40 Amazing Self-Care Tips You’ve Never Tried
In today's 24/7 world, self-care is more essential than ever.
You spend all your time being nice to others, but there’s one person you probably tend to forget about: yourself. Practicing self-care and self-love used to feel like a selfish act, but in today’s fast-paced, always-on world, it’s more than a luxury—it’s a necessity! Besides, showing yourself some kindness and compassion has the ability to lower your stress levels, boost your immune system, and help you feel better about yourself inside and out.
Whether it’s treating yourself to dessert or simply mastering a new type of yoga, everyone can up their level of self-care. Not sure where to start? Check out these 40 amazing self-care tips that you’ve likely never tried before!
Write yourself a love letter.
Who says love letters have to be written to you from someone else? If you’re feeling down, sometimes something as simple as picking up a pen and writing down all the great things you have going for you can be a fool-proof way to boost your spirit. You can also hold onto it for the next time you need a pick-me-up.
Start taking compliments like a champ.
If someone tells you they love your outfit or are impressed by your work on a project, don’t respond by denying it or putting yourself down. Instead, accept it and say “thank you.” It’s not as challenging as you think, and it will make you feel really great about yourself in the process.
Spend some time alone.
Sometimes being nicer to yourself simply means taking a break and unwinding with some well-deserved alone time. In fact, The Rest Test, a 2016 survey of 18,000 people from 134 countries, found that participants said “spending time alone” was the fifth-most relaxing activity they could think of. Perhaps this is because, as nice as it is to spend time with others, we all need to reenergize by ourselves, even if that just means watching your favorite show on Netflix.
Take yourself out to dinner.
You don’t need to wait for a specific reason to treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant. Sometimes being nicer to yourself means doing something that will make you happy for no reason at all, like downing a bowl of spaghetti at your go-to Italian joint.
Or take yourself out to a movie.
Need a mental break to de-stress? Look no further than the movie theater. One of the nicest things you can do for yourself is buy a ticket to that movie you’ve been dying to catch and enjoy a big bowl of popcorn until the credits roll.
Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend.
Would you tell your best friend how much you hate their thighs, or how you think they’re bad at their job? No way! So why are you constantly talking negatively about yourself? Stop those habits in their tracks and instead focus on the things you love about yourself, whether it’s physical or something about your character, says Melanie Lopes, a psychotherapist who specializes in anxiety and self-esteem issues in San Rafael, California. “Talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend or a child,” she says. You have to be your own number one fan, after all.
Rid your home of clutter.
Being nice to yourself also means being nice to your home—and having a bunch of junk in your house is only weighing you down, according to Melissa Fino, a woman’s transformational life coach and CEO of the Love Your Life Community in San Diego, California.
“Do you know that feeling you get when you walk into your house and it’s just been cleaned? Well for me, it’s amazing. It’s like a free pass to sit down anywhere in my house and just be still with my thoughts without having to worry about that laundry list of things that need to be cleaned or scrubbed,” she says. “Cleaning your house can be emotionally freeing and a great tool to quiet the mind.”
As a bonus, if you fill up some boxes with the things you don’t need and donate them to others who could actually use them, you’ll be doing a double-duty good deed.
Put your phone on airplane mode.
You don’t have to totally ditch your phone to give yourself a mental break. Instead, occasionally switch it onto Airplane Mode so you won’t receive a bunch of texts and calls. A little tuning out will do you a world of good.
Ask yourself what you need.
You’re always addressing the needs of others, but how about yourself? Pennsylvania-based psychotherapist Michelle Croyle says asking yourself what you need is an exceptionally good way to not only be nicer to yourself, but to finally get what you deserve in life.
Croyle suggests thinking of the acronym “H.A.L.T.” as a reminder to ask yourself if you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. “Often, physical and emotional needs can impact us negatively if we overlook them,” she says. “By taking the time to tune in to what you need or are feeling, you can better choose how to care for yourself.”
Don’t feel bad about saying “no.”
It’s easy to want to be a yes-man or -woman all the time. The only problem with that is, after saying yes to too many people, you’re left feeling totally drained with no time for yourself. “Saying no to something you don’t want to do but feel obligated to do is not only empowering, but is also an act of self-care,” says Sheila Tucker, an associate marriage and family therapist and owner of Heart Mind and Soul Counseling in South Carolina. Practice saying “no” and keeping your schedule a little more open to give yourself time to recuperate.
Invest in yourself.
