Why You Need Self-Care (Plus 50+ Self-Care Ideas)

Why You Need Self-Care (Plus 50+ Self-Care Ideas)

To most people, cleaning doesn’t sound like a fun activity. But although I’m admittedly a lot more invested in the practice of creating a beautiful home than the average person, lately I have realized that cleaning has actually become an important part of my self-care practice.

There’s just something about cleaning out all the gunk from the flat that triggers the “work ready” part of my brain. It helps that wound up monkey part of my brain to relax and enables me to finish my week in the most optimal way possible. It’s much more than just a boring old necessity.

Cleaning might be an unusual way to practice self-care but it’s not the only one! There are loads of ways we can incorporate the concept of self-care into our life, in ways that are meaningful and beneficial for us specifically. It just takes a little time to figure out what that method is for you specifically.

So what do you do as a self-care practice?

If answers don’t spring to mind immediately, then there’s no better time to make the care of you a real priority.

What Is Self-Care?

Self-care is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the simple act of taking care of ourself. Why this has become such a foreign concept to most of the world is kinda crazy!

It is solely up to us to monitor to our current state and to make sure that state is as happy and healthy as possible.

But of course, it’s not feasible for us be the main focus of our attention 24/7. But conversely many of us never fully focus on ourselves! Instead our focus is consistently outwards; in this way, our internal state becomes dictated by the external events in our life.

And that’s not good.

When we forget to care for ourselves, we become more prone to getting run down and falling ill. We become stressed and anxious. Basically, we become ticking time bombs, either mentally or physically!

And y’all know exactly what I mean because we’ve all been there.

How To Start A Self-Care Practice

Here’s the trick: self-care isn’t a one time deal. We need to incorporate self-love practices into our regular routine but we’re still going to encounter times when we need to do something for ourselves – ASAP!

Life has lots of surprises! And we need to learn how to cope when things start to feel off.

Feeling present in your body and mind not only makes you a happier human being but allows you to show up for your life in the best way possible.

7 Pillars of Self-Care

I like to take a holistic approach to self-care. That means considering several different factors, as opposed to say, taking a bubble bath and calling it a day.

Here are a few pillars to consider:

Self-Care Pillar #1: Physical

If your physical body isn’t in top shape, everything else suffers. That means getting the basics right: enough sleep, good food, and an adequate amount of exercise.

Take a look at your recent habits and check in. Are you getting enough rest? Sleep? Good nutrition? If not, this is the best place to begin.

Self-Care Pillar #2: Mental

What’s your mindset like? The world at large tends to underplay how important our inner world is, leading us to focus on outward achievements. However, if you have an unhappy relationship with yourself, it’s going to be difficult to feel confident and happy.

What are your dominant thoughts about yourself/the world/your problems? Are these thoughts helping or harming you? What’s a mindset shift you could make that would change your outlook on things?

Self-Care Pillar #3: Emotional

Emotions are closely tied to your mental state. If there’s an issue in one area, then there’s usually an issue in the other.

What’s your emotional state like in general? Is there a big/heavy emotion that’s been lingering around for too long? Perhaps it’s time for some journaling, a therapy session, or some Inner Child work to help lighten the load.

Self-Care Pillar #4: Social

The quality of your relationships really makes a huge impact on your health and happiness. So don’t take this area of your life for granted.

What are your social relationships like? Are you nurturing them enough? Can you schedule some extra time with someone uplifting?

Self-Care Pillar #5: Spiritual

What’s your relationship like with the divine? Having some sort of spiritual practice is something that will benefit you in every way. If spirituality is important to you, what do you do on a regular basis to practice that? Think about giving yourself some extra time for meditation, self-reflection, or whatever else you feel called to do.

Self-Care Pillar #6: Recreational

What do you do to relax and have fun? Okay, now answer that again if scrolling on TikTok or watching Netflix don’t count.

In our money/career focused society, we’re encouraged to always think about how much we’re producing. But it’s important to have a few things that you do just for the joy of doing them.

What do you do to relax or unwind? Is there a hobby you’ve been neglecting or something new you want to try? If you could schedule even just an hour to do something for you this week, what would that be?

Self-Care Pillar #7: Environmental

The environment you inhabit has a big affect on the way you feel. Fortunately, there’s always something we can do to make our home or office feel better for us.

What does your home/room/dorm room/office cubile feel like? Does it make your feel better or does it drain you in some way? What adjustments could you make that would make it feel better?

