There is an old expression something to the effect that a dry well can’t give nourishing water to anyone else. Another one talks about a lamp that runs out of oil being incapable of providing light for others. Whatever expression you use to describe it, it is an important truth that many of us neglect. We tend to be nurturers for each other – an admirable quality to be sure – but we forget to nurture ourselves too. That’s why it’s vital that we make self care a priority.
Just as we find time to do the laundry and make dinner and clean the house and bathe the kids and so on, self care needs to become a non-negotiable part of our schedules. I find that it really helps me to stick to my plans for self care if I’m quite specific about them. Instead of simply blocking out “self care” time in my planner, I put a specific activity for that time period. Below you’ll find over 50 simple ideas for your own “me time”.
50+ Simple Ways to Practice Self Care
1. Call/Skype/Facetime a friend.
2. Meet a friend for coffee, tea, lunch, or ice cream.
3. Get a massage.
4. See a chiropractor for an adjustment.
5. Go to the movies.
6. Watch a movie at home.
7. Take a bath.
8. Go for a walk – use this for some alone time or if you’d rather, walk with a friend so you can get some exercise and socializing in at the same time!
9. Do some yoga. Some cities (like mine) even have classes available on a drop-in basis.
10. Join a book club. You can even find some online!
11. Simply focus on your breathing for 5 minutes.
12. If you have a little more time, extend focusing on your breathing into 15 minutes of meditation.
14. Close your eyes and visualize yourself in your happy place.
15. Pet your dog or cat (or other furry friend).
16. Cuddle your child.
17. Rock a baby.
18. Do a devotional or Bible study. Again, there are many you can find online.
19. Turn on some music and dance it out.
20. Sit down and savor something delicious. A bowl of berries? A bite-sized piece of dark chocolate? Even just a perfect cup of tea can have an almost magical effect.
21. Get out in nature – even just your own backyard.
22. Garden. If you’re not much of a gardener, like me, simply dig in the dirt for a while or pull a few weeds.
23. Finger paint.
24. Make something out of clay – or just play with it without making anything at all. You can even just use play dough.
25. Bake some bread. Out of anything you can bake, I find the whole process of kneading very relaxing.
26. Read a chapter of a book. Read more if you have time.
28. Take a nap. Personally, cat naps simply don’t work for me because I just don’t fall asleep very quickly. But even just lying down and resting for 15 minutes can make a world of difference.
29. Work on a jigsaw puzzle.
30. Do a crossword puzzle, word search, or Sudoku.
31. Play a board game with your family.
32. Play an online game like Words with Friends or Candy Crush.
33. Play a video game.
34. Try drumming.
35. Write down your blessings in a gratitude journal.
36. Watch the sunset (or sunrise).
37. Anoint yourself with holy water or holy oil.
38. Light a candle or a fire in the fireplace and simply take a few minutes to look at the flames.
39. Diffuse some essential oils. I love lavender for something peaceful and calming and citrus scents to reenergize.
40. Give yourself a facial, manicure, or pedicure. Not enough time for that? Just put on some hand cream. Take a few minutes to really savor it and give yourself a gentle hand massage as you apply it.
41. Go and have a facial, manicure, or pedicure.
42. Go to the beach or head down to the lake. Go fishing if that’s your thing. Skip stones on the water.
43. No bodies of water nearby? Go someplace where there’s a water feature – a big fountain or something like that. Just sit and breathe and listen to the sound of the water.
44. Browse a magazine or Pinterest.
45. Sign up for a class. Gourmet cooking? Learning Italian? Pick something you’ve always wanted to do and indulge yourself.
46. Visit a museum. Take your sketchbook and do some quick sketches if you’d like.
47. Listen to a podcast.
48. Spend some time planning a vacation or staycation.
49. Join a fantasy sports league.
50. Take your dog for a walk.
51. Go for a bike ride.
52. Go sit at an outdoor cafe and do some people watching.
53. Take your lunch in the backyard for a mini picnic.
54. Head outside after dark and spend a little time stargazing.
55. Take a full day of Sabbath. Unplug and bask in the peace.
56. Laugh. Silly animal videos, sitcoms, funny movies – pick the one you can fit into your schedule. I also highly recommend playing with a baby or small child. Their laughs are infectious.
57. Yell. Let it go with a big scream (you might want to get in your car or go somewhere else private to do this. You could scare your family!).
58. Write a letter. Release all the pent up emotions you have. Get it all out on paper. Then burn it. Let those feelings float away as it burns.
59. Say no. Don’t take on anything new unless you a) have time and b) really really love the idea of doing it. Otherwise say no and remember how the expression goes – “no is a complete answer”. Now, use the time you would have spent on this project for yourself.
60. Take part in a favourite hobby. Or take up a new one. Paper quilling is one that’s easy to work on in stages – just a little at a time and then put away until next time. You could learn a new language, organize your photos and memorabilia, play darts, or choose from hundreds of other pastimes.