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Self-Care for Borderline Personality Disorder

Practice Good Self-Care and Reduce Your Symptoms


Updated June 11, 2014

Do you practice good self care? If you have borderline personality disorder (BPD), you may have a hard time taking good care of yourself. But, people with BPD have to make self-care a priority; many of the symptoms of BPD can be aggravated by poor self-care.

What Is Self-Care?

Do you engage in activities that promote good health and relaxation? These are the basics of self-care. Self-care is any activity that promotes your mental and physical health. Important self-care activities include: getting regular exercise, establishing good sleep habits, eating a nutritious diet, taking medications as prescribed, and managing stress in healthy ways.

Why Is Self-Care Important for People With BPD?

In general, people who take better care of themselves tend to have fewer physical and mental health problems, so self-care is important for everyone. But, self-care is particularly important for people with BPD. This is because many of the symptoms of BPD are much worse when you are not engaging in self-care.

For example, have you ever noticed that you tend to have much stronger emotional reactions when you are overtired? Or that you are more likely to engage in impulsive behaviors when you are under stress? Good self-care can help to reduce mood changes, impulsive behavior, and irritability, all hallmark symptoms of BPD.

Self-Care and Sleep: Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene

Sleep is one of the most important areas of self-care that many people overlook. Without sufficient, uninterrupted sleep, the symptoms of BPD can become much worse. Learn more about sleep hygiene and how to take good care of your sleep:

Self-Care and Diet: Nourishing Yourself

Diet is also incredibly important for people with BPD. Eating regular, balanced and nutritious meals, and avoiding overeating, can have a major impact on symptoms and mood. Learn more about how to improve your diet, and about eating disorders that frequently occur in people with BPD:

Self-Care and Exercise: Getting the Physical Activity You Need

The connection between our minds and our bodies is significant. This is why many scientists are now studying the impact of exercise on mental health, and why they are finding that exercise can have a dramatic impact on mental health.

People with BPD are less likely to take good care of their physical health, and more likely to have a variety of conditions that are related to a sedentary, or inactive, lifestyle. Learn more about the connection between BPD and physical health, and how to get active for better mental health:

Self-Care and Medications: Taking Your Medications As Prescribed

Some people do not think of medication habits as an area of self-care, but it is a critical one. Many people either forget to take their medications regularly, or take more than the prescribed dose. Others decide to make medication changes (either increases or decreases) without talking to their physician. Either way, not taking medication as prescribed is dangerous and unhealthy.

Self-Care and Stress: Learn To Manage Stress In Healthy Ways

Perhaps one of the most important ways to take care of yourself is to learn to manage stress. Stress is not always bad. In fact, studies show that we are at our peak mental health when we are under some, but not too much, stress. But, when stress starts to feel overwhelming, you will need skills to help you manage. Learn more about healthy ways to manage life’s stressors:


Chanen AM, Jovev M, Jackson HJ. “Adaptive Functioning and Psychiatric Symptoms in Adolescents with Borderline Personality Disorder.” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68:297-306, 2007.

Otto MW, Church TS, Craft LL, Smits JAJ, Trivedi MH, & Greer TL. "Exercise for Mood and Anxiety Disorders." Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68:669-676, 2007.

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