Self-Care: A 3-Step On-The-Go Practice

Step 1: Check In

Real self-care begins with checking in with yourself. I’ve begun to train myself to do this regularly throughout the day. Our lives aren’t static; even while we’re doing things we’ve done tons of times before we can encounter new feelings. Things that wouldn’t normally stress us out can begin to do so.

Part of the solution is simply to become aware of how we’re feeling on a regular basis. We need to know what normal is before we can figure out when we’re feeling off!

So check in with yourself as you go to work, as you sit at your desk, as you’re standing in line at the grocery store, while you’re sitting in front of the TV at night. It’s important to notice your true internal “temperature” in each of these states so that when the temperature begins to rise for some reason you can also begin to fix it.

How do you feel in your stomach? Heart? Hands and feet? What is your mind focusing on? For now, just focus on awareness.

Step 2: Self-Service

Once you’ve figured out that you’re feeling off, it’s time to take positive action in a way that works for you.

Listen: it’s absolutely essential that you give yourself a time out now and again! Maybe sitting and staring at a blank computer screen is doing you more harm than good. Maybe you find yourself sliding into a place of anxiety on a regular night out with your friends.

Instead of toughing it out, address it full on! Ask what you can do to fix things for yourself in the moment. Feel it out. Sometimes that requires a little break or maybe just shifting your focus for a few minutes. Other times the best thing for you to do is to just call it a night and head home. Whatever approach you need to take is 100% okay.

(Need inspiration? I’ve got a few suggestions at then end of this article.)

Step 3: Monitor

Fixing the problem once doesn’t mean it’s done and gone! Sometimes we become re-triggered and sometimes it takes a few attempts to really recharge and fully come back into stasis. If your self-care treatment wasn’t successful, try a different method or take a longer break. We’re all unique and no one method will help everyone. Take the time to practice and experiment with what works for you.

My Story

As an empath, I often need to give myself a time-out. I’m a pretty social person in general but there are certain environments where things start to bother me. Crowded places in particular get me going! If people start bumping into me a lot — even just if on a crowded sidewalk — I start to feel rage-y for no particular reason. So I’ve recently begun the process of consciously coping with that. For me, that often means going to be alone for a moment. Sometimes a public toilet is your only place of refuge and that’s totally fine! I’ll just do some deep belly breaths and maybe a few stretches or self-massage. It just helps me to get back into my body and feel centered enough to get back out there and better deal with those people who’s sense of personal space is a lot different from mine.

80+ Easy Self-Care Ideas

Not all of these suggestions will be a good fit for you! Take a look through them and go for the ones that seem to resonate for you at the time. But most take five minutes or less so you can do them and get on with the rest of your day.

Feeling inspired? Here are ten quick self-care practice ideas that you can use while out and on the go:

1-10 Self-Care Ideas

  • Sit in some direct sunlight.
  • Give yourself a mini-massage. If the thought of touching yourself for “no reason” feels weird, give yourself and excuse and use some moisturizer!
  • Spend five minutes watching the clouds pass by.
  • Have a mini-meditation.
  • Add mindfulness to a regularly occurring event, like drinking a cup of tea. Notice your motions and really sink into the sensations.
  • Take some deep belly breaths or do some alternate-nostril breathing, yogi-style.
  • Do some EFT (tapping).
  • Get moving! Take a quick walk around the block or do some stretches.
  • Do a Chi head massage. I do this one all the time! Just give the top of your head some gentle knocks, down each side around the crown. It helps to clear any fuzzy thoughts and it feels weirdly good!
  • Listen to something with a high-vibe like Tibetan Buddhist bowls or chanting. Keep it on your phone so you always have it!

11-20 Self-Care Ideas

  • Have a no cell phone day.
  • Do restorative yoga (try a free one on Youtube!)
  • Do a ritual bath (add extra herbs, essential oils, loads of epsom salts, etc.)
  • Buy/checkout a new book & go to a cafe to read it.
  • Do a fun new make-up style (even if you’re not going anywhere).
  • Go to museums/galleries on free admission day.
  • Go for a gratitude walk/photo walk. (something that will force you to be present and notice where you are)
  • Book a float tank session.
  • Join something like Classpass & book a workout or massage.
  • Schedule and book all your doctor & dentist appointments.

