37 Self-Care Ideas For Whenever You Want To Treat Yourself & Relax
"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.
We rounded up 37 nourishing self-care ideas, plus got the lowdown on how self-care actually works—and why it's essential.
While we may all do different things to get a dose of self-care, the objective is pretty universal: offering yourself a chance to do something that makes you feel good, just for the sake of caring for yourself.
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?
"Self-care can also help us feel more confident and at ease and can offer a space to reflect and process," says Bruneau. And physiologically, she adds, certain self-care practices can help to lower cortisol, a stress hormone, and increase levels of "feel-good" hormones.
"Not only does this positively impact our health, mood, sleep, and relationships, it allows us to feel more present and connected to ourselves and others," Bruneau explains.
37 ideas to try.
Looking for a self-care practice to try today (and every day)? This list has something for everybody:
- Take a walk.
- Listen to uplifting music or an inspiring podcast.
- Take a hemp supplement.*
- Do a breathwork routine.
- Get acupuncture.
- Spend some time journaling.
- Take a bath.
- Make a vision board.
- Watch a show or movie.
- Play an instrument.
- Play a sport.
- Do yoga.
- Go to therapy or a support group.
- Make yourself a meal from scratch.
- Order takeout from your favorite restaurant.
- Get your eyebrows done.
- Do a face mask.
- Cancel your plans and do something for yourself.
- Draw or paint.
- Go to a cat cafe or play with a pet.
- Treat yourself to some retail therapy (with a budget!).
- Clean your home.
- Go for a hike.
- Write a letter to yourself or younger you.
- Try a foot soak.
- Catch up with an old friend.
- Get a professional massage (or give yourself one!).
- Do a tarot reading for a question on your mind.
- Get a pedicure.
- Spend some time away from your phone.
- Write a list of affirmations.
- Watch the sunrise or sunset.
- Have a good cry.
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.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.