Borwn bear with enrichment shaped like red tulips

Self-Care Like a Bear

Our rescued bears can be an inspiration for your own self-care routine


In today’s stressful world, self-care is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Proper care is also a crucial aspect of providing for the animals at our sanctuaries, and it occurred to us that many of the physical, social, emotional, and mental needs we strive to meet for our animals could act as inspiration for our own self-care routine. In particular, our bears are the masters of relaxation, so here are some tips to implement self-care like a bear!

Physical Needs

Spend time in Nature

Our animals live in a natural environment with dirt, grass, trees, and water where they have space to roam and express their natural behaviors. Spending time in nature is also a great way to boost your physical and mental health!


Whether engaging in aerobic exercise or some gentle, yoga-esque stretching, our bears display the importance of physical activity, and they are given the freedom to run, climb, swim, stretch, and roam as they please. Take inspiration from our bears and try to find a bit of time every day to move your body in the way that feels right to you.

Medical Care

The animals are provided with expert medical treatment from our amazing veterinarians and caretaker team, and each animal has an individual care plan that is designed for their needs. For humans too, proper medical care is crucial. Ideally, if you have access to medical care, it is important to not only think about one’s health when something feels wrong with your body, but to engage in preventative medicine which will keep your body healthy for years to come.

Balanced Diet

Our caretakers ensure that all our animals are provided with a balanced diet, which keeps them healthy and happy. In addition to eating foods with lots of nutrients, we ensure that the animals get an opportunity to try new foods and enjoy their favorite treats! Bears are quite healthy eaters, preferring foods such as fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Some of their favorites include: apples, pears, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, seasonal pumpkins, dried fruit such as golden raisins, lettuce & salad greens, potatoes, cauliflower, beet root, kohlrabi, leek, fennel, grapes, melon, plums, bananas, peaches, tangerines, berries (particularly strawberries), nuts (especially walnuts), almond butter, honey, and mushrooms.  

Want to eat like a bear? Try out this recipe for bear-y  tartare, which vegan Chef Priyanka created especially for our March Napness winner, bear Dushi!

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

Mental Needs

Keeping one’s mind engaged is another important aspect of wellbeing--both for animals and for people!

Enrichments are created for our bears which occupy their mind and bring out their natural instincts. Many of the enrichments encourage the animals to forage as they would in the wild and to problem-solve in order to gain access to special treats.

For some people, one’s working or studying environment provides mental stimulation, while others  might find that hobbies such as reading, practicing an instrument, creating art, or playing with puzzles and games can be a great way to keep your mind sharp!

Social Needs

Social Needs

Some animals enjoy living with their family or peers, while others prefer to go it alone. Our caretakers take the time to learn each individual’s personality, and if an animal shows interest in having a companion, we carefully find the right match and slowly introduce the animals to each other.

Bears Lena and Andri from Bear Sanctuary Prishtina in Kosovo are two such bears who were introduced to one another and are now inseparable.

Before their rescue, siblings Sam and Jamila were kept in separate, small enclosures at a zoo in Macedonia, and since moving to Arosa Bear Sanctuary in Switzerland, they have been reunited and enjoy sharing their home in the Swiss mountains.

Other bears like Brumca from BEAR SANCTUARY Arbesbach prefer to live alone and have large enclosures all to themselves!

Whether you are a social butterfly-bear or a lone wolf-bear, be sure to find time to meet your own social needs and reenergize after a long day!

Emotional Needs

Relaxation and Rest

Bears are expert nappers--in addition to entering into torpor and sleeping from late fall to early spring, our bears enjoy finding a spot in the shade or the sun to catch some R&R! Take a note from our bears and work some relaxation time into your busy schedule!

Want to learn more about our expert bear nappers? Read about our annual March Napness competition!


What is life without a little fun? Our bears are great at finding ways to amuse themselves, and they look like they are having a great time. So go ahead and play like no one is watching and let your bear-soul shine!

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