In this post: If you always feel like your own well-being is at the bottom of your list, you’ll love these self care ideas to live a better life.⇒
I have a friend who begins Weight Watchers every Monday.
Maybe you’ve done the same, but with other aspects of your life. “I’m going to start running.” “I’m going to stop procrastinating.” “I’m going to organize my closets.”
Starting on Monday.
Only then Monday comes and something gets in the way. Or you get off to a great start, but by Tuesday it’s over.
So you start again the next Monday.
Every. Single. Monday.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could see these behavioral changes as a treat you give yourself? “I’m going to treat myself to a good night’s sleep.” “I’m going to allow myself the luxury of an hour walk outside.” “I’m going to gift myself a relaxing massage.”
Changing the way you view these lifestyle upgrades is the key to staying motivated, while breaking them down into manageable steps helps to actually achieve the goal and glean the benefits.
Self Care Ideas
Today I’m sharing 50 self care ideas to improve your well-being and live a better life. Under each broad category you’ll find specific steps, along with products that can keep you inspired and on track to accomplish your objective.
Get Enough Sleep
You don’t need me to tell you the benefits of getting a good night sleep. We’ve all experienced them first hand throughout our lives. But you may benefit from a few ideas to help you accomplish that goal. For years I had sleep issues that I’ve mostly vanquished using these methods I came across from research and trial and error.
- Set a schedule and go to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends whenever possible.
- Drink a glass of water before bed. Being dehydrated can interrupt your sleep.
- Keep the bedroom cool. Ever notice you wake up in the middle of the night sweating, even though the temperature seemed right when you were going to bed? Avoid the sleep disruption by keeping the bedroom a little cooler.
- Reduce screen time before bed. Read a book or listen to music instead.
- Try a natural sleep aid like melatonin or magnesium.
- Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and supportive pillow.
- Place a soothing scent near the bed such as lavender or jasmine.
- If external noise bothers you use a white noise machine.
I don’t even need to mention the obvious tips like avoiding caffeine and late afternoon naps. But if your problem is anxiety that’s keeping you awake, check the section below for reducing stress.
Of course, reducing stress is the answer to pretty much everything. And yet we do so many things during the day that increase our anxiety and never take the time to counteract that tension. This is the gift you most need to give yourself, because it will interplay with all the other areas of your well-being. Try your best to develop at least one of these habits daily.
- Meditation – I’ve never been great at this one, but my son swears by it.
- Take a long walk, especially outdoors, but the treadmill will do in a pinch.
- Write in a journal. Get your thoughts on paper and out of your head.
- Soak in a long relaxing bath. Light candles and listen to music to enhance the effects.
- Do deep breathing exercises.
- Take a yoga class, online or in person.
- Engage in prayer.
Any physical activity will also help, as will connecting with friends and family (see more on these below).
Eat Clean & Hydrate
I learned first hand this past year of the advantages of a healthy diet. Not only did I lose 25 lbs and get back into my pre-menopause clothing, but I lowered all of those medical metrics that you want lowered at your physical. There are many ways to diet and each person needs to find the plan that’s best for them, so I’ll just touch on the habits that seem to universally aid well-being.
(*I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. I aim only to share simple DIY self-care tips to help you feel better in your daily lives.)
- Start the day right with a healthy breakfast (I do protein and a healthy fat). You might also try a plant-based green supplement.
- Clean out the pantry and replace unhealthy snacks. This one is a no brainer, but I’m amazed at how many people still keep these things in the house. If they’re not there, you won’t eat them.
- I prefer a high protein diet to boost energy. I do low sugar, low salt and low starch.
- Add fruits (try smoothies) and especially veggies as often as possible.
- Drink more water. I struggle with this one, but I’m currently working on it with a water infuser to enhance the taste.
- Cut back on alcohol, as it dehydrates you. This was the first thing I almost completely cut out and I’m amazed that I don’t miss it. I don’t miss the headaches either!
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Stay Physically Active
Another category you knew would be included, we all know we should be working out. But most of us also go through stretches of time when we do exactly the opposite. Whatever you have to do to ensure you keep moving is worthwhile. I put on my workout gear at the end of my morning routine so that I’m at least dressed the part. Are there days where I’m still in the same exercise attire at the end of the day, having never worked out? Yep! But the presence of sneakers on my feet makes it much more likely that I’ll get that workout in, even if it’s just a brief walk.
- Stand and stretch throughout the day. I never realized how sedentary my days could be until I got an Apple Watch and got those hourly nudges. Get up, if just to stretch, periodically. It feels really good.
