101 Self-Care Ideas — Beyond the Clichés

Abstract oil painting of a bubble bath and candles

We’ve got something controversial to say: we’re sick of bubble baths and face masks. Don’t get us wrong — those have their place, and an indulgent purchase can be lovely now and again. But when it comes to self care, we want you focused on your health; not your wealth.

Abstract oil painting of a bubble bath and candles
Art by Good Good Good and DALL·E

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines self care as “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.” WHO’s definition of self-care recognizes that individuals have varying levels of active agency in managing their own health in a number of ways. 

In more lay terms, Mental Health Match calls self care “anything we deliberately do (or refrain from doing) with our own well-being in mind.” 

Certainly, this can include a pedicure or a luxury vacation, but it also sometimes means touching wet food in your sink while you do the dishes, setting important boundaries with the people in your life, or starting a new medication, even though it all feels uncomfortable and scary. 

Self care is also a way to do more good in the world. Think of it this way: when you have the tools to take care of yourself and live a life that feels good and uplifting, you can better show up for your community, your relationships, and the causes you care about. 

And we don’t want you to get the idea that self care is the same as self optimization. You don’t need to fall into the “that girl” trap; you simply deserve to give yourself the same grace, compassion, and love as you give others. 

Healing is a journey; not a job. When we learn to be proactive (instead of perfect) with our self care, we learn to spend more time being ourselves instead of working on ourselves. 

And guess what? The world needs more of what you’ve got. 

Here’s a list of 101 self care ideas to help you feel good and be the most you you can be. Please note: you don’t have to do all 101 things to practice self care. It’s not a contest! Take what resonates, and leave what doesn’t.

Some of these links are affiliate links — which means that if you buy something mentioned in this article, we may receive a commission in return. Thank you! As always, we only recommend things we genuinely love.

By the way, you might also like these self-care resources: The Best Self-Care Apps | Self-Care Quotes | How To Practice Proactive Self-Care | How To Cheer Yourself Up | How To Build a Self-Care Kit | Self Care Journals & Planners | Self-Care Affirmations | International Self-Care Day | Self-Care Gifts

The Ultimate List of Self Care Ideas —

Self care you can practice at home:

Abstract oil painting of a home living room and couch
Art by Good Good Good and DALL·E
  1. Take care of your space. Declutter, wipe down surfaces, or reorganize. Sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation to do chores or clean up, but once it’s done, you’ll feel fresh and clear-headed.
  2. Make a “megabed” and have a big movie or TV night with all the cozy mattresses, couches, cushions, pillows, and blankets. “Ted Lasso” awaits. 
  3. Try a little mixology! Whether you include alcohol or just make a fun little mocktail, take your time crafting the perfect beverage and mindfully watch it take form, from presentation to the perfect sip.  
  4. Rearrange your furniture. You can make a new meditation spot, or just change up your desk layout, but getting a fresh perspective can make all the difference.
  5. Give yourself a massage. Light a candle, put on some music, pick the perfectly-scented lotion, and allow yourself a little peace and quiet.
  6. Bake something yummy. Try a new recipe, and don’t you dare skimp on the chocolate chips.
  7. Find a new documentary, podcast, or book to learn more about a topic you’ve been interested in. Devote an afternoon to soaking it all in.
  8. Create a lending system with your book collection. Organize your bookshelf and find a book to loan out to each of your friends. Bonus points if they do it too and you create a little personal library system!
  9. Clean your makeup brushes. We don’t need to talk about how long it’s been; just do it.
  10. Try a new craft, or check out some tips from an art therapist on TikTok who can give you prompts to guide a healing creative project. 
  11. Go through your home, look for places you can make sustainable swaps, and make a wish list of items you want to invest in. Helping the planet helps you, too! (Here’s a bonus tip: divest from Amazon and check out other recommendations for sustainable items like candles, mattresses, and even dog poop bags!)
  12. Create a zine. Have something to say? Want to doodle about a day in your life? Learn more about zines and how to make one. 
  13. Hang out on your porch, deck, or backyard and enjoy a slow moment outdoors. Listen to the wind chimes, gaze up at the sky, or just rock in place for a few peaceful moments.
  14. Start a hobby just for you. Don’t make stuff to monetize, and don’t feel like you need to share it on the internet. Whether it’s making mosaics, riding your Peloton, or collecting mechanical keyboards, do your thing! (Check out our list of ideas for hobbies!)
  15. Send snail mail. Make a card yourself, or grab some eco-friendly stationery, stick on a stamp, and drop that baby in the mailbox to send some gratitude to a loved one.
  16. Conversely, stop getting junk mail! Yep, we’ve got a guide to help you do that, too. Say goodbye to those unwanted fliers and coupons, folks. 
  17. Vacuum, sweep, and dust all the nooks and crannies. The dust bunnies have overstayed their welcome. 
  18. Take an online bystander intervention training class. You’ll feel safer and more empowered playing a role in keeping community members safe
  19. Put all the special awareness months and holidays in your calendar. Think ahead about how you want to celebrate and honor them.
  20. Learn how to properly recycle. Then, set up a new recycling disposal system in your home. And go all out on those fancy containers — who’s stopping you?!

