In light of, you know, everything that happened this week (see my thoughts on that here)–I think we could all use a little grounding and a reminder to prioritize our mental health going into the weekend, yes? I originally posted this roundup on Election Day, but I thought it was a great one to update and re-circulate.
Below, Kendall and I have rounded up an awesome list of simple, practical ideas to inspire your at-home self-care menu. These things are simple, don’t often take up a lot of time, but they can really make a world of difference in your mental and emotional wellbeing!
Tip: Get out a piece of paper and jot down your favorites from the list below so you always have reminders of ways you can take time out of your day for yourself!
30+ At-Home Self Care Ideas
Go out of your way to give someone a compliment
It’s hard not to feel great after giving someone a compliment–it’s a proven fact! Complimenting doesn’t just benefit the receiver of the compliment, it boosts the happiness of the complimenter, too! Whether it’s someone you pass on the street on the way to the polls, taking the time to thank a poll worker for volunteering, the Barista at Starbucks–whatever!
Get lost in a good book
When you need an escape but have nowhere to go, there’s nothing like getting lost in a great book. Even if you just book 20 minutes of your lunch break to read, or commit to going to bed 20 minutes earlier–reading always helps me decompress so much! Looking for recs? Check out some of my favorite books right here!
Actually take a lunch break
Remember that you are always entitled to a lunch break, even if you’re working from home! Be protective of your lunch hour and don’t take meetings during that time, and put your “do not disturb” notification on your work chat. Take that time to indulge in something just for you–watch your favorite show while eating your lunch, paint your nails, or, like I said above, dive into your book for a half-hour! You’ll be amazed at how refreshed you feel!
Take a bath
Cliché? Yes. But there’s a reason why “bubble bath” is on every “self care ideas” list ever created. They work!! So, embrace them! Light a candle, throw on some calming music and relax in the tub while your blood pressure instantly drops! (Even better, get yourself a CBD bath bomb or mineral soak!)
Give yourself a colorful manicure
A self-care act that’s both creative and therapeutic. Bright, joyful colors can lift your mood each time you look at your nails! Give yourself some fresh polish in a fun shade–bonus points if you mix it up from your go-to color! Pear Nova is a non-toxic, cruelty-free, and Black woman owned nail polish brand that makes SO many fun colors, if you are shopping for a new polish! Another polish company I’ve been loving is Olive and June! (Also non-toxic and woman-owned!)
Jot down three things you like about yourself over coffee
Before you rush into work or dive into the news, take a second at the start of your day to write down three things you like about yourself. Show yourself some gratitude and self-love to start your day off on a positive note. Sounds silly, but this time of year I think we could all use a little confidence boost–and this small gesture really works!
Just say no
If you’re feeling emotionally drained and the thought of committing to anything this week sounds awful–then don’t! Remember that “no” is a complete sentence. Whether it’s taking on that extra project at work, or a socially distanced happy hour invite when your Zoom fatigue is at an all time high. Learning to say no to things that don’t serve you or aren’t on your priority list right now helps open you up for the things that do bring you joy and fulfillment!
Go to bed earlier
Easier said than done, I know, but don’t keep yourself up late with worry this week. Do your best to get in bed early, even if you aren’t tired yet. If you can, try to get in bed 30 minutes to an hour earlier so you can read and unwind sans screens! Overstimulation is what causes a lot of stress and fatigue, and winding down before bedtime will help immensely with your stress and sleep levels.
Wake up earlier
When you go to bed earlier, you can wake up earlier! Waking up even 30 minutes earlier gives you the freedom to start your day off on the right foot and not feel rushed, behind or sluggish. Use the time to get in a quick workout, go for a walk, be alone with your thoughts, or actually enjoy your morning coffee in peace rather than chugging it between Zoom calls.
Pick a meal and take it outside! The change of scenery can be rejuvenating and force you to slow down, be in the present moment and enjoy your meal! (Even if it’s cold out, bundling up and taking your morning coffee on a walk totally counts!)
Do something crafty for the sole purpose of getting your creative juices flowing, like an adult coloring book, taking an online calligraphy or lettering class, or personalize something that’s already on your to-do list, like making a handmade birthday card for a family member. Anything that involves using a creative part of your brain and gets you off of your phone will be restorative!
Whether you’re a mom spread thin or your “me time” has been swapped for spending time with roommates or a significant other, we all need alone time. Don’t feel guilty about needing time to yourself to recharge — whether that’s going for a run, watching your favorite show or doing absolutely nothing at all! There’s nothing wrong with asking for some space!
Make time for your full skincare routine
We all have our “in a rush” skincare routine and the extended version we only get around to every once in a while — you know, the works! Indulge in your full skincare routine and give your mind and skin the TLC it deserves — exfoliate, soak, use a face mask, moisturize and ice roll (check out my post on ice roller benefits). Fully immersing yourself in a ritual can be very calming!