If you believe you can do something, don’t wait another second to start making it happen. Invest in yourself by signing up for that class, starting that business, or writing that book. Whatever it is, give yourself the chance to achieve it!
Sign up for a cooking class.
Instead of filling your body with frozen meals and take-out, do yourself a favor and learn how to make a healthy meal by signing up for some cooking classes. They can help you learn the ins and outs of the kitchen so you not only feel confident when making a meal, but also so you can give yourself what you need to feel your best.
Focus on your accomplishments, not your failures.
Spoiler alert: Everyone fails. Sure, you’re going to feel bad when you do, but should you only think about the negatives? Absolutely not. Instead, learn from those failures—then, focus on your accomplishments. That positive mindset will help you grow, whether it’s in life or in your career.
Get proper rest.
It might be fun to stay up late watching movie after movie, but that’s not being kind to your body—not even a little bit. Getting enough sleep every night—which, according to the National Sleep Foundation, is seven to nine hours—will help you stay fueled and feeling your best.
Take time to meditate.
Meditation doesn’t just give you time to reflect and unwind—it’s also a really simple way to be nicer to yourself. According to the Chopra Center, mindful meditation can help you let go of hurt past feelings, help you be more kind, and help you be more compassionate, both toward yourself and others.
Become a yogi.
Yoga isn’t just a great way to reap the many physical benefits of exercise, which includes everything from reducing chronic pain to increasing flexibility, says the Cleveland Clinic. It’s fantastic for your emotional wellbeing, too. It can increase your self-compassion by reminding you that you deserve kindness, love, and happiness just as much as anyone else.
Go on midday walks.
After sitting at a desk for most of the day, one of the best things you can do for yourself is stepping away from your computer and heading outside into the sun for a nice walk. Getting a little vitamin D will result in enough feel-good vibes to get you through the rest of your day.
Ditch the scale.
Having a scale in your bathroom can help you reach your goals, but a 2015 study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior shows that they can do some harm, too—particularly to your body satisfaction and self-esteem. If having a scale tends to make you feel worse about yourself, ditch it once and for all and stop basing your worth on an ever-changing number.
And quit counting calories.
Similarly, it’s time to stop obsessing about calories and give your brain a break. By eating a wholesome diet that gives your body everything you need, you’ll be your best self physically and emotionally.
Try daily affirmations.
You might feel silly jumping on the daily affirmation bandwagon and starting your day with semi-corny phrases like “I’m awesome” and “I’m important.” The truth, though? According to 2014 research published in the journal Annual Review of Psychology, it actually does a lot of good for your mental health and builds your self-worth in the process.
Stop obsessing over your past.
Nearly everyone has regrets from their past, but why keep beating yourself up over something that’s impossible to change? Put an end to the what-ifs and start being a little nicer to yourself. Living in the moment is a much better place to put yourself in—trust us!
Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
Keeping your feelings locked up inside is a recipe for unhappiness. Don’t be afraid to allow yourself to open up and be vulnerable about what matters to you. Part of treating yourself with kindness is making sure you’re able to speak your truth, even if it’s about something that seems silly or insignificant.
Take time to do what makes you happy.
With such busy work and personal schedules, it can be hard to make time to do what truly lights you up and makes you happy. “Make a habit of treating yourself to some guilty pleasures,” says Damon Nailer, a life coach and motivational speaker in Louisiana. “Whatever you desire, indulge in it as often as possible.” It’s time to schedule yourself in just like you would someone who’s important to you!
Celebrate the goals you’ve crushed.
When you hit one of your goals, big or small, that’s cause for celebration. Whether it’s finally finishing a mile on the treadmill without stopping or getting positive feedback from your boss, every win is worthy of some praise, especially from yourself.
“Always remember, no one will celebrate you like you,” says Nailer. “Pat yourself on the back, throw your own parties, and enjoy ‘you’ to the fullest.”
Use up your vacation days.
It might seem like the office will burn up in flames without you around to keep things in order, but don’t let that stop you from getting away: You deserve to take your vacation days, too. Instead of brushing those hours of freedom to the side, use up every last one of them by doing something you’ve always wanted to do.
And take advantage of personal days, too.
If you wake up feeling kind of blah, use it as an excuse to spend the day doing things that will make you feel like your happy self again. After all, you have mental health days for a reason. Put them to good use, whether catching up on projects at home or (finally!) making it to your favorite workout class.
Change the way you criticize yourself.
