“In case of the loss of cabin pressure, put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.”
If you fly on commercial planes, you’ve heard this statement from a flight attendant many times, instructing you to take care of yourself and prioritize your safety first so you have the ability to help someone else.
This is necessary for survival on a flight, but it’s also an essential activity for daily life — practice self-care first.
It sounds nice, but in reality, it’s difficult to follow through on a self-care routine.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is not the same thing as self-pampering or self-indulgence, and it doesn’t have to cost anything.
It’s not about living like royalty or surrendering to every selfish impulse.
It’s about knowing your worth and giving your mind, body, and spirit what they need in order to thrive.
And it’s about choosing to take action for your own good every day.
The purpose of self-care is to restore your energy — not take away from it. It’s not meant to deplete your bank account or add debt to your list of things to stress about.
- What Is Self-Care?
- Self-Care Examples
- Why Do You Need a Self-Care List?
- 85+ Self-Care Ideas to Improve Your Well-Being
- 1. Let go of perfectionism.
- 2. Reassess your priorities.
- 3. Amend your diet.
- 4. Practice 10 minutes of exercise daily.
- 5. Practice meditation.
- 6. Take a daily walk.
- 7. Prepare and eat a meal mindfully.
- 8. Enjoy a quiet cup of tea.
- 9. Get a monthly massage.
- 10. Give yourself a digital detox.
- 11. Read a novel.
- 12. Create a bath ritual.
- 13. Purge toxic people.
- 14. Create and enforce boundaries.
- 15. Define your values.
- 16. Communicate your emotional needs.
- 17. Go to a movie by yourself.
- 18. Test drive a sports car.
- 19. Have frequent good chats with yourself.
- 20. Donate your old stuff.
- 21. Seek out your passion.
- 22. Catch up on doctor’s appointments.
- 23. Practice good sleep hygiene.
- 24. Get a babysitter.
- 25. Prepare the night before.
- 26. Get your car cleaned.
- 27. Hire a housekeeper.
- 28. Go to a life coach.
- 29. Delegate.
- 30. Buy the shoes.
- 31. Get a manicure and pedicure.
- 32. Take a 20-minute power nap.
- 33. Make peace with your flaws.
- 34. Help someone else.
- 35. Use essential oils and aromatherapy.
- 36. Listen to inspiring podcasts.
- 37. Cuddle.
- 38. Take a yoga class.
- 39. Learn to say “no.”
- 40. Dial back your expectations.
- 41. Ask a friend for support.
- 42. Drink more water.
- 43. Cut back on alcohol.
- 44. Take up a creative hobby.
- 45. Adopt a pet.
- 46. Journal.
- 47. Cancel plans when you feel bad.
- 48. Deal with your baggage.
- 49. Work on your personal growth.
- 50. Meet new people.
- 51. Practice morning reflection.
- 52. Practice evening reflection.
- 53. Go to the beach or mountains.
- 54. Take time out to breathe.
- 55. Have playtime with kids or pets.
- 56. Enjoy 15 minutes of sunshine.
- 57. Choose healthy selective eating.
- 58. Do one relaxing thing.
- 59. Engage in complimentary self-talk.
- 60. Moisturize your skin.
- 61. Relax your eyes with palming.
- 62. Practice self-soothing.
- 63. Enjoy big laughter.
- 64. Enjoy music.
- 65. Declutter your closet.
- 66. Unplug from the noise.
- 67. Stretch your muscles.
- 68. Practice kindness to others.
- 69. Celebrate your wins.
- 70. Get positive feedback.
- 71. Exercise your superpower.
- 72. Fast from the news.
- 73. Find a good counselor.
- 74. Write a letter.
- 75. Order dinner in.
- 76. Go to a bookstore.
- 77. Go swimming.
- 78. Do some baking.
- 79. Sleep late.
- 80. Take up a hand craft project.
- 81. Try daily dry brushing.
- 82. Plant a garden or a tree.
- 83. Make love.
- 84. Practice tai chi.
- 85. Pray daily.
