It can be difficult to get started with a self care routine, but these 70 self care activities will help you feel healthier, both inside and out – and inspire you to take your well-being to the next level.
In a world full of stress and distractions, we often neglect to practise self-care, despite studies showing that self-care is essential to maintaining our mental and physical health. Practising self-care also plays a vital role in alleviating stress, increasing productivity, and promoting feelings of happiness. We’ve rounded up our favourite self care activities to incorporate into your everyday life.
Physical Self Care Activities
Self care activities you can do to improve and maintain your physical and mental well-being.
#1 Get some sun
Even as little as 5 minutes of sunlight a day can make all the difference in the world. Taking in sunlight through your eyes can boost your Vitamin D levels, balance your cortisol levels, and trigger the release of serotonin, improving your mood and helping you feel calmer and more focused.
#2 Stay hydrated
Your body needs fluids in order to maintain proper functioning – dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and low blood pressure. Drinking more water can improve your skin, flush your body of toxins, and energise you throughout the day.
#3 Eat healthily
In order to stay healthy and functioning, your body requires a balanced diet of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Swap out sugary snacks for healthy alternatives to ensure that you stay physically healthy and mentally sharp.
#4 Pay attention to your physical needs
Physical health is a core aspect of self-care and is linked to your overall wellbeing. Research has shown that your physical health has a strong impact on your mental and emotional wellness, which is why it’s crucial to maintain healthy habits and ensure that you pay attention to any medical needs.
#5 Get a massage
Stress often manifests as pain or tension in our bodies. Research shows that massages help to reduce stress, boost your mood, and promote relaxation.
If you’re unable to get a message, try tension-relieving stretches. Stretching can help alleviate tightness while relaxing, repairing, and rejuvenating the body.
#7 Seek out physical contact
Human touch calms us down, reduces stress, and promotes the release of a hormone called oxytocin, which creates feelings of happiness. So try and squeeze a cuddle or two into your daily routine.
#8 Eat dark chocolate
Hailed by the Mayans as the ‘food of the gods’, dark chocolate is often associated with heart health. But wait, there’s more – a 2014 study found that eating an ounce and a half of dark chocolate per day for two weeks can even help reduce stress levels.
#9 Cut down on caffeine
Research has shown that jitters stemming from the overconsumption of caffeinated beverages can trigger a fight or flight response, resulting in symptoms such as irritability and restlessness. Instead, consider these caffeine alternatives.
#10 Try acupuncture
Based on the theory that health problems can be alleviated by stimulating pressure points on the body, acupuncture is a holistic treatment that addresses not only your physical health but your mental well-being as well.
#11 Try aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that makes use of your sense of smell to reduce stress, boost your mood, and help you sleep. Try it with a scented candle, essential oils, or incense.
#12 Get active
It’s important to incorporate physical activity into your daily life. Exercise helps your body release endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals that increase feelings of happiness. Here are some of our favourite fitness channels to help you stay active at home.
#13 Sit up straight
Maintaining good posture is vital to your overall health and can help to improve circulation, boost your mood, and improve your self-image.
#14 Maintain good hygiene
Personal hygiene may seem like a no-brainer, but it is often overlooked. Taking good care of your personal hygiene can not only help you maintain better health, but will also help you feel confident.
#15 Cook a meal
Studies have also shown that a nutritious diet can reduce symptoms of depression. Cooking your own meals means that you have control over exactly what you’re putting in your body and is the best way to ensure that you’re eating freshly-prepared, healthy foods.
#16 Cut down on sugar
Too much sugar only provides short-term energy boosts which often lead to ‘crashes’ that can leave you feeling groggy and distracted. Instead, swap out sugary snacks for healthy alternatives to ensure that you stay physically healthy and mentally sharp.
#17 Take a nap
Everyone needs a break sometimes. Take some time to catch up on sleep and recharge your energy. A 20-minute power nap can help you feel more alert, reduce stress, and improve your productivity levels.
#18 Take a bath
Studies show that taking a hot bath has similar benefits to exercising by improving blood circulation. It can also help to relieve muscle pain and tension and calm your nerves, especially after a stressful day.
#19 Try a weighted blanket
Weighted blankets provide the calming sensation of being hugged and embraced, whilst keeping its users still and supported until morning. This wellness tool has been hailed by many as a cure-all for issues such as anxiety, stress and insomnia.
#20 Make sleep a priority
Developing healthy sleep habits can help refresh and energise you for the day, so make sure you’re getting enough rest – experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day. Feeling restless? Try these apps and podcasts to help you doze off.
Mental Self Care Activities
Self care activities that stimulate your mind and help you stay mentally healthy.
#21 Read a book
Social distancing offers the perfect opportunity to catch up on some reading. Getting lost in a good book is a great way to pass time and relieve boredom. Plus, reading can also help you to cope with any anxieties you might be experiencing during your isolation period. Need some inspiration? Here are Hive Life’s top picks of books to read.
