • I take mini trips with my husband in our camper. It may not be monthly, but we try to get away to unwind and try not to think about work. (It’s hard!)”

- Kim Ewton, BSN, RN, CBN, weight loss clinic manager at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Grapevine

4. Fuel your body

“For my physical health, I do my best to eat a well-balanced diet with at least six cups of vegetables per day and exercise regularly with both cardio and strength training. For my mental health, I designate specific times where I will work and make sure I take one hour per day to do something I enjoy.”

- Laura Salazar, MD, FACP, internal medicine physician on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Bee Cave

5. Practice gratitude

"Prioritizing self-care is something I try to accomplish on a daily basis. It's not always easy to do when you have many responsibilities that require your time and energy. However, I notice when I do make self-care happen, everything else seems easier and more manageable.

Obviously, self-care looks different for everybody. For me, self-care involves prayer and reading from the Bible, exercise to relieve stress and boost my mood, being mindful of my schedule so I am not overloading myself with too many commitments, and journaling. I keep two journals. One is a gratitude journal and the other is a journal to process my feelings. I find if I can understand what I am feeling a little bit better, I feel less stressed. "

- Lisa Marsh, MS RD LD, clinical dietitian with Baylor Scott & White Signature Medicine and Baylor Scott & White Personal Edge

6. Remember to rest and laugh

“Self-care, to me, is multi-faceted. Self-care includes eating healthy foods, allowing for rest periods, laughing and establishing firm boundaries to preserve my mental health.”

- Eron Flemens RN BSN OCN, oncology nurse navigator at Baylor University Medical Center

7. Take time to reflect

"A healthy work-life balance is an exceedingly important aspect of self-care that should not be overlooked. The evidence on burnout syndrome is more apparent than ever, and it is essential to take time outside of a busy day and reflect on family and friends to stay centered and grounded."

- Jesse C. Cooper, DC, senior staff chiropractor at Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Round Rock 300 University

8. Aim for balance

“Balance. A good mixture of rewarding work as a surgeon, both in performing surgeries for patients and research, and time with my family exercising, traveling and enjoying new experiences together.” 

- Loannis Avramis, MD, orthopedic surgeon and director of the Baylor Scott & White Spine and Scoliosis Center at Baylor University Medical Center

9. Try new things

"I was never raised to be athletic. In fact, a few years ago, I struggled to run a mile. As I learned more about the importance of caring for myself, I trained myself to become a runner. I can now run 5ks and 10ks—something that seemed like an impossible feat to me just a few years ago. Running has been transformative to my physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being".

- Anandita Kulkarni, MD, FACC, cardiologist and medical director of cardiovascular disease prevention and cardio-obstetrics at Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano

10. Find joy in each day

“I do have to say that I have the best job in the world, and taking care of patients is the greatest privilege that I know of. Each and every patient has a story and a journey. Being a part of that, trying my best to help them is what brings much joy to my heart.”

- Joel Wells, MD, orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Hip Preservation Center – McKinney

What does self-care look like to you?

The point is, self-care is what you make it, and it looks different for everyone. So, what about you? Think about how you can infuse your day or week with a little bit of “you time.” Just a few minutes can make all the difference.

If you’re not sure where to start or feel like you don’t have the time, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your spouse, partner, friends or family about how they can lean in so you can take the time you need to recharge and show up fully in your life.

For more wellness tips and advice, subscribe to our weekly Scrubbing In newsletter.

We make it easy.

Healthcare doesn't have to be difficult. We're constantly finding ways to make it easy so that you can get Better and stay that way.

Better tools make it easier

We all have different healthcare needs. Handle them your way with the MyBSWHealth app. Download the app today and take a hands-on approach to your healthcare.

Text Better to 88408