37 Ways to Practice Self-Care


“Self-care” is kind of a buzzword these days, and like all buzzwords, it can seem a little bit like not-a-real-thing. Like, “ideating”—what the heck is that?

But just like child care and elder care are legitimate, important things, so is self-care. In fact, after the elections and the roller coaster news cycles and the family time of Thanksgiving and now the run-up to the holidays, self-care is a more legitimate and more important thing than ever. Because self-care is how you stay (mostly) sane and (hopefully) healthy. It helps you do all those other kinds of “cares” you do in your life. Mostly, it helps you feel good, and that’s really the most important thing you can do, because when you feel good, you can do good.

To help inspire you to make time for self-care in these busy weeks, I made a list of suggestions for you. There are 37 of them; surely one will work for you!
  1. Take a nap
  2. Make a big pot of soup so you have homemade food on hand for the next few days
  3. Tell someone the thing you’ve been not saying; if you don’t want to tell a living person, write it out in a letter to an actual person (you don’t have to actually send it, you just want to get it out of your head)
  4. Take a bath
  5. Book the appointment with the professional who helps you feel better
  6. Lie in constructive rest before bed (that’s what I’m doing in the photo, above)
  7. Cuddle with the small creature in your life
  8. Go for a walk; bonus points for walking in the woods
  9. Make a cup of tea (my favorite right now is Safe Haven from Sanctuary Herbs)
  10. Ask yourself, what do I need most right now?
  11. Ask for a hug
  12. Do one of your favorite hobbies (for me: puzzles!!)
  13. Play solitaire
  14. Give yourself a foot massage after you’ve gotten in bed
  15. Dig out your hot water bottle and put it on your belly while you work or at your feet while you sleep
  16. Give yourself a massage with a foam roller, a couple of tennis balls, or—my favorite—Yoga TuneUp balls
  17. Sit in the car after you’ve arrived at home and just breathe for a minute or two before getting out
  18. Listen to your favorite song
  19. Drink a glass of water
  20. Eat a vegetable
  21. Treat yourself to a fancy green juice
  22. Call the person you’ve been meaning to connect with
  23. Light a candle
  24. Fire up the diffuser
  25. Build a fire
  26. Write in your journal
  27. Read a great book (I’m reading The Boys in the Boat)
  28. Listen to a great podcast (love this interview with Viola Davis)
  29. Put your phone in airplane mode and give yourself a break from the dinging
  30. Go outside and let the sun hit your face. If it’s night time, let the moonlight hit your face.
  31. Hire someone to run errands for you (I do this every couple of weeks and it’s the best $20 I can spend!)
  32. Give yourself a scalp massage while washing your hair
  33. Buy the elderberry syrup, vitamin C, or zinc—even though you’re not sick—so that you can actually take it at the first sign of a cold
  34. Clean out your purse (I learned this from Marie Kondo and scoffed at first but it really makes a difference in your daily life when you don’t have to dig through a bunch of crap to find your keys)
  35. Put a fresh Kleenex in all your coat pockets (and a poop bag, if you have a dog)
  36. Buy some fresh flowers
  37. Mend an item of clothing that has a hole in it; it’s strangely gratifying

What did I leave off this list? Leave a comment and let me know, and I will update this list.


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