In a world where most people feel like their list of tasks and responsibilities is endless, finding time for self-care can feel impossible. When you are worried about your job, your family, your social life, your finances, and everything else life manages to throw your way, how can you possibly make time to engage in self-care…let alone engage in self-care on a regular basis?
The key to finding time for self-care is changing your attitude about it. By developing a better attitude and understanding about self-care – especially grasping why it is so necessary to practice – can make it much easier to prioritize among your other obligations.
Another great way to make your personal self-care feel a little easier to practice and priority is by optimizing it. Optimizing your self-care practices means you find ways to make them feel easier and more achievable during your everyday life.
Optimal personal self-care means you are getting the refreshing, relaxing, and reinvigorating feelings from engaging in self-care activities in an easy and accessible way that suits your specific preferences.
30 Self-Care Tips For The Best You
If you are new to self-care and aren’t quite sure where to start, consider the following thirty tips to start engaging in impactful, mindful, and optimal practices that best suit your needs.
Tip 1: Make your self-care time one of your top priorities.
You wouldn’t cancel an important meeting with your boss or ditch your best friend for lunch plans….so treat your self-care time the same way. Once you establish a routine for spending time on self-care, stick to your schedule.
Don’t let others infringe upon your self-care time (even if they beg and plead with you over it). Skipping out on your self-care time in favor of engaging in a situation in which you feel pressured to participate will not leave you feeling good afterward.
Tip 2: Be adventurous when trying new self-care activities.
Some people take a lot of comfort in their preferred self-care activities, but don’t let that comfort stop you from trying new things. Be adventurous and try some different self-care activity options – you may find some new favorites that leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed. Exploring some new self-care options can also lead to you discovering a way to make self-care easier for you.
Tip 3: Choose self-care activities that leave you feeling better than you felt when you started.
Sometimes choosing a good self-care activity can be confusing. You want to make sure you’re choosing an activity that leaves you feeling better than you felt when you started. Consider these examples of bad self-care activities:
- Overspending your money
- Smoking cigarettes
- Drinking alcohol or using drugs
When you are facing a particularly rough moment and need to feel a sense of release, activities like these may feel like good self-care options, but ultimately, they do you more harm than good.
Make sure you’re choosing self-care activities that leave you in a better place than you were before you engaged in them. Some examples of these more positive self-care activities include…
- Taking a long, hot bath or shower
- Going on a walk or jog
- Spending some time outdoors appreciating nature
- Reading a few chapters of a good book
- Calling up a good friend for a catch-up chat
At the end of these self-care activities, you aren’t left with consequences or bad feelings, like a brutal hangover or a nearly empty bank account. Instead, you’re left feeling a little more refreshed or relaxed.
Tip 4: Take away the “selfish” stigma of spending time on your self-care needs.
Some people struggle to practice self-care regularly because they feel like it’s selfish to spend time doing things that only benefit themselves. For example, a person may struggle to spend an hour doing something good for themselves because they realize they have a lot of errands and responsibilities to handle that day.
However, because self-care helps you refresh and recharge your personal energy levels, it isn’t selfish to practice it at all – without self-care time, you wouldn’t have the energy to get through anything else you need to do.
Think of spending time engaged in self-care like plugging yourself up to a charging cable. That self-care time helps restore your energy in many different ways – for example, you can help heal your physical, emotional, and mental energies by taking some time to focus on caring for yourself. If you never “charge” your batteries with self-care, your overall wellbeing can take a serious beating.
Tip 5: Set boundaries around your self-care time and stick to them.
Don’t let others infringe upon your dedicated self-care time. Let people know you’re serious about your self-care – once you set these boundaries, stick to them.
For example, if you say that you won’t be checking work emails after 5 pm, take that boundary seriously – don’t read or answer emails after 5 pm! While it may feel difficult to tell people no or try to choose a different time to help them, the payout is worthwhile.
You’ll always be glad you chose to take care of yourself rather than dedicating your time and energy to something you didn’t feel mentally or emotionally prepared to handle.
Tip 6: Treat your self-care time like the precious resource that it is.
You only have so much time in a day; this means you need to balance your time carefully. While you do need to take care of responsibilities and obligations, you also need to have self-care time.
Treat your self-care time like the precious resource that it is – you don’t have all the time in the world to indulge in self-care, so when you are doing it, stick to activities you know will bring you the most benefits. Spend your self-care time engaged in whatever it is your mind, body, or spirit needs most to feel refreshed and fulfilled.
Tip 7: Limit the amount of outside distractions that can interrupt your self-care time.