#22 Start a journal
Journals are a great way to help you process your thoughts and emotions, rather than letting them linger in your mind. Studies show that journaling helps alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety and improves physical health.
#23 Consume positive media
We are often surrounded by negativity, especially in the form of media. Take a break from news that induces stress and anxiety and make it a goal to read and share positive content daily to help create a happier, more peaceful mindset.
#24 Try a colouring book
Colouring isn’t just for kids – it can actually benefit your mental and emotional health as well! Colouring has the ability to reduce stress and anxiety and is a good way to practice mindfulness.
#25 Make some art
Art is a therapeutic form of self-expression and can be incredibly cathartic. The act of being creative or artistic can also help you unwind and destress, leaving you feeling relaxed and happier.
Feeling productive? Use this time to learn something new! Online options like Skillshare offer a wide range of online classes that can help you in both your professional and personal life. Be sure to take advantage of their two-month free trial!
#27 Take up a hobby
With the stresses of daily life, we often wind up neglecting the hobbies that bring us joy. Taking the time to indulge yourself in a new hobby (or revisiting old ones!) can allow for some much-needed relaxation.
#28 Listen to some music
Music can be extremely therapeutic and can be used to improve concentration, boost your mood, and alleviate headaches. Slow music can also help to relax your mind and body, unwind and destress.
#29 Listen to a podcast
From podcasts that lift your spirits to mental health podcasts that help make you feel less alone, it’s true when they say that there really is a podcast for everything. So pick up a pair of headphones, choose a topic which interests you, and tune out the world for a little while as you get stuck into one of many binge-worthy podcasts available out there right now.
#30 Try ASMR
Ambient sounds can calm your thoughts and relax your mind, which studies have found can help to slow your heart rate and reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
#31 Switch it up
Making slight changes to your daily routine can stimulate your brain, helping to increase concentration, improve memory, and boost creativity.
Emotional Well-being Ideas
Self care activities that help you cater to your emotional needs.
#32 Watch some reruns
Re-watching old TV shows and movies can be therapeutic and are useful tools for dealing with symptoms of stress and anxiety. The familiarity of reruns triggers a sense of nostalgia and the predictability is often soothing.
It’s true what they say – laughter is the best medicine. Laughter helps to alleviate stress and improve your mood by reducing cortisol and triggering the release of endorphins. It even helps to stimulate circulation and boost your immune system!
#34 Cry when you want to
Don’t hold back your tears – crying is a healthy response to sadness and frustration, and can help to relieve tension and emotional stress from your body.
#35 Look at cute animals
Turns out all that time spent on watching cat videos wasn’t a waste. Research shows that looking at photos or videos of cute animals can boost your mood and alleviate stress.
#36 Nurture your green thumb
Invest in a houseplant – indoor plants help to eliminate harmful toxins in the air and have been proven to raise concentration levels, boost productivity, reduce stress, and improve mood.
#37 Go to your happy place
Find a therapeutic place that brings you peace. Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, return to your happy place and bask in that safe environment to unwind, relax, and destress.
#38 Make time for friends and family
Humans are social creatures by nature. Having strong connections with others has been proven to alleviate symptoms of depression and, according to a study by Harvard Health, can even help to boost physical health and increase longevity.
#39 Communicate your needs
Be clear when communicating your needs and don’t put off conversations about issues that are bothering you. Being avoidant consumes precious time and energy that can be spent on better things.
#40 Check in with your emotions
Take a moment to quietly check in on how you’re feeling. Reflecting on your feelings can help to keep your emotions in balance and prevent negative emotions from taking over.
#41 Practise self-compassion
Failure and rejection are unavoidable aspects of life, but how we choose to respond to these setbacks can make all the difference. Avoid being too hard on yourself – your self-worth is not dependent on the negative situations you face.
#42 Celebrate your successes
Every small victory counts. Taking the time to appreciate your successes and recognise your strengths can boost your self-confidence and motivate you to continue pursuing your goals.
#43 Reward yourself
Treat yourself from time to time, especially when you accomplish something that makes you proud. Having something to look forward to makes it much easier to stay motivated and is a great form of positive reinforcement.
#44 Identify your triggers
Learn to recognise your triggers by recording your reactions and the events leading up to it. After coming up with a list of your top triggers, you can start to work on eliminating these stressors from your life or learn how to change your reactions to them.
#45 Cut out negativity
Cut out the root of your stress from your life, whether it be toxic relationships, unhealthy habits, or self-destructive thoughts. Removing things that are contributing to your stress can help you achieve peace and introduce positivity into your life.
#46 Try a mental health app
While not a replacement for therapy, mental health apps offer a more accessible option to those who are unable to seek professional help. Try these apps designed to cater to your emotional wellness.
