80+ Self-Care Ideas

277221852_476e8916f0_z Here is an amazing list of self-care activities. Feel free to add any  other ideas in the comment section.

Maybe we can get the list up to 100!

(P.S. There are 49 comments with LOTS more great ideas!)

If you haven’t already, I’d love it if you joined me on 

Facebook, where I share lots of other self-care ideas. Thanks!

Also, I have a new book coming out! You can read about that story here.

You might also like: 25 Women Writers Share Their Best Self-Compassion Tips

Here’s the list:

going for a photo walk

going to the forest

a bath at the end of the day

going for bike rides

finding overgrown grass and putting my bare feet and it

lying in the grass on the hill and staring up at the sky

cooking a meal for myself and being really present

getting up early and reading inspirational books


walking with my dogs


going places–getting a change of scenery

trying new things in general

guided meditation

listening to books and music

face-to-face conversations with people

gratitude journal

better diet

trying to live more authentically

not skipping sleep to get things done

trying to multitask less

scheduling time to myself every day

reading blogs from people who are honest

reading for pleasure

resting with my cat a few feet away



getting my hair done

getting a manicure





online classes

just for fun novels


being able to set limits for myself

asking for what I need

taking time for slow contemplative morning coffee

cuddling with my cats

taking my vitamins

burning candles

waking up naturally–no alarm clock

eating when I feel like it–not by the clock

eating a fresh bagel at a local shop while doing a crossword puzzle


daily stretching

good movies

getting massages

working with a life coach


paying attention to my breathing

gathering flowers from my garden

planting flowers in my garden for later gathering

art journaling

stealing a few moments to lie on my bed when the afternoon sun is streaming in through the window

coffee at coffee shops

centering prayer


forgiveness of others so I don’t carry that stuff around


a glass of wine at the end of the day

fresh air

eclectic playlists

live music


support groups

creating a comfortable house that truly is my home

cuddling with my puppies

taking myself out to eat

move my body–dance, exercise, run

dress up in the way I want to feel

taking action



hot shower

giving back with my time

being a tourist in my own city

lunch dates with good friends

green smoothies

learn to be with and accept my feelings

have adventures and drive to new places

spend less time on the Internet

read the newspaper on Sundays at a café

read poetry or inspiring quotes


attending church

Don’t forget to add any other ideas in the comments.

You might also like this article: 7 Types of Self-Care Activities for Coping with Stress

If you haven’t already, I’d love it if you joined me on Facebook. Thanks!

Photo via Flickr, CC

109 thoughts on “80+ Self-Care Ideas

  1. Eating from the good china
    Creating an Art Weekend and painting for two days with my best friend
    Sitting outdoors by the firepit, watching the flames and listening to the night sounds
    Walking for an hour while talking on a headset with my favorite twin cousin
    Inviting friends to come for the weekend just so we can sit and talk

  2. Since social ties are often the best medicine, I wonder if you may also add these: treat yourself to the NVC (non violent communication) approach to relationships. Builds on compassion and empathy. Or the What’s Gone Well today upbeat approach to closer connections through better questions with folks? Both highly recommended!

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  4. As a chronic pain patient as well, I’ve been sitting here wondering how I’m going to manage a social engagement today when I feel so bad. For some reason, reading this list has given me a little more courage that I can do it. My only idea is to make a miniature or miniature fairy garden. It’s something on the level that I can accomplish, plus see from the front door plus because it’s at waist level, the rabbits won’t heat (like they have all of the annuals my hubs put in for me this year. Yes, and practice pay it forward.

    • I love making fairy houses. My daughter or nephew and I would gather things we find along the trail on a nature walk, and then construct little house for fairies (per my daughter) or elf houses (per my nephew).
      We will expand on this idea and add your fairy garden idea next time. What fun!!

  5. Looking at pictures of yourself when you were a child or baby. Focus on the innocent and beautiful smile and love you had then and is present now, it is quite exhilarating, and know you can re-kindle this self-love no matter what life situation you are in.

    • Hmmm…I will have to think about it. I am not good at taking pictures of myself. I have an idea of how I want them to turn out and then they don’t! I’m used to my husband taking pictures of me with his good camera. But I do adore Vivienne. I love her Montage Magic class but she’s not doing that anymore.

  6. I paint my toenails. This wouldn’t be surprising except that I am male and not gay. Work and father don’t know but everyone else sees when I wear sandals. Nobody needs to understand – I don’t.