When you’re engaging in self-care time, limit your outside distractions. Silence your cell phone and let others know you won’t be taking calls or texts during that time. Mute your email notifications and log off your social media accounts.
The less disruptions you have during self-care, the more you’ll be able to really enjoy it. Nothing puts a damper on relaxation and self-care like a yucky email from your boss – mute those notifications and return to them later, when you’re feeling more refreshed.
Tip 8: Have good backup plans in place in case one of your preferred self-care methods isn’t doable.
Life has a way of throwing curveballs. If you realize you aren’t going to be able to engage in one of your preferred self-care activities, have a backup plan in place so you can still relax and rest. For example, if your favorite hairdresser is unavailable, reschedule your appointment for another time and find a different way to take good care of yourself that day.
Tip 9: Make your personal spaces enjoyable and relaxing.
Self-care is easier to enjoy when your personal spaces are relaxing and inviting. Make your spaces more appealing by keeping them tidy. Update the appearance of your spaces to reflect your personal interests and style preferences. When you actually enjoy spending time in personal spaces such as your bedroom or office, it’s much easier to relax when you practice self-care there.
Tip 10: Give yourself some small, special things to look forward to each week.
Self-care activities can be small. Plan some small, special things to look forward to each week as a part of your routine self-care. For example, on Fridays, make a point to stop by your favorite coffee shop before work. Sign up for a weekly exercise class you enjoy and prioritize going.
Tip 11: When in doubt, try getting a little exercise.
Movement is one of the most underrated self-care activities. You can engage in this activity just about anywhere – no gym or special equipment required. For example, if you are working hard and notice yourself beginning to feel stressed or fatigued, get up from your desk and take a quick five-minute walk around the building.
Getting outside, moving your body, and getting your blood pumping is a great way to give yourself a much-needed short break when life begins to feel a little too heavy during the day.
Tip 12: Find ways to squeeze in some self-care among the daily activities you already do.
If you have a particularly packed schedule, you may find it much easier to squeeze in some self-care activities among the daily routine you already follow. To do this, find ways to add more enjoyment and relaxation into your existing schedule. Some examples may include…
- Starting your day by reading a chapter of a book rather than mindlessly scrolling your social media feeds while you drink your morning coffee
- Going on a walk outdoors rather than sitting inside your workplace’s staff area during your lunch break
- Calling a friend to chat for a few minutes rather than allowing your thoughts to spiral into a negative place
Tip 13: Change your language to reflect more gratitude and positivity.
Practice actually speaking aloud your feelings of gratitude and positivity. When someone does something well, congratulate or compliment them. Try to point out the bright side of situations to others. When speaking to yourself, focus on the positives rather than the negatives.
Actually putting your feelings of gratitude and positivity into words makes it feel more concrete and real – you’ll notice a shift in your overall attitude when you use more positive language with yourself and others.
Tip 14: Make taking care of your personal hygiene a top priority.
Feeling good and looking good is a key part of self-care. Stay on top of your personal hygiene – going through these seemingly routine tasks each day will immediately make you feel better about yourself. Make a big deal out of being present in the moment when you brush your teeth, wash your face, or take a shower.
As an added bonus, you can increase the level of self-care in these routine hygiene tasks by indulging in some fun products – for example, a nice new bottle of bubble bath mix or a hair-softening conditioner can elevate these hygiene experiences to a higher self-care level.
Tip 15: Plan things that you can look forward to enjoying later.
A great form of self-care is knowing that you have exciting activities to look forward to in the future. Having the knowledge that a fun activity, break, vacation, or other event is on the horizon can make handling your day-to-day living more tolerable – especially when life feels extra tough. Making these future plans is like making an investment in your own happiness and relaxation.
Tip 16: Make your nightly “getting ready for bedtime” routine as relaxing as possible.
Getting enough quality sleep is a big deal. Your sleeping habits affect many other areas of your health – not to mention a good night’s sleep is also responsible for how focused you are the next day. Make your pre-bedtime routine a part of your self-care.
Make what you do in the 30-45 minutes leading up to actually going to sleep as relaxing as you possibly can. For example, you could…
- Set out all the items you’ll need for the next day, such as your outfit for work and your backpack
- Take a hot bath or shower
- Complete your skincare routine
- Spend some time reading a book instead of scrolling on your phone
- Enjoy a hot beverage, such as a decaffeinated cup of tea
- Listen to an audiobook or podcast episode as you relax in bed
- Complete some light stretching exercises
Tip 17: When you get home or finish your work for the day, give yourself five minutes to reflect on the day’s events so you can “dump” them out of your brain.
