61 Self-Care Ideas - How to Look After Yourself
Self-care ideas can be hard to come up with, and looking after yourself is often a second thought. In our increasingly fast-paced, overstimulating world, taking time for self-care has never been so important. But all too often, looking after number one takes a back seat.
Self-care is any action or behaviour that helps you improve your physical or mental health. And it doesn’t have to mean a 2-month yoga retreat or a weekend at the spa, self-care can be anything that improves your day and helps you take care of your mental health.
61 new self-care ideas for you to try
We’ve pulled together 61 self-care ideas that you may not have already in your self-care arsenal you can easily fit into your daily routine:
1. Get more organised
If you’re forever rushing around, forgetting things, and struggling to balance the demands of everyday life, getting more organised is an important gesture of self-care. Knowing exactly where you’re meant to be, and when, and having everything on hand you need, will relieve a lot of the stress, worry, and anxiety you might feel on a daily basis. Get into Bullet Journalling. Taking time each week to get yourself sorted will make you feel so much less stressed.
2. Find time for yourself earlier in the week
Many of us see the week as being for work, and the weekend as being the time we can relax and unwind. But why should we only make time for ourselves two days of the week? Book yourself in for a Monday night class, arrange to see your friend on a Tuesday, or simply schedule some much-needed mid-week me time.
3. Get into your childhood activities again
Remember the things you loved doing most when you were little? Why not give them a go and see if they bring you as much joy now? Whether it’s playing the keyboard, dusting off your paint set, or getting back into a sport you used to love, this can help you find a new focus and rediscover something you love.
4. Play your favourite songs
Happy music can make you happy too. So put on your favourite positive playlist and soak up all those positive vibes. You can change your mood in an instant with music. See if you can find some bood-boosting music in Spotify whilst doing chores.
5. Listen to your favourite childhood band
Admit it, we all had a favourite boy or girl band when we were growing it. Dig out your former favourite album and give it a listen. It might not be cool, but this is about self-care, not street cred!
While your happy music is on, treat yourself to a dance. Busting some moves can help improve your mood, get your body moving, and boost your body image. So join a class or just turn your radio up and get moving!
7. Shout and swear
Bad language isn’t usually something we’d endorse, but if you’re feeling stressed, worried, or fed up, shouting and swearing can really help you blow off some steam and improve your mood. Just make sure you’re somewhere private!
8. Laugh out loud
On the other hand, laughter can also help boost your mood. We’ve all heard the saying ‘laughter is the best medicine right? Well, research has shown that having a good old giggle can be incredibly beneficial for your physical and mental health. Not only this but having a laugh with your mates can help you connect with them.
So listen to your favourite funny podcast, watch that comedy you’ve been meaning to catch up on or call your funniest friend for a catch-up.
9. Cry it out
Not feeling like laughing or shouting out loud? Give yourself some time to cry. Self-care is all about allowing yourself to feel your feelings, good and bad. So, sometimes, that means having a good old cry.
10. Get into ASMR
Search ASMR videos online and you’ll find a whole host just waiting to be watched. ASMR videos give many people a tingling sensation, help them sleep, and reduce anxiety. Give it a go, and if it works, make it regular viewing!
11. Build a blanket fort
Remember the joy that building a warm, cosy blanket fort used to bring you as a child? Why not embrace those feelings again as an adult? You might feel a little silly at first, but once you’re tucked up in your blanket fort with pillows and snacks, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all these years.
12. Forest bathing
Yes, you read that right, bathing in the forest is a thing! And we don’t mean taking a bath out in the wilderness. This is about bathing in the relaxing atmosphere of the forest. So take yourself off to your nearest forest and breathe in that fresh, woodland air.
13. Get outside
Stepping outside is a great way to improve your mental and physical well-being. So head outside and spend some time in nature. It doesn’t need to be a hike or 10-mile walk, simply strolling around your local park or spending some in your garden can be hugely beneficial.
14. Call a friend
Pick up the phone and call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Reconnecting and catching up is good for your mind and your soul.
15. Let yourself daydream
As children, we spend a lot of our time daydreaming – whisking ourselves off to magical places. But, as adults, we rarely allow ourselves time to do this. So give yourself time to daydream and see where it takes you.
16. Look at pictures of your favourite place
You might not be able to travel there right now, so pull up pictures of your favourite place instead. Whether it’s a city, town, or even country, looking at your favourite place and learning more about it, is sure to bring joy.
17. A Netflix binge
Far too often, many of us feel like we constantly need to be doing something productive. So self-care can be as simple as allowing yourself to take an afternoon (or even a full weekend!) to binge-watch your favourite guilty pleasure on Netflix.
18. Watch Bob Ross
Not sure what to watch in your TV binge? Let us recommend Bob Ross! The Joy of Painting simulates ASMR with the therapeutic sounds of the brush strokes, and the super-chilled voice of painter Bob Ross. Trust us, it’s the most relaxing show around. And, with over 400 episodes, there’ll always be a new one when you need a dose of Bob’s calming influence.