    • I love that you do this for yourself! I always have my toenails painted a bright color. That way when I am feeling down I can look down at my toes and get a little lift.

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  8. I’m so glad to see prayer on the list.
    and chocolate.
    So many of these things are on my list of “Artist Dates”. This is where I take myself (an artist) on a date. I allow the artist in me to really experience my creativity and all of the world around me that inspires my creativity.
    I would add to the list,
    Go to the park and play on the swings, see-saw, and slide.
    Go see the ocean and bury your feet in the warm sand.
    Fly a kite.
    Do a puzzle.
    Write a love note to yourself.
    Start a pen-pal correspondence.

  9. Awesome list….

    Do some crafting…. (Sculpting with clay is a lot of fun … or create some jewelry…)
    Do some gardening and play in the dirt
    Draw a picture…. I like to do pencil drawings…
    Write some poetry….

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  13. Reblogged this on Little Cheesehead on the Prairie and commented:
    In light of the death of Robin Williams, it’s a good time to remember that we all need to practice self-compassion. Wonderful things happen when you cut yourself some slack. If the coverage is overwhelming for you and you’re afraid that it might trigger something, turn off the TV, get off of social media and do whatever you need to do to get yourself back to center.

    I do many of these things when I feel overwhelmed or feel anxious or feel depressed. It’s not a waste of time, nor is it selfish. YOU matter and how you are feeling matters. You have every right to do what you need to do to make yourself feel better in a healthy way.

  14. Watching and listening to rain

    Watching clouds and sky

    Hugging trees and caressing leaves

    Cuddling with a friend under a fluffy blanket and sipping some nice herbal tea

    Making a self-neck-n-shoulders massage or self-reflexology session

    Rolling on a tennis ball for a tennis-ball massage (I just thought maybe any ball is good? the edge of a sofa must work too, cats do that… haha)

    Reading helpful articles

    Learning something new, like: a language or going to a theater class for fun or taking a nice course on coursera

    Doing something old in a new way, like combine yoga with hip-hop :-/ hhhh

    Surrounding myself with beautiful objects and flowers

    Filtering my stuff to get rid of what is not self-caring and self-nurturing

    Smelling lavender

    Crying and hugging myself telling it is ok and that I love you… me…

    Going with a friend for a fun-day, like for a facial, massage, dinner and movie!

    Spending time with somebody I really love

    Making sure I do all the necessary things so I feel good in the end of the day, that I took care of myself well today

    Realizing something for myself

    Learning a new skill or tool to deal with some old problem

    Crawling on the floor/ground/land

    Dancing silly on parties where everybody is serious and laughing

    Home parties, alone, with a partner or a friend

    Filming a funny video and then watching a laughing

    Cutting those toe-nails once in a while hhhhh

    Cooking something new without a recipe and trying new combos

    Watching videos that make me feel good (ballet, yoga, inspiring or funny videos, or helpful)

    Buying myself a pretty notebook for diary

    Using only things that make me feel good and that I really like (clothes, shoes, pens, paper, towels, plates, etc)

    Being true and real with myself and people

    Excluding anything that is not benevolent, good, self-caring, and just whatever doesn’t feel right and good to me from my life (people, music, movies, objects I use in everyday life, job, facebook friends or posts, phone, socks hhh)

    Making myself a 33 years and 9 months birthday sugar-, wheat- and dairy-free cake! 🙂

    Going for a ride on a bike and feeling that wind and feeling freeeeee and purified

    Traveling without a map

    Writing lists of where I got better and deal with life better.

    Writing lists of what I can improve and how

    Writing lists of what makes me happy

    Writing lists of ‘to do’ and including only fun things that I love, the whole day!

