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When was the last time you spent some time on yourself? After all, you are always there to lend a hand to family and friends. You invest in your children’s education by doing homework with them. You contribute financially to your household and make sure your broker is managing your assets well. And you go to the gym to make sure your body doesn’t pack it up before you’re 50.
But when was the last time you really invested in YOU with a self-care day?
Personhood is a portfolio most of us don’t really spend enough time building. Yet, it is the only thing of worth we truly own. It can never be taken from you, and it is the base for all other ventures in life, yet we leave our sense of self cracking and falling apart like a dilapidated house.
The good news is this: you can rebuild your selfhood. It is possible to fill in the cracks, tile over the faded floors and paint the dusty walls. With a few self-care ideas, you can begin to renovate yourself and regain your sense of purpose and importance.
However, all the spa days and meditation retreats in the world won’t change things if you only do it “once in a blue moon”… never repeating or acknowledging that you have a valid need for self-care. In this article, we will provide a list of self-care day ideas and activities to help you break the cycle of self-neglect and embrace who you are.
What Is a Self-Care Day?
A self-care day is a day when you suspend your normal responsibilities and duties to take care of your own needs. Those needs can be physical, mental, emotional, or social. While you can choose to share a self-care day with a good friend or two, it should be about your needs and not about theirs.
Activities during a self-care day should be designed to satisfy your needs, take you out of your current life and dramas and give you room to breathe and mentally rebalance. When you plan a self-care day, be sure that it is not about being perfect, but rather about being human and embracing that it’s okay to be human.
The planning of a self-care day should happen organically, and it shouldn’t cause you more stress. It can be simple, and you can absolutely find some affordable (even free) self-care activities to engage in. Don’t go for a glamorous day or try to duplicate what you see in glossy magazines. Self-care is about you, what you need, and what you can comfortably engage in.
A typical self-care day may start by sleeping in for a few hours, having a simple but filling breakfast, going for a gentle walk and spending some time on the back porch… watching the trees sway in the wind as you clear your mind and drink some sweet tea. It could be takeaways for lunch or a picnic at the local park, as long as you don’t have to do any of the usual cooking and cleaning as before. Plan the day around activities that are more soothing than exciting.
25 Self Care Day Ideas and Activities
When you are planning a self-care day, think of what it is you need to take care of yourself. Each of these categories is designed to foster self-nurturing.
Physical Self Care Day Activities
You are a spiritual being inside a physical body. Taking care of your body will help boost your vitality on all levels.
1. Sleep in as Self Care
By getting a few extra minutes of sleep one day of the week, you can begin to decompress your day. Give yourself permission to sleep in an additional 15 minutes or more on your self-care day to recharge your physical batteries.
2. Stretch and Rejuvenate
Plan a self-care day where you attend a yoga class, sit and meditate quietly under a tree, or focus on your breathing throughout the day. Prime your energies on this day to be physically flexible and filled with vitality.
3. Beautify Your Body with Gratitude
Use this day to take care of your body’s beauty needs. A simple massage or face mask can achieve wonders to take care of your body. While you focus on your outer self, practice gratitude and be thankful for your skin, limbs, organs, and even your fluids.
4. Eat Better, Feel Better
Plan a day where you prepare delicious food for yourself. Choose to cook wholesome foods that are healthy, colorful, tasty, and special. Consider shopping for some great vegetables and fresh greens that you can prepare.
Serve your meals for this self-care day in special plates, taking the time to make the food into nourishment for the eye too.
5. Drink More Water
Try to make this self-care day a hydration day. Prepare some flavored water in special water bottles for you to drink today. Don’t gulp the water. Instead, sip it mindfully throughout the day. Use this as an opportunity to simply zone out of the stress and drama of the day with each sip.
6. Get Some More Fiber in Your Diet
While eating fiber each day is important, packing some extra roughage into your self-care day can help you regulate more than just your gut. Eat some high fiber cakes, fill up on natural fiber such as corn and green beans, and avoid your usual refined treats—go for bran muffins instead.