Self care practices to add to your regular routine:

Abstract oil painting of a journal
Art by Good Good Good and DALL·E
  1. Don’t just pick up a hobby; pick up a screen-free hobby that will transform your “just another five minutes” habit on Twitter into a full-blown skill (knitting, anyone?)
  2. Subscribe to the Goodnewspaper, a publication filled with good news and action items in your mailbox each month. It’ll make you feel hopeful and empowered to do more good.
  3. Try some yoga. If you’re anything like us, YouTube’s resident yogi, Adriene Mishler (and her angel of a dog, Benji) will become your new bestie. 
  4. Do some journaling. Whether you keep a regular gratitude journal or need some prompts to get you started, journaling is a great way to strengthen your memory and reduce stress
  5. Donate to a mutual aid fund on a monthly basis. Community care is a form of self care, and it’s scientifically proven to make us happier. When we take care of one another, we build networks to rely on when we fall on hard times, too. 
  6. Go to therapy! We know folks face a number of barriers when it comes to mental healthcare, but hopefully our guide to finding the right therapist will get you off on the right foot. 
  7. Hit up the farmer’s market. Is there anything better than some fresh produce, a bouquet of flowers, and supporting your local agricultural providers? We think not!
  8. Volunteer in your community. You can apply your unique skills anywhere, help others, and feel fulfilled and empowered all at once. Visit VolunteerMatch to find the right opportunity for you!
  9. Spend time in nature. You can go all out and try the 1,000 Hours Outside challenge or just take a regular walk. Either way, ecopsychologists tell us that nature is key for our physical health and cognitive function.
  10. Give yourself time to do nothing at least once a week. Whether “nothing” means taking a nap or watching a mindless TV show to help you get into a relaxed state, you deserve it!
  11. Set up automatic payments for all your regular bills so you don’t have to worry about remembering what’s coming next. When the first of the month comes around, Future You will be like “thanks, Past Me!” 
  12. Get yourself a little treat. No, there is nothing better than an iced coffee or a little candy bar at the gas station. We rest our case.
  13. Take an intentional break from the news. Setting boundaries with news consumption helps you better process the important information and filter out the overwhelming stuff. 
  14. Take an epsom salt bath. Epsom salts break down into magnesium and sulfate in water and help with stress relief, inflammation, and sore muscles. 
  15. Sign up for a meal subscription service! There are tons of coupons and discount codes for meal subscription boxes, and they really do take the guesswork out of a big daily care task: feeding yourself. 
  16. Sign up for a fun exercise class or activity. It doesn’t have to be power weightlifting; you can enjoy dance or Zumba, or join an intramural sport like baseball or badminton! It’s always easier when you have a buddy.
  17. Mend or repair your well-worn clothes and other personal belongings. This helps extend the life of your beloved garments and is an act of service to yourself. 
  18. Wear an outfit you really love, some jewelry that makes you feel exquisite, or a nail color that feels empowering. Build your personal style based on what feels good and true to you.
  19. Turn off your alarms one day a week. If that isn’t doable for you, try to wake up without an alarm at least once a month. Prepare your family or loved ones that you’ll be off the clock, and let the rest overtake you.
  20. Ask for a hug or cuddle, or some sort of physical touch, from someone you love. There are some serious soothing and co-regulation benefits from this act of affection. 

Things to do for yourself daily:

