Self-care has become a buzzword in the mental health space over the past several years, particularly as emotional and physical burnout has become so prevalent and more openly discussed.
In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression rose 25% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While some people feel guilty about indulging in themselves or see self-care practices as “selfish” or “self-indulgent,” caring for yourself is an absolute necessity to bring the best to your life and stay physically healthy and happy.
In this guide, we’ve put together a 30 day self care challenge to introduce you to some of the best self-care ideas, hopefully sparking your commitment to honor yourself and take care of your body, mind, and spirit.
We will cover:
- What Is Self-Care?
- What Are the Best Self-Care Ideas?
- 30 Day Self Care Challenge to Prioritize YOU
Let’s get started!
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care refers to deliberately looking after your own needs or prioritizing your body, mind, and emotions.
Self-care practices help you remind yourself that your needs are valid and should be a priority, even if you have lots of other people to take care of, a job, and other competing needs.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, practicing self-care has many mental health benefits, such as helping you manage stress, lowering your risk of illness, and increasing your energy.
What Are the Best Self-Care Ideas?
There isn’t a single definitive list of the best self-care practices, as the very notion of self-care is broad and can encompass any type of activity or practice that focuses on nurturing, honoring, or caring for yourself in terms of your physical body, mind, spirit, soul, and relationships.
All of these types of needs are very important.
Thus, in an ideal situation, you will consistently and regularly engage in physical health self-care practices, emotional health self-care practices, mental health self-care practices, spiritual health self-care practices, and so on.However, from a practical perspective, self-care often gets relegated to the bottom rungs of the priority ladder, and you may not be able to address all of these needs.
Focus on the areas where your own health, wellness, and happiness need the most attention and love when choosing the best self-care routine or practices for a given day.
Keep in mind that, like exercise and diet, self-care isn’t necessarily a static thing in that the best self-care ideas or what your body or mind needs for self-care practices can differ from day to day, season to season, etc., depending on what else is going on in your life.
30 Day Self Care Challenge to Prioritize YOU
We have put together a 30 day self care challenge that tasks you to spend a few minutes every day focusing on taking care of yourself.
Although optimally, you will incorporate many, if not all, of these self-care activities and self-care practices in some consistent self-care routine, we tried to design this 30 day self care challenge to be a discovery or a dabbler into the world of self-care ideas.
In this way, you will try a bunch of different self-care activities during the 30 day self care challenge.
By trying out different self-care ideas over the course of the month, you will hopefully find some self-care practices that resonate with you so that you can continue them in your everyday life moving forward.
Like most healthy activities, the best self-care routine tends to be just that: a routine. This means that you need to make self-care a habit.
Use this 30 day self care challenge as an opportunity to go on a self-care journey, a quest of sorts.
Try to find at least 2 to 3 self-care ideas that help you feel better about your physical health, mental health, emotional health, spiritual health, sexual health, social health, or any combination thereof.
Then, moving forward, make sure that you budget time into your daily and weekly routine for the best self-care practices for you in the context of that day or your current needs.
If possible, at the end of every day, jot down in your self-care journal how you felt doing the self-care challenge activity and how you are feeling overall.
After the one-month self-care challenge is over, you can look back on your journal entries to help you select the most useful self-care activities for you or jog your memory of your favorite self-care practices you’ve tried.
Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list of self-care ideas; feel free to experiment and find self-care behaviors that resonate most with you.
We have included one self-care activity for a 30 day self care challenge (plus a few bonus ones in case a couple of these self-care ideas really don’t resonate for you!).
The only one you have to do is the first one—and try to make that a daily practice.
The rest of the self-care challenge can be a checklist done in any order!
- Get a journal or use your Notes app or an app on your phone to serve as your self-care journal. Write down three things you are grateful for and three things you love about yourself.
- Take at least a 15 to 30-minute walk.
- Unplug from all of your screens and technology for at least one hour, or have a full digital detox day.
- Take a bubble bath or a long shower.
- Get a spa treatment such as a manicure, pedicure, massage, facial, etc.
- Call a friend that you haven’t spoken with in a long time and plan to get together or do a video or phone catch-up date.
- Watch a free yoga video or use an app to do a yoga stretching routine.
- Have a mug of your favorite tea or coffee and simply be present in the moment, hugging the mug with your hands and allowing the steam and warmth to fill your body and wrap around your cheeks.
- Buy yourself some new socks and get rid of at least three pairs of old socks that have holes or thin spots.
- Get into nature, either by taking a hike or doing forest bathing.
- Watch the sunrise.
- Buy yourself an audiobook, e-book, or paper book and spend at least one hour reading without worrying about other responsibilities.
- Get yourself a cool reusable water bottle and try to drink your body weight in pounds in fluid ounces of water over the course of the day.
- Write a letter to your future self expressing some of your goals or hopes for yourself.
- Write a letter to your past self to forgive some sort of regret or pain that you blame on yourself or still struggle with.
- Get the Hyperice Core Meditation Trainer and make the Wellness app part of your daily practice.
- Take yourself out to your favorite lunch spot.
- Enjoy a glass of wine or a special drink, even if it is non-alcoholic, and savor every sip.
- Listen to your favorite music and sing or dance along for at least 10 minutes.
- Practice mindfulness meditation using an app such as Calm or try on your own.
- Do a full body scan or progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing exercises, or belly breathing.
- Get an essential oil diffuser or some of your favorite scented candles and add some delicious aromatherapy to your home.
- Ask someone for help when you need it, or ask a loved one for a hug when you want it.
- Buy a weighted blanket or a new, cozy, super fluffy blanket and snuggle up with a book or watch a TV show.
- Take a power nap if you feel tired.
- Hug yourself as you stare into the mirror and say five positive things about yourself.
- Say no to social plans or a commitment that will be too much of a burden or simply isn’t something you want to spend your time doing on that particular day.
- Set a reminder in your calendar once a month to do something special for yourself and take a “self-care“ or “mental health“ day (or at least an hour!).
- Walk barefoot in the grass or on the soil, or do some stretching or yoga outside on the grass, beach, or natural earth.
- Write a thank you note to someone who has had an impact in your life or who you think needs some encouragement.
- Go on a date with your partner if you are in a relationship or buy an outfit that makes you feel beautiful or a new sex toy that you would like to enjoy.
- Watch some comedy or find something to make you laugh.
- Get at least 30 minutes of exercise.
- Take some alone time.
- Do a puzzle or play a game.
- Have some ice cream or your favorite special treat.
For more self-care ideas, check out our guide to power naps here.