6 Free Printable Self Care Quotes

We often have so many demands in our busy lives that self-care rarely becomes a priority. But as I have learned the hard way, this is short-sighted. In fact, self-care can make or break us in the long run.

To help you stay inspired when you feel too overwhelmed to take self-care seriously, I put together these 6 printable self-care quotes along with some background info on each one.

You can write your favorite in your daily planner or journal so you’ll see a self-care reminder each day.

A high-quality printable pdf version of these quotes is available to my newsletter subscribers.

If you’d like a copy for yourself so you can print and frame your favorite quotes, simply sign up below and I’ll send it to your inbox:

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"You can't give what you don't have."

“You can’t give what you don’t have.”

-Paraphrased from Lorne Ladner, The Lost Art of Compassion

This first of these 6 printable self-care quotes was so transformative for my life. You can find it in many places and books, but the first version I ever found was in the “Lost Art of Compassion” by Lorne Ladner (click to read reviews of this book that changed my life on Amazon):

“You cannot give others what you don’t have yourself.”

When I first encountered this idea, I was exhausted and burnt out from being a caretaker of others while ignoring my own needs for years.

I felt the weight of the world’s problems on my shoulders yet had no energy left to do anything about it. It was a recipe for clinical depression, to say the least.

But Ladner made it clear to me: I could regain the passion that would propel me into effortless action to help others, but I had to focus on myself first.

If I wanted to practice compassion through good deeds for others in a sustainable way, I needed to develop it in my heart and mind. Otherwise, practicing compassion just leads to burnout.

And how do you develop compassion in your heart and mind? Through self-care acts such as meditation that will give you peace of mind and energy so you can care easily for others.

You cannot pour from an empty cup.

“You cannot pour from an empty cup.”


This quote has a similar message as the previous one. If you are drained of energy or compassion, you can’t give others what they often need the most from you: your mindful attention.

When you take time to recharge, you can take on the day with new energy and motivation and impact the lives of others in more powerful ways.

"Self-care is not self-indulgence. Self-care is self-preservation."

“Self-care is not self-indulgence. Self-care is self-preservation.”

-Paraphrased from Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light: and Other Essays

This is an adaption of something Audre Lorde wrote in “A Burst of Light: and Other Essays. She stated, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.ā€

To fully understand this quote, it helps to know that Lorde was an African-American lesbian writer and mother involved in the feminist and civil rights movements. She was also dealing with cancer when she wrote those words.

The system we live under was not created for the interests or survival of marginalized people like Audre Lorde. They are merely cogs in the machine — and the machine was made to benefit those who rule it.

The system isn’t going to prioritize the care of marginalized people: minorities, women, or the disabled. Therefore, to survive, thrive, and do the hard work of transforming this world into a place that will serve them too (because let’s be honest, no one will do it for us), marginalized people need to prioritize self-care.

"Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what's left of you."

“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.”

-Katie Reed

This is a popular quote from writer and mental health advocate, Katie Reed. It is another reminder that self-care is actually the opposite of selfishness. It’s a key component of doing selfless things well.

So if you’re one of the many, many women who struggle with feelings of guilt over self-care, print this out and look at it daily until you get over it.

"You've gotta nourish to flourish."

“You’ve gotta nourish to flourish.”


This is another popular self-care quote without an origin that I can pin down. It’s pretty easy to understand. Like any living thing, you need nourishment to thrive.

You want to grow as a human being or just adult more effortlessly? You gotta nourish your body, mind, and soul regularly like you would anything else that’s developing into something bigger and better.

“Pause. Breath. Be gentle to you.”


I had a hard time finding a short phrase that would fit into this design I wanted to use. So I made one up. šŸ™‚

These words are the best advice I have for anyone who needs to sneak self-care into a busy day.

Just pick an anchor activity like hitting a traffic light, using the bathroom, or checking your email. Commit to taking a moment to repeat this phase in your mind when you encounter that activity in the day.

Then do the steps:

  1. Pause. Stop thinking for a moment. Let all your worries go for just a few seconds.
  2. Breath. Take a few slow exhales. Or simply sigh. This works better to activate a calm nervous system response than taking in a big breath first.
  3. Be gentle to you. Give yourself some grace, tell yourself an affirmation, or think of something you are proud that you did today. Life is going to be hard enough on you. You don’t have to help it.

Want to remember this? Pin this to your favorite Pinterest board so you can find it later!

Heather McClure

I've been a freelance writer for over a decade, specializing in the spa, wellness, and beauty niches. I've also worked professionally for years in a brick and mortar business in the spa industry. I geek out on researching wellness and beauty topics and love sharing this knowledge with other women.

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