Download an app to keep you motivated
Need a daily motivational boost or a reminder to take deep breaths? There’s an app for that! Download Shine to help you reach your self-care goals. The app lets you learn a new self-care strategy every day, explore a meditation audio library, and even play calming sounds to shift your mindset or mood.
Send a letter to someone who means a lot to you
Zoom calls and texts are great, but nothing beats the old-fashioned sentiment of a handwritten letter. Whether it’s checking in on a family member, telling a new mom friend that she’s doing a great job or letting someone who is going through a hard time know you’re thinking of them, put pen to paper and give someone a good mail day!
Go for a photo walk
We all know that walking and getting outside are good for both our mental and physical health, but your daily route can feel stale from time to time. Mix things up with a photo walk — which is exactly what it sounds like. Set out to photograph something interesting on your walk around the neighborhood. This will help you see your surroundings in a new way and appreciate all the beauty within walking distance. (See my photos from my Spring in Wicker Park photo walk here!) You can even frame them and hang them on your wall!
Do or go somewhere new
There’s nothing like the thrill of something completely new. Whether it’s an activity, outing to a different neighborhood or just a new restaurant to get takeout from, plan to try something new this week! Not only does it make things more interesting, but you’ll feel accomplished, too.
Take a small action on your goals
Break down a lofty goal into manageable steps and commit to tackling one small to-do that will help you achieve that larger goal one day. Then, revisit the list of steps and mindfully chip away at them. This is especially helpful when you’re feeling stuck on your progress!
Update something in your home
Our space and the things we surround ourselves with can play a huge role in our mood and motivation levels — especially when we’re spending so much time in the same space lately. Pick a corner, shelf or room that you’re not loving and give it a little update. Whether it’s simply rearranging your bookshelf or finally hanging art, investing in your space is always a mood booster. I always get inspiration from Apartment Therapy!
Make a new recipe and enjoy the process
Stuck in a kitchen rut or overdoing it on the take-out lately? Carve out some time to make a new recipe and enjoy the process of creating a new dish. We all have our go-to quick dinners, but making a new meal from time to time is invigorating! (Not to mention, it requires more of your attention, so you can’t let your mind wander!)
Light a candle
Create some ambiance and light your favorite candle! You don’t need to wait for a special occasion or company to use candles if they bring you joy- they are a simple way to add something special to the everyday! (You know my obsession with this crackling maple candle! So cozy and comforting!)
Feeling stuck or have too many jumbled thoughts? Try journaling without any expectations and simply see what comes out- could be simply acknowledging your emotions, making a list, noting things you’re grateful for, or even a fictional story. You might be surprised to learn what you’re holding on to! (Highly recommend the 5-minute journal to help practice gratitude!)
Buy a plant
Plant love is self-care! Whether you have a houseplant collection or are completely new to plants, taking care of a living thing can be very therapeutic. Plus, plants are gifts that keep on giving by purifying the air, lowering the stress hormone cortisol and even helping you sleep better at night. (See Kendall’s healthy house plant tips here!)
Make a fresh playlist
Everyone needs a new pump-up playlist from time to time. Make a playlist for this season of life that’ll inspire and make you happy. (See this awesome Spotify playlist roundup here!) I also love Liz’s Hello Adams Family Fall Playlist!
Shut it down!
Turn off the news, shut off your work email, close Twitter and Instagram–whatever you need to do, don’t feel guilty tuning it out. Better yet, put your phone on do not disturb mode for several hours, or go for a walk and leave it at home!
Listen to an inspirational podcast
Whether you’re folding laundry, getting through your work to-do list or just resting on the couch, having an inspirational podcast on in the background is a great way to sneak in a little self-care. Check out my Real Women Approved post on 30+ podcasts to binge!
Drink more water
No matter how much water you’re drinking each day, chances are it’s not enough! Commit to upping your water intake and reap the many mental and physical benefits! Check out my post on 5 easy tips to help you drink more water here!
Pick up fresh flowers
So simple, yet so decadent. Make a point to pick up flowers and place them somewhere that’ll brighten your day every time you enter the room.
Plan SOMETHING to look forward to!
Whether it’s booking a lakehouse getaway, a zoom trivia night, or planning a trip to Europe (in the future), prioritizing what you want and having something to truly look forward to is an incredible form of self-care.
Move your body
Choose any activity that feels good to you — stretch, lift weights, run, walk or a mind-body activity like yoga. Every time we move our bodies, our mental health benefits, too. (Really been loving Melissa Wood Health lately–see my mini review in Monday’s post!)
Celebrate little wins
A great way to show yourself self-care and be in the moment is celebrating everyday wins, no matter how big or how small! (Checking off ANY one of the above calls for celebration, too! ????) Did you finally get around to finishing the laundry? Pop some bubbly! Did you hit a monthly savings goal? Share the news with a friend, or treat yourself to a cookie at your favorite bakery! Take time to reflect on your little wins, and acknowledge and celebrate your success every day, even if it’s just getting through a tough day (or week) relatively unscathed!
I hope this was helpful! Now, go get your self-care on — you deserve it! ❤️
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