Whether it’s the holidays or any other day of the year, every day life can be stressful. We all juggle so many responsibilities – between our social life, our family life, our work life. Every day we are up against a clock and a to-do list. Sometimes our self care looks like just surviving but other times we can be a bit more intentional with what our self care looks like.
Below are 100 – YES 100 – ideas on how you can incorporate self care into your life. I’ve got my personal favorites that I put a little more description around and also some that were submitted from my community on Instagram!
Before getting into the list, I want to say that I advocate for a little bit of self care every day, all year long. We have to make sure we fill ourselves up little by little each day, before we hit a wall and get burnt out. You will thank yourself after!
What is self-care?
Self-care is any kind of activity or thought where we intentionally prioritize the care of our emotional, mental, or physical well-being.
In my view, self-care isn’t optional, it’s a necessity for your health. Remember that these are all just ideas for you, not all of these have to be FOR you. (And by the way, these are also not in any priority order). Maybe you’re not a bath person, don’t force yourself to be because I say so, or the latest Instagram photos say you should be into baths. Do YOU. With that being said, I do hope that some of these give you moments of relief in your day!
Here we go!
1. Draw a bath
Instead of those quick showers where you’re in and out, a bath allows you to slow down, which is exactly what you need in stressful times. You can either turn all technology off while you’re soaking so you can have the time be completely zen or you can catch up on Netflix. Either way, take your time! I love using essential oils in my baths too because the oils really relieve all the tension in my body and my bathroom ends up smelling like a spa.
2. Social media detox
You could even do a full technology detox but I find that for me the most stress-inducing part of technology is social media. Studies have shown that the use of multiple social media platforms induces depression and anxiety. Luckily the iPhone now has a feature where you can limit your screen time! If a full social media detox is too much for you, try getting off of your most addictive app (for me it’s Instagram) for 24 hours and see how you feel. If you feel relieved and refreshed, then chances are you may need to lean into this form of self-care more often!
3. Pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee – and enjoy it
When I say enjoy it, I mean drink it at home – not on the go. Really take your time to appreciate it. Having a cup of matcha or whatever tea I happen to have on hand has been a part of my morning routine for a few months now and I absolutely crave it. I love waking up a little earlier so I can make time for these extra moments. It helps set the tone for my day. If your mornings are jam packed, try doing this in the middle of the day or as a wind-down at night. Whatever time of day it is, be mindful with your beverage of choice and savor each sip.
4. Get a workout in
Self-care doesn’t have to be all quiet and slow – it can be getting a heart-pumping, sweaty workout in. If you like boxing or any kind of high intensity workout to release endorphins and get your mind focused on being mentally and physically stronger – go for it!
5. Clean your home
I love the feeling after being gone all day and coming into a spotless home! When the countertops are all cleared and dusted, the dishes are all put away, the clothes are all folded – I’m getting happy just thinking about it! Yes it’s physical work to get your home in the right condition but it is so worth it to live in a space that is decluttered and clean. I’m a firm believer that your space accurately reflects how you feel on the inside.
6. Play with your pet
Throwing a squeaky toy and seeing my fur baby’s face light up is the best feeling in the world! Pet time is always soothing and helps put me in a better emotional state.
I’ve always loved writing, whether it was as a child writing “Dear Diary…” posts or if it was more free form and deeper, journaling has been vital for me. In my adult life I’ve discovered my need and love for gratitude journaling but journaling of any kind can be therapeutic and good for the soul.
8. Quality time with a friend
Whether it is in person or even by phone, spending quality time with a friend can make everything better!
9. Watch a funny tv show or movie
I’m a huge fan of I Love Lucy and absolutely love each episode. No matter how stressed I feel, if I watch any episode, I’ll instantly feel better! Find a show or something to focus your attention on that helps you escape the daily stressors of life, even for just half an hour.
