So, what’s the definition of self-care? Self-care covers any time you take to nourish yourself. “It can be a huge range of things, from bubble baths to doing your favorite activities – you know, truly taking time for yourself,” says Antonia Harman. There’s a whole spectrum of self-care needs: from the most basic, like making sure you’re eating healthy food, cleaning, and making your bed, to more advanced self-care, like practicing mindful movement, skipping the latest fitness trend for a lower impact workout that suits you, or studying so you can move up the corporate ladder, Antonia explains. “Self-care is anything that improves your quality of life, Never underestimate the importance of self-care – especially at current.” she goes on.
22 totally free self-care ideas you can do from home
1. Get outside into nature
Fresh air and even sunlight will do you the world of good, shares Antonia. “A walk in the park or woods is good for you. Nature will ground you and make you feel more at peace,” she shares.
2. Get your body moving
An obvious pick, but an important one. There are countless home workouts, other YouTube sweat sessions and Instagram lives at current which will make exercising from home fun, rather than a chore. “Even ten minutes of exercise will get your endorphins pumping,” the expert reckons.
3. Get your groove on
In other words, dance. Sounds mad, feels great. Antonia recommends cranking up your favourite tune and dancing around your living room. You won’t regret it.
4. Breathe in, and breathe out
Yep, remembering to breathe is actually super important, according to the healer. “Breathe in for seven seconds, hold for five, breathe out for seven, hold for five, and repeat,” she advises. Once you have that mastered, she recommends extending the seconds.
5. Take a cold shower
You’ve likely read about the benefits of cold water therapy, so this one’s another obvious pick. “It’s invigorating and will elevate your mood – a great way to start your day!”, Antonia explains.
6. Have a bubble bath
There’s nothing more relaxing than running a hot bath, adding your favourite bubble bath or bath oil and lighting a candle, to go with. And… breathe.
7. Read a book
Another of the self-care ideas that’s simple yet seriously effective? Carving out some time to actually sit down and read some of that book you’ve had on the shelf for months. “It can count as really precious ‘me’ time,” Antonia shares.
8. Practice positive self-talk
Made a mistake at work? Said the wrong thing to the wrong person? We’ve all been there, says Chatty Dobson, yoga teacher. “But we’ve all come out the other side, too”, she adds. “Cutting out your inner negative talk is one of the ultimate forms of self-care. Try giving it a go”, she advises.
9. Cook a nourishing meal
We mentioned above how self-care ideas encompass nutrition, too, and the simple act of cooking a delicious meal that will nourish your body and in turn, mind, from the inside out, is a great form of self-care. Sure, you cook every day, but do you really take the time to enjoy the process and think about what you are putting into your meal and body?
10. Try a new dish
Or, if you want to get a little inventive, why not try introducing a new food once a week, asks Chatty? “If you’re not a big cook, you could try to cook a whole meal from scratch once a week, or alternatively, pay attention to incorporating slightly different ingredients into your food here and there,” she shares.
11. Get your energy flowing
Moving your body is one of those self-care ideas that’s really effective at making you feel good about yourself. Think about it: you spend all day at a desk or lounging around. “The energy in your body becomes stagnant and pools in certain areas,” explains Chatty.
Her advice? Get up and move – be it in the form of walking, dancing, yoga, star jumps, or anything else you fancy. “Get the energy flowing around your body and you’ll feel invigorated and alive.” We’re in.
12. Get dressed up
You’ll likely have tried this one before, but don’t underestimate how good trying on a shirt you haven’t worn for ages or applying your favourite lipstick can make you feel. “Making an effort with your appearance is simple but effective self-care. Why? Well, when you look good on the outside, you feel better on the inside,” shares Chatty.
Just because you’re not in an office, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel great from home.
13. Listen to an audiobook
Give your eyes a break and put your ears to work, instead. “Put on your comfiest clothes, sit on the sofa with a blanket and a cup of tea and listen to a good old audiobook,” Chatty recommends. She shares that you likely won’t find it easy just to sit and do nothing for thirty minutes, but that your mind and body will thank you for it later. “Remember: you don’t need to be doing something every waking minute,” she emphasises.
14. Practice daily gratitude
Another much raved about self-care idea, but studies have found practicing gratitude is actually a really important part of maintaining a positive mindset. So, how can you get into the habit of practicing gratitude?
