Is a ‘self care plan’ all about massages and cucumber-masks? Well, yes – and no.
A self care plan is actually a very powerful thing – it’s a coping strategy for life.
If you have goals and ambitions, you should seriously consider writing up a self-care plan too. It’s a quick and easy exercise that can turn your life around.
Here’s the thing – it’s easy to stick to our goals when everything is going to plan. But when life gets stressful, our good habits often get thrown out the window. We fall behind, neglect our health and lose sight of the big picture.
A self care plan is like a reset button that you’ve prepared in advance. It helps you ‘respond’ rather than ‘react’ to crises, and can get your goals and well-being back on track.
This article will show you how to make your own self care plan, along with 121 self care practices you can try out. Give them a spin!
121 Self-Care Activities To Add To Your Life
You can also think of a self care plan as a personalized curriculum for your life.
Like any decent curriculum, it needs to cover all the most important topics!
We’ll be paying attention to 5 domains of self-care in this article: physical, mental/emotional, social, self-actualizing and spiritual.
Your self-care plan should look at all 5 areas of self-care.
Below are 121 activities to help you cultivate self care in these areas. Some may sound weird, ‘woo-woo’ or overly-simple, so just pick the ones that resonate best with you.
Self-care activities for your physical well-being
- Take a walk somewhere in nature or a nearby neighbourhood.
- Do a full winding-down stretch of your body (there are great videos on YouTube).
- Try a session of mindful movement that puts an emphasis on breath, like yoga, tai chi, or Qigong.
- Do a sweat-drenching HIIT workout and really take time to stretch it out afterwards.
- Go for a bike ride – if you don’t have a bike, look for shared bikes plans in your city.
- Sign up for an online or offline fitness class.
- Do a home workout with no weights or equipment.
- Play a video game that gets you moving (here are our favorites for the Nintendo Switch).
- Cook a healthy meal using ingredients you don’t often splurge on.
- Meal prep your entire week ahead.
- Make it a goal to improve your posture – e.g. make posture exercise a habit.
- Read up on and try a walking meditation.
- Explore a habit-logging system to track your healthy habits (I love Streaks).
- Improve your sleep quality.
- Learn a new dance move.
- Try out a sport that’s completely new to you.
- Eat a meal mindfully and see how different it feels.
- Start your day with a delicious healthy breakfast you’ve never made before.
- Get inspired by Wim Hof and take a cold shower.
- Try acupuncture, or read up about it.
- Make a strategy to fully hydrate yourself every day (e.g. set reminders).
- Prepare healthy snacks you actually love for the day ahead.
- Quit the revenge bedtime procrastination by setting a rule to turn off devices long before bed.
- Look into blue light glasses and see if they’re right for you.
Self-care activities for your mental or emotional well-being
- Clear the clutter – go through your closet and donate anything that’s taking up unnecessary space.
- Get off the grid and for a weekend that involves switching off your phone.
- Wake up two hours early and dedicate that time to complete something you’ve been putting off.
- Find a therapist or try online therapy to speak to someone about your issues.
- Book yourself something relaxing, like a massage, manicure or haircut.
- Unfollow or mute any social media accounts that don’t make you feel good.
- Free draw, paint or doodle with no expectations at all.
- For a week, switch up your morning routine and try new activities.
- Give yourself an evening dedicated just to sleeping. Really make the effort to wind down, e.g. put on soothing music, take a hot bath.
- Watch something that you find laugh-out-loud funny or go to a local comedy club.
- Sing! Turn on your favorite songs and belt your heart out.
- Try journaling – e.g. bullet journalling, or just jotting down your thoughts.
- Try Tapping, otherwise known as EFT. Here’s a good intro to it.
- Read up on and practice self compassion.
- Read a lesser-known book by one of your favorite authors.
- Take yourself on a walk and snap photos of whatever catches your eye – whether it’s plants, bugs, or skylines.
- Try gardening – even city-dwellers can grow vegetables indoors.
- Delete social media, or at least delete the apps off your phone.
- Set aside some dedicated time to simply daydream. Reminisce on something that makes you happy, or just let your thoughts wander.
- Write a poem. Even if it’s a really bad poem. Doodle around it, Rupi Kaur style.
- Write something encouraging on a post-it and put it where you’ll see it every day.
- Eat outside in the sunshine.
- Do the laundry, or fold up and put laundry away.
- Clean your room/desk/workspace. Rearrange it if you’re bored of it.
- Go through your wardrobe and assemble some new power outfits you’ve never tried before.
- Create a bucket list of things to do before you die.
- Write a letter to yourself when you’re feeling great, to read when you’re feeling down.
- Wrap yourself up in a blanket with a cosy beverage.
- Turn your phone off for an entire day.
- Learn a new skill that requires creativity. Allow yourself to be bad at it.
- Make a music playlist that makes you feel powerful or uplifted.
- Shower with all the lights off, or by candlelight.
- Check in with yourself a few times each day to process your thoughts and emotions. Don’t let them build.
- Congratulate yourself for doing something you found difficult.
- Look into laughter yoga.
- Look into aromatherapy.
- Take yourself on a date to a fancy dinner or the movies.
- Calm your mind with box breathing.
Self-care activities for your social well-being
- Be the one who organizes a catch-up call with someone else.