    Writing a book or a story in a funny way and then throwing it away

    Recording myself singing and making funny noises on the phone and then laughing at myself

    Caressing myself on a head, hugging myself, tapping myself on a shoulder

    Talking to myself and encouraging myself to get up, wash face, do yoga, drink my smoothie and get out of my apartment to work to do what I love and then feel better later, when if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to do any of that.. like be my best, most helpful, encouraging and loving friend

    Telling myself how great I am doing even if I have managed to do very little, like eat and sleep all day hhh

    Finding something good in what is going on, always

    Building sand castles

    Swimming in the sea and watching the sparkles on the water

    Going someplace silent and quiet, to be alone and enjoy quality time with myself

    Hair-cutting myself a bit and then going to a hair-dresser after to fix the mess hhhhh

    Surfing buses (like riding bus, standing and not holding anything, but being close to grab something just in case)

    Waking up at night, not being able to sleep, and instead of getting frustrated, going and writing a journal, or watching something fun, some series or some inspiring videos, or reading a book

    Finding ways to comfort or calm myself down when I am sad or angry

    Making funny faces in front of the mirror, better with a friend

    Laughing at everything all day, even when sad, making people laugh

    Talking to myself loud, like a real conversation with two people, or write a dialogue with myself in a diary (two people again)

    Playing a musical instrument without having a clue

    Playing cognitive games on Lumosity

    Doing something nice for somebody I love and enjoying it

    Having that truffle I love, even though it has sugar in it! LOL

    Deciding to surprise myself, finish work early and have a date with myself, go have fun

  15. Going to a museum or exhibition
    Going to a concert just by myself
    Getting known new people
    Go to a backpack tour
    Put a pin on the map and visit the place
    Go to the beach on a cold day to listen to the roar of the wind and the murmur of the waves
    Take a day of or two from work
    Go to shopping
    Finding a new hobby
    Learning about art, music, design, fashion, or anything that interest me
    Testing different perfumes every day
    Dressing upp nice just for myself
    Dressing upp on a Sunday afternoon and having some ice cream, cake or coffee in town
    Wearing high heels
    Watching cartoons and animations
    Learning languages
    Wearing thick and warm socks after a heavy feet creaming
    Repainting the walls
    Reorganizing my place, the kitchen, or other wardrobes
    Collect my old clothes and other stuff and take them to charity
    Getting things done

    and so on 😀

  16. Wonderful list! Thank you for sharing. Just to add few; ..few might seem crazy.. 🙂

    Sketch or paint
    Go to garden or kitchen yard and gaze on one particular thing, like a flower or bud
    Follow a butterfly in the garden/nature
    Hug a tree tightly and look up and breath deeply or shout if its okay in that situation
    Feel like a child and act like him/her, like crawling, moving your limbs ; Walk like a child – like hop, jump
    Follow the moving clouds
    Day dreaming/fantasizing
    Giving yourself a new look
    Siting in a temple and listen the bell ringing
    Chanting, doing religious rituals
    Having coffee in roadhouse cafe and observing people moving or in children park watching children play

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  31. Just a reminder to keep in mind accessibility in these lists. Not everyone has a lot of leisure time, time away from kids, money to pay for childcare, a home of their own. Is there a list you can write for those w/ more barriers? Thank you!!

  32. Hi, I just wanted to compliment you for the list but also wanted to point out that it’s not exactly geared toward those who have less to almost no leisure time due to childcare, working parents, or even parents homeless for various reasons. Do you think you could write an additional list of things that are more accessible for people with a lot of barriers to do? Thanks!

    (I work at a shelter, so I was thinking about those things when I was reading this list.)

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  51. Get eyebrows waxed


    Funny movie/videos on YouTube

    Inspiring Ted Talks

    Videos of laughing babies

    Visit the miniature donkeys (there’s a farm nearby with donkeys that come up to just a over my knees)

    Feed the ducks

    Visit a waterfall

    Eat my favourite foods

    Send a card or letter in the mail to my daughter even though I see her all the time bc she only lives 30 minutes away

    Go to the library and browse magazines. Pick a book to take home

  52. This is a wonderful list! I have something to add to it. This is a great blog post. I have been struggling with personal issues for 10 years and have found reaching out online to seek the advice of others has helped me through the good and bad time. I have always had relationship issues and have started to follow the advice of Dr. Robi Ludwig. I saw her on a tv show once and I really appreciated her take on current psychological issues. She has written two books but my favorite book is “Your Best Age is Now” I have read it and loved it! I highly recommend it to anyone out there struggling. Here is a link to her book: https://www.amazon.com/Robi-Ludwig/e/B001HD07NE

