100 Self Care Ideas

These self care tips will help inspire you to feel better every day.

July 14, 2023

100 Self Care Ideas
Alicia Butler

Alicia Butler is pretty much perfect when she isn’t procrastinating, dealing with crippling anxiety, or avoiding conflict. She drinks a bit too much, doesn’t buy into the hype of those green powder smoothie things, and has a chaotic sleep schedule. 

And like most women with self-help blogs, she also doesn’t have any credentials in clinical therapy. That’s why she sticks to poking fun at the self-care industry with pithy posts about our society’s weird obsession with productivity.

It isn’t always easy coming up with self care ideas. Though caring for oneself should feel intrinsic and easy and — quite frankly — like something you want to do, that isn’t always the case.

Since self care is different for everyone, I have a few self care tips that should help you brainstorm a few ideas to get you going. Of course, if you need some additional inspiration, the 100 self care ideas I’ve included at the bottom of the page should help too!

This post may contain affiliate links, so if you buy something after clicking on a link, I might (fingers crossed!) just get a little commission. Good news: I only recommend products that I love! Which means you can feel good about all of my recs.

Self Care Idea Tips

These tips will help you come up with your own self care ideas — so you don’t need to copy someone else’s list to get you started. 

Self care doesn’t always feel good

Yes, self care is about feeling good, but it isn’t always the most comfortable thing at the moment. 

Think: exercising. 

Exercise isn’t supposed to hurt. But it also isn’t supposed to provide a comfy/cozy feeling while you’re doing it. 

Of course, some self care feels good. Getting a massage, going on a walk, or meditating can all feel good. But these activities don’t always feel good all the time. 

Deep-tissue massage, uphill walks, and long, arduous meditation sessions can all suck in the moment. But the idea is that you’ll feel good at some point. 

Feeling good is self care

Any time you feel good, you’re practicing self care. 

Yes, even when you’re eating a giant bowl of pasta in a dark room after a bad day, drinking a pina colada on the beach, or sleeping in on a day you’re not supposed to.

Any activity that feels good can be self care. 

Obviously, you want to practice balance in your life. If you’re sleeping all day to avoid dealing with a dreaded activity, you may not be practicing self care (though, sleeping in a little to avoid such activities could also be considered a caring practice). 

Because I often struggle with depression, I like to keep lists of activities that make me feel good. When I’m in the depths of depression, I take out this list to remind myself that some things still feel good even when I don’t. 

Get out of your box/comfort zone

Again, self care shouldn’t always be easy or feel great. Sometimes, to feel good, you need to do hard things first. 

Like with exercise or deep-tissue massages, you’re going to be uncomfortable sometimes when you’re taking care of yourself.

Self care isn’t productivity

Okay, I struggle with this one, too. Because when I’m productive I feel good, and feeling good is a form of self care.

But self care isn’t simply productivity for productivity’s sake. 

Again, do what feels good to you. But don’t forget to ask yourself why something feels good. 

So often in our society, we’re taught that our value lies in what we can do for others. And yes, our society would probably collapse if we didn’t place some emphasis on serving others. 

But at the end of the day, your value isn’t intrinsically attached to what you can do for others. And while self care can be acts of service, it shouldn’t be busywork. 

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Listen to your body

If you’re too tired to go on your silly little mental health walk, take a nap. If you’re too itchy to meditate for an hour, just try five minutes instead.

There’s so much emphasis on “pushing our limits” and “being all we can be” that we generally often forget that we’re beings that need to rest and recharge, too.

Maybe to you self care is running, cleaning, or journaling. But your body wasn’t meant to just be a machine. 

Don’t forget to listen to your body and ask it what it needs. Actually, you might want to do this before you start any self care routine or make a list of self care ideas. 

There are no rules

There are no rules when it comes to self care ideas. So basically, just throw everything I just said out the window.

Just kidding. But no, really.

If you think self care is cleaning your house for eight hours straight, going on a daily 8K run, or baking eight dozen cookies, more power to you. 

Again, do what feels good to you and what reenergizes you. Just ask yourself why you’re doing these things. Don’t just throw spaghetti at the wall to see if it sticks (or if you do, ask yourself why it is or isn’t sticking). Your why is so important.

