Need some easy self care activities for mental health you can use any time you need a boost or to relax? This post is all about activities you’ll want to remember the next time you need to do some self care.
Whether you’re needing self care right now or you’ll looking to prepare yourself for the future, you’ll want to keep these activities in mind. The first step of taking care of yourself is realizing you need some tools for your toolbox and this is the perfect place to find them.
Instead of stressing out or getting anxious without any way to unwind, do some of these activities to rest, reset your mental health, and remember them any time you need to focus on you. Always prioritize self care because you deserve to be happy in this world.
This post is all about self care activities for mental health.
EASY SELF CARE ACTIVITIES
FOR MENTAL HEALTH:
1. Treat yourself to a blowout
One of the best forms of self care is doing something you never do for yourself and only yourself by yourself. So, go get yourself a blowout. Of course you can bring people to have it be friend or family fun, but consider doing it by yourself so you can spend time inside your head.
Plus, we can never really hear over the blow-driers anyways, am I right? Seriously, though, take time to enjoy the hairdresser washing your hair, massaging your scalp, and styling you all up.
2. Create a budget for yourself
Creating a budget is the other side of self care. The one where you are doing important, useful things that would make your future self proud. For most of us, updating or creating a budget is good.
We learn or update our knowledge on how much money we have coming into our accounts and how much is leaving. Just like with food, our goal is to make our lives fuller, happier, and work better for us. This will obviously change the way we budget person to person.
No matter how you choose to budget—control your money or simply observe it and adapt—everyone can benefit from learning more about what they’re doing with their money and how their money is serving them.
3. Play board games with loved ones
It’s so much harder to connect with people in the same room as you because everyone tends to be on their phones, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, if you are looking for connection and to get out of the doom scroll rut, then get out a board game.
Watch out for the competitiveness—every family and friend group has it. Have fun playing a game with your loved ones and stay in the moment with them (this will be a lot easier when you are actively talking to them and laughing with them).
4. Clean your home
Again, not your idea of self care, I’m guessing? Cleaning your home is another example of caring for your mental health in a way you probably won’t enjoy in the moment. For those of you who love cleaning (myself somewhat included), enjoy.
For those of you who hate cleaning, try it out. Or, if that doesn’t motivate you to clean, think about how future you will feel once you’ve finished cleaning and a couple of days later. Think about how good it will feel to simply enjoy being in a space you took the time to make tidy.
5. Make yourself dinner
Anytime you carve time out of your day for you and only you, it’s powerful. That’s why making yourself dinner is a form of self care: you are choosing to put time and love into something for yourself.
Choose something that you’ll truly enjoy cooking as much as eating. Maybe something from your childhood or something you’ve made before. You can try something new if you’re sure that you won’t get stressed out or frustrated by something going wrong.
6. Wrap up in a blanket and watch a show or movie
Warm blankets and your favorite show or movie are best paired with a nice rainy or snowy day outside. If you don’t have any of those available, it’s still fun to get wound up in a blanket with some comfort snacks and a hot drink (alcoholic, if you’re inclined, or tea if you’re not).
You can even give yourself permission to fall asleep as long as you remember where you’re at to resume the next day. These nights are also paired well with silence other than the TV, so try to keep talking to a minimum to give yourself a brain break.
7. Volunteer at your local shelter
Petting dogs and cats and bunnies and whatever other animals are at your local shelter—the best form of therapy when you can’t afford therapy. There’s something about developing a unique relationship with a nonhuman animal that can never match the ones with humans.
Even if they’re not yours and you can’t afford to foster, you can still visit your local shelter and hang out with some cool pets. You might even help them get adopted or, at the very least, make them feel less alone.
8. Plan out a fun date with a loved one
Whether planning is your forte or not, take this fun date as an opportunity to do something you’ve never done before with someone you care about. Make it as done up or done down as you want to and create a date plan that is nothing but fun for you.
Take joy in spending the time to decide, ahead of time, what will make for an absolutely amazing time. From activities to food, make it the kind of date with which you’d want to be surprised. You can even make a big deal out of inviting the other person, even if that person is yourself.