- [Bonus] Fun Self-Care Ideas
What are some self-care ideas that can make a real difference in your health and well-being?
Whether you’re most interested in daily self-care practice or new self-care ideas, the tips that follow will help you thrive throughout the day and inspire others to do the same.
Here are some quick examples of self-care you can take daily to treat yourself better:
- Practice good sleep hygiene.
- Hydrate throughout the day.
- Take time for meditation or prayer.
- Spend time in nature daily.
- Take a break from draining people.
- Incorporate fitness into your daily schedule.
Why Do You Need a Self-Care List?
Like most of us, you probably hit the ground running when the alarm clock rings.
Whether it’s tending to kids, racing off to work, or going to school, your day starts early and is filled to the brim with tasks and obligations.
Your digital devices keep you plugged in and distracted, worrying that you are missing something important and dragging you into a vortex of information overload.
In Western culture, we equate our self-worth to productivity and hard work.
Many of us (women in particular) feel we are being self-centered if we don’t put the needs of others ahead of our own all the time.
But all of this productivity, multi-tasking, and people-pleasing comes at a cost –your mental and physical health.
Not only do you jeopardize your health, but also you miss out on the joys of fully experiencing life. That’s where the following self-care ideas for women and men can help.
85+ Self-Care Ideas to Improve Your Well-Being
It’s easy to read through this list and nod your head in agreement. The harder part is taking action. We know life can prevent you from adopting all of these suggestions, but find a couple that you can embrace as part of a daily routine.
1. Let go of perfectionism.
It’s hard to take care of yourself when you set your standards impossibly high. You will never be satisfied and will feel you must work harder and harder to reach your perceived definition of perfect.
You’ll never reach that, so let it go. Allow yourself to be perfectly imperfect.
2. Reassess your priorities.
When you are so busy and distracted, everything seems like a priority. You’re just spinning your wheels trying to get it all done.
Just stop for an hour, and contemplate what is most important today, this week, this month, and in your life in general.
Where are you spending time that isn’t really contributing to your personal list of priorities?
3. Amend your diet.
What you eat makes such a difference in how you feel about yourself physically and mentally. What is one small change you can make in your diet to improve it?
Trying dropping one bad item from your diet and replacing it with one good item (like a fruit or vegetable).
4. Practice 10 minutes of exercise daily.
Taking at least a few minutes a day to get your blood pumping helps clear your head.
Also since there’s a correlation between leg strength (in particular) and brain function, it makes sense to prioritize daily strength training.
You don’t have to commit to twenty or even ten minutes a day of strength training.
A five-minute routine that hits all your major muscle groups can make a big difference in your metabolism, your mental clarity, and your overall health.
Just make sure you choose an exercise that fits you, whether it’s yoga at home, weight-training at a gym, rebounding, or a small, local spin class.
The more you enjoy it, the more likely you’ll stick with it.
Did I forget to mention that slow, focused movement in strength training helps you calm down and boosts your mood — especially when you practice mindfulness throughout each movement?
5. Practice meditation.
Meditation is one of the best self-care routines you can practice. It reduces stress and anxiety, improves memory, decreases pain, and improves your sleep. You can learn the steps to a meditation practice in this video.
Find a comfortable place to sit or even lie down (unless you’ll fall asleep), and give yourself permission to be still and meditate on something — whether it’s a passage from a book you’re reading, a phrase that’s full of meaning for you, or a question you’re asking and want the answer to.
6. Take a daily walk.
Get out in nature, somewhere quiet and peaceful, and take a long walk. Listen to the sounds, watch the sky, smell the grass. Being in nature soothes your soul and helps you process your thoughts and feelings.
7. Prepare and eat a meal mindfully.
One of the unfortunate consequences of our busy lives is the slow disappearance of the family mealtime.
We’ve become dependent on meals on-the-go and fast food, rarely taking the time to savor what we eat, much less the food preparation. Make the choice to prepare and eat a meal mindfully, at least once a week.
8. Enjoy a quiet cup of tea.
Make yourself your favorite cup of tea and curl up in a comfy chair to enjoy it without any other distractions.