We all have our reasons for doing sh*t. But a lot of us don’t actually know what those reasons are.

The more curious you get about why something feels good, why it energizes you, and why you like it, the more likely you are to find other self care ideas that will give you those same good feels. 

Self Care Idea Categories

Self care ideas fall under several different categories. Despite what consumerism would have us believe, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to anything. 

Especially when it comes to self care. 

When I’m trying to focus on what I need at any given moment, sometimes I simply try out a few different strategies. 

I’m no mind reader: especially when it comes to the Rubix cube of my own psyche. Who’s to know why I do what I do or want what I desire at any given moment? Certainly not me. 

Going through a few self care idea categories often helps me figure out what I need right now. 

Enjoy the Present

I spend a lot of time trying to get out of the present moment. 

I’ll be the first to admit: I’m a massive daydreamer, and I spend a stupid amount of time both in the past and the future (or a totally alternate reality altogether). 

There are so many reasons we spend time in the future or the past that it’s easy to overlook the joy of the present moment. I’ve also spent a lot of time trying to enjoy meditation — really, to no avail. And while I get that meditation isn’t something that’s necessarily supposed to be enjoyed in the moment, it doesn’t always “do it” for me when I’m needing a bit of real-time bliss. 

For me, savoring is an activity that helps me find joy wherever I am. 

For you, it may be a different type of task. But if you can find a way to enjoy the present moment — wherever, whenever — you’ll have a free and easy self care idea that you can whip out at a moment’s notice. 

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Recharge Your Batteries

If you’ve been constantly go-go-going, if you’ve been sick (especially if you have a chronic illness), or if you’ve been burnt out, you may need a few self care ideas to recharge your batteries.

This looks different to everyone.

Introverts recharge by being alone, and extroverts by being around others. Reading a book, getting a massage, or going to the movies can help introverts recharge, while hanging out with friends, relaxing in the park, or going to a concert are self care ideas for extroverts.

I, personally, find that balancing my budget and organizing my calendar helps me recharge my batteries. But to each their own. 

Move Your Body

Unless I’m living in a city where walking gets me everywhere I need to go (or I’m on vacation), it’s pretty common for me to forget to move my body sometimes.


And if I haven’t moved my body in a while? I need to make some time to do so. I can honestly tell when I haven’t moved my body in a bit because I start to feel cranky and tired. But not like tired tired. Just like my muscles are atrophying from not using them enough.

Not to be dramatic or anything.

Sometimes going for a gentle walk is enough self care to feel better. Other times I need to do something more strenuous, like strength training to get back to baseline. 

Nourish Yourself

Nourishing myself simply means putting food or drink into my body for either nourishment or pleasure. 

It can be eating a green veggie or drinking a big glass of water. It could also be drinking a glass of wine or eating a brownie the size of my head.

We don’t just eat to nourish our bodies. We eat for so many different reasons, including to self-soothe, self-regulate, and — yes — for energy. We also eat for ceremonial, religious, and societal reasons. 

I’m sorry, but I just don’t see nourishment as filling one’s body for vitamins and nutrients. 

I eat for so many different reasons, but one big one is pleasure. Which yes, is one form of self care. 

Care for Your Body

Sometimes when I do something nice for my body, it gives me a subconscious feeling that I deserve nice things.

Self-massage, brushing my teeth, and washing my face are simple ways I can feel better about myself almost instantly. Scheduling regular doctor’s appointments is another way I care for my body (even though this task also causes anxiety because getting in to see my doctor is a huge pain in the arse in its own right). 

Regulate Your Nervous System

There are some times that I can tell when my nervous system needs a ‘lil regulation. 

Mostly when I’m feeling cranky or irritable or moody. Does this mean that my nervous system needs regulation? Not necessarily. There are a lot of reasons I might feel this way.

But if I’m feeling like my mood is off, especially if there’s no “reason” for it to be (other than the constant living in late-stage capitalism), I find belly breathing, box breathing, tapping, humming, and jumping helps sometimes.

