Having a list of self-care ideas and activities on hand can be super beneficial on hard days. Or in hard moments. Because knowing what to do for self-care when you need it the most is not always easy. You are burnt out, exhausted, frustrated, or just need a break. Thinking about what to do is the last thing you want to do. But, don’t worry, I got you. Bookmark this page so you can always have somewhere to turn for self-care ideas and activities.
Self-Care is Not Selfish
And please remember, self-care is not selfish. We all need to care for ourselves on a regular basis. We cannot pour from an empty cup. So we need to be continually pouring back into our own cups. I recommend picking at least one item from the list below daily.
Know that your needs will change daily. On the hardest of days, where just getting out of bed is an accomplishment, having a glass of water or taking a shower might be your self-care for the day. Other days, you might be more capable of tackling some of the other items that require more time or energy from you. Doing anything for yourself, even if it’s small, makes a huge difference for your mental health.
Self-Care Ideas and Activities for New Moms
Are you a new mom? Check out my article on Postpartum Self-Care It is tailored specifically to moms with their hands full (and not much time to spare!). You’ll find quick and easy ideas that work for your everyday life.
Self-Care Ideas and Activities
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Turn on some music
And blast it. I’ve been currently loving 2000’s throwbacks. This leads to my next activity…
Have your own dance party!
Dance as silly, sassy, or as wild as you want!
10-Second (or longer!) hug
Give your partner, baby, pet, or anyone else you love a 10-second hug. It may not be a shock to you, but hugging has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety!
Do a fun makeup look
I also like to do this during my Dance Party.
Light a candle
Not only does lighting a candle feel extra cozy, but it can actually help benefit your mental health if you select the scent right! Studies have shown that aromatherapy can help with anxiety and depression.
Watch a show you like
Don’t worry about how “weird” it is or whether your partner or roommate wants to watch. This is just for you, completely judgment-free!
Listen to a podcast
My go-to for yoga routines is Yoga with Adrienne! She has so many different yoga practices on YouTube. She has a routine for anything you could possibly want!
For those who are new to meditation (or those who just struggle with practicing it!), try guided meditations! Pro-Tip: Search for guided meditations wherever you listen to podcasts!
Make a cup of coffee or tea
Sometimes just making yourself a delicious drink can be a whole mood in itself.
Take a nap
If you have the luxury of having time to nap, napping is a great way to reset your mood and help restore your energy. Power naps have been proven to be incredibly beneficial as well! I’ve always hated when people tell me to “sleep when the baby sleeps” because there are so many other things I feel like I need to do with that time. But sometimes, that’s exactly what this mama needs!
Give your pet some love!
Pets are great for our mental health! In fact, studies show that having a companion dog (and loving on them!) helps with depression, anxiety, and bad days.
Phone a friend
But not just any friend. Be intentional about who you call. We all have friends we go to for certain things. And some of us might even have friends who are more like energy vampires – making you feel more drained at the end of your interaction with them. Call a friend who helps fill your cup!
Are you a mom? Download the Peanut App. Peanut is a really great (and completely free!) app for making mom friends. It matches you with other moms in your local area based on if you are trying to conceive, your stage of pregnancy (or the age of the child), and your personal interests. I’ve made some wonderful mom friends through that app.
Turn off your phone
Completely opposite of my last idea, consider turning off your phone. Unplug and unwind. Phones can be used as a distraction from our everyday lives and sometimes, we need a distraction from technology. Tune out of your online world and tune in with yourself.
If you have kids, you might already know about the magic mood-changing secret of simply getting outside. If not, trust me – give it a try! Hit up a patio (yours or a restaurant) or have your own picnic.
Take a walk
Because I love being efficient, I enjoy calling a friend or listening to a podcast while I’m on a walk. If I’m feeling really overwhelmed and overstimulated, I prefer just listening to the noises of nature (or the city when I lived there).
Have a mani/pedi moment
Whether you go to a salon or DIY your mani/pedi, treat yourself! If you don’t have much time, these nail stickers will be your best friend! They were life-savers for me throughout my entire first year postpartum. Because I definitely did not have time for a full mani/pedi with a baby!
This might be a book, a magazine, this blog, or your horoscope. Whatever you enjoy reading – read away!
I love using coconut oil to moisturize my body. You can thank me later. Or, consider purchasing a quality body cream!
Use a hair mask
I also love using coconut oil for hair masks! However, there are some other great DIY hair masks that you make from basic items in your kitchen, like olive oil or avocados. You could also splurge on a high-end hair mask like this.
Or a face mask!
You might be shocked to hear this, but coconut oil is not my suggestion for this. I love a good sheet mask.