19. Find the words
Take an old book, open it up at a random page, and circle the words that stand out to you. Try not to think about the words too much, and keep going until you’ve written a sentence. It might not make much sense, but the process can be incredibly therapeutic.
20. Set boundaries
Setting boundaries is an important form of self-care. Our lives are busy, and our time is incredibly precious, so learning to set boundaries on your time and energy, and say no when you need to, is important. You can only do so much, and sometimes you need to prioritise yourself.
21. Curate your feed
Social media can be overwhelming. And, if we’re not careful, it can become a negative influence. So take some time to go through your platforms and unfollow accounts that don’t bring something positive to your life.
22. Go on a fact-finding mission
Spend some time looking for useless facts. Not only will they provide great conversation starters, but they’ll probably give you a laugh while you’re reading them too. And you’ll never know when you’ll need them in a pub quiz!
Dedicating a few minutes each day to meditation can help quieten your mind, relieve stress, and focus better. Try to get into the habit of doing this daily by allocating time first thing in the morning or before you go to bed. There are a ton of apps and guides out there to help you meditate if you’re new to the practice.
24. Take a nap
When you’re feeling tired, everything feels that little bit harder. So, if you haven’t been sleeping well or you’re simply exhausted by life, allow yourself time for a nap. Chances are you’ll wake up feeling refreshed, reinvigorated, and ready to take on the rest of the day. It’s the ultimate self-care!
25. Get a tattoo
This one won’t be for everyone, and we’d never endorse getting a tattoo unless you’re totally sure. But, for many people, getting a tattoo is about more than just looking good– it makes them feel good too. So, if you’ve been considering a new tattoo, go for it!
26. Repot your plants
Gather your house plants and give them some TLC. It’s good for them and for you too. Repot any that have outgrown their current homes, and ensure they all have the water and nutrients they need. If you don’t have any plants, buy one! Caring for it will give you a real sense of purpose and accomplishment.
You’ve heard the saying tidy house, tidy mind, right? Well, it turns out there’s some truth in it! According to some experts, clutter can stress us out and have a negative impact on our mood. So give yourself time in your weekly routine to keep the spaces you spend the most time in clean, tidy, and decluttered.
28. Listen to birdsong
There might not be a chorus of birdsong outside your window every morning, but there are plenty of recordings online! Sit in a quiet spot and listen to the natural sounds of birds – you should instantly start to feel calmer. Why not build this into your morning routine and do it for 15 minutes then you first wake up every day.
29. Take a trip…
A change of scenery can do wonders for your mood and well-being. Visit a new city, book a weekend in the countryside, or take yourself off on an adventure somewhere new near your house.
30. ….or enjoy a night away in your own city
You don’t have to travel far away for a break. Why not book a hotel room or Airbnb in your own city? Staying away from home will give you a break from the norm and feel like a real treat, without the hassle of travelling.
31. Have a cuddle
Cuddling is really good for you! The physical contact that comes with a good old hug can reduce stress levels and boost happiness thanks to a hormone known as oxytocin.
32. Clean out your wallet
Fed up of delving through endless old receipts and unused loyalty cards every time you go to use your wallet? Clean it out! It’ll only take five minutes every couple of months, but it will make a difference to your daily life.
33. Go off-grid
Ok, you don’t have to spend the day without electricity or heating, but turning off your devices for even an hour or so can help you refocus your mind, connect with the present, and focus on yourself. Choose a couple of hours every week and switch everything off, you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to your state of mind.
34. Take a trip to your local library
When was the last time you visited your local library? There’s something relaxing and a little bit magical about losing yourself in the shelves upon shelves of books – they’re also really peaceful places too. So allocate some time to visiting your local library and take out a couple of books and then…
Curling up and getting lost in a good book is a great form of self-care. So make yourself a cup of tea, wrap yourself up in a blanket, and dedicate an hour to reading (don’t forget to return those library books on time too!).
36. A cold blast
Some types of self-care a super easy to incorporate into your daily routine! At the end of your shower, switch the water down to cold for the final 30 seconds. This might not sound like the most enjoyable way to end your shower, but it will kick start your circulation, giving you a burst of energy.
37. Feed your mind
Learn something new. Whether you head online, listen to a podcast, or watch a documentary, find something that interests you and learn about it. Opening your mind to new information and perspectives can enrich your world.
38. Get your 5 a day
Adding more fruit and veg into your diet is a simple but really effective way to practice self-care, ensuring your body and mind have all the nutrients they need to function at full capacity. They taste pretty good too, right?
39. Reflect on your day
Set some time aside each evening before bed and write down all of the positives you’re taking from the day. It’s all too easy to focus on the negatives or the things that haven’t gone so well for us during the day, so focussing on the good points will help you put things in perspective. Plus, it’s a good thing to be able to look back on!