A great way to practice self-care is to make space for the events in your life that often seem overwhelming. After a full day of handling your responsibilities, problems, and beyond, take the first few minutes of the time you get to spend by yourself reflecting on the day’s events.
Use a journal to jot down important things that happened that day – include anything that’s bothering you, important details you need to remember, and other bits of information that are clouding your mind.
Giving these thoughts a place to “live” outside of your head makes it easier to clear your mind and prepare for a more relaxing evening – reflecting on them by writing them down means you can revisit them later, after you’ve had time to rest and recuperate.
Tip 18: Identify the most stressful points of your day and arrange for small amounts of self-care around these times.
Plan small self-care breaks around the more stressful parts of your day. Do you dread going into weekly meetings with your boss? Spend the ten minutes before the meeting starts engaging in deep breathing exercises or a quick walk around the building. Does the idea of running errands stress you out?
Plan a more enjoyable activity to reward yourself after the errands are complete. Planning strategic self-care breaks throughout the day ensures that you’re giving yourself some extra care and support when you need it most.
Tip 19: Get more comfortable with telling other people “no.”
Using the word “no” is a highly underrated form of self-care. When you tell another person “no,” you are protecting your personal time, resources, and energy stores.
For example, a friend may be pressuring you to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing – perhaps the activity seems dangerous or is too expensive for your budget. Regardless of why you want to tell them “no,” telling them you don’t want to do it is a form of taking care of yourself.
Saying “no” sets a clear boundary – that you do not want to engage in the activity – and that you’ve given them a clear answer to their request while protecting yourself from the stress of doing it.
Tip 20: Do one kind thing for your body each day.
Taking good care of your physical body is a major part of self-care. Do one kind thing for your body each day. Some examples include eating regularly throughout the day, engaging in some refreshing exercise, getting a massage, taking time to complete your skincare routine, doing some yoga poses and stretching, or giving yourself positive body compliments.
All of these activities are great examples of small ways you can show your physical body some kindness in the form of self-care.
Tip 21: Give yourself permission to accept parts of your day that cannot be changed or undone.
Acceptance is another great way to optimize your self-care. Giving yourself total permission to accept parts of your day that cannot be changed or undone is a great stress reliever. Instead of fretting over details that can’t be changed, allowing yourself to accept reality and stop fighting battles that can’t be won allows your mind, body, and spirit some time to rest and breathe.
Many people find themselves caught up in the details of something that’s already happened. Since time traveling isn’t possible, there is no use in worrying over how something happened.
The best thing you can do in these situations is to forgive yourself for what happened and accept them the way they are. Once you are able to grant yourself this kind of grace, you can stop allowing those past events to take up so much of your headspace.
Tip 22: Find a hobby you enjoy that does not require technology or the internet.
Taking a break from technology is a great form of self-care. Scrolling social media is a popular way to kill time and stave off boredom, but it comes at a cost – seeing feeds of constantly updating social media posts can leave people feeling more stressed and anxious than relaxed.
Find an activity or hobby you enjoy that doesn’t require using technology or the internet to do it. For example, reading, crafting, assembling jigsaw puzzles, exercising, and cooking are all fun activities you can enjoy without a laptop, smartphone, or Wi-Fi connection.
Getting involved in these types of hobbies keeps your mind occupied in a healthy and engaging way that helps you “unplug” from everything happening in the world around you.
Tip 23: Make a point to give yourself one genuine complement each day.
Good self-care involves being kind to yourself. Make a point to give yourself one honest, genuine complement each day. Some examples might include…
- Complimenting yourself on a new outfit
- Complimenting yourself on doing well at work
- Complimenting yourself on keeping your cool during a stressful situation
- Complimenting yourself on learning a new skill
- Complimenting yourself on making a good decision
- Complimenting yourself on finishing a project or task
Tip 24: Establish a good morning routine to get your whole day started off as positively as possible.
Just like having a good bedtime routine is an optimal way to practice self-care, having a good morning routine is great, too! Spend some time each morning giving yourself some care and attention before you start a fresh new day.
Some examples of activities you can include in a good morning routine include…
- Squeezing in some morning exercise
- Enjoying your coffee and/or breakfast in the quietness and stillness of the morning
- Completing your skincare routine
- Starting off the day with positive affirmations
- Reading a chapter or two of a book
- Watching an episode of a favorite TV show before you get ready to start the day
…and many more! There are tons of ways to construct a good morning routine to ensure you’re starting your day as best as possible. The most important thing you can do while constructing this morning routine is to choose activities that leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed for the day ahead.