9. Get a monthly massage.
A massage is amazingly therapeutic both physically and emotionally. The massage therapist can work out all of the built-up tension in your body, which in turn allows you to release any stored emotional pain or anxiety. Why not put this on your list for a self-care weekend!
10. Give yourself a digital detox.
Turn off all of your digital devices for an hour, a day, or even a week. The world won’t end. But you’ll regain some of your sanity.
11. Read a novel.
Read something just for the pure pleasure of reading. Or listen to an audiobook if that’s your preferred way of consuming a great book.
12. Create a bath ritual.
Here is a fun self-care activity. Fill the tub with water and add bath salts. Dim the lights and light some candles. Put on soothing music. Grab a glass of wine or a cup of tea, and slip in the tub. Ahhhhh.
13. Purge toxic people.
Are there people in your life who are draining your energy and creating stress? Are you doing all of the work to maintain the relationship with little in return? Back off from toxic people who drag you down and make you feel bad.
14. Create and enforce boundaries.
Don’t allow the people around you, especially those you love, to take advantage of you or cross your personal boundaries.
Sometimes, for everyone’s sake, you have to say “No.” Whether it’s another family get-together or a parent-teacher conference on the evening of a very long day, you are allowed to say, “No, I’m not doing that.”
You can even create a “no” list of things you won’t do or that you’d rather not do.
15. Define your values.
Your core values are the guiding principles for your life. They are the guideposts that help you make decisions and live within your personal integrity. Once you define them, do your best to align your life with them.
16. Communicate your emotional needs.
Does your spouse or significant other meet your emotional needs? If not, it may be because you haven’t fully communicated them.
Let your partner know what you need to feel loved, respected, secure, and appreciated within your relationship.
17. Go to a movie by yourself.
Take yourself on a date to a movie theater, get a bag of buttery popcorn and a soda, and enjoy a great flick all by yourself.
18. Test drive a sports car.
Indulge a fantasy about owning that shiny red convertible, and go take your favorite sports car for a test spin. Turn up the radio, let down the top, and enjoy the ride.
19. Have frequent good chats with yourself.
Grab a cuppa (or a glass) of something soothing and nourishing, and let yourself talk about whatever is on your mind. Really listen to yourself, too, and ask yourself thoughtful questions, as a good friend might.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a chat companion for at least some of those days, make the most of it — for both your sakes.
20. Donate your old stuff.
Old unused items in your home or workspace can make you feel more stressed and overwhelmed.
Pick one small area that is getting out of hand, and start purging and organizing. It will feel like a burden lifted once the space is clean (also check out #65 on decluttering).
21. Seek out your passion.
If you’re working in a job you hate, you are spending the vast majority of your days in a negative environment. Figure out what your passion is and how to make it work for you and your life. Spend your days doing what you love.
22. Catch up on doctor’s appointments.
Are you skipping your annual physical or dental appointments? Are you up to date on recommended procedures?
Don’t neglect your physical health by putting off these important appointments. No, they aren’t fun but get them out of the way, and you’ll feel relieved.
23. Practice good sleep hygiene.
Sleep should not be an afterthought. It doesn’t belong at the bottom of your priority list unless you want the rest of your priorities to sink along with it. Every part of you needs adequate rest in order to thrive.
Research suggests most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night, and as much as you may want to get more done with your day, it doesn’t pay to short-change yourself by trying to get by on five or six hours.
That way leads to burnout and premature brain aging. Don’t do that to yourself. You deserve better.
Sleep is foundational to effective self-care. Without adequate sleep, nothing else you do will be enough to make up for it.
24. Get a babysitter.
You love your kids, but being a parent is draining and demanding. You and your spouse need time for yourselves and each other. Hire a babysitter once a week so you can have a much-needed break.
25. Prepare the night before.
Think about how much stress you feel in the morning trying to get ready and out the door for work, school, or some other obligation. Make your morning tasks less stressful by preparing the night before. Choose the clothes you want to wear. Get your breakfast lined up. Put everything you need to take with you in the car.
