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Navigating self-care as a sex worker: Strategies for staying sane and safe

Self-care is a deeply personal topic, and there’s no one solution that fits everyone’s needs.

It’s easy to ignore self-care and keep living without it. However, it’s important for everyone to investigate self-care, find out what works for them, and start building healthy habits. Self-care practices will improve your well-being and confidence throughout your relationships and career.

Self-care is especially important for sex workers. If you’re currently neglecting this area of your life, this is your sign to stop and add some self-care to your diary. From mental well-being actions to working on your physical health, we have tips that’ll help all sex workers.

Ready to practise a little care? Scroll down to find out why sex workers should embrace self-care, how it can benefit you, helpful resources, and much more.

Why is self-care important for sex workers?

Self-care is all about taking action to improve your own health — mental or physical. Keeping yourself well is important, and sex workers should build time into their schedules to make sure their mental and physical wellness is good.

If sex workers neglect their own health, it might make working more difficult. It can also lead to feelings of depression and anxiety, as many feel overwhelmed without a steady self-care ritual. In summary, neglecting self-care can make day-to-day activities and work much tougher, as you’re not operating at your full potential.

To show up for friends, family, work, and yourself, it’s crucial to feel your best. And you can’t feel 100% without showing yourself some care.

man meditating at home

Unique challenges of self-care for sex workers

Though everyone in the world can benefit from some self-care, sex workers face different stressors and tasks on a daily basis. Self-care catered to the individual’s needs can help them overcome these and thrive.

Sex workers need to set professional boundaries more than other careers. Clients can become pushy or try to interrupt your personal life, so being clear about work hours is paramount for sex workers. This will save you time and stress in the long term, and clients will learn to respect your boundaries or leave.

This work comes with more physical demands than other jobs, so health-related self-care is especially important for sex workers. For some, this might look like regular exercise to stay in shape, but for others it could be an extravagant skincare routine for extra confidence. Getting regular tests is another way you can look after your physical health, especially while working.

It’s also important for sex workers to have mental self-care on hand in case a negative experience happens while working. All jobs have good and bad days, so having a self-care routine ready to go will help you process and de-stress from any negative experiences.

How can you practise self-care as a sex worker?

Generic self-care content isn’t always helpful – not everyone has time to do a complete yoga routine before work.

Here are the top benefits of self-care for sex workers, as suggested by other sex workers:

Block anyone that’s not worth your time

Let’s face it. Sometimes clients can be pushy, disrespectful, or timewasters. All sex workers will have experienced this at least once in their career, and it’s good to get into the habit of blocking any clients with bad vibes. This will save you a future headache, and you’ll be protecting your mental peace.

Take time to be “unsexy”

We all need to unplug from work, so spend some time just enjoying your own company without being sexy. For some, this could be time snuggled up watching Netflix, and for others this could be a seriously sweaty gym workout. Find an activity that’s not related to sex work and allow yourself to do it without guilt.

Digital detox time

Whether you notice it or not, social media isn’t always your best friend. From constant posts about body image to people giving their unsolicited opinion on sex work, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. When you step away from social media for a few hours, your brain will be able to unwind without extra opinions, leaving you more chilled out.

Many sex workers enjoy swapping their phones for a book, bath, or other “low-tech” alternative. Taking time to disconnect from social media has never been so important.

Be selective about client forums

Do you spend time lurking in client/review forums? This might not be the best place for your mental health. Often, these comments are not worth your time or energy, so it’s best to skip them in order to look after your mental well-being.

Get active

Getting active might be your worst nightmare, but it should be on your to-do list. From walking and jogging to rock climbing, there are thousands of ways to move your body and boost your mental and physical fitness. This activity doesn’t have to be intensive, just enough to get your blood flowing!

girl in leggings and top crouches with dumbbells at home

Creating a community of sex workers for self-care purposes

Alongside the great self-care tips above, you should also build a community of like-minded sex workers.

Sometimes you’ll want to vent your frustrations after a long day, and your non-sex worker friends might not understand — despite their best intentions. Connecting with other industry professionals opens the floor to frank work-related conversations that blow off some steam.

You’ll also be able to have honest chats about self-care rituals, career advice, and everything in between. Linking with other sex workers is invaluable for your mental and physical health! Community is an important aspect of life and it can help you and your career flourish.

The best self-care resources for sex workers

Sometimes you’ll need more practical self-care than going for a jog or watching your favourite series. Knowing sex worker-friendly resources is important for moments when you need some external assistance.

Here are some crucial resources all UK sex workers should know:

  • Have a self-care kit for high-volume periods. Sex work can be “feast or famine”, and if you’re going through a busy period, it’s helpful to have a self-care kit with nutritious food, hydration sources, and basic first aid supplies
  • Know basic breathing techniques. A lack of oxygen to the brain can make anxiety and stress much worse. Diaphragmatic breathing can help you relax and think clearly during busy periods
  • Read more sex worker self-care guides. There are hundreds of self-care guides with actionable advice for sex workers and reading through a handful of them will equip you with the knowledge you need to look after yourself. We recommend ‘Beyond the gaze
  • Talk to a professional. When it all gets too much, having a trusted professional on your side will help you work through your thoughts and make the right decisions for you. NUM provide a directory of UK sex work-friendly therapists here
  • In a crisis, talk to the NHS or healthcare professionals. Depending on the severity of your mental health, a doctor or emergency staff might be needed. The NHS provides the ‘111’ number for medical help, but any issues that put your health in immediate danger require ‘999’ or an A&E visit. You don’t have to disclose your job to begin with


At the end of the day, self-care looks different for everyone. You’ve got to figure out what exactly works for you and use these techniques as and when you need to. From chilled-out “unsexy” nights to having a deep conversation with a fellow sex worker, experiment with these self-care practices until you find one that fits.

What are your self-care tips? Did we miss anything important? Let us know for the next blog!

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