Self-care. It’s one of those things you love or don’t really care for. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of the phrase. But I know I need to keep a few self-care activities up my sleeve.
The definition of self-care
Self-care is the practice of taking deliberate actions to develop and nurture your physical well-being, emotional health and mental welfare.
But it goes beyond simple indulgences like a bath or rich chocolate ice cream.
It encompasses activities and habits that promote long-term balance.
It recognises the importance of maintaining a good relationship with yourself.
And by taking care of your own needs, you become better equipped to provide support to others.
At its core, self-care is about flourishing as a full human.Erlene Grise-Owens
How to use these self care ideas
Now that you know what self-care means, you can create your own self-care plan.
Select a few self-care ideas from this article that you would like to try. Consider your daily life and commitments to determine when and how often you do set some time aside for yourself.
Remember that self-care is highly personal, and what works for someone else may not work for you. Feel free to customize the self-care ideas to suit your preferences and lifestyle. Adapt the activities to fit your schedule, interests, and available resources. The goal is to find self-care practices that bring you joy and promotes your well-being.
Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your life. Schedule it in your calendar if you need to, and honour that dedicated time. Taking care of yourself is not selfish but essential for your overall emotional state
Remember, self-care is not just about having a hot bath or slapping on a face mask. It’s about helping you create a work-life balance and supporting your overall health.
A to Z of Self-Care Ideas
You don’t have to have hippy tendencies to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy. There are many different ways you can use smells to shift or improve your mood. From wax melts and candles to diffusing essential oils for a bubble bath or just shopping at Lush.
Baking is a triple-edged sword (if there is such a thing) when it comes to self-care. It’s something that can be done alone, with friends and family or even as part of a class. Plus the added bonus is there is something delicious to eat at the end!
Here are some recipes to get you started:
For some people, cleaning is their therapy. And a clean living space is more than just clean. It’s calming, it’s motivating, and it’s certainly helpful. Sometimes it’s what you do when you feel like you just need to do something. And sometimes it’s just a quick win to make you feel like you’ve achieved something.
Need some cleaning motivation?
- The One Minute Rule
- Strategies to reduce and overcome procrastination
- How one declutter challenge helped me get rid of 465 things
- 10+ Ways of Simplifying Your Life
Isn’t it nice sometimes to just daydream? Daydream about your dream job, dream holiday, dream life, or even just your perfect day. Thinking about the possibilities is one way to turn them into reality. You could take it a step further and write down your daydreams.
There are so many ways to exercise. From serious competitive sports to a weekly yoga class or even just going for a walk around the block. Exercise releases those endorphins that make you feel good. Plus there are so many unexpected benefits of working out. And if you need help finding ways to work out with kids, I’ve got you covered.
And exercise helps not only your physical health but your mental health and emotional health. If you’re struggling for time, why not make a date with a friend to catch up over the phone while you both go for a walk in the fresh air?
Spending time with my friends really fills my cup. But It took me a while to find my people. I used to complain to my husband about the lack of close female friends in my life. He would always say that I’d make friends with the other school mums, even though we were no way near close to having kids. But for me, even catching up with just one of my friends has a tremendous impact. Most likely because I find it a bit easier to have one on one conversations. And there are some friends out there that just make you feel drained after spending time with them. I’ve recognised who they are and try to limit the time I spend with them.
Family members also make great friends because you start out with a few things in common.
This can be hard when you are starting to be more grateful. So learning why you need a gratitude journal and how to start one is a great start. Start with some really simple things. When I first started practising gratitude I would just repeat the same things over and over again.
- I am grateful for my house that provides shelter from the elements for me and my family
- I am grateful for the rain that waters the garden and fills my water tank
- I’m grateful for my husband that works hard to provide for us
- I am grateful for my car that allows me to go to work, visit my friends and family and take my daughter on adventures
Once you’ve started with some standard things you are grateful for, like I did, you will find your mind comes up with so many positive things to be grateful for.
One day, you will be going about your business of tidying up your bedroom. You see a spot of yellow in your peripheral vision. You think to yourself “wow the neighbour’s lights are bright during the day” and go about your business. A few days go by and the yellow has become orange. That’s when you notice the leaves on a tree changing in colour in the season. You start to see the changes in your neighbourhood. You smile at the bright and changing colours. This is how gratitude starts.
One of the easiest ways to look after yourself is to make sure you’re getting enough water. Now I know I really can’t preach about this. Getting my fluid intake is something that I really struggle with. So I’ve set the bar kinda low and it took me quite a while to even hit the mark consistently with it.
I’ve been adding to my water intake with an adrenal cocktail in the afternoon and a herbal tea before bed. You could also make a batch of infused water, raspberry is one of my favourites!
Invest in yourself
How many times do we buy things for other people? And how often do you buy things to invest in yourself? Take some time to think about how you can invest in yourself. It might be worth it to invest in some better quality or sustainably produced clothes. Maybe it’s time to step it up at work with some further education. Or increase your skills when it comes to a new hobby like writing or photography.