26. Get your car cleaned.
Are you riding around in a trash mobile? Is your car filled with fast food containers, old papers, coffee cups, and part of your wardrobe? Clean out your car and get the interior and exterior cleaned.
27. Hire a housekeeper.
If your life is so busy that you have no time to clean your house, hire a housekeeper. This is an indulgence, but perhaps your time is worth more than the cost of the cleaner. Certainly, your peace of mind is.
28. Go to a life coach.
We all need help and support when trying to move our lives forward in a positive direction. Don’t try to solve complicated life challenges on your own. Find a professional coach you can trust to help you.
Good therapists are out there. They’re not always easy to find, so when you do find one, if you can afford to, go ahead and book bi-weekly or even weekly appointments.
A good therapist will tell you what you need to hear — not what he thinks you want to hear — and can help you work through negative baggage that is holding you back.
If you’re trying to be Super Mom or Super Dad, in addition to being Employee of the Year and winning Yard of the Month, perhaps you’re overextending yourself. Delegate some of your chores to your kids, your co-workers, or other people in your life.
30. Buy the shoes.
Do you love them? Are they wildly expensive? Do you have the money? You only live once. Buy them!!
31. Get a manicure and pedicure.
Bitten down fingernails and gnarly toes do not scream self-care. Take care of your personal grooming and enjoy a relaxing hour of nail services.
32. Take a 20-minute power nap.
You probably know someone who swears by these. Power naps give your brain and body a chance to recover from the stress responses accumulated up to that point.
Twenty minutes of uninterrupted non-REM sleep is enough to revitalize you for the next several hours of your day — without making it hard to get to sleep later on.
A daily power nap can be the difference between a steady (or steep) decline in function and sustained or increased vitality and productivity. Say goodbye to the afternoon slump!
33. Make peace with your flaws.
Most of us are highly self-critical about everything from our appearance to our likability. The good news is that you aren’t alone with your self-criticism. Everyone is flawed — that’s what makes us human. So make peace with your flaws, and focus your thoughts on the positive instead.
34. Help someone else.
Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than helping other people. This may seem like a counterproductive approach to taking care of yourself, but when you are focused on helping someone else, you aren’t as focused on your own problems or worries.
35. Use essential oils and aromatherapy.
Using essential oils may reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, alleviate physical ailments, improve sleep, help digestion, and have many other benefits.
Sometimes, just inhaling the scent of peppermint tea is enough to make you feel calmer and less worried. And citrusy smells like lemongrass and grapefruit can make you feel more energetic.
Essential oils can be a great way to give yourself a mini spa moment –whether you’re inhaling the scent from a bottle you keep on your person or enjoying the ambient effect of a candle or an essential oil diffuser in your home.
36. Listen to inspiring podcasts.
Take a break from scanning social media or binge-watching Netflix and listen to an uplifting, inspiring podcast.
Physical touch is healing and calming. We all need it, more than we might think we do. If you aren’t getting enough cuddling from your partner, ask for more. Just sit on the couch and hold each other. It feels great.
38. Take a yoga class.
Yoga is a form of meditation in action. It increases your muscle tone, flexibility, and strength while calming your mind and giving you more clarity and focus.
39. Learn to say “no.”
This is a hard thing to do for people-pleasers, but you’ll find the more you practice saying no, the easier it becomes. You’ll feel more in control of your time and more confident about yourself.
40. Dial back your expectations.
One of life’s biggest energy sucks is expecting the people around us to be something other than who they are. When you struggle to change someone or hold unrealistic expectations, you cause yourself suffering, and you diminish your relationship with this person.
41. Ask a friend for support.
Don’t carry every emotional burden or challenge by yourself. Reach out to your friends and ask for a listening ear or support when you feel down or anxious. Allow your friends to be there for you.
42. Drink more water.
Water keeps your body temp in the normal range, lubricates your joints, keeps your organs functioning, and helps you eliminate waste. Most people don’t drink enough water throughout the day.
