I have bipolar disorder. Even though I have bipolar 1, I tend to be much more on the depressive side, at least for the past several years. I have found that I actually thrive in a busy stressful environment because it get's me out of me head. I have no time to ponder my troubles, I become at one with my task. And after a crazy day, I feel the buzz of the adrenalin lifting me up. But I have found, especially recently that when I'm not working is when I feel terrible and start to feel the depression engulfing me. What do I do? I post of forums like this. I don't judge myself and I don't think of myself as different than everyone else.
In fact, I am motivated to overcome things by not thinking that I am different from others, for better or for worse. I think that is important. I think some people set the bar too low. I remember one terrible shrink I had while in the hospital say to me in a case conference "you will never be like us". And what she meant was that I would always be sick and dependent and there was no getting better. Well I thought that was a bunch of crap. So I went back to school and finished up and then went to nursing school (graduating at the top of my class) and now working as a nurse, I'm good at what I do. In a way her comment helped me get better, to prove I am not sick and weak.
For me self care involves exercise, eating a good diet, and sleeping enough. I do this in a large part for my physical health too. Trying to talk to others and keep up my friendships helps me with my mental health. Recently, I've tried to have more gratitude for what I have in my life and that even though I have a psychiatric condition, I have a healthy body with all my faculties and I have financial stability and I am someone who people like. I am doing good for people.
I still have dark moments though, but I am surviving.