Everyone can practice self-care in their own way, adapting tools to suit our interests and abilities. Read about different self-care techniques and how you can include these things into your life.

Female PBC patient walking her dog by the side of a picturesque river.

What is Self-care?

Self-care and self-management are umbrella terms for a number of different techniques used by people to obtain the best they can for their own life and health, irrespective of circumstances. It is not an act of selfishness, but one of self-compassion and in really simple terms: active self-care is making the best possible decision for you right now, one decision at a time.

Explore Symptom Management, Appointment Preparation, and the Patient/Clinician Partnership.

Self Awareness

We need to know where we are before we can make the best decision for ourselves. Are we tired? Are we hungry? Are we in an emotional state?

By knowing how we are, and where we are, we are starting to gain the first nuggets of information that will improve our decisions. We need to be honest with ourselves about how we feel and how our behaviour feeds that.

Right now, are you making the best possible decision for yourself? (That could be thoughts, language, behaviour, medications, food, exercise, relationships, etc, to name but a few aspects.) If so, that’s great!! Continue as you are. But if not, then let us start to look at what we can do differently.

Our self-care section is divided into how we feel, what we think, and what we do. Each of these aspects has a direct influence upon the other two; by taking an active control of our emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing, we can improve our quality of life.

How much and how often we feel certain moods, and how they affect us is down to a combination of personality, experience, what is happening around us, brain chemistry and perception.

We each can learn to treat low mood just like any other symptom. Strategies that prevent the situation getting worse are often the best ways of coping with such symptoms and of improving quality of life.

It has been said in many ways, in almost all cultures and/or religions: We are what we think. The quality of our thoughts has an enormous effect on our feelings and our quality of life. Remember to be kind to yourself and treat yourself as you would your best friend.

We can learn intelligent patterns of behaviour that help us manage our symptoms, our lifestyle, and be proactive and informed patients. Looking at PBC holistically is the best use of our limited time and energy. What helps one symptom will often benefit another.

Symptom Management

Whilst it is important to discuss your symptoms and available treatments with your clinician, there are also self-care practices that can offer some relief.


Often the biggest single factor that we have control over is our lifestyle. From conferences to self-management sessions in many places around the world, we have been told that taking more control of lifestyle choices has led to improved self-management which then leads to increased quality of life.

The good feeling of learning to be positive is wonderful. It raises my spirits no end. I feel less tired and lethargic and no longer feel inadequate and zombie-like. It really is good to be my old self again. PBC Foundation Service User, Lincoln


Medical appointments are a vital part of your PBC journey and an opportunity to play an active role in your care. They are a chance to discuss your PBC, your symptoms and treatments; how it is affects your life; and to raise concerns and ask questions. Time is often limited so we believe it is best to be informed and prepared beforehand.

There are countless people, with or without PBC, who have used the Foundation’s services and are in a much, much better place right now because they have incorporated these ideas into their daily routine. From our website content, through written pieces such as here or in the Bear Facts or experiencing our webinars (either directly or online), to attending our self-care sessions, they have accessed the information they needed, to encourage and inspire them to make better decisions for themselves. For more information on self-care, members can download the PBC Foundation Compendium, Self-care App, or join one of self-care events. Details of upcoming online self-care sessions, and local workshops can be found in our events section.

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