  53. Here a little different angle, possibly useful for people with lots of responsobilities or dealing with crisis:

    Being present
    Sorting out/organising/decluttering
    Dancing with yourself or close ones
    Blowing bubbles
    Starting new day with ‘old’ people as a clean page forgiving them & myself for yday, learning lessons & adjusting behaviour
    Learning to focus
    Keeping commitment to a task on hand (ie child, disabled, elderly care) even when it’s hard
    Letting go of non essential thoughts behaviours tasks & people
    Realising that if I’m not well I can’t take care of anyone else however urgent it may seem, like with putting your oxygen mask first then helping children on the plane
    Allowing yourself to cry – it brings healing to the soul
    Noticing unusual events, people, behaviours, natural occurrences, especially those that you’ve never noticed or experienced before and thinking what they could mean or if they are a sign (ie to slow down, speed up, be warned, see beauty)
    Waiting for 3 days before responding to an attack, angry email etc
    Deal with issues of conflict in a business manner in writing rather than directly (face to face or on the phone) as it helps to control emotions, can be more thought trough & it doesn’t take a person so much by surprise like being put on the spot, it also is a lasting evidence (ie with your employer, landlord, ex-partner) and can be used at proof.
    Having courage to set boundaries for myself and others
    Observing what presses out buttons and triggers our unhelpful feelings & responses, when we know this than we can practice stopping ourselves in the next situation of that kind and not reacting (however awkward it may feel), it helps to ask a question inside our mind – what do I do now? What can I do differently? I usually i don’t know the answer on the first try, but this still is a shift from our old behaviour and even from the first time can bring dramatically different, better response from the other person. Practice the same until new ideas start coming in or until the problem disappeared.
    Training our patience muscles
    Seeing life and events in life as parts of a bigger process and not singled out/disconnected/unrelated happenings
    Slowly but surly making steps in the right direction/making progress – all this effort is worth and the life becomes better
    Spotting areas of lack/needy thinking & acting and learning how to replace them into loving & abundant mindsets & behaviours
    Catch us beating ourselves up in our heads or out loud, zip it, forgive ourself & recognising how challenging/complex our circumstance is & giving ourselves pat on the back for all the things that we did right or tried to do differently that normally.
    Listening to smooth.fm

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  55. I saw it written by others in the comments but I didn’t see any mention in your initial list, of being touched with loving intention by another human being. There was touch mentioned with animals, but I didn’t notice any such touch mentioned with people. I know there are people who don’t always have access to this on a regular basis but I still think it has a vital quality.

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  58. Hello, thank you for sharing these ideas. I’m a bit concerned about the suggestion to take pain killers, especially when this country is in the midst of an opioid epidemic that is killing hundreds of people a day, at unprecedented rates. I work on a program that encourages self-care as a way to manage stress, pain and suffering, and to avoid prescription opioids if possible. This aligns with the CDC guidelines for chronic pain management. Opioids change the chemistry of the brain and actually end up making people more susceptible to pain. They are also extremely easy to become dependent on and addicted to, not to mention the risk of overdosing. I agree that coping with pain is extremely uncomfortable, frustrating, and can affect one’s mental health (I’m currently recovering from a broken foot, I know how miserable living in pain is!). But I’d suggest people try alternatives to opioids to manage pain, such as acupuncture, yoga, massage, meditation, mind-body healing, floating, or even virtual reality games. For acute pain, a combination of 500mg of acetaminophen with 200mg of Ibuprofen taken together has actually been demonstrated by research to be MORE effective for pain than opioids. I would just hate to send the wrong message about opioids, which are very very harmful. Thank you.

    • Very good point. I hadn’t looked at this post in awhile and I will edit that out. I hope your foot heals soon!

  59. Wonderful works and thanks alot Barb…iam lucky enough to go through your list. Like the saying goes….
    It’s better late than never that I had found your work so helpful for me to cope with stress and mentally harassed that’s what I feel .

    To share some ….
    1. Go through old family album
    2. Leave everything aside sometimes, dress up and visit your childhood friend and recall fun filled days,cherish memories
    3. make tea and call all family whoever is home and share funny jokes
    4.watch movie
    5. Listening instrumental music Or your favorite all time singer

    Hope it will work for some …..

  60. Rocking a baby to sleep (grandchild or other). Singing quietly while rocking is a plus for the both of you.
    Snuggling with your grandchild (or other beloved child) and reading favorite stories at bedtime.
    Playing card games or doing crossword puzzles with family or friends.
    Teaching a child to sew/cook/knit/scrapbook/woodwork/paint, etc.
    Attending church services/programs together with loved ones.

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