60 Ideas For Self Care To Reduce Stress
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Let's face it, we've been through a lot lately and when it comes to self-care, we do what we can but sometimes thinking of ideas can be difficult.
We just have so much going in our lives. It can even be difficult finding the time to focus on ourselves.
But I can tell you from experience, that focusing on yourself is necessary from time to time.
I know it may seem selfish to pamper ourselves once in a while or do what we want to do every now and then, but if we don't take some time out of busy days or weeks to treat ourselves, we really run the risk of burning out.
That's why I've compiled a list of 60 ideas for self-care. Now, you don't ever have to get through them all and if you do, that's amazing!
However, you should do your best to make a real good effort to try at least one of these ideas a week. Heck, try one every day if you can.
60 Ideas For Self Care
1. Pick an affirmation to meditate on that resonates with you (e.g. “I am worthy of taking the time to take care of me.”) Sit with your intention for several minutes and repeat the affirmation over and over to yourself, allowing it to really sink in.
2. Take a luxurious bath or a pampering shower. Pull out your favorite skincare products, lights some candles and play some relaxing music that makes you forget your cares.
3. Go for a walk. Whether it’s an invigorating hike or just a few minutes around the block, getting your endorphins pumping will flood your brain with calm vibes.
4. Journal. Getting your thoughts out of your head and down on paper is a great way to work through whatever’s on your mind and alleviate anxious feelings.
5. Do something creative. Draw, paint, color in an adult coloring book, scrapbook, knit, or do something else creative. There’s something incredibly therapeutic about engaging your hands in a mindless activity!
6. Enjoy a cup of your favorite tea. ‘Nuff said.
7. Have a spa night. Snacks, Scents & Music.
8. Meditate. People tend to think of meditation as something time-consuming, but you can achieve great benefits from meditating for even just a few minutes. If you’re new to meditation, apps like Calm and Synctuition offer a lot of 10-minute meditations on a variety of subjects. In fact, they have an entire collection of self-care meditations to choose from.
9. Take a nap. Sleep is one of the purest and most essential forms of self-care we can give ourselves. Close the curtains, turn your phone on silent and catch some precious Z’s.
10. Call a loved one. Sometimes the best form of TLC is to connect with the people closest to us. So give someone special—a friend, your mom, your dad, a colleague or even your Grandma! Whoever makes you feel calm and brings a smile to your face—a call just to catch up.
11. Write a letter. Piggybacking off of #10, write a letter to someone you care about and send it to them. Who doesn’t like to receive something other than bills and spam in their mailbox?
12. Collect shells, rocks, or glass on the beach or at a park. Put what you’ve collected in a mason jar or other container and keep it somewhere unique so you remember that day and are reminded of the importance of self-care.
13. Read a book (or magazine). Check out Goodreads for some recommendations.
14. Order groceries. Skip the store and have your groceries delivered—or schedule a pickup. This little luxury will give you time back you can use to relax.
15. Do some yoga. Go to a class, take an online class, or find a YouTube channel you like to Zen out.
16. Go exploring with no destination in mind and no Google Map. You never know what amazingness you’ll stumble upon. Just drive. I’ve done this with our kids and it’s fun. 2-4 hours of just mindless fun and adventure.
17. Try a new hobby. You know that thing you’ve always wanted to try? The self-care gods say “do it!”
18. Garden. Gardening has been shown to lower blood pressure, relieve stress, and boost happiness. So get digging and start smelling the roses! This is the first year we decided to have a garden and it truly is supercool. Our daughter took Fresh Garden peas to gymnastics actually!
19. Cook a relaxing and lavish healthy meal for yourself. Turn up the music, and take your time enjoying the process of preparing your meal. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode for limited distractions. With the warm weather that we’ve been having, we BBQ a lot and I take my time when I BBQ.
20. Listen to a podcast. There are literally thousands and thousands of podcasts that you can listen to. They always remind me of listening to that one news channel on a.m. radio. For the iPhone, just tap the Podcast app and hit search.
21. Visit a local museum. Spend a few hours roaming around an art gallery, history center, botanical garden, or even a zoo I’d they’re open in your area of course. Truth be told we visited a marine museum this summer.
22. Listen to your favorite album or music. Music is therapeutic and nostalgic to me and I really enjoy listening to music that falls in line with my mood. Because I like most all genres, it really depends on how I’m vibing at any particular moment as to what I listen too. Sometimes silence is good to!
23. Book a retreat. If you need a serious self-care session, consider treating yourself to a silent retreat or weekend getaway where you can decompress, rejuvenate, and focus on getting back to you.