It’s easy to be super critical of yourself when you do something wrong. But instead of tearing yourself apart, build yourself up. As Kristin Neff, Ph.D., explains on Happify Daily, you can do that by first reframing the criticism and accepting what happened, then by figuring out a way to grow from it and have a better outcome the next time around.
Make yourself laugh.
Laughter really is the best medicine. Giving yourself the chance to giggle as often as possible has been scientifically proven to release endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that boost your mood, according to a 2017 study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. That doesn’t mean you need to sit there telling yourself knock-knock jokes, though. Some time spent watching The Office will definitely do the trick.
Don’t get down about clothing sizes.
It might not feel like it some days, but your clothing size is just a number. That’s it—a measly little number. Instead of focusing on that minor detail, look for clothing you love and that puts your self-confidence at an all-time high.
Buy yourself your favorite coffee drink.
Some days you need to veer away from the regular ol’ cup of Joe and get yourself the coffee drink you really want, even if it’s a little more expensive—and, yeah, maybe a little less healthy. It will surely put a pep in your step, and not just because of all that caffeine (though that’s definitely a factor).
Stop trying to do it all.
Sorry to break it to you, but superheroes are fictional. Going overboard by trying to do it all will only leave you totally drained. Instead, make a list of all the things you need to get done and choose the most important. Those other items can wait for another day.
Schedule a massage.
Treating yourself to a massage is pretty high up on the niceness scale. According to the Cleveland Clinic, they’re just as great for relieving everyday stress as they are for treating chronic pain. In other words, a massage is something you should never feel guilty about doing. In fact, it should be part of your monthly budget.
If you can’t afford to indulge in a professional massage at least once a month, Christal McKinney, a massage therapist and owner of Massage Therapeutix in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, suggests finding creative ways to infuse some of this relaxation into your day without spending a single penny. “Stretching at the office can be done during a five-minute water break,” she says. “Gently massaging warming or cooling gels into your sore muscles takes the edge off a workout, and using hot or cold compresses while you watch TV at night helps with long-term pain and tension.”
Be patient with yourself.
Sometimes when it doesn’t seem like you’re getting to the place you want to be fast enough, it’s easy to put yourself down or get angry. Rid yourself of that negativity by practicing patience instead. You’ll get there, we promise, and boosting yourself up instead of putting yourself down will only help further your progress.
Purge the negative people from your life.
Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or a romantic relationship, anyone who’s causing you pain has no place in your life. After all, part of being nice to yourself is making sure you’re being treated the way you deserve to be treated, says Tristan Gutner, a life and business coach in Santa Monica, California.
“Only spend time with people that can support your growth,” he says. “This is challenging for a lot of people because it often means letting go of people we’ve grown comfortable with, but maybe don’t have the ability to truly support us.”
Whether it’s forgiving someone else or yourself, practicing forgiveness will help you move on from things that might be hard to let go of. And once you do that, you’ll travel through life with an ease you didn’t even know existed thanks to all those heavy weights being lifted off your chest.
Quit taking everything so seriously.
Life doesn’t always have to be so serious—allow yourself to have more fun in your life by letting go. Don’t be afraid to give yourself the chance to be more playful and relaxed.
“Surrender,” says Jen Gottlieb, the co-founder and chief mindset officer at Super Connector Media, based in New York City. “This doesn’t mean giving up, but stop pushing, stop ‘should-ing,’ stop expecting. Just take a deep breath and let go. When we surrender to the universe and stop trying to control every outcome, we subconsciously open up and allow all of the abundance to naturally flow our way. It feels magical.”
Make a bold change.
It could be as small as getting a haircut you’ve been wanting for years or packing up your bags and moving to your dream city. Just choose something you’ve been too afraid to do, then do it. Being bold and brave is a great way to show yourself some kindness.
Sure, you’re not writing about your school crushes anymore, but journaling about your day and whatever is on your mind does a lot of good for your mental health. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, it can help you manage anxiety, reduce stress, and improve your mood—even if you’re just doing it for a few minutes a day.
Ask for help when you need it.
That overwhelming feeling you have isn’t going to vanish anytime soon if you keep adding more and more to your plate without getting help from those around you. If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to speak up. There are plenty of people in your life who would love to take some of those stresses off your plate, but that’s not going to happen until you ask.
If you typically say “no thanks” to the dessert menu at restaurants, change that up once in a while and treat yourself to something sweet. A piece of pie isn’t going to kill you—and gobbling it up will certainly put a big smile on your face. And for more ways to better take care of yourself check out these 27 Amazing Mental Tricks for When You Don’t Want to Pay for Therapy.
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