Words that I hope one day will elicit feelings of calmness, often provoke feelings of conflict for me. Self care is something I know I need to be dedicating more attention to, but definitely slacking on. It is an ongoing battle for me and I know I’m not alone. Many helpers like myself are great at supporting other people through healthy changes, while not always incorporating themselves. Guilty as charged! I absolutely love my work and can go around the clock if I don’t stop myself. When I’m passionate about something I’m all in, but unfortunately, I’ve also burnt myself out more times than I can count. I’m working in therapy to address the reasons behind this (i.e. trauma), but having a go to list of self-care ideas ready to go can also help me with inspiration to do something different. For many of us, there are things that we do regularly that we don’t even realize are self-care activities. So what makes those self care? Awareness.
If you’ve read some of my other posts you may be noticing a trend here. Intention and awareness are EVERYTHING when it comes to health and wellness, including self care. Make an active decision to do things for yourself - that’s self care. Self care is any activity that we do with the purpose of caring for our mental, emotional, and/or physical health. Some of these ideas may seem simple, but that is all it takes. A few simple intentional activities add up quickly. These acts of intentional self care help to fill our cups back up, so be sure to do just that - choose activities that recharge you. Overtime these activities can reduce anxiety and promote other healthy changes.
This list isn’t meant to overwhelm you. You don’t need to try to do all of these things and you might not even be physically able to do some - that’s OK. Pick one or two that resonate with you and shoot for 30 minutes a day of intentional self care. When you pay attention you may be surprised how many of these you are doing already.
Take a day off to do nothing. Stay in your pajamas. Lounge around.
Ask for help when you need it.
Take a nap when you feel tired.
Take a bath. Add Epsom salt or essential oils.
Go for a long walk.
Get some sunshine.
Put your bare feet in the grass.
Take a hot shower.
Spend the 5-10 minutes before bed focusing on your body and thoughts. Notice them, but don’t judge them.
Keep your cell phone off for a day.
Make a point to intentionally smile at people you see in passing.
Snuggle on the couch (without technology).
Eat something homemade.
Pick one thing off of your “to do” list and get it done.
Get a massage.
Go for a pedicure.
Read a book about something new and interesting.
Schedule in “me” time on your calendar.
Pack extra snacks in your lunch and share with a friend.
Skip your morning coffee and start your day with a homemade smoothie.
Call a friend or loved one to say hi.
Make something - look up arts & crafts ideas on pinterest if you need inspiration.
Take a fitness lesson/class. Many gyms let you take your first class for free.
Start or end each day by writing down something you are grateful for.
Listen to a podcast.
Join a support group.
Watch funny animal videos on Youtube.
Do something nice for someone (without them knowing).
Listen to your favorite song.
Write an encouraging post it note and put it somewhere you will see it everyday.
Laugh whenever you can.
Watch your favorite movie.
Paint your nails a fun color.
Lay on the floor and focus on your breath for 5 minutes.
Shower or take a bath with the lights off.
Go for a sensory deprivation float.
Redecorate a room in your home.
Tell your pet your deepest secrets (while snuggling of course).
Go to a playground and pretend you are a kid again.
Dance like no one is watching (and if you are me hope they aren’t).
Make brownies or cookies and give them to someone who could use a lift up.
Throw away your scale.
Build something from legos.
Go for a bike ride.
Spend 10 minutes in nature.
Pack a picnic - eat on a blanket in your own yard, the beach, or a park.
Tell yourself, “I’m doing the best I can.”
Delete your social media apps from your phone.
Only post positive things on social media for a set period of time.
Listen to an album you enjoyed when you were younger but haven’t heard in a long time.
Buy yourself new jeans.
Make a vision board or collage.
Participate in a book club.
Paint rocks and hide them for other people to find.
Go to the dollar store and buy something fun and playful.
Look at the night’s sky.
Learn how to take photographs.
Go to a public place and make a new friend.
Play a board game.
Go to a busy place and people watch, in silence.
Hug a tree.
Treat yourself to a fancy meal.
Write positive quotes on small pieces of paper and leave them in public places.
Spend an hour volunteering at a soup kitchen or local charity.
Host a game night.
Say no when you need to.
Enjoy some (legal) cannabis or have a glass of wine. Don’t over do it.
Look up cat gifs.
Listen to running water or nature sounds.
Get your hands dirty - garden or play in the sand.
Walk your dogs.
Clean out a junk drawer or closet.
Write your feelings down.
Cry when you need to.
Drink more water. Add fresh fruit or fresh mint for a kick.