21 Unconventional Self-Care Ideas
What is Self-Care?
There are so many ways you can define self-care depending on who you ask, but self-care can generally be thought of as taking actions to take care of one's health -- emotionally, mentally, and physically. I've noticed that in the personal development realm, self-care can often be thought of as doing whatever makes you feel good, but I believe this to be problematic. If you're a very health-conscious person and have a goal of losing weight, eating chicken nuggets is not "self-care;" it's self-sabotage. The same would be true if you're trying to save money and get out of debt. If that's your situation, spending money you don't have or that you're saving for something else on let's say, a designer handbag, is not self-care; it's harmful to the person you're trying to become. I would define self-care as behavior and actions that help you become the highest self that you're working towards. With this definition, self-care doesn't always look like doing what feels good in the moment. Self-care can look like doing the difficult thing because you know it serves your greater good.
How Can I Practice Self-Care More Regularly?
Finding time for self-care is not always easy when we live busy lives. We can easily dismiss the idea of taking care of ourselves because we're overworked and over-scheduled, and after we take care of everyone else, it doesn't feel like there's time left for ourselves. By taking the time to take care of ourselves, however, we will be happier and have more energy to show up for others. Here are a couple of tips to help you make time for practicing self-care more regularly:
Schedule time for self-care into your calendar. When you're planning out your schedule for the next week, take a look at where you could fit in time for self-care. Perhaps it's in the morning when your children are still sleeping or at night after they go to bed. Or maybe it's on your lunch break. Identify potential holes in your calendar where you could schedule time for self-care and then actually write it into your calendar like you would with any other appointment.
Remember that every little bit counts. Depending on your schedule, you may only have 15 minutes here or there to devote to self-care. That's totally okay. Every little bit counts and will help you feel more taken care of and ultimately, happier.
21 Unconventional or Unique Ideas for Self-Care:
If I hear another person recommend taking a bubble bath or doing a face mask for self-care, I'm going to scream. Just kidding, if those kinds of things are what you like doing for self-care that's awesome. But if bubble baths just aren't cutting it for you, here are some unconventional self-care ideas that you might resonate with more:
Do a brain dump. When we're feeling stressed, getting everything that's rattling around in our brain down on paper can help.
Schedule worry time. If you're worried about something, it's easy to spend a lot of your time thinking about it and ruminating, but this is neither helpful nor productive. Instead, schedule time to worry, be negative, etc. Give yourself a dedicated 30 minutes (or however much time your need) to spend worrying on whatever's upsetting you.
Use crystals. Crystals are thought by some to have healing properties for different areas of your life. If you're into this idea, go to your local metaphysical shop and ask whoever works there to help you find some crystals that will help you with your life.
Swear loudly and don't apologize for it. I love swearing. It feels so good. If you don't believe me, yell "fuck" and see how much lighter you feel. You can swear by yourself if it makes you feel better.
Take a day off social media and email. Clear your mind by unplugging from what everyone else is doing.
Do something you used to enjoy doing as a child. Color in an adult coloring book, paint, make a collage, write poetry, draw. You get the idea.
Take a boxing or martial arts class. Take a physical exercise class where you can get all of your feelings out.
Do something on your to-do list that's been nagging at you. If you have something that you've been meaning to do for awhile, do it. Once you get that thing done, you'll have a weight lifted off your shoulders and feel less stressed.
Write down your goals. Thinking about and planning for the future can be so much fun and get you excited for what's to come.
Listen to your favorite podcast. Not sure what to listen to? Check out my post: The Best Personal Development Podcasts to Listen to Right Now.
Spend time with someone who inspires you. Maybe that person is your parent, coworker, or a mentor. If you can't think of anyone you know that inspires you, think of a public figure instead and read a book by them or something else that they've created/contributed to.
Take photos. Go somewhere (I recommend somewhere in nature) and take some photos. Creating and documenting is a fun way to unwind.
Learn. Spend an hour or two learning something new by watching a documentary or a Ted Talk.
Unfollow accounts on social media. If an account no longer brings you joy, unfollow them. Marie Kondo their ass.
Donate to a cause you care about or volunteer. If you have the financial ability, donate to a cause that means something to you. If not, consider giving your time by volunteering. Some causes that you might consider donating to or volunteering at: a retirement home, soup kitchens through Feeding America, protect elections through Fair Fight, support veterans through Semper Fi, environmental causes, your church, or the Humane Society.
Print out photos and put them around your home. Print out some of your favorite photos of you with your friends, family, or fur baby and frame and hang them up.
Make your favorite drink at home. Getting your favorite coffee or latte out can feel like such a treat, so why not make that treat for yourself at home? If you need a drink recommendation, matcha lattes are my favorite.
Have a power hour. Gretchen Rubin, a personal development and happiness guru, coined the term Power Hour, which is where you have a list of tasks that you've saved over the past couple of months or weeks that you intend to work on during a dedicated hour. Most of these tasks shouldn't take too long (e.g., cleaning out your junk drawer, filing papers, organizing your bookshelf, etc.) and you'll feel like you accomplished a ton by the end of the hour.
Garden or care for your plants. I personally don't have a garden or any plants, but I hear that it's very relaxing and rewarding to have greenery near you that you can take care of.
Plan out your week ahead of time. By planning your schedule out for the upcoming week, you can look at what you actually want to do and what you don't want to do. Take this time to say no more often to the things you don't want to do.
Clean your living space. Whether it's your bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom, I'm sure there's a space in your home that could use some cleaning or tidying. It may be work in the moment, but having order around you will make you feel more calm inside.