“Have a notebook by your bed, and each morning write down three things you’re grateful for,” Chatty advises. “It can be anything, from the love of your family to the fact the sun’s shining. Humans are designed to look for the negative as cavemen had to constantly lookout for danger to survive, but it’s not impossible to rewire your brain to focus on the positive,” she concludes.
15. Smash some goals
Completing a to-do list is a pretty good feeling, right? So give yourself three small goals for every day, Chatty advises. “Ticking things off a list is hugely satisfying, so try to practice this regularly. The tasks can be big or small – it really doesn’t matter – but it’s a great routine to get into.” Hear, hear.
16. Reflect on your day
Being reflective generally is one of the easiest self-care ideas. Remember to congratulate yourself for what you’ve done well with your day. But taking two minutes every evening to reflect could solidify it as a more regular practice.
“Think, did I achieve my goals today? Even if I didn’t, what was the highlight of my day? You should always be able to find one shining positive, despite everything else going on, so try to spend a moment enjoying that,” Chatty recommends.
17. Drink, drink, drink
… Water, that is. Making sure you’re hydrated and drinking two litres of water a day is good for a whole plethora of things – your skin, gut, brain function, and energy levels being just a few, so get sipping.
18. Turn your phone off
We’re sure you sometimes leave your phone on the other side of the room, but do you ever actively turn it off to give your brain some respite from the 101 notifications popping up left, right, and center?
Give it a try, recommends Jolawn Victor, Chief International Officer at Headspace. “Make sure you remove your smartphone from your calm space or switch it to silent. Trying to do too many things at once decreases your ability to switch between tasks and makes you less able to focus on one activity,” she explains. Self-care ideas never looked so simple.
19. Try a new hobby, like baking
Cooking doesn’t have to be a rushed experience or something you do on auto-pilot, Jolawn explains. “Mindfully creating dishes with leftover ingredients can be the perfect way to invest in your own self-care without spending any extra money. This time in the kitchen can be used as a moment to wind down, calm your mind, while even learning new skills at the same time,” she shares.
Cooking or baking are grounding, therapeutic activities as the sensory and engaging nature of the process help us to remain present at the moment, according to the Headspace exec. “The repetitive motions and actions, such as mixing, chopping, or weighing, can give you an anchor to concentrate on, allowing stressful thoughts to leave the mind.”
Top tip: try to use your senses as much as possible. Think about how the ingredients look and feel through the process of turning them into a meal. What aromas fill the air, and what sounds can you hear as you break ingredients apart, sizzle them in a pan, or crunch them together? Notice what texture the food is, and the different forms it’s taken from start to finish. Self-care, sorted.
20. Challenge yourself to learn a new skill
Think of learning a new language, knitting, or macrame: the possibilities really are endless.“Self-care can involve upskilling. With the extra time at home, why not try learning a new skill that gives you a daily task and is part of your routine? This allows you to take time out in your day for your own self-improvement, even if it’s just for ten minutes,” she says.
She recommends free resources, such as Kitchen Stories Recipes, which provides thousands of new recipes to try, Elevate, which offers brain training exercises, or Duolingo, which can help you learn a new language with over 98 courses.
21. Enjoy your silence
Ever done it before? You know, sat in silence, and actually taken time to appreciate that silence and stillness all by yourself? “Taking time to just simply being present in silence to savor your morning coffee before your family wakes up can be a form of self-care. This increased awareness of your feelings can help you gain clarity, make better decisions, and stay grounded she shares.
Plus, a reminder: if you speak, treat, and judge yourself with gentleness and kindness, you are far more likely to take that into the outside world and how you interact with and think about, others.
22. Improve your sleep quality
Again, obvious but really important: nailing your sleep hygiene is one of the more simple self-care ideas that are vital for smashing your day ahead, according to Jolawn.
“Getting a good night’s rest is one of the most valuable things we can do for our self-care; it costs nothing, but its benefits are priceless. Quality of rest and sleep is more important than quantity, and troubled sleep is rooted in a thinking and busy mind,” she explains. Hear, hear.
So what do you reckon – which self-care practices will you be taking into your day-to-day?
Top tip from Chatty: don’t try everything all at once – no one needs that sort of pressure. Over the course of a week, try one or two self-care practices a day until you find what works for you. If you really dislike something, remember, you never have to do it again.
Remember here: self-care looks different for everyone, as no two people are the same. What one person sees as nourishing, another might find boring. “What matters is what nourishes your soul,” Antonia stresses. “So focus on doing what makes you feel calm, connected, and happy,” she concludes.