#47 Seek out support
Sometimes, the best way to deal with mental health issues is to speak to others with shared experiences as we can find solace in knowing that others share similar struggles.
#48 Seek therapy
Therapy is a tool that allows you to learn how to deal with difficult emotions in a healthier way and can give you a better understanding of your own mental well-being, whilst positively influencing your self-confidence, interpersonal relationships, and perspective on life.
Practical Self Care Actions
Actions you can take to fulfil core needs and lower your stress levels.
#49 Create a morning routine
Start the day by creating a place of balance, whether that be through a moment of quiet meditation or a quick yoga session. Structuring your mornings can energise you and allow you to go about your day with purpose.
#50 Make a to-do list
A good way to set yourself up for success is by writing down your action plan the night before. Having a tangible framework for the next day ensures that you’re starting each day with a purpose, making it more likely that you’ll fill your day with productive work.
#51 Find an accountability partner
If you’re finding it difficult to hold yourself accountable and focus on your goals, try reaching out to a friend for help. Having a personal cheerleader is helpful for staying positive and motivated.
#52 Don’t multitask
Multitasking can be stressful and can actually hinder productivity. Putting more focus into a single task means that you’ll pay more attention to the details and consequently produce higher quality work.
#53 Give yourself time
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with a task, take a step back – Rome wasn’t built in a day. Pace yourself and set realistic goals to avoid burnout.
#54 Take mental breaks
Taking short mental breaks can improve your ability to focus and allow you to be productive for a prolonged period of time. Stepping away for a quick refresher can help relax the mind, readying it to tackle the rest of your day.
The environment you create is a reflection of your mindset. A cluttered environment can translate into a cluttered mind and may, in turn, negatively affect your mood, which is why it can be helpful to put extra time into cleaning up your surroundings.
#56 Unplug your devices
Cutting down on screen time can help you to destress and unwind, improving mental awareness and leading to better productivity in the long run. Learning to unplug can also free up time to focus on the other priorities in your life, like spending quality time with family and friends.
#57 Delete unnecessary apps
Deleting unnecessary apps from your phone can help minimise the distractions in your life, leaving you more room to focus on the more important things in your life. Try categorising your apps and keeping only the most important apps on your home screen.
#58 Do a social media cleanse
Go through your social media and purge your newsfeed of those who have a negative presence. A UK study found that those who rely heavily on social media often end up negatively comparing themselves to others.
#59 Create an evening routine
Ending the day with a bedtime ritual can help you relax and unwind for the night, giving you time to process your day and prepare your mind and body to go to sleep.
Spiritual Self Care Ideas
Self care activities that help you to deepen your connection with yourself and find your sense of purpose.
#60 Go on a nature walk
Tune into your senses of sight, hearing, smell, and touch by connecting with nature – studies have linked this practice to strengthened immunity, better moods, and reduced stress.
#61 Try restorative yoga
Restorative yoga is a form of yoga that targets physical, mental, and emotional relaxation. It also aims helps to slow your heart rate and regulate your blood pressure.
#62 Take deep breaths
A self-care tool that’s readily available at any moment, deep breathing exercises are a great way to help you centre yourself and focus on the present, as well as alleviate stress and anxiety.
#63 Set boundaries
We often undervalue our own time, choosing to overcommit to others and saving little to no time for ourselves. Setting healthy boundaries plays a crucial role in your mental wellbeing by letting you focus on your own emotional, psychological, and physical needs, rather than the needs of others.
#64 Make time for yourself
Me-time may seem self-indulgent, which is why it’s so often neglected. However, it’s important to leave self-nurturing downtime for yourself in order to navigate stress, alleviate anxiety, and practise self-love.
#65 Practice gratitude
Practising gratitude reshapes your mindset in a positive way by helping you focus on appreciating the things already in your life, rather than feeling unsatisfied and constantly hoping for something new.
#66 Recite positive affirmations
Positive affirmations allow you to take control of your thoughts and reconfigure your beliefs, helping you to focus on your goals, create a positive mindset, and improve your self-esteem.
#67 Create a vision board
Vision boards can help you envision what you want out of life, helping you to refocus on your goals and manifest the life you want to live.
#68 Let go of negativity
Letting go of anger, hatred, and other negative emotions is a cathartic form of emotional healing, helping us to move on from painful experiences and live a more positive life.
#69 Volunteer for a meaningful cause
Performing acts of generosity or kindness can increase levels of oxytocin in the brain, which creates feelings of happiness and relieves stress. Volunteering also creates purpose, which can help raise your self-esteem and alleviate loneliness.
Mindful meditation has long been hailed as a way to improve both your mental and physical health. One of the most effective self care activities, studies have shown that this practice can help to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety, as well as stimulate focus and improve sleep.
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