24. Declutter/tidy your living space. Self-care has many different forms and this is one not to overlook. Our living spaces are an extension of ourselves and when they’re chaotic, they can create mental chaos for us as well.
So, give your physical space a clean sweep for a quick mental reset. This is huge for me. I’m a neat freak. So if anything in my peripherals is out of line, I have to straighten it or I can’t focus.
25. Treat yourself to dinner out at your favorite restaurant or order food to go (depending on what the status is of restaurants in your area). For us, everything is open, just limited capacity.
Every Friday we order food and it’s nice to know that I don’t have to figure out what I’m going to make for supper.
26. Get a massage. Massage promotes relaxation, eases stress/anxiety/symptoms of depression, and improves sleep, just to name a few things. A couple of known favorites include reflexology, Thai, and hot-stone.
27. Go for a bike ride. Better yet, pack yourself a healthy lunch and have a picnic once you reach your destination.
28. Play a game. Break out the solitaire, do some Sudoku or a crossword puzzle, or have a board game night with friends. Change things up a bit!
28. Play a game. Break out the solitaire, do some Sudoku or a crossword puzzle, or have a board game night with friends. Change things up a bit!
29. Write down your goals. Writing things down is VERY powerful. We’ve slowly become very disconnected from actually writing as opposed to texting or using our devices. Give it a try. This will provide you with another outlet to express yourself.
30. Practice gratitude. Writing down what you’re grateful for is an easy happiness booster. Make a list of 3 things you’re grateful for and why. Bonus points for making this a daily practice and if you can list more than 3, then you WIN!
31. Unplug from your devices for an hour. Turn off your phone, TV, and other devices, and enjoy the freedom of being completely out of touch with the world. A moment of silence is powerful. I do this daily.
32. Dance to your favorite song. Dancing is often an overlooked form of self-care. I set aside one day a week where I clean the around the house and have music from the '90s to 2000’s playing and dance like a fool! It’s a nice break whenever I’m feeling meh.
33. Soak up some sun. Our bodies depend on regular sun exposure to function their best. So slather on some sunscreen and enjoy some time in the sunshine.
Just 15 minutes will give you a feel-good boost and a nice dose of vitamin D. I’ve spent the whole Spring and now all of Summer so far on my back deck and it’s made such a difference to my mood.
34. Make a happy box. Find an old shoebox and fill it with all the things that make you smile. Then take it out and open it whenever you need a reason to smile.
35. Treat yourself. Maybe you’ve been eyeing a new pair of shoes or you’ve been wanting to check but that piece of jewelry. Whatever it is, splurge on something just for you. You work hard. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself even once and awhile.
36. Watch a comedy special. They say laughter is the best medicine for good reason. So put your favorite comedian on and just tune everything else out and laugh. We have a show called Just for Laughs - Gags in my area and I throw it on just to laugh.
37. Go to bed early. Give yourself the gift of a good night’s sleep so you can conquer tomorrow like a champ.
38. Pick or buy yourself flowers. There’s no shame in buying (or picking) yourself flowers. They’re an instant mood booster and can quickly brighten up your day.
39. Take a mental health day. Take a day and do all the things that nourish your soul.
40. Watch a sunrise or sunset. There’s just something about waking up with the sun and taking a few moments to enjoy the sunrise that sets your day off on the right foot. The same goes for enjoying a sunset, and reflecting on the good things that happened that day.
41. Start a healthy habit. Habits are the foundation upon which our lives are built, so pick a simple habit to start that will support living your better-than-ever life.
Here are a few ideas: drink 8 oz. of water with lemon immediately upon waking up, go for a walk after dinner every night, or start a “no technology within an hour of bedtime” rule.
42. Define your core values. Create a personal value system for yourself that outlines what you stand for and why. Knowing this will help you make better decisions and help you get clear on what matters to you.
43. Take a new exercise class. Spin, Pilates, Zumba, kickboxing, CrossFit, Orange Theory, body pump…there has to be something new you’d love to try.
44. Purge items you no longer need. This is one of the most underrated forms of self-care out there. You’ll be amazed at how much lighter, freer, calmer, and happier you feel just by letting go of the physical objects in your living space that you don’t need or enjoy.
45. End your shower with an invigorating blast. After you’ve scrubbed with warm water, switch to cold for 30 seconds. You’ll get a big burst of energy as your body tries to conserve heat and kicks your circulation into gear.
