15 Self Care Ideas

Self Care is health care. Let's think of it like preventative medicine. You cannot fill from an empty cup. It's like the airplane analogy: make sure your air mask and life vest are secure before assisting others. Because you are not much help to others if you are depleted yourself. Make time for self care, so you can be the best version of yourself. Here are some self-care ideas to get you started:

#1. Cuddle your pet or loved one.

Cuddling and affection causes the release of oxytocin in your brain, which is the hormone associated with feelings of connection, bonding and trust. It’s that warm and fuzzy, lovey dovey feeling. So as you can see, cuddling your pet or loved one is great for your brain and self care. Science says so 😉

#2. Keep a daily affirmations list.

Write a list of affirmations in your journal to tell yourself every day. Affirmations that lift you up, empower you and help you throughout the day. My favorite affirmations to write down and recant are: I am worthy, I am beautiful, I am enough.

#3. Take an afternoon nap.

Even when you take a 15-30 minute nap you can still experience the benefits of sleep, such as improved alertness, enhanced performance, and a better mood. According to the CDC, if your nap is less than 30 minutes long, it will not disrupt your subsequent sleep at night. Taking an afternoon nap is a great way to refresh and rest your brain.

#4. Go to bed early, and read a book before bed.

Sleep is so important. If you are feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, a good self care ritual would be to treat yourself to better quality sleep to help your brain function at its best. Reading before bed can help you fall asleep gently, and is better than scrolling on your phone. An earlier bedtime can mean a longer nights sleep if you tend to stay up late and it cuts into the number of hours you should be getting. Most adults need 7-9 hours a night.

According to the National Institute of Health “sleep affects almost every type of tissue and system in the body – from the brain, heart, and lungs to metabolism, immune function, mood, and disease resistance.  Research shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.” Treat yourself to some selfcare in the form of an early bedtime. Your brain and body will thank you for it.

#5. Spend time with family or friends.

Spending quality time with your loved ones can help promote feelings of togetherness, solidarity and belonging. For some, especially extroverts, being alone for extended periods of time can feel isolating and be detrimental to one’s mental health. Having periodic check-ins with one another either face-to-face or socially distanced via Zoom (thanks technology) can help you feel less alone when the world gets tough. Humans are social creatures, so it’s good for self-care to touch base with your people every once in a while. Yes, you too introverts.

#6. Have some alone time doing your favorite hobby.

Just as spending time with others is good for self-care, having designated alone time is healthy too. If you have a partner like me, or if you have children or live with roommates, you might feel like you never get a moment to yourself. It can be a nice practice of self-care to designate a specific amount of time in your day or week that is exclusively for yourself, to do what YOU would like to do.

#7. Burn your favorite candle.

Our sense of smell is powerful. According to science, sense of smell is closely linked with emotion and memory (Harvard Brain Science Institute). Lighting your favorite candle or diffusing your favorite essential oils can trigger happy and calming emotions and memories, which makes it a great self-care ritual.

#8. Eat a healthy meal.

Prepare a thoughtful meal that includes fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, protein and whole grains. The more colors of the rainbow you can include on your plate, the better. Look into the food you are eating – the sourcing, nutrients, health benefits. Reflect on and visualize how these foods are nourishing and energizing your body, and practice gratitude. An often-overlooked yet important self care practice is as simple as mindfully eating a healthy meal.

#9. Cozy up indoors with warm blankets & soft socks.

Cozy. Warm. Soft. These words invoke a state of calm. They are almost nostalgic. Calming comforts help to relax the mind and body. Utilizing physical items of comfort like warm blankets and soft socks help to put yourself in a cozy mindset so you can better relax.

#10. Go on an outdoor adventure.

Nature is good for the soul. It is therapeutic. It is healing. Whether you are taking a hike, or just sitting in a patch of grass. It doesn’t need to be elaborate. Go outdoors, and take in the sensory experiences around you. What do you feel? The blades of grass? What is the texture like? What do you hear? Are there birds? How would you describe their song? What do you see? The sky? Is it blue, or grey? Go outside and tune your senses to the rhythms of Nature.

#11. Treat your skin to a facial mask.

Skincare is a great daily self-care practice. Our skin is the largest organ of our body. It is a loving act to take care of our skin, and the very basic care it needs is a cleanser, moisturizer and SPF. But once a week, your skin benefits from a something extra indulging – a facial mask, which gives the skin an extra dose of nutrients, exfoliation, and hydration. Our favorite facial masks are the Corvus Botanicals face masks because they are totally customizable to fit your skin’s needs. Add whatever liquid you desire to the clay + botanical base, such as: aloe, glycerin, face oil, toner, puree, yogurt, etc. During the 10-15 minutes that the mask is setting up on your skin, you can pair it with a bath or foot soak, or music, or candlelight. Whatever helps set the mood for your self-care practice.

#12. Meditate with deep breathing.

Growing research indicates the immense benefits of meditation, promoting both physical and mental wellbeing. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) “studies have investigated meditation for different conditions, and there’s evidence that it may reduce blood pressure as well as symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and flare-ups in people who have had ulcerative colitis. It may ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, and may help people with insomnia.” For those new to meditation, it typically involves: a quiet location with as few distractions as possible; a specific, comfortable posture (for example, sitting or lying down); a focus of attention (a word, intention/affirmation, an object, or the awareness of your breath); and an open attitude (letting distractions come and go naturally with neutrality). Try taking up meditation as a self-care ritual, and see if it is beneficial for you.

#13. Take a social media break.

Sometimes social media can just become heavy and dare I say toxic. It does the mind good to take a break from the noise and have a little digital detox. Whether that be for a day or a week, choose the duration that fulfills your self-care needs.

#14. Take a mental health day off work.

This is not an accessible option for everyone, as not everyone has paid time off or paid sick leave. If taking a day off work will create more burdens than it will alleviate, then this is probably not an accessible option for you. If not, then utilize your next non-workday to focus on mental health. Be intentional about it and engage in practices that you know personally improve your mental health. This is different for everyone, as needs differ person to person. For example, I have depression, so taking a day to go on a Nature walk, getting cozy with a self care ritual and doing things that nurture my soul really helps me cope. I've learned my triggers, when I need to step back and make space for myself. Take a mental health day off or use your non-work day to make time and space for your self care.

#15. Relax with a bubble bath or a foot soak.

The skin-nourishing ingredients in bath bombs and bath salts make your skin feel silky smooth. And there’s something so comforting about soaking in the warm bath water that just puts your mind at ease. If you are looking for a water-conscious alternative, you can fill a bucket with water, drop the bath bomb or salts into the water, and soak your feet in the bucket for a relaxing at-home pedicure.