I’ve been seeing a lot of self care idea lists floating around the internet. Self care can be anything you want it to be and I’m certainly not here to dictate your life. However, I’ve noticed some of the ideas don’t really seem very healthy.
I think it’s fine and even great to indulge once in a while on a favorite meal or dessert, have wine in the evening or a drink with friends. Sometimes we need to buy ourselves something nice if we haven’t done that in a while or binge on Netflix. Though enjoyable, these things are not self-care.
My ideas of self care are things that will promote healthy habits and improve my brain and body. My self-care routine includes things that help me to de-stress.
Alcohol and mindless TV actually do not relieve stress as many people think they do.
Things that relieve stress include exercise or any physical activity, inner reflection such as journaling, meditating or improving your coping skills, eating healthy and getting enough sleep, sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone and developing and keeping personal boundaries, just to name a few.
When we use food, drinks, shopping or mindless TV as ways of de-stressing we are actually developing poor coping skills. That is not to say that regular massage isn’t beneficial because we have to pay for it. That’s different than buying the latest tech gadget. Having a pedicure is a nice self-care treat but if you feel you’re doing it to keep up an image or you can’t afford to do so, it is not longer helpful but creating more stress.
I am suggesting that you are careful with your self-care practice and don’t just follow a list someone made and posted on Pinterest. Don’t even follow my list if it’s something that’s unhealthy for you. Everyone needs to come up with their own self-care tool kit and keep adding to it.
That said, some people need ideas. So I’m going to list some of my ideas below. I believe these to be healthy and, if done often, will promote good coping skills and less stress in your lives.
Let me know what you think below in the comments!
- Self massage, especially feet, neck, shoulders and temples.
- Have an early night
- Take a nap if needed
- 10 minutes of stretching
- Read a good book
- Reach out to a friend
- Write a hand written letter
- Gratitude journal
- Say no without feeling guilty
- Delegate tasks appropriately
- Remove toxic people from your life.
- Let go of the little things (stop the glory of perfectionism)
- Mindfully have a cup of tea or coffee
- Prioritize your day and stick to it.
- Take care of a few small annoying tasks.
- Develop personal boundaries
- Take a relaxing bath or shower
- Learn to meditate (apps and YouTube are helpful for beginners)
- Mind map or brain dump
- Do something creative
- Take a walk
- Open windows. Enjoy sunshine and fresh air.
- Have your lunch outside if possible
- Communicate your needs effectively
- Practice active listening (helps to bond with others and be in the moment)
- Evaluate your life’s priorities and change accordingly.
- Be willing to accept life’s ups and downs.
- Find joy in the ordinary
- Listen to talks by your favorite people (motivational, spiritual, Ted talks that are beneficial to your person, etc).
- Play games on your phone that help your brain (rather than mindless ones). Check out games that prevent dementia/Alzheimer’s like puzzles, word games and problem solving.
- Expand your vocabulary by reading rather than listening to audio books.
- Listen to audiobooks while driving or exercising.
- Find health recipes online and make a cookbook of your favorites.
- If you eat meat, try eating vegetarian or vegan for a day to expand your palette and senses and do something good for the world.
- Don’t compare yourself to others.
- Stop negative thinking in it’s tracks and replace with a positive thought or affirmation.
- Seek help for problems you can’t solve on your own.
- Schedule dedicated time for yourself every single day.
- Instead of apologizing for your thoughts, feelings or behaviors thank the person you’re speaking to for acknowledging them.
- Develop a morning and nighttime routine and try to stick to it.
- Make your lunch and pick out your outfit for the next day.
- Make sure you get at least ten good laughs in every day (watch funny clips, tell jokes, be light-hearted and silly)
- Declutter one drawer or area each day until your free of clutter.
- Say no or cancel plans if needed and do not feel guilty.
- Remember that you are not responsible for others actions.
- Listen to music
- Plan a date with yourself or your partner.
- Explore something new (food, location, hobby or interests)
- Stroll slowly through a museum, aquarium or park noticing details
- Try to stick to a sleep schedule
- Fast walk or jog for half an hour (or even ten minutes if that’s all you can do)
- Try a new form of exercise or a new sport.
- Play with your pet if you have one.
- Call your biggest supporter when needed.
- Make connections with people, big and small (even with the various workers we encounter every day)
- Write or think about 5 things you love about yourself.
- Express your feelings.
- Learn how to calm yourself on your own command
- Try deep breathing techniques.
- Learn how to do a body scan meditation (yoga Nidra)
- Allow yourself extra time in the morning to look your best.
- Leave early for work without rushing.
- Donate to charities
- Do something nice for a neighbor (cut their grass, bake them some cookies or bring in their garbage cans)
- Challenge yourself to drink about 2 liters of water each day
- Join or start a book club
- Use a foam roller to work out any kinks
- Walk or bicycle
- Pamper yourself with excellent skin care (Pamper doesn’t mean expensive! For example, Vanicream is one of the best face washes out there. It is very good for all skin types)
- Treat yourself to a new item of clothing, if needed
- Cook with love and care.
- Focus on the positive.
- Develop a mindset that there are no problems, only opportunities to learn and grow (and develop a new skill set).
- Do everything slowly and mindfully. Stop rushing.
- Identify and stop a bad habit (putting yourself down, swearing, going to bed too late, using food for comfort, etc)
- Surround yourself with good textures (cozy blanket, comfortable clothing)
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Compliment yourself in the mirror.
- Don’t succumb to the pressures of an unrealistic life portrayed on social media.
- Curate your Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc to only follow people who inspire and educate you.
- Likewise, unfollow Facebook “friends” who are negative and always complaining.
- Learn and try different grounding techniques.
- Indulge in essential oils
- Cuddle, exchange a massage, or have someone brush your hair. Do not underestimate the power of physical touch.
- Try doing some random acts of kindness to strangers.
- Tell someone you love them and why you appreciate them.
- Expand your mind by learning about other cultures, religions and ideas.
- Let go of always having to be right or have the last word.
- Be willing to fall apart so you can come back together even stronger.
- Catch yourself when you judge another and remind yourself that everyone has a right to their own beliefs and that you’re not here to change anyone.
- Try learning about and doing some shadow work.
- Learn to practice patience in preparation to do a job right the first time.
- Be brave. Go outside your comfort zone.
- Learn how to be a good host/hostess and throw a dinner party (form connections, practice serving others).
- Organize your desk, vanity, wardrobe or a drawer.
- Develop a budget and financial plan
- Think before you speak.
- Be the friend you want to have.
- Practice honesty and good values.
- And once in a while blow your own damn mind!
Please let me know what you thought of these ideas and what you’d like me to add!
May you be happy and well!