By now, you’ve heard about taking bubble baths and putting on a face mask, but self-care is so much more than pampering yourself. Self-care is about taking care of YOU on all fronts.
I made a list of easy self-care ideas that will improve your life right now that don’t involve bubble baths and masks but includes life-improving ideas that will help you take care of yourself on all fronts.
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Self-care list ideas
- Make a list of 20 things you like about yourself. If you find this hard start with 5 or 10 things first and try it again a week later.
- Make a list of 5 things you want to improve in a year. For example, ‘ I want to read more.’ Then you decide on a small goal to accomplish this ‘I will read one book a month’. You can always make your goal smaller or bigger.
- Make a list of things that relax you. Whenever you feel like relaxing, you grab the list and choose something. I made a self-care list in my bullet journal.
- Start a list of things you can cook for dinner. When you come home from a busy day you don’t want to think about what to make, instead, you can grab the list and choose something from that. The beauty of this list is that you can always add new cooking ideas to it.
- Try to write ten positive things about the day down every night before going to bed. Keep them in a notebook or on your computer so you can scroll through it when you are having a rough time.
- Make a list of things your spouse, family, or friends can do that make you happy when you’re feeling down. People always want to help, but they can’t do that unless they know what to do.
- This one might not be for everyone but it has been beneficial for me, make a list of things that you went through during your life. When you’re going through a difficult time again and think you won’t make it, read the list and realize how strong you are!
- Make a to-do list. You can make one for the day ahead or the week. Knowing what your priorities are will help you stay on track.
Scroll to the bottom for a free self-care workbook!
Creative self-care ideas
- Make a box of little positive notes you can read when you are feeling down.
- Make a box of things you can do for yourself or with your partner or friends. Whenever you feel bored, you grab an idea from the box!
- Try out a few creative hobbies that will relieve stress. Some people enjoy knitting other’s find painting more relaxing. Creative hobbies can help you get out of your mind back in your body.
- Start a bullet journal; you can make it as simple or creative as you wish. A bullet journal is perfect if you like to stay organized, but you need more freedom to plan than a regular planner gives you. You can also use the journal as a diary.
This is how a bullet journal can look.
- Create a vision board. You can collect images from magazines or start a Pinterest board.
Active self-care ideas
- Try a walking meditation; it’s a perfect exercise cause you are active and relaxing at the same time. You can do a walking meditation in nature or the privacy of your home. You can find them on Youtube or meditation apps like Calm.
- Cleaning? Yes, cleaning! It can be very relaxing, and you get exercise at the same time. When your home is decluttered and clean, it has a relaxing effect on your brain.
- Go out and take a walk in nature or if you are more of a city person go window shopping. It helps you get out of your mind, and you’re active at the same time.
- Try yoga or pilates; you can do this in your own home. The only thing you need is a yoga mat. You can find free exercises on youtube. I enjoy Blogilates.
- Dance it out! Put on your favorite music and shake the stress away.
- Volunteer somewhere. I have volunteered in a hospital for a while, and it was a great way to feel ‘needed.’ It was an enriching experience to see how you can help other people with just a few hours every week.
- Cook or bake something special for yourself.
- Do something you have never done before. Browse youtube how to make a table, go parasailing or do something else you never thought of doing before, this is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and find new hobbies.
Relaxing self-care ideas
- Meditation is perfect for dealing with stress, and there are plenty of free exercises you can find online. I wrote an article on meditation here.
- Take 10 minutes every day to write down your feelings, worries, and other thoughts that are occupying your mind. Writing it down can help you create distance and will help clear your mind.
- Sensory play can be very calming, use a stress ball or my favorite MohDoh aromatherapy. It has helped me relax so many times! The aroma comes free when you knead it, and you inhale and absorb the essential oils.
- Browse the internet for motivational quotes and other things that motivate, relax, or distract you. I like to look at videos of baby animals and browse Instagram for posts that spark joy. On my Instagram, you find self-development, mental health, and positive content daily!
- Learn to recognize stress. Take a moment each day to focus on how you are feeling, do you feel stress? Where do you feel it? The earlier you recognize stress, the faster you can act to bring it down.
- Are you experiencing a lot of stress? Or do you have a hard time recognizing stress? Try using a mood tracker or stress tracker; this way you can identify a pattern and take the source of the stress away or find a way to cope with it better.
