Self-care is whatever the hell you want it to be. (Yeah, say it again for the people in the back. 🙌🏼) There is this misconception that self-care has to be meditating or reciting positive affirmations or taking a bath. While self-care can surely be those things (mindfulness is the best), there are so many ways to nurture your mind, body, and soul that many of us forget about.
There are so many ways to practice self-care, so here are just a few ideas you might not have thought to do yourself.
1. Go to happy hour
Now, I’m not saying the “drink-a-whole-bottle-of-wine-and-text-your-ex” kinda happy hour. The “I-haven’t-talked-to-my-girlfriends-about-life-in-a-while” happy hour. Spend some time catching up on work, what podcasts you’re listening to, or who you’re meeting on Bumble.
2. Talk to a loved one on the phone
A long phone conversation is infinitely better than texting. I’m impartial to a two-hour long convo with my mom, but this really works with anyone who can calm you down and make you take a step back for a little while.
3. Trying kickboxing (or another high-intensity workout)
Yoga is a common form of self-care for people, but an intense workout, such as kickboxing, is equally as transformative. There’s something about punching the air that is so, so relaxing.
4. Find a new coffee shop in your town
Your neighborhood has cute, Instagram-worthy spots, too! Spend a little time on Instagram and Yelp scoping out the cute places in your area. Grab your laptop, a book, or just yourself (because it’s OK to go to a coffee shop just to drink coffee!) and get ready to bask in all the cuteness.
5. Compliment a stranger
Making others feel good has a positive effect on you. Tell someone on the subway that you love his or her hair or his or her smile. Let someone on the street know how much you appreciate his or her outfit. You’ll feel amazing knowing you passed on the love to someone else! (And maybe, just maybe someone will pass it on to you!)
6. Do the dishes
Everyone hates the dishes. (I’m sorry, but if you like doing dishes, I’m a little concerned.) It’s a task that some of us absolutely dread, so how exactly is that self-care? Well, self-care doesn’t necessarily have to be pampering ourselves. It’s also about doing the things that need to be done and will make you feel better in the long run. Do you know the feeling of an empty sink? That’s what we’re going for here.
7. Invite friends over for a wine night
Celebrations don’t have to include a three-course dinner with a champagne bar and decorations. Simply inviting a few friends over for some wine, a funny movie, and pizza can suffice to make you feel connected to your friendships. This obviously doesn’t have to include alcohol either! This is really about celebrating the small victories, such as getting some positive feedback at work, your two-year friendaversary, or even just getting through a week without McDonald’s french fries. It’s the little things, people.
8. Plan a trip
Whether you’re actually planning to head on an adventure or it’s just for fun, get your creative juices flowin’. Look up flights, hotels, places you’d visit, what you’d do there, who would come with you, what outfits you’d wear, the excursions you’d take — give yourself an hour to plan out the entire trip. You’ll realize why traveling is so important and how good it feels to get out of your own head for a little while. You might even decide to actually take some of that precious PTO.
9. Catch up on the news
It feels good to be informed about what’s going on in our community, country, and the world. This helps you connect with people more because there’s something else to talk about aside from the weather. Staying up to date with what’s going on in the world is also a way to stimulate your intellect, which we often forget is an important part of a well-rounded self-care practice. You could decide to go the route of subscribing to something like TheSkimm, getting a subscription to the New York Times or whatever newspaper you prefer, or making it a point to the check the headlines on Facebook and Twitter every day.
10. Make a DIY face mask
Masking is obviously a very common self-care activity, but try making the mask out of only items in your kitchen. Not only do you get to relax while you make the mask, but the time you spend making it is a good way to focus your brain on something else. It’s also amazing knowing you’re nourishing your skin with completely natural things. This is one of our favorite DIY masks!
11. Make a list
Sometimes just getting everything out of your brain and onto paper can ease some anxiety or tension. While a to-do list is an obvious choice, there are so many other lists you can make. The places you want to travel in your life, TV shows you want to watch, all the little things that make you happy, and restaurants you want to try in your city are all ideas of lists you can make. Put them in your planner, your notes app, or even dedicate an entire notebook for all your lists. (You won’t regret it!)
12. Paint (or do anything creative)
When was the last time you really did something creative that didn’t involve work? Get out the paintbrushes, the washi tape, the colored pencils, and whatever else you need to get in your creative cloud. You might feel like a 5-year-old at first, but it’ll make you feel more creative in other areas of your life, such as work and your relationships.
13. Wake up early
We always say we wish there were a few extra hours in the day. Well, you can if you set your alarm for a few hours earlier! Some people swear by waking up at 5am to have the most productive and relaxing (yes, those can go together!) day. Give yourself some time to indulge in other self-care activities or just get going on your day a little earlier to give you enough time for the perfect bedtime routine.
14. Watch a movie from your childhood
Pick a movie you loved when you were young (Sleepover, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and She’s the Man are some great recommendations) and grab some popcorn. When there are so many new movies and shows coming out every week, it’s hard to make time for our old favorites. Get ready to laugh, especially at the little innuendos you failed to understand from your youth. Oh, how the times have changed.
15. Stock up on fresh fruits & veggies
When your kitchen is filled with fresh produce, coming up with snacks and meals is like a walk in the park. There’s always something to munch on, which takes the stressful guesswork out of eating. Your kitchen also feels brighter when it’s stocked with fresh, whole foods. Not to mention, you’re going to feel immediately better once you start filling your body with all those nutrients.