20 Quick & Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care

Megan Zander | Feb 11, 2019 Healthy Living
20 Quick & Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care
Image: skynesher/iStock

easy ways to practice self care
skynesher/iStock

It feels like everyone is talking about how important self-care is lately. Whether it's a weekend yoga retreat, a spa day with the girls, or a five-day herbal cleanse with vague benefits, everyone seems to want our time (and money) all in the name of bettering ourselves. But when life is super busy with work, raising a family, and trying to stay connected to friends, finding the time to care for ourselves quickly falls to the bottom of the to-do list. 

It's true that taking time for ourselves should be a priority and not an afterthought. Putting our needs first sometimes is good for our health, and taking care of our health benefits our families and those who we love, making self-care the total opposite of selfish

The good news is, we don't need to rebrand ourselves as a yoga worshiping, green juice goddess to get on board with the self-care trend. There are lots of small things we can do every day that can help give out mind and body the love and attention they deserve, without breaking our bank accounts or taking time away from the fam. 

These tiny acts of self-love are easier to fit into an already packed schedule and are also more likely to turn into a habit. After all, trying to go to yoga class five nights a week is harder than practicing a few alternative nostril breaths whenever stress hits. A multi-step skin care routine sounds great in theory, but a sheet mask is a weekly tradition that's easier to keep up with. 

We've gathered 20 simple and affordable ways to practice self-care. Try them out, and get ready to enjoy a "me minute." 

  • Put the Phone Down During Morning Coffee

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    For some of us, dealing with a crowded inbox right after waking makes our hearts pound more than our morning caffeine. Rather than rush into the madness, try enjoying a morning beverage screen-free. Don't let those emails distract from the deliciousness of that latte foam.  

  • Schedule That Checkup

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    If practicing self-care is all about doing things that are good for us, then the greatest act of self-care is looking out for our actual health. It's time to finally book that blood work we've been putting off, get a full body mole screen, or get an appointment for whatever health issue we've been ignoring for too long. 

  • Grab a Sheet Mask

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    A day at the spa sounds heavenly, but not all of us have the cash (or the childcare) to make it happen. But sheet masks let us get some self-love in while we watch TV or fold the clothes. Bonus: the kids might just be freaked out enough by the mask to stay away. Ah, silence!

  • Laugh

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    Adults don't laugh enough. Not a polite chuckle, but a real laugh, like the one where the tears come and the "ha-has" turn into snorts. Whether it's a blog post that brings the giggles or a viral video (I'm partial to ones of dogs trying new foods) keep a couple saved for an instant mood boost. 

  • Wear a Favorite Accessory

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    We fill our home with objects that bring us good memories. Our daily accessories can do the same thing. Each morning, choose a scarf or piece of jewelry that has a special meaning attached, like a gift from a child or something purchased on a vacation, and wear it with that in mind for the day. 

  • Cross a Big Item Off the To-Do List

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    We all have a list of things we need to do that keep us up at night. The longer things stay on that list, the harder they seem to complete. Rather than try to tackle everything at once, choose one thing to handle this weekend. There, that's better already, right?

  • Find a Favorite Scent

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    The smells we inhale can have a serious impact on our mood (think about how it feels smelling roses versus smelling a skunk!) Find a signature perfume to spritz on every morning and fill the house with scented candles as a simple and easy way to be kinder to ourselves. 

  • Move

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    We all know that exercise is good for our physical health, but moving our bodies in a way that feels good is great for our mental health, too. It doesn't have to be training for a marathon or taking a 90-minute hot yoga class. A quick walk with the dog counts -- anything that helps clear the head. 

  • Stick to a Bedtime

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    We stress the importance of a consistent bedtime to our kids, but we're not so great at following our own advice. Giving ourselves the gift of rest is a great act of self-care. Decide what time electronics are going off at night, and then it's lights out.

  • Moisturize

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    We might not have the time to follow a multi-step skin care routine like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But tossing a tube of hand cream on our bedside table to slather on each night is something even the busiest of us can do. Thirty seconds a day for smoother hands? On it. 

  • Hit That Unfollow Button

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    We all have toxic people in our social media feeds. Whether we disagree with their opinions or get jealous over their seemingly perfect lives, every post leaves us feeling worse than before we saw it. Let's stop subjecting ourselves to these feelings. The next time these joy-snatchers pop up in the feed, take a second to hit the unfollow button. 

  • Drink Water

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    It's advice we've all heard a million times, and yet, some of us still aren't great at getting enough H2O. Draw a chart, download an app that sends reminders to sip, splurge on a fancy water bottle -- the body appreciates the effort, trust us.

  • Try a Coloring Book

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    Sometimes, the best way to care for our adult self is to unleash our inner child. Grab an adult coloring book and some colored pencils (or raid the kids' art supplies after they fall asleep) and enjoy the Zen that comes with doing nothing more than trying to stay inside the lines. 

  • Make the Bed

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    Tidying up the bed each morning is a simple self-care act anyone can and should do. It starts the day off on a positive, "I can conquer the world" note and can help quiet the voice in the back of the mind that says the house is a mess. Plus it's so nice to get into a made bed at the end of a long day. 

  • Make a Chill Out PlayList

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    Rounding up a mix of feel-good songs to have on hand when we need a way to escape what's going around is is a great preventative self-care mood. Kids won't stop screaming the theme song to that annoying cartoon? Just slip on some earbuds and fade away for a few tracks. 

  • Take a Shower in the Dark

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    A nice steamy shower is always a lovely way to unwind, but try turning the lights off to kick the experience up a notch. The dark allows the eyes to rest, and the bathroom seems to melt away, making it feel like the shower is actually a warm waterfall in a secret forest. 

  • Try Alternate Nostril Breathing

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    We've heard that taking a few deep breaths can be helpful in times of stress. Alternative nostril breathing has the same benefits as deep breathing and can also help calm anxiety and relieve tension. It can be done anywhere and without any special equipment. 

  • Stop Scrolling

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    For those who find themselves spending hours each day scrolling through their phone without actually absorbing anything meaningful, consider putting down the device and picking up a hobby. Dedicate that nightly scroll time to a good novel, learning how to knit, or trying an instrument. 

  • Update Undergarments

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    Of course we make sure our kids have what they need when it comes to clothes, but are we showing ourselves the same level of care? Get rid of those holey socks and panties and say goodbye to gray bras that aren't holding up anything anymore. 

  • Eat Those Fruits & Veggies

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    Keto, Whole30, low-carb, no-carb, gluten-free or vegan -- no matter what kind of diet we subscribe to, the one thing we can all agree on is that fruits and veggies are good for us, and we should try to eat more of them. And yes, peppers and onions on pizza totally count towards daily veggie servings. 

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