Abstract oil painting of a clock
Art by Good Good Good and DALL·E
  1. Take a deep breath. Actually, lots of deep breaths
  2. Get your body moving. We’re not forcing you to become a marathon runner, but a little exercise goes a long way. As John Green says in a now-iconic TikTok, much to his chagrin, going on “stupid walks” for his “stupid mental health” works
  3. Practice meditation and mindfulness. Apps like Headspace, Calm, and Breethe are a great place to start.
  4. Make time for personal grooming. Brushing your teeth or taking a shower are sometimes Herculean tasks, so we’re proud of whatever your hygiene habits look like today. 
  5. Drink more water. You’ve heard it a million times, so what’s one more? Check out this hydration calculator to help you know how much H2O your body needs. 
  6. Snuggle your dog, cat, or bunny (or just spend time around animals). Scientific evidence shows that pets reduce our stress levels and provide unconditional companionship. 
  7. Stretch those muscles. Just a few minutes of stretching can set you up for success every day. 
  8. Wear sunscreen. Okay, fine, you can have a little skin care routine, as a treat. And as a cancer preventative
  9. Water your plants. Bring nature to you! Taking care of something else is also a great catalyst to treat ourselves with kindness, too. 
  10. Recite meaningful affirmations. Positive affirmations help us maintain a positive self-view and help us visualize our desires and needs.
  11. Similarly, read positive quotes for a boost of inspiration, hopefulness, and empathy. Explore our whole collection of Good Good Good-approved quotes. And of course, check out our list of inspiring self care quotes.
  12. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Prepare a helpful nighttime routine, stick to a good bedtime, and maintain a consistent sleep schedule to keep yourself well-attuned to one of your core needs: rest. 
  13. Practice a daily sensory activity. It can be as simple as listing things you can feel, smell, or see, but you can also try using fidget toys, smelling flowers, or swaying in a hammock. 
  14. Take more pictures. Make albums of things you’re grateful for, or start a random collection of smiley faces or hearts you see out in the wild. It’s bound to cheer you up now — and again in the future.
  15. Create a wind-down routine to ease out of your workday — especially if you work from home. It helps to use transition activities to help you ease out of work-mode and into relaxation. 
  16. Nourish yourself with delicious food. Snack on a favorite brand of crackers, cook yourself something tasty, and actually try to avoid the foods that make your stomach hurt (We know, the cheese is hard to resist). 
  17. Don’t let the laundry pile up. Wash and dry your clothes when you need to, but also consider creating systems that work for you. (Ahem, what if you didn’t even have to fold your clean clothes?) 
  18. Enjoy the silence. When was the last time you turned off your phone, TV, music, or podcast? Allow yourself even just one moment a day of quiet time.
  19. Do something active during your TV time. Lift little weights, bring Hulu to the treadmill, or even clear off some counter space during your new favorite binge. You don’t have to do this every time, but sometimes it helps decrease that couch fatigue. 
  20. Moisturize. A dab of hand cream can’t make all the difference, but it can be a welcome start. 

Free ways to preserve your bank account and your peace:

Abstract oil painting of a credit card
Art by Good Good Good and DALL·E
  1. Subscribe to the Goodnewsletter! We send out daily emails filled with good news that will shift your perspective and turn the heartache into hope.
  2. Light a candle. Pick your favorite scent in your collection (because, come on, we know you have a collection, and let it put you at ease.
  3. Organize your digital files. Delete the random screenshots, make some new folders on your desktop, and ooh and ahh at your simplified system. 
  4. Borrow an e-book or audiobook from your local library or Libro.fm and get those brain waves flowing. 
  5. Create a playlist of music you like to dance to. Then dance to it. 
  6. Call your representatives. Demand a better life for you and your community members by advocating for the causes you care about. (You can call after hours and leave a voicemail if phone calls make you anxious!)
  7. Limit your social obligations. Sometimes the pressure to be around people can be a little much. What’s the saying about the pleasure of canceled plans? Yeah, it's an instant relief
  8. On the other hand, you can also spend some more time with friends. Sometimes we just need a shoulder to lean on or a good gossip session. 
  9. Call and make that appointment you’ve been putting off. Whether it’s the doctor, the mechanic, or the DMV, you deserve to check those annoying tasks off your list. 
  10. Lie on the floor. Physical therapists say this is a grounding activity that can help with your posture and even alleviate anxiety. 
  11. Crawl. It’s not just for babies! Crawling — or quadrupedal movement — has a number of mental and physical health benefits. Give it a try!
  12. Listen to a bedtime story. Embrace your inner child and hop on this live bedtime story feed on TikTok every night for a childhood classic.
  13. Camp out in the backyard or lie under the stars. If you have camping gear and a safe outdoor space, take some intentional time to feel the simultaneous small-ness and big-ness of the universe.
  14. Get to know yourself better with a personality assessment! There are lots to choose from: Myer’s Briggs, Enneagram, Human Design, and more.  
  15. Have a picnic! Raid your pantry or fridge for some yummy goodies, pack a blanket and some bug spray, and enjoy the great outdoors. 
  16. Write out your values or discover what you’re passionate about. While value assessments are often tools for career growth, this can also be a great way to better understand yourself and what is most important to you. 
  17. Create a self care kit with items you already have at home. Grab an extra fidget toy, some sour candy, a coloring book, and any other soothing self care materials you’d like to include, and have a kit on standby for those high-emotion moments. 
  18. Have a TED Talk marathon. These bite-size videos are awesome alternatives to other digital media if you want to learn something new. We’d recommend some classics on vulnerability, injustice, and storytelling
  19. Go give the world a “superbloom.” OK, this one might not be totally free, but it’s definitely on the affordable side! Grab some wildflower/native grass seeds and sprinkle those babies in your community for some all-natural pollination. 
  20. Create a finance tracker/spreadsheet. It’s not the cutest thing to do, but it definitely helps you take care of all the big stuff in your life. We love this free budgeting template from financial hype woman Berna Anat, or this starter graphic on finances from Ellyce Fulmore!

