Hint: self care is so much more than bubble baths and face masks.

Self care is talked about a lot right now, but what the heck is it?! What is self care? There are lots of self care ideas to be considered. Here’s the thing, it’s not one-size-fits-all. It means different things to everybody. It’s personalized, but at its very core, it means to take care of yourself, it’s for your mental health. The dictionary defines it as:

“The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.”

Dictionary.com

To one person, a perfect, restorative evening would include reading a book in a bubble bath with a glass of wine. To another, it could mean going for a 10K run followed by drinking a nourishing green smoothie.

Another may wish to curl up in front of the fire with a loved one and an old movie. While these may appear to be opposites, they are all forms of self care. A person’s needs are individual, therefore, so is self care.

Waffles with fruit and syrup
I love to cook so making homemade waffles with fresh mango, chocolate sauce and syrup was a delicious brunch treat!

What self care isn’t, however, is adding unnecessary stress to your life. These are unprecedented times we are living in and putting additional stress on yourself to be productive by learning a new language, knitting a scarf or crafting whatever you’re seeing on Pinterest / Instagram may not be what you need to do for self-care.

Only you know that. If the thought of learning a new skill makes you anxious or has you feeling less worthy because you don’t want to do it, then don’t! Be true to yourself.

Do we have extra time at home right now? Yes, we do. Does that mean that you need to be productive and copy what others are doing? Absolutely not. If you have always wanted to improve your Spanish that’s great, do it, but if you haven’t and you’re only doing it because others are, then you aren’t doing yourself any service.

Self care activities
Self-care activity suggestions include learning a new language, playing board games, reading, journaling and even planning future trips or home improvements.

If you see a picture or read an article about something that others are doing right now, ask yourself if doing it would make you happy. Would participating in that activity improve your mood and your overall well-being? Or would it stress you out? Once you figure that out, go from there.

I have certainly had my fair share of days where I’ve done nothing. And I mean nothing. I moved from my bed to the couch and binged TV all day, ordered in, and did nothing productive at all. One of the best self care ideas for your mental health might be to do absolutely nothing one day.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve had days where I’ve written articles, pitched editors, played Scrabble to improve my vocabulary and did several Duolingo lessons in Spanish. I truly believe in finding balance in life – even in times like these.

Be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself. And most of all, don’t lose hope because this too shall pass.

10 Simple Self Care Ideas

  1. Exercise – whether that’s an online Zumba class or a walk around the block, just move your body
  2. Meditate – 5 minutes or 50 minutes, give it a try you might like it
  3. Read – grab that book that’s collecting dust and start reading it
  4. Complete a chore you’ve been avoiding – by doing this you’ll free yourself from thinking about it ever again
  5. Bake a healthy treat – who doesn’t love fresh, gooey, homemade Chocolate chip cookies 😉
  6. Take a nap – yup, this is self-care! Sleep is very important.
  7. Journal – write down your thoughts, what you’re grateful for
  8. Unplug – put the phone down, even if for only an hour
  9. Play – let out your inner child
  10. Get outsideforest bathing and cold water swimming are two excellent self care activities

We can’t control life and what happens to us, but we have control over how we react. Setting boundaries is a great example of self-care. Be mindful of how you feel when you watch the news or scroll through your Instagram feed.

If an activity increases your stress level or causes you anxiety, stop doing it. Now is the perfect time to take care of ourselves. Invest this extra time in activities that will nourish your mind, body and soul.

Woman riding a bike by the ocean
Enjoying my new bike, riding along the seawall and through Stanley Park in Vancouver

One of the best self care ideas I had recently was buying myself a new bike so I could go for long rides outside. I purchased it at a local Vancouver bike shop because I am shopping locally as much as possible right now to support the city I live in and love. Getting outside to breathe in the fresh air and bask in nature is healing for me and definitely one of my preferred forms of self-care.

Another form of self-care I indulge in when I can is getting away on a spontaneous trip. It might be a short weekend getaway or a longer road trip if I can swing it. Travel makes me feel alive. Travel might just be one of the best self care ideas for mental health.

What have you been doing for self care that has been keeping your mind, body and spirit healthy? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below regarding which self-care ideas are your favourites. We are in this together. Let’s share ideas!

A great way to indulge in self-care is to enjoy a staycation. Here are 5 ways to make a staycation an amazing vacation. This post has five more self care ideas for you and some are self care ideas for mental health. One of my favourites is taking a spa day.

self care ideas for you to try today
10 self care ideas for you and your mental health