Feeling stressed and burned out? Stuck in your daily routine, it’s easy to forget to take proper care of yourself. But practicing self-care is vital for your mental health. Here are 10 simple self-care activities you can do today and every day!
Self-care – the art of looking after yourself
How to practice self-care is different for each person and can vary from day to day.
For me, self-care activities go way beyond just eating right and exercising, even though these are also important pillars of self-love.
Self-care simply means setting aside some time to put myself first, letting go of any worries, and do things just because they make me feel good.
While the mainstream perception of self-care often involves splurging, trust me when I tell you that you can practice it every day – often even without spending any money at all!
These 10 self-care activities do not take up hours of your day and won’t cost you a dime
1. Plan an At-Home Spa Night
No need to splurge on an expensive wellness weekend to get your spa fix!
Unplug from social media, put away your phone and run a hot bath. I usually steer clear of fancy bath crystals as they are often full of chemicals and perfumes.
Instead, try a warm bath with Epsom salt, which has been used for hundreds of years to ease all kinds of aches and pains. Add some drops of essential oils (rose or lavender are great options) mixed with a carrier oil.
For a single bath, mix three to 12 drops of essential oil in a tablespoon (15 ml) of carrier oil and add to your bath water.
2. Meal Plan + Meal Prep
Okay okay – meal prep is usually seen as a bit of a chore, but trust me, there are loads of mental and physical health benefits to getting your week’s worth of food in order ahead of time.
A balanced and healthy diet are important pillars of self-care, which is why Sundays are marked in my calendar as meal prep days.
Let’s face it. We all favor convenience over health! Having all of your meals planned and prepped drastically reduces the risk of going for quick, unhealthy option during your busy weekdays.
Apart from the physical benefits of eating healthy homecooked food, sinking your hands into some cooking is also a great way to gain emotional resilience and allover well-being.
Need help with your meal prep? Check out my post on meal prepping!
3. Create a Gratitude List
Gratitude is one of our most powerful emotions. It shifts your perspective and helps you find the good in each and every moment. I am a very visual person, which is why I love writing gratitude lists!
I simply write down all the things that you’re thankful for. Try it, you’ll see it creates a ripple effect of good vibes and positivity that will help you see the bright side of life even on your worst day.
4. Take a Cell Phone Detox
We all love our phones but like any relationship that is 24/7, it will drain you. So power it off once in a while for a little digital detox.
Set your phone on silent, put the timer on 15 minutes and place your phone face down. Turn off all alerts (including e-mail and messenger) and focus on something different for 15 minutes.
Meditate, take a bath, do some yoga or any of these listed activities. Notice whether you feel any anxiety that you cannot check your phone or emails during the break. Practice this daily.
After you successfully complete the 15-minute “challenge” without anxiety, begin increasing this up to one-hour breaks or, during the weekend, even more.
5. Go for a walk in nature
All of us spend way to much time inside and we take the car everywhere we go. Why not go for a walk once in a while. It’s literally the easiest and quickest way to lift your mood, plus it’s free!
Not only is taking a walk simple yet effective way of dealing with mental stress, but it also combines the scientific benefits of exercise and spending time outside.
You’ll come back feeling clearheaded and inspired, with a much better mood than before!
6. Declutter your home
Getting rid of junk is wonderfully liberating! I don’t want you to go and clean to the whole house – that’s really stressful.
Start with your desk or a closet – a small space that you can effectively transform within a reasonable amount of time.
Got a clean house already? Choose a smaller or even a virtual place — like your email inbox. Same effect!
7. Meditate For Ten Minutes
Begin or end your day with a small meditation. It does not have to be complicated. Think deep breathing, and focused awareness of your body, thoughts, and feelings.
There are great meditation playlists on youtube to help you get into the right mood.
8. Have a Cup of Tea + Read Your Favorite Book
Reading is another great (and totally free) way to unplug! Make yourself a cup of tea (Matcha Green Tea Latte ? ), pick up that novel you’ve been wanting to read for ages and give yourself a break from the real world.
When engaged in a book, your mind and my body will get the much-needed chance to relax and recuperate.
9. A candle-lit Yoga Session
Yoga is hands down one of the best self-care activities. It doesn’t always have to be a sweaty hot yoga session.
There are hundreds of classic hatha yoga as well as breathing and relaxation exercises on youtube that are just waiting to be discovered! Light a scented candle and unwind!
10. Keep a journal and go to bed early
Do you find yourself scrolling through Facebook or Instagram before bedtime and all of a sudden, it’s eleven and you’re still wide awake? A very common bad habit loop we all struggle to break with.
Instead, take 10 minutes, and jot down whatever is on your mind. Mentally release those things as you write.
This self-care activity is the perfect pre-sleep ritual to include in your nightly routine. Now, turn off the lights and call it an early night! Getting those eight hours of sleep every night is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Self-care is not being selfish!
Don’t confuse self-care with being selfish. Including self-care activities into your daily routine is an amazing way to improve all facets of your health, but it will also positively impact your relationships with others and with yourself.
Especially if you are dealing with anxiety like me, scheduling some time for self-care activities should be a non-negotiable part of life. Let’s face it: If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anything—or anyone—else either!
Now you tell me: What’s your most indulgent act of self-care?