Have you ever carved out some time for self-care, then wondered what the heck you were going to do for yourself?
This is part 4 of a series on self-care. If you missed the previous posts, check out this post about self-care for beginners, and this post about practicing effective self-care. I also wrote this post about the biggest mistakes you’ll want to avoid when starting a self-care practice.
Making time for self-care is hard enough. The last thing you need to do is worry about what activities you want to do, and to spend tons of time getting all your supplies together.
Luckily, I’ve done the work for you and created a list of the 10 best activities and ideas for self-care so you can create your very own self-care toolkit to have on hand whenever you need a break.
Before we get started, a quick reminder that I am not a medical or psychiatric professional, and that all info here is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical or psychiatric advice. You can read my full disclaimer policy here.
Also, I’m not affiliated with any of the products/companies listed below and get nothing out of you using them. This is just a list of stuff I do as part of my own self-care practice, and I think they’re really awesome.
My Favorite Self-Care Apps
I’m going to start off with some of my favorite apps. While I really do try to incorporate non-tech time into my self-care routine, I also appreciate having the ability to take my self-care to go and to get guidance when I want it. I use each of the below apps on the regular to help support me in my self-care routine.
YouTube for guided meditations, yoga routines, TedTalks, EFT videos, etc.
- YouTube is the best, isn’t it? You can find tutorials for anything, and I love using it for yoga routines, meditations, EFT videos, and more. It can be quite the rabbit hole if you’re not careful, so I recommend making a playlist of videos to use for self-care when you’re not looking to use them. This way, you can go straight into the playlist when it’s self-care time and not get distracted.
- And since the pandemic is still going strong, a lot of yoga/meditation teachers have taken their offerings online, and I totally think you should support your local/favorite teachers on their own platforms when you’re able. Being an entrepreneur is tough, and doing so during this pandemic adds a whole new level. So check out what your teachers are offering if you’re able, before heading to YouTube.
Spotify for music – great for creating playlists specifically for uplifting/soothing music
- There are a lot of great music apps out there, but Spotify is by far my favorite because I love creating playlists based on different moods, or different things I’m doing. I have playlists for when I clean, cook, do yoga, write, and work. I also love exploring other people’s playlists and discovering new music, and Spotify makes that super easy. This is available online as well as a phone app, and there’s both a free and paid version.
Library app/Kindle App
- Reading is what’s getting me through this pandemic, ya’ll. And having a library that has an app to read ebooks has been a life-saver! Our library uses Libby, but each library is different, so be sure to check out your local library’s website for info on what they have to offer.
- Kindle is another great reading app and is available on desktop or your phone/tablet. They have a lot of free books if you’re looking not to spend anything, too.
Down Dog app
- I can’t tell you enough about how much I love this app! I use the yoga version, but they have some for barre and other styles of workouts, too. It’s free, and there is also a subscription option. Another thing I love about this app is that they offer subscription assistance if you have a special circumstance keeping you from being able to afford a subscription – that’s super generous and definitely something I want to support.
- This app has tons of styles of yoga classes, and you can create your own class based on your needs. This is super helpful for me because I need slower styles that are focused on non-standing poses. They also offer Yoga Nidra practices, which is something that I’m starting to get more into as I learn what my mind and body need to support it.
Other Self-Care Tools I Love
Essential oils & diffusers
- Probably one of the easiest and my most favorite way to add some self-care to my day is to diffuse essential oils. They help soothe me, while also helping to clean the air – which is super important during this pandemic. While there are plenty of high-quality yet expensive brands out there, if you’re not using them topically, the kind you find at your local grocery store work just fine. I love diffusing seasonal scents, too, since lately burning scented candles aggravates my allergies. If you want some inspiration, check out my essential oil Pinterest board for lots of fun blends to try.
Journal – digital or paper
- Studies show that journaling has tons of benefits for mental health. It doesn’t matter if your favorite method is putting pen to paper, creating an art journal, or using a journaling app. Getting your thoughts out of your head can improve your focus, decrease anxiety, and help you get a better night’s sleep. Journaling in the morning is also a great way to release any stress from a rough night’s sleep and to keep track of your dreams so you can look into any patterns that may be showing up. This also allows you to set an intention for the day, so that you begin your day more mindfully.
- Spending time working on crafts – whether it be as simple as a coloring book or as elaborate as crochet – is another great way to practice self-care. When we allow ourselves space to be creative, our brains release dopamine – the feel-good chemical. Crafting also increases your cognitive abilities, keeping your mind sharper, and preventing the impairments associated with aging. It’s also just fun to create things, and couldn’t we all use a little more fun in our lives?
- I don’t know about you, but I have a few favorite comfort items that I turn to when I need to snuggle up to unwind. For me, it’s a weighted blanket and a lavender-buckwheat eye pillow. Both are known for helping the nervous system slow down and for reducing anxiety. I love getting settled into savasana for a few minutes of “me” time when I’m having a hard day. And confession: I’m totally writing this from under my weighted blanket on my couch, because if you can’t be super snuggly while working from home, what’s the point – right? So whether you’re a weighted blanket fan too, or if you have a favorite item of clothing that is super comfy, or heck – even a stuffed animal that soothes you, don’t forget to turn to these items when you’re wanting to take time for self-care. The comfort they bring you is not to be discounted!I’m not going to lie – I do NOT have a green thumb. In fact, I don’t even think I have a green pinkie toe. But, I did buy some houseplants last month, and so far they are still alive! The benefits of having houseplants are numerous: they improve the air quality, provide a connection to nature, boost your mood and productivity, and balance the humidity within a space. So if you’re looking for an easy way to add some self-care, hit the garden shop! Something as simple as an air plant or bamboo is all you need to create some happier vibes in your surroundings.
- I’m not going to lie – I do NOT have a green thumb. In fact, I don’t even think I have a green pinkie toe. But, I did buy some houseplants last month, and so far they are still alive! The benefits of having houseplants are numerous: they improve the air quality, provide a connection to nature, boost your mood and productivity, and balance the humidity within a space. So if you’re looking for an easy way to add some self-care, hit the garden shop! Something as simple as an air plant or bamboo is all you need to create some happier vibes in your surroundings.
- Sacred space
- Whether or not you are part of a particular faith tradition, setting up space in your home where you can connect with your Source and spirituality will make it easier to take a few minutes to pause, give thanks, and to reflect on our divinity and humanity. Whether it’s simply a candle atop a dresser, or a more elaborate altar, having a dedicated space to meditate, pray, or just breathe for a few minutes a day is a great way to add self-care into your daily routine.
Remember: self-care isn’t really about what you do or what tools you use, but rather, it’s about how your practice makes you feel.
Whether or not you incorporate some of the ideas from this post, or you develop your own personal self-care toolkit, I hope you are inspired to make some time to take care of yourself and connect with your divinity.
And if you’re ready to commit to practicing self-care every day, you may be interested in my 21-Day Self-Care Reboot, which includes journal prompts and a tracker to help you make the most of your efforts. You can sign up for it below!
Until next time,