- Read a book. Reading can be very calming, and whether you choose a self-help book or fiction, they both have their benefit for your mind. Some of my favorite self-help books.
- Write down a few reflective questions to get to know yourself better. Examples of questions can be ‘What brings tears to my eyes?’, ‘Where do I see myself in 5 years?’ or ‘What small things make me happy?’.
- Listening to podcasts is a great way to learn new things. You can listen during activities or during a lazy day in bed. A few of my favorite podcasts are ‘The goal digger podcast‘ and ‘The life school coach podcast.’
- Write a letter to your past or future self. Writing a letter to your past self can help you heal from past experiences while writing a letter to your future self can help you get motivated to learn new skills and feel motivated to reach your future goals.
- Get comfortable saying No. Easier said than done, but the faster you learn this, the better. Saying no when you don’t want to do something gives you time to do the things you actually want to do.
- Write a letter to someone you want to forgive, you don’t have to send the letter. You can also write a letter to yourself. Forgiving can be very powerful and help with healing.
- Seeing a therapist is a great way to work on yourself. A therapist can help you in many ways; learning to love yourself, get to know who you are, and what you want, heal from trauma and so much more.
- Be silly; we all have an inner child. It’s essential to play and don’t take ourselves too serious all the time.
- If your inner child requires healing, it’s important to listen. Don’t get angry with yourself, but talk to yourself like you would speak to a friend. Remind yourself that there is no such thing as being perfect.
- Try brain-training; it’s a great way to relax and train your brain at the same time. There are plenty of apps you can download for free or use a puzzle book.
- Make a plan for the future. What are your goals? What do you need to make it happen? Brainstorm ideas and write them down. Reflect on your goals at a later time.
- Set a goal for the month and reward yourself after, this is especially helpful if you want to create a habit. Habits take time to develop, a reward can help you stay on track.
Practical self-care ideas
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause anxiety, headaches, and fatigue.
- If you’re having trouble with food, consider seeing a dietician. We are all different; some people can eat what they want and don’t have any problems, other’s can feel unwell from certain foods. Try to avoid food that makes you feel bloated and anxious. Eating smaller portions can help too.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. If you are tired during the day or after dinner, try taking a 15-20 minute power nap. Click here for more sleep tips.
- Make time to see your general practitioner at least once every two years. Being aware of your blood pressure, heart rate, and sugar levels can prevent health troubles in the future.
- In The Netherlands, it’s normal to see a dentist twice a year, and I really recommend doing this. Good dental hygiene can help prevent health problems.
- Create a morning routine to start your day right. A routine can help you create healthy habits.
- Create an evening routine to help you sleep better. Meditating before bed or taking a hot shower can help you sleep faster. Journalling or reading a book before bed, are great ways to clear your mind.
- Introduce a date night with your partner to work on maintaining a healthy relationship. You can schedule it every other week, every month or whatever works for you and your partner. Do something nice together and put your phone away.
- Make a list of things you love about your partner and give it to them or put it in their work bag. If your partner feels appreciated, they will work harder to make you feel the same way.
- Reflect on your relationships, not just between you and your spouse but also your friendships. What is working and what isn’t? Is there something you can do to change it?
- Call or text a friend or family member once a day. Send a sweet message or ask them how they are doing.
- Spend quality time with your kids. Ask yourself, ‘Do I feel like I’m spending enough time with my family?’. If the answer is no, ask yourself, ‘why not?’ and try to change it. Commit to spending an X amount of time with your family.
Financial self-care ideas
- Try not to spend money you don’t have. It’s easy to get a credit card or buy things and pay for them later, but debt can cause a lot of stress.
- When you buy something, ask yourself, ‘Do I need this?’. A lot of things we buy we only use once, and it ends up in a closet somewhere, it’s a waste of money and space.
- Hold a garage sale. It’s a great way to get rid of clutter and make some money in the process.
- Save money for emergencies. If your car breaks down, it can cause a lot of stress, having money to repair it will lessen that stress.
- Get out of debt when possible, debts hold you back in life and can cause a lot of stress.
I made a self-care tracker PDF guide with helpful resources specially for you. It includes ideas from the self-care list section and other helpful tools.
Download the Miss Mental’s self-care workbook here.