275 Self-Care Ideas & Activities to Deal With Life (2020 Update)
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Self-care is popular these days. It has become a buzz topic for many millennials.
But don’t let that fact make you think that self-care is synonymous with some sort of self-indulgence, or that is it is another example of the laziness of youth, or even aspirations for some unachievable state of bliss and nirvana
Self-care is not indulgent. Self-care is real, and it matters—more than you might think.
What You Will Learn
- What Is Self-Care?
- Why Is Self-Care Important?
- How Practicing Self-Care Can Change Your life
- Self-Care Ideas
- 200+ Self-Care Ideas for Coping With Life
- 54 Mental Self-Care Ideas and Activities
- 29 Emotional Self-Care Ideas and Activities
- 29 Physical Self-Care Ideas and Activities
- 54 Pleasurable and Pampering Self-Care Ideas and Activities
- 18 Sensory Self-Care Ideas and Activities
- 29 Social Self-Care Ideas and Activities
- 26 Spiritual Self-Care Ideas and Activities
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is the mindset, activities, practices and habits we bring to bear against stress, unhappiness, illness, depression and many more negative emotions.
Self-care is about giving ourselves relief when we feel overwhelmed. It is about addressing our problems holistically. Self-care activities are usually carried out, or at least initiated by, the person themselves. To care for yourself, you need to know you needs and seek them out.
Why Is Self-Care Important?
While it is easy to say that self-care is some new indulgent fad, this is simply not true. People have been talking about the needs for self-care—and the mind-body-spirit relationship that self-care helps foster—for many years.
In fact, the first mention of self-care goes back as far as the Egyptians, where they discussed self-care ideas like using specific oils to improve moods and fight ailments (similar to our modern day essential oil benefits.)
How Practicing Self-Care Can Change Your life
The first thing to remember about self-care is that it is not indulgent.
As with a plane that has lost pressure, the right thing to do in life is to always help you first. Then, when you have your gas mask in place, you can assist others.
The reason for this is simple. Until you are helped, you are likely to cause more problems and become part of the overall problem rather than being part of the solution.
Self-care is all about taking care of the little things that matter to help heal you so that you can become part of the solution. (And if you'd like to do a deep-dive into self-care by focusing on yoga, mindfulness, and improving your fitness, then I recommend checking out this online platform.)
There is no single viewpoint on the best self-care ideas, because not everyone gives the same importance to all self-care activities.
For example, my wife views getting a pedicure as one of the most relaxing and at the same time invigorating experiences in her life. Getting a pedicure restores balance for her, and gives her energy to face many challenges.
But when I get a pedicure, it actually builds tension in my body and mind. I don’t like people playing around with my feet, and the process annoys me.
So for my wife a pedicure is one of the best self-care ideas in the world, but personally I would never put that on any list of self-care activities.
This, of course, adds to the complexity of self-care. There is no cookie-cutter formula for caring for you. Just because one form of self-care works for me doesn’t mean it will help others.
That is the reason I tried to make this self-care idea list as detailed as possible, filled with lots of self-care activities. I wanted to include as many options as possible for people to choose from. That way, people are free to ignore the ideas that don’t excite them and focus on the self-care ideas that actually make a difference in their holistic well-being.
200+ Self-Care Ideas for Coping With Life
With a list of 200+ self-care ideas, it may not seem easy to hunt down the 30-40 that might really apply to you and make a significant impact on your overall mind-body-spirit well-being.
To make things easier, I have divided these 200+ self-care ideas into seven categories:
The idea is that if you know the type of self-care support you are looking for, it is easier to browse through the self-care ideas in that section alone.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best self-care ideas and activities.
54 Mental Self-Care Ideas and Activities
I feel that mental self-care is one of the most important of the seven sections. At times, your mind may need rest and recuperation, while at other times you may be looking for stimulation and challenges. Without both timely rest and exercise, we run the risk of our minds slowly turning to mush.’
These self-care ideas help to:
29 Emotional Self-Care Ideas and Activities
Self-care is about a lot more than just mindset. While self-care can be a big help for your mental health days, it is often an even bigger response to your in-the-moment emotional needs.
