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51 Self-Care Ideas For Whenever You Want To Treat Yourself & Relax

Last updated on August 22, 2022

Self-care can look like a lot of different things depending on the person and what they really need at that moment—from face masks to breathwork to journaling. So if you need some inspiration, we rounded up over 50 nourishing self-care ideas, plus got the lowdown on how self-care actually works—and why it's essential.

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Why self care is essential:

As psychotherapist Megan Bruneau, M.A., explains to mbg, self-care is important and helpful both psychologically and physiologically. "Psychologically," Bruneau explains, "it's an opportunity for us to nurture our relationship to self and become more comfortable in solitude."

She notes that this is especially important during moments when we feel self-critical, which leads to shame, anxiousness, guilt, loneliness, and so on. "For those who struggle to be verbally kind to themselves and have self-compassion, self-care can offer a more direct avenue to expressions of self-love," she adds.

You can think of it like expressing a love language—but turned inward, Bruneau adds. Which of the five love languages do you like most?

Be it with words of affirmation or gifts, practicing self-care is a chance to give yourself the love you want to receive.

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51 ideas to try:

Looking for a self-care practice to try today (and every day)? This list has something for everybody:

  1. Take a walk.
  2. Listen to uplifting music or an inspiring podcast.
  3. Meditate.
  4. Take a calming supplement.*
  5. Dance.
  6. Do a breathwork routine.
  7. Get acupuncture.
  8. Spend some time journaling.
  9. Take a bath.
  10. Read. 
  11. Make a vision board.
  12. Watch a show or movie.
  13. Play an instrument.
  14. Play a sport.
  15. Do yoga.
  16. Exercise.
  17. Go to therapy or a support group.
  18. Make yourself a meal from scratch.
  19. Order takeout from your favorite restaurant.
  20. Get your eyebrows done.
  21. Do a face mask.
  22. Cancel your plans and do something for yourself.
  23. Draw or paint.
  24. Go to a cat cafe or play with a pet.
  25. Treat yourself to some retail therapy (with a budget!).
  26. Clean your home.
  27. Go for a hike.
  28. Write a letter to yourself or younger you.
  29. Try a foot soak.
  30. Catch up with an old friend.
  31. Get a professional massage (or give yourself one!).
  32. Do a tarot reading for a question on your mind.
  33. Get a pedicure.
  34. Spend some time away from your phone.
  35. Write a list of affirmations.
  36. Watch the sunrise or sunset.
  37. Have a good cry.
  38. Bake your favorite baked good.
  39. Do your nails.
  40. Lay in the sun.
  41. Go to a park.
  42. Have a picnic.
  43. Garden or tend to plants.
  44. Do a new or full moon ritual.
  45. Reflect on your astrological birth chart.
  46. Cuddle with your favorite person (or pet).
  47. Take care of something you've been putting off.
  48. Call a family member you trust.
  49. Sit under a tree.
  50. Go to a sound bath.
  51. See some live music.
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The bottom line.

We all need regular self-care practices to keep us nourished on a physical, mental, and spiritual level. Whether you prefer a walk in nature or a movie night in, be sure to take a moment to support and care for yourself today.