Everyone needs some laughter in their life. And sometimes the lamest of lame dad jokes are just what we need. My favourite ways to have a good laugh are:
- Watching movies, White Chicks and We’re The Millers are my favourites
- Fail Army videos on Facebook or youtube
- Brandon Farris videos on Facebook
Journaling is a great way to get to know yourself. Sometimes we have a passing thought about something, but when we really pay attention and think about it properly our thoughts often change. I really surprised myself when I sat down and really answered the question What do I want? and What don’t I want? The list of things I didn’t want wasn’t very long, but I had a list of over 50 things I want. That’s crazy.
Sometimes your list of little tasks or errands can build quicker than you can say what’s next? And sometimes you just need to take half a day, or a whole day, to knock some of those tasks off your list. Sometimes it’s things that probably are important, like a doctor, dentist or optometrist appointment. Other times it’s getting photos printed, buying birthday cards or finally getting that dry clean-only item dry-cleaned.
It can be hard to find motivation sometimes. But really all it takes is completing one task, big or small, to get the motivation wheel turning. After completing one task, you start another and so on. Soon you will have knocked off half of the things on your to-do list.
Sometimes writing that to-do list is all the motivation you need to get the ball rolling. And it’s ok to cheat by adding things you’ve already done just so you can cross them off.
Take a trip down memory lane.
Look through your old Facebook photos.
Strike up a conversation with an old friend by saying remember when?
Listen to your favorite song from different years.
Watch some of your old favourite TV shows on a streaming service or YouTube.
Open your mind and be present. Be open to new ideas, opinions, discussions and change.
Being open is important for growth, connection, and understanding. It expands your horizons, encourages empathy, and fosters meaningful relationships which leads to personal development and a richer, more fulfilling life.
Make a plan.
Make a plan for the next day, week, month or year.
Start planning your next holiday.
Make a plan for your dinners for the week.
Start a savings plan or get out of debt program.
Create a vision board.
Have minimal to no noise. Not so you can meditate, but to really listen. Between the tv, radio, podcasts, and household or workplace appliances, noise is pretty much everywhere. Having some quiet time can help you recharge and really focus on what you’re doing.
- Do the dishes or chores in silence
- Drive with the radio off
- People watch at a local cafe instead of scrolling on your phone
I can give you a mile-long list of books that I think you should read. But I’m not going to do that. If you like to read, you already know what makes a good book. Just make sure you read stuff you do like. And if you don’t like it stop reading it. It took me a while to be ok with that one.
If you need more book ideas
- 20+ self-improvement books to help you learn anything
- 20+ Best Manifestation Books You Will Actually Learn From
- What should I read next podcast
- Get recommendations based on what you’ve already read on Goodreads.com
As well as keeping hydrated, getting a good night’s sleep is also pretty vital. And it’s one of the first things you can do that will make a big difference. It can be hard to tell how much is enough sleep, but for most adults, 7-8 hours is just right. And I think by now you’ve learned that you can’t catch up on sleep. So trying to wake up and go to sleep around the same times, regardless of the day of the week, can be really helpful.
The hardest part about therapy is making that first appointment for professional help.
Whether it’s the appointment with your General Practitioner to get the referral or calling to book your first therapy session. I promise it does get easier after making that call.
Some of the people and brands we choose to follow aren’t always good for us. I know I’ve had to unfollow people and brands because I don’t like the way I feel after having an interaction with them.
Unplug yourself from your computer, your phone and social media.
Maybe even create some further disconnect between yourself and your tv.
The easiest way I have found to unplug is by using the downtime setting on my iPhone. It blocks all of my apps, apart from a select few, between certain hours. So from 10 pm until 7 am all of my apps (excluding phone, text message, podcast and music apps) are greyed out and I get a warning when I try to open them.
Visit a friend or a family member or visit a place you love. For me, my favourite place is the Mornington Peninsula Chocolaterie and the nearby park. It’s my favourite place to catch up with my friends who all have kids around the same age. There are also a bunch of places I like to visit on mother-daughter dates.
Work towards a goal
If you’ve set a resolution or two (or more!) it’s time to take some action. If you set a word for the year it’s time to remember it and start living by it. Make a plan that is going to help you achieve your goals, even if it means breaking it down into the smallest possible steps you need to take.
Think about what makes you different. If you are stuck for ideas, reach out to those who know you best. You might be surprised by what they come up with.
Say yes to things that scare you.
Say yes to something you might normally say not to.
There’s been a trend of YouTube videos where parents say yes to everything their kids suggest. So say yes to your kids more often.
You might be surprised where that simple yes might take you.
Take some time out to just sit and do nothing.
Or sit outside and find shapes in the clouds.
Close your eyes and really listen to the sounds that you can hear and the things that you can feel.
Get out a coloring book and use unconventional colours.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of self-care tips. But there sure are a lot of options and ideas to get you thinking about how you can take better care of yourself.
Click on the image below to download the PDF version of self care ideas.