46. Refill your water bottle hourly. This simple habit can ensure that you’re drinking enough water. One in five kids and young adults reported not having a single drop on a given day, according to a JAMA Pediatrics report, and adults often don’t get enough either. Your body needs fluids to maintain proper functioning, and dehydration may lead to constipation, dizziness, confusion and low blood pressure.
47. Stash the cookie jar. Set out a giant fruit bowl instead. You’ll be more likely to reach for an apple or a banana. In your pantry, move healthy staples like quinoa, nuts, and canned beans to the front of shelves at eye level and put less healthy snacks and sweets on a high shelf.
48. Create a "Yay!" list. Every night, write down anything that made you say "Yay!" during the day. Think of finding hidden money in your pocket, a surprise call from a friend, or a beautiful sunny day. This will help you recognize things going right in your life instead of focusing on the negative.
49. Say "no." Most often, stress is caused by having too much to do and too little time to do it. Reduce your workload, prioritize your to-do list, and manage your time more effectively. This requires you to say ‘no’ more often, and that’s perfectly ok! I used to be a “ Yes man “. I never said no! Now I do.
50. Do something nice for someone else. Hold the door open for someone, pick up a piece of litter, pay it forward and buy someone’s coffee, or smile at a stranger. According to research, acts of kindness boost the wellbeing of not only the giver, but also the receiver and overall community. I’ve developed a habit of thanking people for their hard work. You should see the looks I get most of the time. Most people don’t expect to hear that.
51. Learn to anticipate problems before they arise. Moments that are intensely negative have a huge effect on how you experience your day, more so than positive moments.
Start your day by scanning it ahead of time for potential bumps—are you allowing too little time for your commute, making it stressful?
Are you leaving home without enough to eat, which guarantees the 6 p.m. headache?
Avoid the hiccups, or at least some of them, and you'll be much better off.
My day is planned in 1-hour intervals and although I don’t have a commute whatsoever, I still have my day planned out so there that there is very little room for surprises or inconveniences.
52. Get ample sleep. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but sleep deprivation can actually cause mental lapses and increase stress and frustration, as well as contribute to physical health problems.
So, despite our hectic schedules, we should maintain our regular sleep habits in order to feel refreshed and genuinely enjoy life. Or, at least attempt too.
One of my goals in 2017 was never having to wake up to an alarm and that’s how I’ve been operating for a while now. No alarm. I generally get 7 hours of sleep, any more then that and I’m a write off and any less than that and I find it challenging to maintain focus throughout my day.
53. Eat breakfast. Then check your phone.
Resist the urge to look at your device first thing when you wake up. Instead, take time to set your intentions for the day.
TIP: If you use your phone for a morning wake-up, it can be almost impossible not to check the news or weather after hitting Snooze. Get an old-school low-tech alarm clock so you can leave your cell in another room or a bedside drawer while you sleep.
54. Do nothing. Whether it’s binge-watching your favorite show, getting lost in a good book, or zoning out to music, whatever ‘ nothing ‘ means to you, do it.
55. Cut down on caffeine. Caffeine can make the body feel constantly ‘ on ‘ and unable to relax. And relaxation is often what we’re after when it comes to self-care.
See if you can minimize the amount you’re putting in your body. Caffeine is most obviously and readily found in coffee, but it can sneak up on people in places they wouldn't expect, like diet sodas, energy drinks, and even tea. If you already have a lot of caffeine, going cold turkey can be a problem. Instead, just try to cut back.
56. Cry. Yes, you read that right, Cry! It’s ok to cry.
Roughly about every 45 days I really let the waterworks flow.
A lot of reasons. I reflect on the hurt that I’ve caused my wife and kids by being so self-centered and selfish in the past.
And because I’m a lot more self-aware these days, I recognize a lot of the blessings that I have in my life right now.
I also get frustrated, confused, and a whole slew of other emotions. I can be an emotionally charged person and I ‘ wear my heart on my sleeve ‘ as they say, so crying is definitely a release for me.
57. 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.
58. 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.
59. Exercise your superpower. Whether it's writing, drawing characters for that story in your head, carving 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 virus), why not spend at least some time each week putting your gift to work?
60. Celebrate small wins. You’d be surprised at how much you accomplish when you celebrate the successes that you’re having along the way. Yes, achieve that goal, that vision, that dream but don’t forget to celebrate, no matter how small the win.
This will really give you the momentum you need. It’s positive reinforcement and who doesn’t need that!
Ideas for self care are hard to come by sometimes so I hope you found this helpful.
I probably shared a little too much information about me crying and all but I sincerely want you to love your best life and that's why I share with you what works for me in the hopes that maybe it could help you.
Let me know in the comments what your favorite form of self-care is.
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