Digital self care for the age of doom-scrolling:

Abstract oil painting of an iPhone
Art by Good Good Good and DALL·E
  1. Unfollow accounts that aren’t sparking joy. Comparing yourself to strangers on the internet again? Give ‘em a little mute or unfollow. I promise, you’re not hurting anyone’s feelings.
  2. On the other hand, follow new and cool content creators that speak to you! We have some roundups of our favorite LGBTQ+ creators and animal influencers using their platforms for good to get you started.
  3. Join a social media network that doesn’t suck your soul. We’d recommend Communia, an app for women and non-binary folks, as well as MeWe, a social network designed for people; not data. 
  4. Set timers on your phone’s digital wellbeing — or Screen Time — controls. Guilty of the endless scroll? Put a stop to it. Give yourself an allotted amount of time on certain apps per day by adjusting your digital wellbeing settings on your phone. 
  5. Listen to a mental health podcast. There’s a whole world of podcasts out there. Try finding a few about mental health that resonate with you to help you learn and grow. 
  6. Turn off unnecessary notifications. Past 5 p.m? Ditch those work notifications. Don’t want to see who’s liking your Facebook posts from a decade ago? Toggle those notifications off. 
  7. Unsubscribe from emails. We all have a treasure trove of retailers or newsletters cluttering our inboxes. Unsubscribe to the ones you no longer need. 
  8. Text a friend out of the blue. A DM or an Instagram comment always feels nice, but if you’re thinking about a pal, shoot them a message (or — gasp! — give them a call) and start a more intentional conversation. 
  9. File for email bankruptcy. This is when you delete all your emails knowing that if someone wants to contact you, they’ll send you another message. This is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed or shameful because you can’t keep up with your emails, Branden gives you permission to use this strategy. 
  10. Make Ecosia your default search engine. Ecosia plants trees every time you search online. Put all those curiosities to good use and make it your default search engine!
  11. Sign up for Tab For A Cause. This is a browser extension that raises money for nonprofits every time you open a new tab. For those of us with a trillion tabs open at all times, it’s the most effortless way to help a good cause. 
  12. Try Duolingo instead of the endless social media scroll. Sure, the Duolingo owl on TikTok may have inspired you to learn French, but you can put the social media app down for an hour now. Oui? 
  13. Create mood boards on Pinterest. This may be one of the least toxic popular social media platforms out there. Hop on Pinterest and create mood boards for all kinds of fun stuff: positive affirmations, DIY projects, or dream outfit combos. 
  14. Join an online community or support group. There are loads of online support groups that help folks work through their mental health or connect with somebody who has a similar experience. Find yours!
  15. Find Internet resources with a specific niche in mind. Looking for a like-minded digital ADHD community? Maybe you want some resources for Black mental health. It’s all out there!
  16. Make your life a little bit easier by rearranging the apps on your phone or adding your favorite websites to your browser bookmarks. Consider hiding the apps and sites that hurt more than they help.
  17. Use the BeMyEyes app to help a visually impaired person see. This do-good app allows blind or low-vision folks to video chat with a volunteer who can help them navigate the world a bit better.
  18. Virtually tour a museum anywhere in the world. Need a change of scenery without the price of an international flight? Check out a digital museum tour for any number of museums across the globe.
  19. Check out a live puppy cam. Sit in on a litter of puppies for a few minutes for a much-needed bark break.
  20. Download a mood tracker app. Apps like Daylio or WorryWatch help you easily document your mood changes and journal about your feelings daily. 
  21. Read good news, too. If you like this list, there’s a lot more good news and good recommendations where it comes from! Stay updated with our content at Good Good Good, or find other awesome good news websites, good news apps, good news podcasts, and even good news subreddits to help you feel more hopeful. 

Article Details

July 19, 2022 5:11 PM
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