HomeBlog Fact vs. Fiction: The Difference Between Self-Care and Basic Human Needs

Fact vs. Fiction: The Difference Between Self-Care and Basic Human Needs

August 6, 2023

Our National Wellness Month newsletter series is focused on raising awareness and promoting self-care practices. The series will consist of four articles, which will be released once a week throughout the month of August. Each article will cover different aspects of self-care, offering helpful tips and information to encourage readers to prioritize their overall wellness.

If you often find yourself putting your own needs on the back burner in order to take care of everyone and everything else around you, it’s easy to forget to prioritize your own needs. The good news is that more and more people are recognizing that they need to dedicate time and effort to their own needs, which means that the necessity for self-care is becoming more important than ever before. However, many people often find it hard to distinguish when something is a basic need and when it is crossing the territory into self-care. So where does self-care end and basic human needs begin? Here are the differences between self-care and basic human needs, plus how to incorporate both for a balanced approach to wellness.

Fiction: Self-care and basic human needs are basically the same thing.

Self-care can be defined as intentionally doing things that honor your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness. It is also sometimes defined as caring for yourself through awareness, self-control, and self-reliance, all in order to promote optimal health and well-being. [1] Meanwhile, basic human needs are all the things that you need to survive. This includes the basics like food, water, and shelter, but it can also involve psychological and social needs.

For example, taking care of your basic human need for sleep might look like making sure that you get enough sleep every night, which your brain and your body need to recover. On the other hand, self-care might involve investing in a better bed or pillow to help ensure that you’re comfortable and getting high-quality sleep every night. It’s important to differentiate between the two because many people often confuse taking care of their basic needs as indulging in self-care, which is not true, and very often downplays how important taking care of your basic needs on a regular basis actually is and vice versa.  

Fact: Both self-care and basic human needs are important for your holistic wellness.

There’s plenty of overlap between self-care and basic human needs. However, self-care goes beyond just survival. Practicing self-care means voluntarily doing things that enhance your quality of life while addressing your basic human needs is ensuring that you have what you need to be healthy. By taking care of both, you’re honoring all aspects of your wellness.

So how can you ensure you’re incorporating both into your life? Create a routine that makes room for both! Make time for all of those human necessities, like eating a healthy meal, carving out time for sleep, and exercising frequently, but also make time throughout your week for more indulgent but nonetheless important self-care practices that make your life better, like engaging in your hobbies, taking supplements, making time to meditate, and setting personal boundaries. We also recommend coming into our office for an hour of relaxation and replenish with our popular Vitamin C IV.

By making sure you’re prioritizing both your self-care and basic human needs, you’re giving your body and your mind all the tools they need to not only survive, but thrive.