Men need about 15.5 cups of fluid a day, and women need 11.5 cups. You can get fluids from food and other beverages, but try to make the majority of this intake pure water.
43. Cut back on alcohol.
Drinking alcohol not only impairs your judgment, but also it impacts your sleep, affects mental health, adds weight, dehydrates you, affects concentration, and can contribute to the risk of having a host of diseases. Cutting back is a great way to take care of your body and mind.
44. Take up a creative hobby.
We often avoid trying a creative hobby because we fear the results of our efforts will be crappy. Don’t focus on the results. Focus on the joy of a creative endeavor. Creative hobbies reduce stress, protects your brain function, improves your mood, and can enhance your social life.
45. Adopt a pet.
Taking care of a pet does add to your responsibilities, but it can also have many emotional benefits that offset the work involved. A pet can decrease feelings of loneliness, offer soothing physical contact, and help keep us active. Maybe consider pet adoption and give a rescue animal a home.
In general, pets are more likely to enrich our lives than to chip away at them. But it makes sense to choose one that is a good fit for you and anyone else living with you.
Journaling is an excellent way to process your emotions, clear your mind, and solve problems. Studies confirm that the emotional release from journaling lowers anxiety and stress, and improves physical health.
47. Cancel plans when you feel bad.
Do you feel obligated to follow through on plans with friends or family when you feel depressed or ill?
Do you always try to push through because you don’t want to disappoint others?
Of course, you want to be reliable, but when you feel off, put yourself first and be willing to cancel to take care of yourself.
48. Deal with your baggage.
Whatever emotional baggage you carry from the past will inevitably impact your current relationships and perceptions of life. Make the decision to heal your past so you can fully enjoy the present.
49. Work on your personal growth.
Be proactive in exploring your own inner world and learning new ways to evolve and grow as a person. The more self-aware you become, the happier and more content you will be.
50. Meet new people.
An excellent way to grow and expand yourself is by meeting new people who may be different from your typical crowd. Seek out people are growth-minded, positive, and adventurous, and you’ll discover a well-spring of new interest and opportunities for yourself.
51. Practice morning reflection.
Start your morning with at least a few minutes of reflection on your intentions for the day and on your gratitude for the good things in your life.
Write it out in your journal, if you can, to strengthen those feelings of gratitude and positive expectation.
52. Practice evening reflection.
Don’t go to sleep before spending a few minutes to reflect on your day, on what you accomplished, on what you’d like to improve, and on what you’d like to leave behind.
Even if another day doesn’t come, state or write your intentions for tomorrow and remind yourself of them before you fall asleep.
53. Go to the beach or mountains.
Nothing soothes the soul like time at the ocean or in the mountains. Take a long weekend by yourself or with your favorite person and just relax. Leave your computer and work at home.
Take along your favorite book, a bottle of wine, and some great food to cook.
54. Take time out to breathe.
Take at least a minute, in the early morning and at certain times of the day, to take three (or more) deep, cleansing breaths.
You can tell yourself each time you inhale that you’re taking in creative energy, personal power, and a renewed commitment to your goals and your intentions for that day. With every exhalation, you can imagine yourself getting rid of worries, nervous energy, and negative thoughts.
Whatever works, taking the time to breathe and to be conscious of your breaths lets more oxygen into your lungs and gives you a chance to practice mindfulness, which is an important part of effective self-care.
55. Have playtime with kids or pets.
Playtime is important, too. It may seem like an indulgence when you’re tempted to think about all the things you still have to do, but your kids won’t remember how much you got done that day or any other day.
What they’ll remember is the time you took away from work just to play with them and listen to their stories and concerns.
Do it for yourself, too, because all work and no play will drive you to an early grave — with a really boring headstone.
56. Enjoy 15 minutes of sunshine.
Go outside and let the sunshine do its work on you and your immune system for at least 15 minutes.
Wear sunscreen, if appropriate.If you can walk barefoot in the grass while you’re out there, even better. Just watch out for sharp objects and anything with stingers.
57. Choose healthy selective eating.
Feed yourself the way a caring health coach — who knows what you like as well as what food types you need — would feed you.