Connect With Others

Even when I’m not feeling like a “people” person, I need to connect with others. Even when I feel like I’ve lost all hope in humanity. Even after Clarence Thomas opens his d*mn mouth.

Especially after Clarence Thomas opens his d*mn mouth.

Our happiness and survival depend on our dependence upon others. And even when we’re really hating the world or feel like we need to escape into a dark room for a few hours, we still need each other.

Connecting with others doesn’t necessarily mean going to a bar or a party or an event. It could simply mean texting a friend, commenting on someone’s social media post, or sitting on a bench at the mall.

Sometimes when I don’t want to interact with people but know I need a little connection that day, I eat dinner at a bar. Just being around people can give me that small spurt of interaction I need to feel connected.

Sometimes when I don’t want to interact with people but know I need a little connection that day, I eat dinner at a bar. Just being around people can give me that small spurt of interaction I need to feel connected.

100 Self Care Ideas

If you need some more inspiration, here are 100 self care ideas to get you started on your feel-good journey.

Again, these are just ideas, not rules. Take what you want and leave the rest.


  1. Try Savoring
  2. Take a Nap
  3. Scroll on Your Phone
  4. Take a Walk
  5. Go for a Drive
  6. Drink Some Water
  7. Eat Something Green
  8. Eat Something Decadent
  9. Take a Bath/Go for a Swim
  10. Enjoy a Petit Pleasure
  11. Jump Up and Down
  12. Try Belly Breathing/Box Breathing
  13. Move Your Lymphatic Fluid
  14. Phone a Friend
  15. Get a Massage
  16. Go to the Doctor
  17. Learn Something New
  18. Laugh
  19. Treat Yourself
  20. Buy Something You Need
  21. Buy Something You Want
  22. Dance/Listen to Music
  23. Organize Your Space
  24. Walk in the Grass in Your Bare Feet
  25. Sink Your Toes in Some Sand
  26. Do Some Gardening
  27. Try a New Hobby
  28. Do Something Hard
  29. Do Something Easy
  30. Read a Book
  31. Watch Your Favorite Movie
  32. Join a Group
  33. Sit In a Dark Room Alone
  34. Scream Into a Pillow
  35. Ride a Roller Coaster
  36. Schedule a Therapy Appointment
  37. Buy Some Flowers
  38. Lift Weights
  39. List Your Favorite Things
  40. Give Someone a Hug
  41. Give Yourself a Hug
  42. Have Sex
  43. Masturbate
  44. Make a Gratitude List
  45. Make a Grievances List
  46. Wander Through the Grocery Store
  47. Do Your Laundry
  48. Put Off Doing Something
  49. Do Something You’ve Been Putting Off
  50. Sign Up for a Sport
  51. Play Hooky
  52. Remove Something From Your “Must Do” List
  53. Try EFT Tapping
  54. Brush Your Teeth
  55. Marinate in a Hot Tub
  56. Sing in Your Car
  57. Sing in Your Shower
  58. Recite a Poem Out Loud
  59. Do a Puzzle
  60. Do Nothing
  61. Try Cryotherapy or Float Tanks
  62. Lay in the Grass
  63. Snuggle Your Pet
  64. Snuggle Your Friend’s Pet
  65. Give a Stranger Money
  66. Donate to a Charity
  67. Do Something Frivolous
  68. Try Guided Meditation
  69. Do Face Yoga
  70. Hum
  71. Buy a Fancy Coffee
  72. Leave Someone a Big Tip
  73. Rub Your Temples
  74. Schedule That Doctor’s Appointment
  75. Open a Window
  76. Take a Cold Shower
  77. Wash Your Hair
  78. Give Yourself a Scalp Massage
  79. Stretch
  80. Do Some Neck Rolls
  81. Practice feel good beauty

If you’re struggling to remember to make time for self care, you’re not alone! 


I find myself focusing on self care when I’m depressed, anxious, or lethargic. Though it’s easier to remember to take care of yourself when you’re feeling not-so-good, it’s not a bad idea to incorporate these self care ideas as habits even when life feels splendid, too.


Using a self care vision board or trying a few self care jar ideas can be a visual reminder to take care of yourself every day — not just on the days you particularly need a little extra care.