40. Give yourself a compliment
It’s sometimes difficult to accept compliments, particularly from ourselves. Take some time to think carefully and honestly about the things you like about yourself, and make a list. Then, when you’re feeling down, read through the list and remember all your strengths.
41. Go for a run
Running isn’t for everyone. But it can be super helpful for boosting your mood and reducing anxiety. So why not give it a go? Set yourself an (achievable!) challenge and spend time trying to teach your goal.
We all know how to breathe, we do it day in, day out. But dedicating 10-15 minutes of your day to doing some yoga breathing can do wonders for your mood, and it’s been shown to help your memory too. Search online for how to do this mood-boosting breathing technique.
43. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Keeping yourself hydrated can go a long way to self-care. So many of us don’t drink enough water during the day, and your body needs it to function properly. So buy yourself a water bottle, and refill it regularly.
44. Do something for someone else
It might sound like the opposite of self-care, but spending time volunteering for a good cause can improve your self-esteem and make you feel part of something good. So, find a local cause that you’re passionate about and volunteer.
45. Change your sheets
Simple but effective. There’s no better feeling than climbing into bed and wrapping yourself up in fresh sheets, right?
46. Get in the kitchen
Cooking your favourite meal is a double dose of self-care. Cooking can be incredibly therapeutic, giving you something to focus on and a sense of accomplishment once it’s ready to eat. And then, once you’ve done the hard work, tucking into your favourite meal is a real treat.
Sing in the shower, sing while you’re cleaning, sing wherever and whenever makes you feel good. No one has to hear you, but allowing yourself to let go and sing at the top of your lungs will give you an instant mood boost
48. Make a mantra
It’s not for everyone, but coming up with a mantra can be incredibly helpful for some people. Think about what you want to achieve over the next few weeks or months, and come up with a phrase (or mantra) that will help you get there.
49. Set some goals
Setting yourself small, manageable goals each day can give you focus and help you feel accomplished. It doesn’t have to be anything challenging or complex – something as simple as cooking a nice meal or reading a chapter of your book.
You can also set some longer terms goals to work towards over the next few weeks or months.
50. …and celebrate when you accomplish them
We’re often quick to criticise ourselves, but we should be just as keen to celebrate our victories. When you hit one of your goals, no matter how small, make sure you acknowledge and celebrate it.
51. Wash the dishes
This might sound like the polar opposite of self-care, but stick with us! Washing the dishes by hand can actually be therapeutic, building confidence and creating a sense of accomplishment. And, as an added bonus, your kitchen will be tidier once you’re done too.
52. Make a change
Doing something different, such as getting a haircut, moving to a new home, taking a new class, or starting an activity you’ve never tried before, is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and show yourself some kindness. Prove to yourself you can be bold and brave.
53. Practice good hygiene
Looking after yourself and practising good hygiene might seem obvious. But if you’re struggling with your mental or physical health, keeping on top of washing, cleaning your teeth, etc can be tough. But practising good hygiene can improve the way you see yourself, as well as the way others see you.
54. Get a manicure…
On that note, giving nails some TLC is another way to embrace self-care. Whether you give them a simple tidy, paint them your favourite shade of polish, or book yourself an appointment with a pro, setting some time aside to have your nails done can boost your mood and your confidence.
55. …and a pedicure
And don’t forget about your feet too!
56. Book a massage
Treating yourself to a massage will help to relieve everyday stress. So, while it’s often viewed as an indulgent treat, it’s something you should never feel guilty about doing. So factor it into your budget as often as you can and get into the habit of going at least semi-regularly. And, if you can’t book in with a professional, even giving yourself a hand or foot massage can make all the difference.
57. Create something
Whether it’s drawing, painting, writing, knitting, doodling, playing music, or any other creative activity, creating something will help you focus your mind and channel your energy into something fulfilling.
58. Take a break from your phone!
Our phones allow us to learn, communicate, and stay connected to the people we love most. But many of us spend so much time on them, they can start to have a negative impact on our mental health and wellbeing. So choose a day, or part of a day, to turn your phone off, live in the moment, and focus on yourself.
59. Eat the desert!
Too often in life, we deprive ourselves of the things we want because we think that’s what we’re supposed to do. If you usually decline a dessert when you’re eating out, try saying yes. Order the thing on the menu you really want, and enjoy it!
60. Surround yourself with people who care for you
One of the best ways to care for yourself is to ensure that you’re surrounded by people who care for you too. So catch up with the people that make you feel good, and take a step back from anyone who brings stress and negativity into your life.
61. Take a long, hot bath
Did you really think we could compile a 61-long list of self-care tips without this classic? It might be a bit cliché, but running a hot bath with your favourite bubbles, lighting a couple of candles, and forgetting about your to-do list for half an hour is the ultimate form of self-care. Why not take your book or a glass of your favourite tipple in with you?
62. Help others
For every BOKA t-shirt you buy, 1/3rd goes to the Samaritans, and another 1/3rd goes to our artists. Shop our mental health collection here.