21-30 Self-Care Ideas

  • Get a manicure or pedicure (at a salon or DIY).
  • Use one of your fancy Korean face masks.
  • Do an “Everything Shower”.
  • Change your bedsheets.
  • Wash your make-up brushes.
  • Hang eucalyptus in your shower.
  • Book a one-off session with a personal trainer.
  • Book a one-time session with a coach or hypnotist.
  • Do a hypnosis for something you’ve been working on.
  • Treat yourself to your favorite pastry or dessert (pain au chocolat for me!)

31-40 Self-Care Ideas

  • Give yourself a blowout.
  • Do your full 12-step skin care routine.
  • Go to a farmer’s market and pick up something healthy for dinner.
  • Sit on a blanket in the park and watch the world go by.
  • Make some art.
  • Cook your favorite meal (even if it’s “just” for you).
  • Set the table with your good plates, glasses, etc.–even if you’re just getting take-out.
  • Go for a walk on a new route.
  • Have a 10-minute kitchen dance party.
  • Do a dance tutorial from Youtube.

41-50 Self-Care Ideas

  • Treat yourself to a glass of natural wine or a fancy cocktail, all by yourself.
  • Buy yourself flowers. (Optional: and then listen to Miley!)
  • Call your BFF, mom, whoever.
  • Journal about something you’ve been struggling with.
  • Get an IV for hydration or vitamin boost.
  • Set out your clothes for the morning.
  • Work from a cute new cafe or hotel lobby.
  • Start learning about something new.
  • Practice saying no or scripting out a tough conversation.
  • Give yourself permission to just lay on the sofa or bed doing nothing. (For real!)

51-60 Self-Care Ideas

  • Drink hot lemon water.
  • Have a good long stretch before you hop out of bed in the morning. Make it a full-body one. Think about how cats and dogs do it!
  • Set an intention for your day. Write it down in your planner or calendar.
  • Do a 1-minute plank.
  • Smudge your bedroom or office.
  • List out 3+ things you’re grateful for (either in your head or on paper — your choice).
  • Drink a cup of ginger tea to promote digestion and increase Agni (the Ayurvedic term for digestive fire).
  • Get out of auto-pilot: take a different route to work.
  • Take ten minutes to hang out and play with a pet.
  • Eat a piece of fruit.

61-70 Self-Care Ideas

  • Do nothing for 2 minutes!
  • Do the legs-up-on-the-wall yoga pose.
  • Study a piece of art that you love. (A picture of it online still counts!)
  • Practice the Hawaiian Hoʻoponopono forgiveness mantra. Repeat this yourself:
    I am responsible for this or This is my responsibility
    I am sorry
    Forgive me
    There is only Love
    Thank you
  • Do an oil pull: put 1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth like mouthwash for 10-15 minute. Then spit it out.
  • Do a quick declutter: pick three items from your closet, bookcase or cabinets that you can donate or throw away.
  • Unfollow or mute some people that annoy you on social media. (No un-friending required!)
  • Do a quick body-scan. Focus for a moment on each part of your body and release any tension that you find there.
  • Write yourself a love letter.
  • Write in your journal or do your Morning Pages. Let yourself write about whatever comes to mind.

71-80 Self-Care Ideas

  • Spend some time watching the clouds roll by.
  • Ask for help on a project that you’ve been stuck on.
  • Color in a coloring book.
  • Use a tongue-scraper. Use firm pressure and go as far back on your tongue as possible. Rinse off your scraper and repeat until there’s no chalky residue left.
  • Sing! Whether at karaoke or in your car singing always releases stress.
  • Fix a small annoyance in your life, like changing batteries, a lightbulb or sewing on a button.
  • Do two-minutes of Pranayama: slow deep belly breathing.
  • Roll on a tennis ball for a self-massage. (This is especially great for your feet!)
  • Use aromatherapy. Try peppermint to increase motivation or lavender for calm.
  • Say no to a project or obligation that you’re dreading.

81-87 Self-Care Ideas

  • Listen to an audiobook.
  • Let yourself permission to cry (it’s healthy!).
  • Do that one thing on your To-Do List that you’ve been avoiding.
  • Set up automated savings or investment accounts.
  • Go for a walk in a botanical garden.
  • Watch a hilarious video on YouTube. Laughter is the best energy and mood booster!
  • Give someone a compliment.

I hope you found some of these suggestions useful! If you enjoyed this post, please say thank you by sharing it. See you back here next week!

Jenn Stevens The Aligned Life

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Why You Need Self-Care (Plus 50+ Self-Care Ideas)


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  1. Good information related point to point not too much lengthy ,reading every line makes you feel read more & more interesting things coming

    1. Thank you so much Harbaksh! ????

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