BY KATHERINE HURST
When you’re running low on energy, carrying too many burdens or just not feeling very resilient, it’s vital that you nurture yourself in order to replenish your resources. If you need some inspiration, look to any one (or more) of these 64 quick and effective ways to practice self care.
1. Spend time with a parent or mentor—someone who makes you feel protected and inspired.
2. Volunteer to help a cause that means something to you.
3. Listen to music from one of the happiest periods of your life.
4. Practice a mindfulness exercise, even if it’s just deep breathing.
5. Light some candles and enjoy a nice glass of your favorite wine.
6. Think of three positives associated with your current hardships.
7. Take a hot shower for at least 10 minutes, then change into some soft, clean clothes.
8. Do some creative writing—imagine a fantasy scenario, and lose yourself in it.
9. Go to bed early and make sure you get at least a full 8 hours of sleep.
10. Make an appointment to see a therapist. Even just one session of unburdening yourself could make a difference.
11. Say out loud “Nothing lasts forever. This too shall pass.”
12. Visualize a beautiful, calm location and spend 10 minutes imagining you’re there right now.
13. Keep your hands busy with a repetitive activity like knitting, sewing or solving a puzzle.
14. Write down ten things in your life that inspire gratitude.
15. Sketch something, whether it’s an elaborate drawing or just a doodle of patterns that appeal to you.
16. Go for a hike.
17. Plan a day trip and take photographs of 10 things you see that inspire you.
18. Look into local retreats where you can meet like-minded people and escape from society.
19. Watch YouTube videos of cute animals.
20. Hug someone you love (friend, family member or partner) for 12-15 seconds—studies show this boosts immune system function and prompts the release of calming hormones.
21. Do some yoga—even just five minutes of very basic positions can help you feel calmer and stronger.
22. Go to a café, order your favorite delicious coffee (or some other kind of luxury drink), and read a book or magazine.
23. Find any reminders of bad times, and get rid of them—they’re only adding negativity to your space.
24. Slowly file, buff and paint your nails, then massage soothing cream into your hands.
25. Make a playlist of uplifting songs, and know you can tune in to it whenever things get rough.
26. Let yourself cry if you need to—holding it back tends to make people feel worse instead of better.
27. Challenge yourself to write down 100 things you love about life. This is easier than you might think!
28. Just say “no” if someone is asking you to do something that feels too much.
29. Recreate a favorite date or day out with your partner or a good friend.
30. Take a full day (even if you have to call in sick) and just take care of yourself.
31. Eat a square of dark chocolate, which is proven to lower the levels of certain stress hormones.
32. Skip your household chores for a full day.
33. Watch several episodes of your favorite TV show, back to back.
34. Empty out your wardrobe, and donate old, ill-fitting or unappealing clothes to charity.
35. If you need to make a tricky decision, create a list of pros and cons.
36. Head to the gym and sweat out your stress with a serious workout.
37. Head to a beautiful, quiet place and watch the sunset. Bonus points if you can find somewhere by the water.
38. Dance to your favorite songs, and really put your whole body into it!
39. Watch a movie that is guaranteed to make you laugh.
40. Go cycling or running in a beautiful place (you’ll get the endorphins flowing and expose your mind to natural beauty).
41. Get your favorite comfort food and savor it without any guilt—you deserve it.
42. Go for a drive with your music turned up loud. Sing along if you like!
43. Switch off from the internet for a full day.
44. Go shopping and treat yourself to one little item that you don’t really need but that represents caring for yourself.
45. Take a long, slow walk, listening to some of your favorite relaxing music on your headphones.
46. Reset your brain and revitalize your energy stores by taking a 15-20 minute nap.
47. Plan a weekend away, whether it’s by yourself or with some people whose company you love.
48. Make a cup of tea and just sip it in quiet stillness.
49. Cook a healthy meal that’s packed with delicious, fresh vegetables.
50. Deliberately externalize your feelings of stress, sadness or frustration in a journal entry.
51. Interact with your pet, or go to a place where you can touch some animals (e.g. a petting zoo or cat café).
52. Pick up the phone and call someone who gets you.
53. Reorganize your workspace, getting rid of clutter. Research shows that this helps to declutter your mind too.
54. Smile at yourself in the mirror—you’ll be surprised at how quickly the smile becomes genuine.
55. Read a good book (under a blanket if it’s cold, or lazing in the sun if it’s warm outside).
56. Offer to walk someone’s dog for them.
57. Play a sport, or sign up to learn a new one—it’s good for your social life and great for pent-up frustration.
58. Watch some trashy TV or read a trashy magazine—sometimes, we all need a little escapism.
59. Book a massage, a manicure, or a facial. If you can afford it, book all three!
60. Plan a night out (or a night in) with your favorite people.
61. If you are religious or spiritual, spend some time praying.
62. Take a hot bath with Epsom salts.
63. Sit by a river and watch the movement of the water.
64. Paint something—it can be as abstract or realistic as you like!