I’m newer to meditation, really only being conscious about it this year, but it’s been so helpful to my mental state. I’ve had a few stressful and emotional situations this year (with my family dog of 13 years passing away and also a cancer diagnosis), and I really felt that meditation has truly helped me feel more balanced. There have been moments where I’ve felt that my heart would explode from all of the anxiety and trauma but calming my mind through meditation has literally saved me. We are all so lucky that there are so many amazing apps that make meditation less daunting and much more accessible! Headspace and Insight Timer have been my go-to’s.
11. Go for a walk in nature.
12. Treat yourself to a massage or spa treatment.
13. Stretch for 5 minutes.
14. Eat a nutritious meal.
15. Avoid people who do not support you.
16. Be of service to others.
17. Diffuse oils.
18. Light candles and sit in silence.
19. Read a book.
20. Try adult coloring.
21. Create a playlist with your favorite songs so you can listen to them back to back.
22. Create a compliment file (any time you receive a compliment, write it down so you can reference it later for a pick me up and a moment to remember the good things that make you, you!)
23. Dance it out!
24. Sleep earlier at night.
25. Surround yourself with more plants.
26. Say ‘NO’ to whatever does not serve you!
27. Stop people pleasing – it’s exhausting.
28. Clean your email inbox.
29. Drink a glass of water.
30. Pay it forward.
31. Write down positive affirmations.
32. Throw away your scale.
33. Cut out excessive sugar.
34. Create a meal plan.
35. Start a new hobby.
36. Do not compare yourself to others.
37. Do the laundry.
38. Spend time on your skincare.
39. Go to the movies.
40. Smile at yourself in the mirror.
41. Create a to do list to keep yourself organized.
42. Don’t procrastinate.
43. Bake or cook a new recipe.
44. Read and save positive quotes online.
45. Listen to a podcast.
46. Buy yourself something nice. 🙂
47. Do nothing!
48. Plan your goals for the future.
50. Create a vision board.
51. Start a garden.
52. Go to a museum.
53. Explore new areas in your city.
54. Go for a drive.
55. Try a new restaurant.
56. Develop a new friendship with someone you’ve been meaning to get to know.
57. Do those errands you’ve been putting off but are taking up mental space.
58. Forgive others and yourself. Hold onto less emotional weight.
59. Cry if you feel it! Don’t hold it in.
60. Read poetry or a classic novel.
61. Unfollow people on social media that don’t make you feel good.
62. Get sunlight.
63. Take your vitamins.
64. Sing like no one can hear you!
65. Watch the sunrise or sunset.
66. Write a letter to yourself.
67. Spend time with family.
68. Book a vacation or staycation.
69. Dry brush.
70. Organize your medicine cabinet.
72. Organize your finances and create a budget.
73. Make yourself a refreshing smoothie.
74. Buy yourself flowers.
75. Try learning a new language.
76. Be open with someone about your fears and vulnerabilities.
77. Write down the positives in your day.
78. Tell someone your victories so they can celebrate with you.
79. Make your bed each morning.
80. Reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
81. Donate items you no longer need.
82. Take a power nap.
83. Be mindful of the words you use with yourself.
84. Try a new menu item at your go-to restaurant.
85. List all of your achievements on paper.
86. Unsubscribe from mass mailing lists you no longer need.
87. Set all of your recurring expenses on auto-pay.
88. Watch motivational videos on YouTube.
89. Have a friend or two over and cook food together.
90. Take a mini road trip.
91. Look at old photos and share them with your loved ones. The memories I’m sure will bring a few good laughs!
92. Make a fresh salad.
93. Ask for help when you need it.
94. Accept who you are, as you are.
95. Make a Pinterest board full of images that you enjoy and that relax you.
96. Organize the apps on your phone – decluttering with technology is important too!
97. Reflect on your progress. Write down a past hardship and write down your current state of mind to see all the progress you’ve made.
98. Send a thank you letter to someone in your life – or to yourself!
99. Eat without distraction – turn off the TV, computer, and phone! Appreciate each bite of food.
100. Show someone a small act of kindness. Let someone go in front of you in a line you’re waiting in, give your sandwich to the homeless person waiting outside, drop off a handful of school supplies to the local elementary school – it can be anything!
I hope some of these tips resonated with you or at least got you thinking of ways you could modify and start to incorporate into your life!