44 Self-Care Activities That Will Actually Help Make Your Life Better
— Brianna Wiest
Take care of yourself, here are 40+ self-care activities to treat yourself to your best life.
1. Get a extra large garbage bag and get rid of everything that you don’t use, that doesn’t fit, triggers painful memories, or that you bought in hopes that it would make you a different person.
2. Unfollow anyone who makes you feel anything less than inspired, empowered and happy to be who you are.
3. Stop arranging and posing photos and just take snaps of things as they’re happening. If your life isn’t interesting enough to do that, your life is the problem, not your Instagram feed.
4. Make a spreadsheet and manually write out everything you spend each week. Nothing will make you more self-aware of your spending habits, or help to hold you accountable.
5. Make an appointment for the doctor that gives you the most anxiety. Show up for it.
6. Download podcasts that interest you to listen to every time you commuting or driving in your car.
7. Delete the phone numbers and text threads of people who you don’t recognize, haven’t spoken to in years, always have to text first, or really shouldn’t communicate with again. It will be cathartic.
8. Stop digitally checking in with friends you had falling outs with, exes, and anyone else who isn’t an active part of your life. They’re only going to keep going on without you.
9. Improve things in small increments. Try to drink a half cup of water today. Go to the gym and walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes, if that’s all you can do. Go to sleep 15 minutes earlier than normal. Slowly adjust to new norms, and build momentum.
10. Go to a bookstore or library and pick out a copy of something that interests you. Stop trying to read to look smart or keep up with what’s happening in the literary world. Read what captures your interest. That’s what will make you better.
11. If you need to take some time off to be by yourself and get your life together, do it and don’t bully yourself over it. Social circles require people to stay the same to remain in them, that’s why solitude changes your life so much.
12. If you need to leave the city you live in because you need a new start, strategically plan a move that will improve your circumstances, don’t bankrupt yourself by trying to move as fast as possible without solid plans in place.
13. If you need to leave the job you are in because it’s eroding your wellbeing, clean up your résumé, start taking on side projects, and figure out your new path before leaving abruptly and having to scramble to do whatever will pay next month’s rent.
14. The next time someone is blatantly or passively rude to you, politely acknowledge it. Tell them that what they said was hurtful, and that you didn’t appreciate it. If you don’t learn to speak up for yourself in an effective way, moments like those will grate at you for years.
15. Wash your linens, wipe down the surfaces in your space, make yourself dinner and eat it at home. Make being there as pleasant of an experience as possible.
16. Do the dishes as you dirty them.
17. Plan something, even if it is a weekend beach getaway that you’re taking for yourself, make something to look forward to.
18. Each night, pack your breakfast and lunch, lay out your outfit, and have your bag, phone and water bottle all ready to go. This will make mornings go much more smoothly.
19. The next time you tell someone that you miss them, make concrete plans to see each other and put them in your calendar. Do what you say more than you say what you’ll do.
20. Don’t say what you hate about your life, wish you had, or want to be. Talk about what you want, what you’re creating, and who you are.
21. Use SPF, have safe sex, and open a savings account.
22. Stop trying to be everything. You don’t need to cook like a chef, perform like a CEO, have the most robust and interesting friend group imaginable, take photos like a blogger and workout like a triathlete. Pick one or two things that you are good at and enjoy and do your very best to work on those each day.
23. Embrace being ordinary. So much anxiety comes from the idea that to be average = to be bad, when in fact, all of us – with rare exception – are just average, and there’s nothing wrong with that. A world that insists the only people who are successful and worthwhile are the ones at the very top is sick.
24. Adopt the mantra: “I am willing to see this change.” Being willing to see something differently is the first step that most people don’t even get to. Be willing to be different. Be willing to grow.
25. Be mindful of who you vent to. Assume that what you tell one person is what you’ve told the world.
26. Make more time for people. Call your sister every time you go food shopping. Tell your mom you love her more than you think is necessary. You aren’t as alone as you think you are.
27. When an uncomfortable feeling comes up, name it, take responsibility for it, and then take action in the face of it.
28. Read the stories of people who were in similar situations to what you are in, and study how they found their way out.
29. Stop thinking of dating as a game that you only win when you’re the best, prettiest and smartest around. Start thinking of it as a best friendship you earn when you are your most whole and genuine self.
30. Build a professional website or online portfolio.
31. Figure out a way to monetize your favorite hobby.
32. Write a worry list. Every time something is bothering you, write it down instead of mulling it over. It will help you let it go for the moment, and at the end of the day or week, review the list to see whether or not anything on there was something you should give your energy to.
33. Write a wish list. Every time you have the urge to spend money, book a trip, or even buy another random thing from Amazon, add it to your wish list. At the end of the week or month, pick a few things off of it. It will save you tons of money and help build delayed gratification.
34. Pick a few healthy, inexpensive foods and teach yourself how to prepare them well.
35. Go out of your way to help someone else. Volunteer, protest, or advocate for another person’s wellbeing. Doing so will help build your sense of purpose and confidence.
36. Have a plan of action for when you feel overwhelmed by your emotions. It might be going for a walk, taking a drive, taking a nap, calling a friend, and so on. Instead of sinking and feeling helpless, return to your list.
37. Learn the invaluable art of knowing when to keep your mouth shut. When someone says something with the intention of aggravating you, not responding doesn’t make you complicit, it makes you powerful.
38. Work on being a little more humble. Instead of trying to convince yourself that you are the best, most and greatest, change your self-talk to remind yourself that you’re worthy, trying and capable.
39. Make an energy chart of your day. Instead of trying to manage your hours, manage your energy. Decide what to do when you have the most, and decide how to respond when you have very little.
40. Stop engaging in arguments (both online and in person) in which the other person just wants to be right, not understanding.
41. Stop engaging in arguments in your head, especially if the situation is made up, or if it happened a very long time ago.
42. Try a new food, a different type of movie, or shuffle a playlist in a genre you don’t normally listen to.
43. Read articles that help you move on. Like this one, about getting over a relationship.
44. Stop expecting life to always be good. Instead of trying to manically make yourself happy all the time, try accepting that you are going to have bad days when tough things happen, grief when loss occurs, and mixed feelings when you’re unsure. This isn’t because you’re broken, it’s because you’re functioning the way you’re supposed to be.