Maintaining blood sugar balance and avoiding foods that affect your hormone balance is essential to both your mental and physical health.
You as your own health coach know the importance of giving your body and your brain the nutrients they need in order to thrive.
Treating yourself like a responsible adult is also important to your spiritual health.
58. Do one relaxing thing.
Whether it’s taking a hot bubble bath or reading a good book, doing at least one relaxing thing each day (one that requires you to be awake) helps you calm down by giving you a break from work and everything that reminds you of what could go wrong with your day.
Think of daily relaxing activity as vitamins for your nervous system.
You can’t be “on” all the time. Giving yourself the chance to just relax with something you enjoy lowers cortisol and adrenaline levels and increases serotonin and dopamine, helping you feel happier and more relaxed.
59. Engage in complimentary self-talk.
The next time you catch your reflection in the mirror, smile and take time to notice what you like about what you see.
When you’ve finished something before the deadline, and you know you’ve done good work, don’t wait for someone else to tell you that you’re killing it.
Before you can graciously accept someone else’s compliment, you have to be able to compliment yourself. Paying yourself at least one daily compliment isn’t weird at all. It’s a good practice.
60. Moisturize your skin.
Find a lotion you like and use it every day to keep your skin hydrated, smooth, and healthy. Choose one that isn’t full of chemicals that can irritate your skin or upset your hormone balance.
There are several good unscented options if you’re sensitive to or would just rather avoid perfumes.
61. Relax your eyes with palming.
Rub your palms together until they generate heat and cup them over your closed eyes for a few minutes, with your fingers resting lightly on your forehead.
The goal is to exclude as much light as possible without putting any pressure on your eyeballs. Not only can this be relaxing; it also helps your eyes recover from eye strain.
Computer screens are hard on your eyes, and so are fluorescent lights. Give them a break every twenty minutes or so by focusing on something much further away. If your eyes need more of a break, warm up those palms and give your eyes a minute or so of soothing “quiet” time.
62. Practice self-soothing.
At some point in your life, you had to learn to dress your own wounds and soothe yourself after a nasty fall or a devastating loss.
If, before that, someone else had modeled effective soothing for you, that probably made it easier.
Sometimes, though, we don’t allow ourselves to acknowledge the pain we feel. Instead, we force ourselves to put it out of our heads and keep going. The problem? If we don’t give ourselves permission to acknowledge that pain and dress the wound, the infection can go deep and become harder to deal with than the original wound.
So, give yourself the gift of naming those wounds, forgiving those who caused them (including yourself), and applying a soothing remedy. That might be helping someone else through the same pain, or it might be letting someone know you forgive him.
63. Enjoy big laughter.
Laughter boosts the level of endorphins in your brain, boosting your mood and helping you focus on the good things. It’s much easier to stay positive when you treat yourself each day to something that makes you laugh.
Forced laughter doesn’t count, but it may lead to genuine laughter.
Maybe you have a favorite comedy series, and you indulge in an episode or two every evening. Or maybe spending some time with your best friend or spouse is enough to give you your daily vitamin L.
64. Enjoy music.
Don’t forget vitamin M, though. Maybe you already listen to music while you work, but the kind of music that makes you feel like dancing or that energizes you for exercise or tidying up probably isn’t the same music playing in the background while you work at your computer.
Go ahead and tell me if I’m wrong. I lean more toward instrumental music when I’m writing. Maybe you work better with lyrics or white noise, though.
In any case, taking the time to just enjoy the music rather than use it as the soundtrack for your creative work is good for your brain. You can even create a playlist of your own and start it up when you’re done with work for the day or when you stop for a break.
65. Declutter your closet.
You know those pants that your mother-in-law gave you that you don’t wear because they’re about an inch too short? Or that blouse you bought on clearance only to try it on at home and think, “Maybe if I wear it when it’s dark….”?
Go through your closet and find three items (or more) that have been sitting in there unused for at least a year or clothes that you honestly can’t see yourself wearing in daylight. Your “Maybe if” pieces might be someone else’s “Can you believe I got this for only $4.99” pieces. So, get them out of your closet and back on the market.