Tip 25: When life feels overwhelming, find a moment to lie down in darkness and silence.
This tip may not always be possible – after all, your boss probably would not appreciate seeing you taking a “power nap” on the floor of your office in the middle of the work day – but it is possible to practice this tip in a few different ways, depending on your circumstances.
For example, in an ideal situation, you could sneak in a 20-30 minute power nap to refresh and relax yourself. In a pinch, you could find a quiet, isolated space at work to be alone, turn off the lights, and practice some deep breathing exercises for a few minutes to calm yourself.
Giving yourself a moment to regain your composure is an excellent form of self-care to practice when you begin to feel overwhelmed because it can prevent a spiral into anxiety or stress-induced panic.
Tip 26: Practice being gentle with yourself, especially if you are experiencing a challenging day.
It is easy to be rough on yourself when you are going through a particularly challenging day. You may feel like you’re making mistakes at every turn, unable to get anything right. In these moments, one of the best self-care strategies you can implement is to be gentle with yourself.
Rather than immediately turning toward self-deprecating speech, be gentle with yourself by swapping some of your negative self-talk with something more positive.
Tip 27: Practice saying “yes” when someone offers to help you.
An underrated way of practicing self-care is accepting help from others when it is offered to you. Rather than “going alone” when you are facing a problem or a challenge, accept another person’s help when they offer it to you.
Similarly, you can also ask someone for help when you realize you need it. Getting help from another person when you’re experiencing a struggle is a great way to relieve some of your stress (and get another person’s perspective on solving your issue).
Tip 28: Schedule little breaks throughout your day.
Your day doesn’t need to be a nonstop work-a-thon from sunup to sundown. Make sure you schedule some small breaks throughout your day. Just as you assign importance to appointments, errands, and meetings, also assign great importance to rest breaks.
Taking small, 10-minute breaks throughout the day is a great way to take good care of yourself on the go. Use these breaks to mentally “step away” from your work and responsibilities so you can breathe, regroup, and relax before getting back into work.
Tip 29: Develop a list of reassuring thoughts you can visit whenever you are feeling worried, doubtful, or depressed.
Any time you experience a positive or reassuring thought about yourself or your life, jot it down on a list. Whenever you’re feeling worried, doubtful, or depressed, revisit your list – it will offer you a great reminder of your personal truths when you’re struggling against more negative forces in your life.
Tip 30: Treat yourself the same way you would treat your best friend.
Give yourself the best friend treatment! Just as you’d be kind to your best friend when they are going through troubling times, make a point to be just as gentle and kind to yourself as well. Being good to yourself is one of the best forms of self-care – not only will it boost your mental health, but it will benefit your overall wellbeing.
BONUS Tip 31: Take time to slow down and actually listen to what you are thinking and what your body is trying to tell you.
Have you ever felt like you were operating on autopilot, moving mindlessly from task to task without much thought about what you were doing? If so, a great way to add some extra self-care into your day is to practice slowing down and listening to yourself. Your mind and body will send you various signals throughout the day indicating different needs, such as…
- Hunger pangs when it’s time to eat a meal
- Stress when you’re facing a difficult or unpleasant situation
- Tiredness when you need to stop working and take a break
- Thirst when you need to drink more water
- …and many more!
Rather than allowing yourself to shift into autopilot mode, practice stopping what you are doing so you can take a minute to listen to your mind and body. Assess what you need at the moment and then make addressing those needs a self-care priority.
Slow down and give yourself a break, a meal, a glass of water, or a moment to collect your thoughts. While planned self-care is great, taking time to prioritize what you need as you’re moving through your daily life is an essential part of making self-care sustainable.
The Bottom Line
There are a few key takeaways to remember about engaging in optimal personal self-care.
- You make your self-care time an important part of your routine.
- You personalize it to fit your needs and preferences.
- You find ways to incorporate it into different parts of your day.
- You choose self-care activities that leave you feeling good.
- You engage in self-care as a way to be good and kind to yourself.
- You are not being selfish when you spend time on your self-care routine.
Self-care serves as the ultimate “reset” button for human beings. When you invest time in recharging your personal batteries by taking good care of yourself, you ensure that you can keep moving through life in a healthy, productive, and stable manner.
Think of your self-care time as a way to focus specifically on what you need to feel your best – engaging in self-care isn’t selfish: it is a necessary part of taking good care of yourself!
Stay well and take care!
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