15 Easy Self Care Ideas

Most of us are taught that the way to succeed is too work lots of hours, exercise until we can’t move, and “rest when we die.” We’re taught to measure our success by how hard we work and how much we can acquire.

This “no pain, no gain” culture can have many negative effects, including a feeling of emptiness and disconnection from ourselves and others.

Sometimes you just have to say "eff it" and go to a movie. (Image from USA.gov)

We can see this disconnection from our bodies in the way many of us treat our bodies. We stuff ourselves into clothes that are too tight or clothes that we don’t even like, we say things to one another like, “I hate my thighs/arms/breasts/_____,” we eat highly chemicalized diet foods in an effort to change our body types, we over-exercise to the point of pain and exhaustion. In essence, we treat our bodies with hate and then get angry when our bodies won’t do our bidding.

Pleasurable self care reverses this cycle of disconnection and body hatred. I say “pleasurable,” because it’s important to choose your self care rituals based on what feels good to your body rather than what you think your body should want.

If some lovely idea for a self care ritual has popped into your mind already, do that as your first self care ritual.

Schedule self care every single day. You will find that making time for self care sends a message to you and your body of its intrinsic value, and you will find yourself, more and more, making decisions throughout your day that support your true needs rather than what others expect of you.

Here are 15 ideas for self care rituals, just to get you started.

  1. Massage your whole body slowly, with wonderful smelling lotion.
  2. Get or give yourself a manicure.
  3. Take 10 deep breaths with soothing music playing.
  4. Take an dance class.
  5. Take a walk in a park and smell the air.
  6. Put your feet up and call a friend whom you haven’t spoken with in a while.
  7.  Read a novel by candlelight.
  8. Trade foot rubs with a friend.
  9.  Go to a comedy show and enjoy those big belly laughs.
  10.  Wear your favorite party clothes or lingerie while doing the dishes.
  11. Put a fake tattoo on a body part that you typically denigrate and giggle whenever you see the tattoo.
  12. Get a massage, facial or body scrub.
  13.  Draw a picture like you did when you were a child.
  14.  Play with your dog (or a friend’s dog).
  15. Free write in a journal.

As you can see, self care rituals don’t have to cost a lot. The key to enjoying your self care ritual is to notice, with all five senses, what it feels like to your body. Also, it’s important not to judge yourself. This is just playtime, and it’s about your enjoyment and nothing more.

Comment below with your favorite self care rituals. Let us know how you felt, before, during and afterwards. Feel free to comment with questions too.

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get your free download – Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!

12 thoughts on “15 Easy Self Care Ideas”

  1. Sometimes I find that if I take care of little things in my external space, it makes me feel WAY better on the inside.

    A big thing for me is simply doing the dishes. When I have a sink full of dirty dishes I just look at them and think, “God, you’re such a slob. What’s the matter with you?”. And then, instead of doing them, I make excuses about how I have more important stuff to do.

    Yeah right.

    Most of the time the hardest part is just doing it. Getting started.

    But once I start, it’s over in a flash. The repetitive task is so mindless that it clears my head and provides me with a wee bit of meditation.

    Your living space is an extension of yourself. When my apartment looks gross and unkempt, I feel like a slob. Doing little things around the house often put me in a much better mood!

  2. I love that these are so doable. (and yet, I don’t do nearly enough of them). Really like the party clothes suggestion–I love getting glammed up for no reason.

    Also, solo dance parties are crazy fun. I always feel a little awkward at first but then totally awesome once I loosen up a bit.

  3. I have always loved listening to music and swinging on the swings at the park down the street from my parent’s house (where I currently live). I feel like I’m flying and it always make me smile.However, I always feel embarrassed, like I’m a creeper, since I am clearly not a child and I’m hanging out in the kids’ park. I used to go after dark, but I’ve wised up about how dangerous it is.

    1. Ditto on the creative outlet, and as far as self-care goes I’ve found that if I can combine creative impulses with body image it’s a double bonus; anything from choosing funky ways to paint my finger and toenails to hair colors to dressing up in different personas to experimenting with my hairstyle or makeup… Well, I enjoy having fun with it.

  4. While it’s not directly self-care, I give myself rewards for meeting mini deadlines & minor accomplishments.

    E.g. if I finish a paper before the deadline, I give myself a mini facial (baking soda mask for about 5 minutes–rinse) or go through my wardrobe & start planning cute outfits.

    Little things like this really take the edge off & motivate me to not slack off (both professionally/academically & health/beauty-wise).

  5. Uugh… my final papers are taking so much longer than I intended them to, not to mention trying to figure out Christmas stuff for family (make that two families now) on zero time and budget. Short version: so terrible at self-care. I was doing good at getting out for a walk or a run a few times a week, but then the weather actually turned cold.

    I’m totally going to get around to doing a home manicure for myself one of these days before Christmas. I want to try this with my nails like nobody’s business: http://offbeatbride.com/2011/11/superficial-snack-newspaper-nails-tutorial   …just as soon as I’m done with these papers… really… I promise.

  6. There’s nothing like taking a walk.  Instead of continuing with the grueling pace of law school finals the other day, I walk around the Lakeview neighborhood for 2 hours and windowshopped.  I found a couple bottles of wine to share with family and friends on Christmas, which made me feel like this will finally come to an end.

    And when I’m really stressed, I go take a shower.  A really long shower in which I lather, rinse, AND repeat. While massaging my scalp.  In water that almost-but-not-quite burns my skin.

  7. i’m so terrible at self-care. the things i consider self-care (getting shitfaced) are really not self-care at all. things that really are self-care that i love (manipedis) are expensive. things that i should be taking a time out to enjoy (many things you listed) are not the things that i seek out doing.

    why is taking care of ourselves so freaking hard?

    i love the temporary tattoo idea though….

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