66. Unplug from the noise.
Take an hour, three hours, a day, or even longer, and unplug yourself from the internet and all its attractions. If you’ve come to depend on your daily email, social media, and news checks, taking a long break from them will be hard.
Start small and do something you enjoy that doesn’t require an internet connection. Maybe read a good book or flip through a printed magazine, or play some music and freshen up your space.
67. Stretch your muscles.
Your body was not meant to stay in one position for hours. This is why we change positions even in our sleep. And this is why, when you’ve been sitting at your desk for an hour or so, you need to get up and give yourself an all-over stretch.
If you’re at work, you can do this in the bathroom, if you’d rather not do this in front of your co-workers.
68. Practice kindness to others.
Something as small as opening a door for someone and giving them a smile can brighten their day more than you know. You can also give a charitable donation or pay someone a compliment (hopefully without making things weird).
Whether a friend gets a flat and needs a ride to work or your kid needs help with homework, taking the time to give that help and give it without resentment or reservations will help take your mind off your own problems and worries.
Helping others also gives you the satisfaction of stepping outside your normal to-do bubble and making someone else’s day better.
69. Celebrate your wins.
This is related to the previous tip, because while it’s good to celebrate wins — from reaching a healthy weight goal to paying off a credit card — it doesn’t make sense to then do something that works against those goals.
It makes more sense to celebrate by cementing those achievements and building on them.
70. Get positive feedback.
Ask supportive friends and family for their feedback on something you’ve created or done, and enjoy the positive reinforcement. Don’t forget to return the favor when you get the chance.
71. Exercise your superpower.
Whether it’s writing, drawing characters for that story in your head, carving ornate chess pieces from pieces of scrap lumber, or something else, the exercise of one of your strengths can boost your self-esteem as well as your mood and mental clarity.
You might have a gift for cooking, or for fixing computers and feel more at peace when you’re engaged in these activities. However long the results last, you can enjoy the process as much as or even more than the finished product.
As long as the results aren’t something dangerous (like a bomb or a super virus), why not spend at least some time each week putting your gift to work?
72. Fast from the news.
No one needs depressing headlines or updates on presidential tweets shoved in their faces or yelled into their ears throughout the day. No one.
And you’re not being ignorant or a Luddite if you fast from the news to give yourself time to recover from the endless stream of negativity. Focus your attention on the information you need to live your day in the best way possible.
73. Find a good counselor.
If you are dealing with an emotional or personal issue, get professional support. Good counselors are out there. They’re not always easy to find, so when you do find one, if you can afford to, go ahead and book bi-weekly or even weekly appointments.
A good counselor will tell you what you need to hear — not what he thinks you want to hear — and can help you work through negative baggage that is holding you back.
74. Write a letter.
This doesn’t have to be a letter you send out in the mail, but it should be one that helps you unburden yourself in some way.
Write to yourself, to God, to your future spouse, to your children or grandchildren, or to the universe. Just let yourself write things you’ll want someone to know about you, things you want to change about your life or things for which you want to be able to forgive yourself.
The goal here is to get the words out, and you don’t have to show the letter to anyone. You can even burn the letter after you’ve written it to symbolically offer the words as a prayer or as a sacrifice. Write it your way, and keep, deliver, or dispose of it your way.
75. Order dinner in.
Sometimes the most stressful part of the day is figuring out what you’re going to cook for dinner. After a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is whip up a fancy meal and deal with dirty pots and pans. So call your local pizza place or Thai restaurant and have dinner done for you.
76. Go to a bookstore.
Nothing is as soothing as meandering through your local bookstore and salivating over all of the possible great reads. It’s nice and quiet, and you can grab a coffee and hunker down with a few of your selections for a bit of reading.
77. Go swimming.
Visit a local pool (indoor or outdoor depending on the weather) or a nearby lake, and take a leisurely swim just for fun. Bring along an inflatable raft or swimming noodle to make it even more relaxing.
