20 Best Self-Care Ideas and Activities for Mental Health

The last few years have been uphill for many of us. This new level of stress shows no signs of stopping. At the start of the 2020 pandemic, depression among U.S. adults jumped from 8.5% for her to 27.8% for him, according to an October 2021 study. Indeed reported that in March 2021, 52% of all American workers felt burnout.

But what do these stats mean for you? increase.

Input: self-care. It’s a buzzword that we hear a lot these days, but what exactly does it mean? And does it really help in the grand scheme of things?

“Self-care is the different ways we take care of ourselves to improve our physical, emotional and mental well-being and health,” LCSW’s Hope Weiss tells TODAY.com. Remember that self-care is very important for those diagnosed with anxiety or depression, but it benefits everyone, whether they suffer from a particular condition or not.

“Self-care can help build resilience,” says Weiss. “It provides a strong foundation from which life’s stresses, challenges and experiences do not easily overwhelm us.”

That’s why it’s important to establish a routine that emphasizes self-care. That way, when challenges inevitably arise, you’ll feel more challenged.

“It’s not a fad. It’s not a one-time experience. It’s not a one-time or two-time thing, it’s self-care and you’re done. It’s a lifelong process. It’s something you incorporate into your daily routine, just like you brush your teeth,” says Weiss. says.

Need some inspiration? Here are 20 self-care ideas that will lift your mood and make your mind, body, and soul feel better.

Caring for houseplants

If being surrounded by houseplants and all that greenery makes you feel cheerful, it’s not just in your head. For example, in one study that focused on participants staying home at the start of a pandemic, participants who had indoor plants reported significantly fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. You know what I mean: Head to your local plant store and bring the outdoors in by decorating your home with plants.As a bonus, you’ll feel better every time you take care of each plant.

read books since childhood

Perhaps a warm, vague dose of nostalgia will make you feel better. Think of some of your favorite books when you were little, and go to the library or Amazon and pick them up. Grab your favorite snack, curl up in a chair, and skip your worries.

increase self-compassion

“Self-compassion is an internal way to practice self-care,” says Weiss. Start by speaking with kindness, understanding and warmth, as you would a good friend.

Over time, you become more attuned to your thoughts and feelings. “Then put your hand on your heart and say to yourself, ‘This is really hard right now,’ ‘I have a lot to deal with,’ ‘I hope you’re happy,’ ‘I hope you’re free.’ I can tell you. Pain.'”

spend a spa day at home

One of the classic ways to practice self-care is pampering yourself. There are good reasons for this. If you haven’t had any free time on your own lately, Avocado his masks, bubble baths and pedicures can be done in the comfort of your own home. Needless to say, if going to a physical spa isn’t on your card right now, you can do it all within your budget.

Don’t have time for a full day spa?

spend time by the water

“When you’re in the water, your internal condition is calm,” NBC News medical contributor Natalie Azar, Ph.D., told today’s third hour.

Whether you’re taking a walk by a lake, watching a stream in your backyard, or watching a YouTube video full of ocean views, simply being near water can significantly improve your mental health. Make time for his H2O boost during the day, even if it’s just watching a 2 minute ocean video during your lunch break.

eat whole fresh

feeling stressed When Are you eating every processed food you see? No judgment from us, but reaching for something healthy and nutritious might help your body and mind feel a little better. This is a step towards practicing good self-care.

Meets basic needs

Sometimes it’s best to go back to basics.

“Are basic needs covered?” Weiss asks. “This is often ignored when people are dealing with stress. Do you take time to eat? If this is difficult, set an alarm to remind yourself to eat something.” Are you getting enough sleep?Are you drinking enough water?Are you moving during the day?All of these things provide the fuel we need to get through our days. It is something that will help you.”

hug your pet

According to a 2020 study by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, 74% of all participating pet owners said they experienced improved mental health from owning a pet. If you need a little self-care, hug your cat or dog and feel the stress melt away with each stroke.By the way, this is useful for you When your furry friend. If you don’t have a pet, volunteer at an animal shelter or take care of a pet for a friend.

move your body

Even if you don’t feel like doing it at first, get your endorphins flowing through your workout. Whether you’re running hard or lifting light weights, you’ll feel better as soon as your blood starts pumping. If you’re having a tough day with your mental health, know that even a five-minute walk around the block or marching in place can boost your mood.

snuggle up to the “nest”

When in doubt, put yourself in your own “nest”. Layer lots of blankets, put on a hooded sweatshirt and snuggle up on the couch.

Recreate the feeling of being hugged by throwing on a weighted blanket. “Many people like the feeling of pressure on their bodies and find this pressure quite relaxing,” behavioral sleep psychologist Reinel Schneeberg tells TODAY.com.

go on a trip alone

Even if traveling alone can be overwhelming, it can be good for your spirit to gain some ground and perspective on your own. Book a ‘self-care vacation’ to a place you’ve always wanted to go. While you’re there, spend some time in nature, make some spa appointments, and bring a journal to jot down your thoughts on paper.

stay away from social media

Social media can seriously damage your mental health, especially when you compare your life to others, read negative comments, or participate in not-so-good political debates. Commit to taking a break from social media for a week or a month when you need a break. Or practice social media self-care by controlling the types of posts you see, muting certain people, and stopping scrolling if you find yourself scrolling too long.

run a movie marathon

Thanks to Netflix and Hulu, right? Spend an evening of self-care watching some of your favorite movies that will make you feel good down to your toes. Don’t forget blankets and comfort food.

listen to the record

Music is certainly therapeutic in general, but there’s something about listening to records that can make you lose all sense of time in the best possible way. Travel back in time (or imagine life in that era).

Book a time with a therapist

Whether you’ve already been diagnosed with a mental health condition or have recently needed additional support, therapy is definitely a form of self-care. Seek recommendations from your doctor, get a referral from your doctor, or use virtual therapy.

set boundaries

Setting boundaries, even for those you love most, is an underrated form of self-care. You may feel like this, but you will lose weight before you know it. To make sure you have enough time in your schedule for self-care, practice saying “no” in ways that feel kind and right to you.

forget the time

“Have you ever had the experience of not knowing where the time went?” says Weiss. “A great way to provide self-care is to participate in activities that focus on your time.”

Of course, this varies from person to person, but Weiss recommends “spending time in nature or engaging in some kind of creative pursuit, such as art, baking, or writing.”

“These activities often make us feel bigger than ourselves. They energize us and help us feel both peaceful and inspired,” she adds.

wear the most comfortable clothes

Even if you’re out and about, find ways to put together the most comfortable clothes to keep you comfortable from top to bottom. Wear jeans that feel like velvety leggings and rock the softest oversized sweater. , preferably wearing flats with cushioned lining. please do not even if someone comes.

To meditation

Time after time, research has proven that meditation has amazing effects on mental health. The good news: you don’t have to be the Dalai Lama.

Do a meditative self-care session with a meditation app, practice yoga, or just sit quietly in your room and take in everything around you, noting the sights, sounds, and smells that help you live in the moment. please.

take a nap

What if all else fails? Close the blinds and take a nap. Don’t feel guilty about tending to your needs when your body is telling you to rest, whether it’s for 15 minutes or a few hours. actually, I never have I feel guilty for all kinds of self-care activities. The world can wait, but your happiness cannot.

always put yourself first

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