- Be the one that reaches out to an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
- Bring lunch and make/bring some extra food for sharing.
- Call your parents or friends just to check in.
- Pay for someone else’s coffee, road toll or meal.
- Greet, or simply smile at strangers on your way to and from work.
- Host a meetup with friends.
- Tell someone you’re close to what you appreciate about them.
- Join social clubs for things you’re interested in – e.g. for books, movies, or sports.
- Be the one who invites a friend for lunch.
- Do an anonymous act of kindness.
- Handwrite a letter or card to someone.
- Dedicate a day to learning more about the history of where you live.
- Put together a care package for someone you love.
- DIY some gifts.
- Volunteer your time to help out your local community.
- Play a card game like We Should Be Strangers that sparks deeper conversations.
- Arrange a date night with your significant other
- Arrange a day of quality-time activities with a friend.
- Organize a weekend road trip with friends somewhere.
- Look into someone’s eyes for a few minutes (more on eyegazing here!)
- Meditate or do mindful breathing with someone.
- Write and leave notes of appreciation to people around you.
- Forgive someone you’ve been holding a grudge against.
Self-care activities for self-actualization
- Confront something you’ve been procrastinating and get it done!
- Learn how to make a budget and keep track of your money.
- Upgrade your workspace! Research and invest in making it more ergonomic, like using a standing desk.
- Reach out and ask a happy client for a review.
- Set up a side-gig.
- Make a list of short term and long term goals and come up with a SMART strategy.
- Watch a documentary or movie about something you’ve always been interested in.
- Make a vision board for your ideal life.
- Take a hard look at your freelance rates / salary to see if it’s time to ask for more.
- Move your home office to a different space for the day.
- Reflect on what achieved last week, and what you could do better for the week ahead.
- Confront your imposter syndrome.
- Identify roadblocks for an area you’re stuck on and have a dedicated brainstorm session for a solution.
- Get dressed up for the day – even if you’re just going to be working from home.
- Listen to a motivational podcast or audiobook.
- Set yourself a 30 day challenge to help learn a new skill or habit.
- Look into deep work and work on your powers of concentration.
- Learn all about the theory of ‘deliberate practice’.
- Do a skills gap analysis to identify where you are.
- Look into options to invest your hard-earned money.
- Set up an online portfolio of your proudest work achievements.
Self-care activities for your spiritual well-being
- Go out to a natural spot, or place of worship that inspires a feeling of awe.
- Get out into a forest and go tree bathing!
- List down the things you’re grateful for and put it somewhere you’ll see often.
- OR, pick one thing or person you’re grateful for and free-write a full page describing why.
- Try mantra meditation.
- Cuddle your pet and stare into its eyes.
- Lie on the floor, eyes closed and just breathe deeply for five minutes.
- Pray, or whatever the equivalent is for you.
- Reflect on your own mortality (there’s even an app to help you!)
- Camp out under the stars.
- Write out your affirmations and visualize them coming true. Try scripting.
- Light a candle and let your mind drift off, write down what thoughts emerge.
- Look up a YouTube meditation track and follow along.
- Read or watch something life-affirming.
4 Steps To Writing Up Your Own Self-Care Plan
Ready to pull things together?
Here are 4 steps to consolidate the activities above into your very own self care plan.
- Go through the lists and note down activities that appeal to you (and add any extras you think of).
- Next – put them into an action plan. Shortlist 3-5 activities per domain and decide on a date and time you will do them (ideally within the next 7-14 days). Prioritize the activities that will make the biggest positive difference to where you are in life right now.
- Write down what obstacles might prevent you doing them, and write down how you will overcome them.
- Do the activities!
5 Key Areas Of Self-Care We Need To Pay Attention To
Done right, self care activities can make a big positive difference to your mind, body and spirit.
The great thing about a self-care plan is that it’s something YOU put together. And who knows you better than yourself?
When choosing what self-care practices to prioritize, it can be helpful to do an audit of where you currently are in life. To do this, go through the 5 different domains and take note if there are areas that need extra attention:
- Physical self care
This includes things like getting enough sleep, getting a healthy diet and exercise, going for regular check-ups and feeling like you have energy.
- Mental & emotional self care
How is your mental and emotional health? Are you managing your stress? This includes things like managing healthy boundaries, healthy self-esteem, ability to focus, and your emotional resilience.
- Social self care
How well are your social needs being met? Do you have safe and fulfilling relationships? Do you feel a sense of community and loving connection?
- Self-Actualizing self care
Do you have a plan for personal growth? Check in with your goals, sense of self, and professional ambitions.
- Spiritual self care
Spiritual self-care helps us nurture a sense of meaning for our lives through a connection to something greater than ourselves. To some people, this is religion, whilst for others this can be self-reflection or meditation.
Final Thoughts – Self-Care Isn’t Selfish
Self care is often the best thing we can do for ourselves, and those around us.
Many people still feel kind of embarrassed at the idea of self-care. It’s easy to dismiss it as something a bit self-indulgent.
However, it’s important to understand that self-care isn’t selfish. Human beings aren’t machines!
You’re not doing anyone any favors if you’re not looking after yourself. Prioritizing self-care lets you fill up your own cup first, so you can give your best to others.
A self-care plan is a fantastic tool that can help you ensure that you’re looking after your mind, body and spirit, no matter what life throws your way. You got this.