Giving your emotions free reign—or at least acknowledging your emotional state and moving on—is an important part of self-care. Before you can get better, you must acknowledge what is and was, and make those changes
Our emotions often dictate the way we behave, so we need to be mindful of what we’re feeling, especially in stressful situations. It’s not helpful to label emotions as “good” or “bad.” It’s better to give each emotion a descriptive term showing exactly what it is (e.g., anger, fear of rejection, sadness, etc.). When we assign negative emotions specific labels, we rob them of some of their power to terrify us.
Below are some further self-care ideas for dealing with emotions.
- The Essential Rumi by Jalal al-Din Rumi
- Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
- Dream Work by Mary Oliver
29 Physical Self-Care Ideas and Activities
In the first two sections of this massive self-care ideas list, we concentrated on the mind—first dealing with self-care for mental fatigue, and next sharing some self-care activities for handing emotional distress.
Of course, the mind is not the only thing that needs care. Remember that there is a mind-body-spirit connection. Each one of these aspects links to the others, creating a web where negative emotions can display as physical ailments and physical ailments may cause psychic pain.
The best self-care for the body is always going to revolve around two essential facts.
Your body is your temple. If you put good stuff in, you get more good stuff out (and vice versa).
You body wants to be active. It wants to be healthy. The more activity you can give it, the better your physical abilities will be. Engaging your body can even help you break away from unhelpful mental chatter.
These following self-care activities are designed to help you stay fit and healthy. They provide the energy to get things done and fulfill personal and professional commitments. These ideas are not JUST about the exercise they give you, but also the mental training and energy they provide throughout rough days.
54 Pleasurable and Pampering Self-Care Ideas and Activities
Now we get to the fun stuff—things you can (and need) to do just for you. This pampering and self-care is important to us for the times when we are overworked, deprived, and stressed.
Life is a balancing act. It is often bad to live a self-indulgent life where we constantly get to do whatever we want. This often leads to addictions, issues with limits, and a lack of happiness because people do not feel they have earned their right to this self-indulgence.
But when you are doing these activities as part of a self-care routine, they can be essential. We all need the joy of just sitting back and enjoying life and the things we love from time to time.
Remember: Pampering yourself by engaging in pleasurable activities can help reduce stress and increase the body’s production of “feel-good” hormones.
Relaxing activities also help lower blood pressure, reduce muscle tension and pain, and improve concentration and mood.
Let’s get to it, and check out some favorite indulgent and enjoyable methods of mental and physical self-care.
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Little Bear by Else Minarik and Maurice Sendak
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Brown and Clement Hurd
- Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
18 Sensory Self-Care Ideas and Activities
Sights, sounds, tastes, smells, touch: For those of us who are HSP, these can be big distractions, and even cause our self-care to derail.
Sensory self-care for highly sensitive people may actually look like a list of “avoids”:
- Avoid bright sunlight
- Avoid crowds
- Avoid loud noises
But even those without HSP tendencies may be either soothed or enraged depending on sensory input.
Sensory self-care activities help you focus on the present moment. Focusing on sensations of sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound gives you a break from worrying.
29 Social Self-Care Ideas and Activities
Self-care can sometimes be a bit of a misnomer. Self-care also includes the work you do in making sure that relationships with others you care about remain healthy.
No man (or woman) is an island. We need other people in our lives. Even the most introverted person does not “hate” being around other people. They simply want their relationships to be on an even ground. They want to understand and be understood by other people. (In fact, one of the best self care activity is to engage in fun activities with your kids.)
Social self-care is about maintaining healthy, supportive relationships, and authentically connecting with others. Engaging in social self-care activities also help ensure that you have diverse relationships, not just with family, friends, and co-workers.
This is not only good for the social butterfly. In fact, these self-care steps are more useful to the introvert. The social butterfly finds social interactions second nature, and needs to expend little (or no) energy on figuring out these relationships. But the introvert has to keep these things in mind.
26 Spiritual Self-Care Ideas and Activities
Not all self-care activities are physical and mental. Many self-care activities fall into a category we know as spiritual, religious, or internal thinking.
Spiritual self-care revolves around your values, and not just your religion.
These activities focus on helping you foster a calm mind and a sense of perspective beyond your day-to-day grind.
Did you like this self care ideas post?
Did you enjoy this self care ideas post? Did you find a few self care ideas that sound great, but might not have been on your radar?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. AND PLEASE share some of the self care quotes and self care infographics on this page on your favorite social media platform.