7. Take a Long Bath
Whether you’re a bath or shower person, the benefits of a long bath can’t be argued. A long bath lowers blood pressure, increases circulation, and gives you time to think. Take some time for a long hot bath. Add some floating candles or foam bath to help you destress and decompress.
Spiritual Self Care Day Activities
Your inner self, your spirit, is what drives your actions and thoughts. Taking care of your spiritual self with a self-care day will help bring you lightness and release.
8. Reflection Day
When you carry your burdens on the inside, you become weighed down by them. Reflection is a way to unburden yourself. Whether you write in a journal or book some quality time with a dear friend who will listen without judgment, it is essential that you find some time at least once a week to let yourself “drain” of the pain of life’s existence.
If you don’t do reflection and unburdening often, you may find yourself beginning to suffer spiritual decay.
9. Converse with Your Maker
Self-care may seem like a very earthly thing, but choosing a day to take care of your spiritual needs can make a huge difference to your life. Choose a quiet day when you can get out in nature. Sit among the plants in your garden, bury your toes into the soil, or go walk barefoot at the local park for a few minutes.
Let all of nature fill you with the awe of human existence. Realize that you are a part of this great design. When you begin to feel a quiet inside you, let your inner voice speak with the forces that made you. Whether you are religious or not, have faith in the great scheme of things. It will make life seem much more bearable and amazing.
10. Do Some Charity
This may seem like a counter intuitive self-care day activity. After all, shouldn’t self-care be about you? Yet, charity can be a great way to free yourself and rediscover gratitude. By spending some time volunteering at the local animal shelter or retirement village, you can open yourself to the full power of the human spirit. You can give to others, receive nothing in return, and be okay with that too.
11. Meditate and Disconnect
If you’re like most of us who are stuck in the rat race, your phone is constantly buzzing. Take this self-care day to silence your phone, switch off your PC, and disconnect your Wi-Fi. Purposefully going where there is no mobile signal is a great way to do this.
Once you have disconnected from the information highway, quiet down your inner self. Breathe deeper. Sit taller. Close your eyes and become aware of every part of your body. If you know how to meditate, you can use this as an opportunity to engage in a spontaneous meditation session. Even just sitting quietly can begin to open and fill your spirit again.
12. Mindful Music
Of our senses, hearing is the most deeply rooted into our psyche. When you hear a voice or song, the reaction is undeniable. Take the day to listen to a binaural beat track that has a long play time. It’s best to do this on your iPod or via your Smart TV. Keep your phone and PC off so you don’t get annoying reminders and messages that can damage your calm.
Emotional Self Care Day Activities
Your feelings need to be acknowledged for them to be released and processed. Often, we simply soldier on, instead of feeling what we feel. Time to change that; sit down with your feelings, and really let them shine.
13. Welcome Your Feelings
Host a party for your feelings. You can choose to invite a few other friends who are also engaged in self-discovery. At this party, each person should come dressed as their suppressed feeling. If they are angry, they should dress the part. If they feel sorrow, they can wear an outfit that embodies it.
Use this time together to talk about this suppressed feeling, why it isn’t easy to admit to it, and what you can each do to admit and nurture it. Feelings denied are like orphaned children who will sulk inside you until they are given attention and allowed to heal.
14. Explore Joy through Art
Have an art day. When last did you draw or paint? Perhaps you enjoy scrapbooking? Find an art form that makes you happy and allow yourself the whole day to dive into it. Whatever you create, the aim is to find joy in it.
15. Have a Movies and Tissues Day
It may not seem like a fun way to spend the day, but binge watch some motivational movies that make you cry. If you feel sad, cry. If you feel inspired and happy, cry tears of joy! Should you feel angry at a character, then shout at the screen. Allow your emotions to come out and watch with you.
Watching movies like these tends to make us see our own life in a new way, and we often feel incredibly grateful or we can be prompted to move toward change.
16. Read Motivational Stories
While you may want to grab some book that’s in the motivational section, you can rather read a book that motivates you. Whether that book is fiction or nonfiction, you will have a reaction and emotional response to the story.
Any book can be your personal story of motivation. You can find your groove in reading Shakespeare or you may find it under Mary Poppins’ umbrella. Read, allow your mind to let go of life for a few precious hours, and let your emotions become motivated.