- Cardio. No doubt the king of exercise, I take my cardio seriously. I try to walk an hour a day, outside whenever possible. I do audio-books and sometimes the book is the motivating factor. If you can’t get yourself moving, commit to just walking for 10 minutes. 9 times out of 10 you’ll continue longer, but give yourself permission to stop at 10 minutes or the concept won’t work.
- Strength training is great for the bones. That’s a good enough reason for me. I use a trainer once a week to keep me accountable, but an app is just as good if you know what you’re doing.
- Get outdoors. I mentioned walking above, but it could be gardening, biking, hiking or any number of activities that can be enjoyed in the fresh air.
- Is it cold where you live? No matter. You can ski, snow shoe, skate, etc.
- If all else fails, put on music and dance like no one is watching!
Engage with Others
I touched on this above in the section about relieving stress, but I wanted to circle back to it to specify some ideas for interacting. Even if you are staying at home, these activities can all be done virtually. The key is to step away from the TV or social media and connect on a more real, one-on-one level.
- Phone a friend and chat until you’re all talked out. Laugh, pour your heart out, exchanges ideas, hang up feeling good. Needless to say, avoid toxic friends.
- Play a board (or card) game. I can’t underscore enough how much fun this is to do with family or a group of friends. It’s a wonderful way to have side conversations in a relaxed environment or just share unhurried time.
- Cook together. A great activity for couples or to do with your kids, cooking is intimate and a wonderful shared activity. Can it be done via FaceTime? You bet!
- Join a book club. Many of us have experienced the joy of a book club. Just find a group you’re compatible with, and connect over literature. This can also be done on Zoom, so your group does not need to be local.
- Volunteer at a local school or community organization. You’ll be surprised to see you get more than you give.
- Get a pet. Want to feel good? Share your evenings with a dog or your pet of choice.
Make an Effort to Live More Mindfully
I recently read an idea in a book about stoic philosophy which transformed the way I think. The passage was about people who worry about not having enough time in their lives, and it stated that if we wasted 50% less time each day, we’d have double the time to live. I committed at that moment to live more mindfully and to waste less time doing things that I don’t want to or need to do. (For instance, my email will still be there in my inbox whether I check it 20 times a day or just twice!)
- Don’t overbook your schedule. I’m so guilty of this and it’s a work in progress. It’s super important to think about the value of each activity. Do I want to spend the limited time I have on any given activity?
- Develop a morning routine to create good habits. This is invaluable. Use habits to your advantage by putting beneficial activities on autopilot. Just like you brush your teeth daily without thinking about it, you can weigh yourself, take your blood pressure or do whatever it is that you need to monitor on a daily basis. I bet you’ll eat less pizza if you have to get on the scale every morning!
- Commit to giving up one thing. At the same time, omit bad habits and things you do on autopilot that are no longer needed, wanted or necessary. Free up space in your schedule for just thinking, planning and daydreaming.
- Practice kindness. When you live mindfully and enjoy each activity, it’s easy, in fact preferable to be kind. Why ruin a good day with an unnecessary argument?
- Donate to a charity or cause. Just because.
- Embrace gratitude. Once you’re living mindfully this will happen naturally.
Some Other Ideas
- Be intentional about your media consumption. Play music, dance, sing, read, listen to audiobooks, watch funny YouTube videos, subscribe to an uplifting podcast.
- Take a day off – dream of your perfect day and then do it.
- Do at least one thing you enjoy every single day.
- Book a spa treatment – or do one at home. Get a massage, give yourself a facial, use aromatherapy and candles, have a mani/pedi.
- Limit the news, or read it instead of watching it on TV, so you can control the amount and the emotional affect it has on you.
- Organize your life/schedule/finances. Declutter your home/office/handbag. This will eliminate an incredible amount of stress while making you more efficient.
- Pick up a new hobby/learn something new, such as painting, a new language, tennis, cooking, gardening, etc. Take a class or just dabble.
- Give up or farm out one chore.
- Make all your annual doctors appointments, include therapy if needed.
- Select a healthy indulgence – one piece of dark chocolate, luxury sheets, refined soap or perfume.
- Set a realistic goal. Write it down, break it up into bite sized chunks, set a time line, stay on track with healthy competition, monitor your progress weekly.
If we only treated ourselves as well as we treat those we love, we’d live much better lives. Make an effort to take care of yourself and there will be so much more that you will have to give. Cut out the waste and add in a slower more intentional pace and then watch your well-being improve by leaps and bounds!
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