50 Nourishing Self-Care Ideas

self care ideas

All too often when we sit across the room from someone in distress and ask what that person is doing to take care of him/herself during this challenging time, we hear the response, “I don’t know. I don’t have time for me.”  And this is when we pause to focus our work on rebuilding this essential self-care.  It may feel so familiar to prioritize everyone and everything else before yourself.  Yet then you’re left with little to give and even less to survive on yourself, let alone thrive.

We know there are moments when each one of us feels overwhelmed. Maybe it’s a buildup of little stresses that become unrelenting.  Or maybe you’re struggling with a toxic relationship or high-pressure work environment.  Perhaps you’ve suffered a significant loss…loss of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of a dream.  Whatever the cause, we each have had times when it’s difficult to find your center to just get through the day.

So often we hear people tell us they just don’t know how to nourish themselves.  It almost sounds like a foreign concept to take a moment and focus energy on self-care.  But this is actually an essential first step in feeling peaceful, centered, and able to care for others.

When you notice yourself becoming overwhelmed and completely drained, it’s time to take notice and make a change.  It’s time to turn your attention inward for some nourishing self-care.

Here are 50 of our favorite ideas to boost your nourishing self-care behavior during the tough times:

  1. Do something creative like baking, painting, writing, a coloring book.
  2. Go someplace social like a coffee shop or bookstore or museum.
  3. Ease up your expectations and accept yourself as is.
  4. Make progress on one small project, like clearing out one junk drawer or one shelf of a closet.
  5. Tuck yourself in bed early for a good night’s sleep.
  6. Take a yoga class.
  7. Get up early to watch the sunrise.
  8. Sing along to some favorite songs, maybe choosing a few goodies from your past.
  9. Take a long bath with relaxing soaps or oils.
  10. Create and maintain a daily schedule that meets your personal goals.
  11. Go outside for some fresh air and a view of nature.
  12. Breathe. Focus on taking four or five deep breaths while sitting in stillness.
  13. Ask for help. Allow someone you trust to know you have needs and could use support.
  14. Wrap up in a cozy blanket and sip some tea or cocoa.
  15. Eat something nourishing and satisfying.  It’s called comfort food for a reason.
  16. Move your body for just 10-30 minutes.
  17. Scream into a pillow.
  18. Plant something and feel the earth in your hands.
  19. Drink a big glass of water with sliced lemon or cucumbers.
  20. Watch a funny movie or show.
  21. Allow yourself to cry in big sobbing tears with a box of tissues.
  22. Look at some beautiful art.
  23. Sign up for a class to try something new.
  24. Tear up a pile of paper and crumple it up.
  25. Treat yourself to a massage or other kind of body work.
  26. Volunteer for a cause that’s meaningful to you.
  27. Listen to music you love.
  28. Dance.
  29. Pick up an old hobby you used to love.
  30. Make an appointment with your therapist to check in.
  31. Think about pleasant events.
  32. Remind yourself, “I’m a good person.”
  33. Make a gift for someone.
  34. Clean, scrubbing floors can feel satisfying.
  35. Be alone.
  36. Learn to play a new game.
  37. Write a letter to yourself to read in the future about where you are right now.
  38. Finish a project.
  39. Reach out to a good friend.
  40. Have lunch with someone you can laugh with.
  41. Reflect on all the ways you have changed and grown over the years.
  42. Solve riddles or puzzles.
  43. Go to a playground and get on the swings.
  44. Get a haircut or another kind of beauty treatment.
  45. Help a friend cope.
  46. Go outside to watch the sunset.
  47. Make plans for the future that fit with your bigger values and goals.
  48. Take pictures of the people you love.
  49. Imagine the voices of people who know and love you listing your best qualities.
  50. Write in a diary, listing your positive thoughts.

Written by Suzanne Smith, Ph.D. at Linden BP.  If you are interested in receiving Linden Blog updates with original articles about families, parenting, mental health, and wellness, subscribe using the field below.