17. Emotional Bootcamp
There is a strong correlation between our emotional state and our physical level of activity. When you run, pushing your body to the limits, you often use anger as fuel. This can be a great way to let a negative emotion drain away.
Find a physical activity you enjoy doing… such as walking, running, boxing, skipping, mountain climbing or CrossFit. Then push yourself a little more in this activity than you normally do. The goal is not to harm yourself, but rather to use the physical release as an emotional trigger. You will know when you reach that trigger.
Mental Self Care Day Activities
Your mind has needs. You may believe you simply need your mind to get through your daily activities… or that you only need to be as intelligent as is needed for your job and your personal circle of people. This is not true. You should keep learning and keep growing your mental faculties if you are to really engage in self-care.
18. Dive into Puzzles
The human brain is by nature a problem solver. In our daily lives, we deal with problems that aren’t always nice to solve: taxes, retrenchment, and passing a test. Reward your inner child with a puzzle day.
Take a day to solve some fun puzzles and word searches. Let the shapes of the puzzles and the words you find help distract you from daily life puzzles that may be harder to solve.
19. Learn Something New
Take a day to learn a new hobby you have always wanted to try. It can be a creative or a mentally taxing hobby such as building model airplanes or discovering how to make your own decoupage book covers.
Whichever new skill you choose to learn, be sure to choose something you have always believed to be a little beyond you. The idea is to find a challenging new hobby to kick start your brain.
20. Read a Mystery
Self-care is about letting go of the real world and spending some quality time with yourself. Reading a great mystery or love story is a perfect way to get out of your own skin and slip into fiction. It will stimulate your brain, relieve stress, and boost serotonin (the feel good hormone) too.
21. Have an Imaginary Conversation
No, you aren’t going over to split personalities here. Instead, invite a few people you look up to in the world to join you for a chat. These people are figures you admire such as Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Napoleon, Theodore Roosevelt, and even the Dalai Lama. Use your self-care day to mentally get stuck into a deep conversation with these figures.
Invite them to debate your life and the challenges you face. Ask them about their lives; find things you can learn from them. Consider how you can apply their skills and personalities to challenges in your life. This is mental mimicry, and it can help you bounce back into step in your life.
22. Retrain Your Brain
Today, imagine your brain is a wild horse that needs to be broken… retrained and often restrained from wondering off. You do this to keep your horse safe. In life, we often allow our brain to run off with us. This is harmful as we then think about negative things that aren’t real, engage in self-doubt, and shoulder burdens that aren’t ours to bear.
Use this day to mindfully redirect your brain each time it wants to bolt into a negative direction. Gently pull it back on track. Spend the day with someone who knows you and cares about you, letting them help you with the training process. You are giving your brain permission to get support and be reconditioned to just take a break.
Social Self Care Day Activities
Humans are social beings, and self-care includes involving the people who build you up.
23. Girls/Boys Day
This is a classic social self-care day idea. Simply get some great friends over and hang. The only rule is—no complaining or work talking. Focus on fun, experiences, support, and the time spent together. Soak up being social with some great friends.
24. Be Your Own Bestie
Often we forget that we should be our own best friend. Use this day to spoil yourself, hanging out with yourself. Watch your favorite shows, eat your favorite food, and listen to your best of music list. Ask yourself random questions and be surprised by your answers.
At the end of the day, write yourself a short note, thanking yourself for being such an amazing friend.
25. Attend a Self-Development Team Building Weekend
Sometimes, having people join you on the journey of self-care and self-development is the best way not to feel alone. Team building weekends are a great breakaway for you and your friends, and it can also benefit you when there is a professional counselor who can guide you in this process.
Final Thoughts on Self Care Day Ideas and Activities
Self-care is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. By learning how to take care of your physical, spiritual, emotional, mental and social needs, you embrace all of what makes you who you are. This is how you become your best self, beat the blues, and stand strong when life gets tough.
And now that you’ve drawn inspiration from these 25 self-care day ideas and activities, you can start to think about coming with a few of your own. Maybe you want to create a notebook filled with other self-care ideas… even jot down some goals. Check out this article on resolutions vs goals to get started.