Check out my Journal Prompts for Anxiety for some ideas!
Now, hear me out, they make adult coloring books for mindfulness. It’s the perfect activity to help you increase mindfulness. (Check out my article on Mindfulness in Everyday Life for more tips on cultivating mindfulness!)
Watch a Ted Talk
I am a huge fan of Ted Talks. There are videos for every topic – science, spirituality, personal growth, therapy, you name it.
I talked about this in my article on Overcoming Postpartum Anxiety. Write out all of your anxieties and fears. I’m afraid you may have misunderstood that statement. When I say write out all of your anxieties and fears, I mean every. single. one.
This may take 5 minutes or it may take 20. There is no right or wrong way to do it. And don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or mistakes. Because it’s not meant to be shared or even read after you write it. This is to purge your brain of everything. Get it all out of your head so you can move forward without it.
If you follow along with my blog or social media, you might already know I am a huge advocate for monitoring your social media. Social media can quickly make you feel less than or bring out negative emotions. Unfollow any account that evokes those emotions. If it’s an account you don’t feel comfortable unfollowing, mute them.
Saying no to others is saying yes to yourself. I understand it’s not as simple as it sounds, but it gets better with practice.
Ask for help
Learning how to ask for help (and that it’s ok to ask for help!) is a form of self-care that we should all be practicing. What is something you are struggling with right now? And who could you turn to for support? The people who love us want to help us. We just have to let them in.
No joke – laughter can relieve stress levels. Put on your favorite comedy or pull up a funny video. Looking up #funny on social media is a quick way to get a good laugh in.
Go for a run, hit the gym, or take a hike. Whatever your preferred form (or intensity) of exercise is, just get your body moving!
It might sound wild, but walking in the forest – and fully taking it in – is an evidence-based wellness practice.
Add a calming shower bomb to make give it an entire spa vibe.
It sounds so simple but water provides so many benefits to our bodies and our lives. Pour yourself a glass and soak it all up.
Set a new goal
Regardless of how challenging the goal is, set a goal for yourself. Make sure it’s something attainable and something you can look forward to achieving. Check out my article on Following Your Dreams for ideas on goal-setting and the actionable steps you can take towards those dreams.
Spend time on your hobby
Pour some of your soul into a hobby. This is soul food. Nothing fills my cup like dedicating time to my hobby (hint: it’s this blog and podcast!)
Enjoy alone time
Setting aside time to be with you, and just you, is important. You can spend this time watching your favorite shows, painting your nails, doing a yoga practice, or journaling. This is your time – do what makes you happy.
Eat foods you are craving
Treat yourself to that food you’ve been craving! Order in or take yourself out for a delicious meal. Guilt-free.
Photographer: Breck Grimm
Go out on a date
Treat yourself to being treated! Dress up, plan something fun, and go enjoy yourself! Filling your “love cup” is a form of self-care too.
Have a therapy session
And not the kind with your friends. I’m talking with a licensed therapist. Your mental health is so important, to you and every relationship you have in life. Care for your mental health, you deserve that.
Having a mindful moment can make a huge impact on your mood and the outlook of your day. Check out my article on Mindfulness in Everyday Life to learn more.
Go for a drive
I don’t know about you, but there is something so relaxing about going for a drive (without screaming children). My friends and I used to just go drive around for fun. We found some beautiful views, had some great talks and discovered some new songs along the way. Driving is also great on your own, you get a lot of time to think, listen to podcasts, or jam out!
Take a bubble bath
Need I say more? I feel like this doesn’t need much explaining.
Tend to your plants (or go buy some new ones!). I have always found gardening to be incredibly relaxing and rewarding.
Get a personalized tarot reading from me
If you aren’t familiar with tarot, it can seem a little scary. Tarot is not meant to be used for anything scary. It cannot predict your future. And it is not witchcraft. Tarot is meant to offer you guidance.
Sometimes it’s as simple as getting your hands dirty and a reminder to water your plants. Other times, it challenges you to look at your behaviors and mindsets. It can be a great tool for personal growth. If you are interested in a personal tarot reading (or learning more about the practice!) feel free to contact me for more information.
What is something that you have achieved lately? Something that felt challenging that you overcame? Or think about a goal you have met recently. Celebrate yourself. You have done something worth celebrating, I can assure you of that. And you deserve to stop and acknowledge the amazingness that is you.
Honestly, whatever brings joy to your soul is self-care in my book. If it helps refresh, renew, heal, or calm you – it counts as self-care. These self-care ideas and activities are just meant to be a starting point for you. And serve as a reminder that you deserve self-care. We all need self-care. This is what helps us keep loving ourselves. And what prevents us from burning out.