50 Ways to Practice Self Care

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Self care has gotten a reputation for being a bit of an exclusive club that only the elite can join. Sure, self care can be a day at the spa or a weekend yoga retreat, but it can also be as simple as drinking enough water and being kind to yourself.

Self care opportunities are everywhere, but in our distracted world, it can be a challenge to connect with our true desires and needs.

In an acupuncture appointment a few weeks ago, my acupuncturist asked me such a simple question: “How are you?” I was tempted to default to my usual response: a huge smile followed by “I’m great! Busy, but great.” Instead, I paused, took a breath and replied “I honestly have no idea- I haven’t checked in with myself in days.”

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We all have self care struggles. Here’s some brutal honesty: I run a wellness center, but have a somewhat twisted relationship with my own self care routine.

Some days I’m so tired that I fall asleep before my 7 year old. Some days, I stare at a computer screen for hours without taking a break. Some days I binge watch Netflix with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Some days, I snap at my kids and lots of days I don’t do the foam rolling that I know will make my body feel better.

But some days actually ARE great: Some days I go for long walks in the woods and do yoga and journal and make time for real conversations with friends. Some days, I turn off the ringer on my phone and play board games with my kids. Some days I cook healthy food and divide it into jars so that I have a quick and easy lunch ready for the crazy mornings. Some days, I drink green smoothies and have family dance parties in the living room.

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Self care is most definitely a journey. It’s not getting a massage once a year on your birthday or adding another checkbox to your to-do list. It’s a cumulation of all the little things we do that improve well-being and happiness. It’s taking deliberate action to improve your physical, mental and emotional self. And it’s different for all of us.

What fills your cup? How do you take care of you? What does self care mean to you?

Here are 50 simple ways to incorporate self care into your day.

  1. Drink tea - make it a daily ritual

  2. Say bye bye to a toxic “friend”

  3. Surround yourself with people who lift you up

  4. Set boundaries and stick to them

  5. Exercise- outside if possible

  6. Spend time with small kids and let yourself be silly

  7. Spend time with a senior citizen - ask them about their life and practice truly listening

  8. Respect and cherish your body- treat it with the same awe that you would a newborn baby’s

  9. Go to bed early

  10. Take time every day to reflect and be grateful - buy a journal or download and app so it becomes habit

  11. Do a social media detox

  12. Text a friend you haven’t seen in years just to let them know you’re thinking of them

  13. Forgive people

  14. Buy the expensive face cream

  15. Snuggle your partner, your kids, your pet, your friend’s pet

  16. Create a budget and stick to it

  17. Say “no” to something that doesn’t feel right

  18. Color in an adult coloring book

  19. Learn where your food comes from and give thanks before meals - to the farmers, the sun, the earth

  20. Pause before you react

  21. Stand barefoot on the earth

  22. Buy a small piece of really good quality dark chocolate and sit down to savor it

  23. Buy a homeless person a hot coffee and a sandwich

  24. Find an mantra that resonates with you and say it often

  25. Listen to live music

  26. Tell an overwhelmed mom in the grocery store that she’s doing a good job: Let her cut in line.

  27. Reach out to a friend who is grieving - cook them food, clean their house, be present

  28. Get a massage

  29. Give away the things you don’t need

  30. Make soup for a sick friend.

  31. Buy yourself flowers

  32. Go to therapy

  33. Support local- write an online review for a small business you love

  34. Write down 5 things you love about yourself

  35. Take 10 deep breaths

  36. Light a candle every month when there is a full moon

  37. Ask for help

  38. De-clutter your desk

  39. Acknowledge other people’s accomplishments

  40. Cook yourself a meal from your childhood— dig up your grandma’s favorite recipe and share stories of her while you eat

  41. Say thank you

  42. Say I’m sorry and mean it

  43. Follow up your “I’m sorry” with “How can I make it better?”

  44. Make time for a friend date

  45. Make time for a solo date

  46. Hold the door for someone

  47. Save money every week- it doesn’t matter how much

  48. Protect your time like you do your money

  49. Eat your vegetables

  50. Learn to love being alone