78. Do some baking.
You can practice self-care in two ways when you bake something delicious. The acts of mixing, measuring, and creating your home-baked masterpiece are calming. And the pleasure you get from eating your yummy baked goods (along with a nice cup of coffee or tea) is the pinnacle of self-care!
79. Sleep late.
From time to time, you just need to turn off the alarm clock, put on your eye mask, and allow yourself to sleep as long as your body wants to sleep. Indulge in a longer-than-usual morning in bed on a weekend morning. Maybe your significant other will bring you coffee and breakfast in bed to extend the relaxation.
80. Take up a hand craft project.
Crafts like knitting, crocheting, whittling, and beading are soothing and mindful. They require some amount of concentration and repetition which calms the mind and keeps your hands busy.
If you are one who needs to feel productive even while practicing self-care, a hand craft allows you to do both.
81. Try daily dry brushing.
Dry brushing is a type of exfoliating body massage you practice using a stiff-bristled brush. It unclogs pores, increases blood circulation, and promotes lymph flow and drainage.
It also stimulates the nervous system, leaving you feeling relaxed and invigorated.
82. Plant a garden or a tree.
A recent study in the Netherlands suggests that gardening can relieve stress better than other relaxing activities. Gardening provides many physical and mental health benefits, not to mention the enjoyment of watching your flowers or veggies grow (and eating them).
If a garden is too ambitious, just plant a tree. Knowing that you are contributing to providing food, protection, and homes for birds and animals, as well as oxygen for all beings, you’ll feel a profound sense of well-being.
83. Make love.
If you are with a caring, loving partner who treats you with respect and understands your need for self-care, then making love is one of the best ways to treat yourself well.
Consider trying tantric sex, which is a slower, more meditative encounter with the goal of enjoying the process more than the outcome.
84. Practice tai chi.
Tai chi is a gentle and meditative form of exercise that involves flowing from one posture to the next. You can do it anywhere, and it requires no special equipment.
Tai chi provides a myriad of physical and mental health benefits including stress reduction and increased energy and stamina.
85. Pray daily.
If you are religious or spiritual and believe in a higher power, a regular practice of prayer.
Prayer is known to elicit feelings of connection, gratitude, hope, and even forgiveness. It also triggers the relaxation response in your body to reduce stress.
[Bonus] Fun Self-Care Ideas
Self-care can be something you do alone or with the people you love. Here are some other fun ways to take better care of yourself and those you love:
- Plan a weekend holiday for yourself (alone or with loved ones), unplug, and do something new and fun in your own neighborhood.
- Take yourself out on a date (shopping, eating at your favorite restaurant, seeing a movie, etc.).
- Set the stage for a relaxing conversation with your spouse, your kids, or another close friend (candles lit, good dishes brought out, clean tablecloth, etc.) — with drinks and a tray of cookies or a platter full of appetizers to share.
- Go to the drugstore and buy yourself some new cosmetic items.
- Put on some great music and dance around the house.
- Paint your toenails a color you’d never usually wear.
- Make yourself a fun cocktail.
- Call your mom and ask her to tell you funny stories about your youth.
- Find a park with a swing and swing away.
- Give yourself a big hug and tell yourself how amazing you are.
There is a myriad of ways to practice self-care and show compassion and love to yourself. Any action or endeavor that feels soothing, relaxing, enriching, and joyful will fit the bill.
What does self-care mean for you? What have you done to put yourself first so you can be more available for others and energized for your work and other obligations?
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How will you use these self-care activities?
It isn’t selfish to take care of yourself. You must be your own best advocate for your emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Don’t just read this self-care list and then continue on with your stressful life. Put the ideas into action.
- Choose a few of the ideas for self-care that most resonate with you.
- Plan a day and time you will follow through on the ideas.
- Then write down your thoughts about how the activity made you feel and the impact it had on your state of mind.
Try to do this every week so that self-care becomes a natural part of your routine. If you can work in an activity every day, all the better. The kinder you are to yourself, the more available you’ll be to others. And that makes everyone happy.