9. Listen to an audiobook
You’ll want to find a riveting, fascinating book whether you’re sitting on your porch with earphones in or keeping yourself sane during the workday. You can also substitute podcasts (I’ve linked some recommendations), but I’ve found that books are less work for more learning.
10. Buy one thing off your wish list
Buying off your wish list is one of those self care activities for mental health that you need to take care when completing. Always think about the money you’re about to spend as money you could be spending on something else.
Consider what you value, whether it’s traveling or giving gifts to others or buying Yankee candles. Then, identify if this wish list item fits into those value categories or if it’s worth not getting something from your value categories.
Buy yourself the things you want, but do it logically and in a way that makes sure your money works for you rather than stresses you out.
11. Begin a journaling practice
You can journal once and never do it again. Or you can start taking five minutes at nighttime right before you go to bed and jot down the thoughts in your head.
Sometimes, you have intrusive thoughts on repeat in your head. Journaling is the best form of self-care to get those thoughts out and onto paper or computer, nothing else. But, if you make this a habit, you’ll be able to look back at how you felt in the past.
Patterns will emerge about what triggers you, how you cope with problems, or how long you’ve felt the way you currently do about a relationship, job, etc.
12. Take an hour of alone time without your phone
Spending time outside of work or friends without your phone is undeniably simple and most of us probably think about this a lot. But, it’s still worth framing time without your phone as self care for more reasons that just the toxicity of doom-scrolling.
Beyond that, we often forget to be present in our bodies and surroundings. We are anxious, disassociating, trying to get out of our heads. I’ve definitely reached for my phone when I had something stuck in my head that made me uncomfortable.
So, let’s work on staying in the present with those thoughts and shifting from escape to meditation and rest.
13. Delete social media (or avoid it)
I’ll be honest and say that I’ve never deleted social media in spite of the amounts I’ve understood how well it would be benefit me. But, I’m too scared to take away that crutch, knowing I’d want it back in a New York second.
If you’re down to delete, get rid of those apps or accounts altogether. But, if you’re not ready to give those up and yet want to limit how much you use them as a crutch, become cognizant of how often you use them.
Use your phone’s features to track your screen time and set limits to keep you in check with your goals.
14. Bake yourself a dessert
Baking yourself a dessert is like making dinner for yourself. However, desserts aren’t necessary for you to stay alive, which is why they’re a special way to practice of one many self care activities for mental health.
Giving yourself an unnecessary, wanted gift is the ultimate way to show yourself love. So, find a family recipe or comfort dessert to make yourself and revel in the process from start to finish. Take the time to appreciate every step of the process and stay present with yourself.
15. Walk around your neighborhood
You only should walk around your neighborhood if you feel safe. If not, find a park you will comfortable exploring. Put earphones in and listen to a book, podcast, or music or keep your ears open to the birds and wind.
Do this alone to keep your focus on the moment and staying present within yourself. You can either make this a workout and walk quickly or you can walk slow and leisurely to solely focus on the way you’re body interacts with the world around you.
16. Start a garden (or tend to it)
Depending on how delayed you can accept your gratification, you’ll either get seeds or baby plants. Seeds don’t always sprout, though you can plant a bunch at a time, and baby plants can always die and are more pricey, though they can provide you with a product much faster.
Eating food straight from your own garden is incredibly satisfying. Of course, you likely won’t produce enough on a small scale to complete a recipe. Still, caring for something outside of yourself can be therapeutic—and a little painful when you fail.
Plants are a great reminder that, when you fail, you can always try again with new knowledge as long as your intentions are good.
17. Spend an entire day reading
We rarely read, and we rarely let ourselves enjoy rest on the rare occasion we actually try to rest. We’re certainly conditioned to think of rest as a waste of time, so it’s hard to think of rest as useful.
That’s why spending a day just reading one book or five is self care. You’ll probably think of fifty new items to add to your to-do list, but your job is to keep that from ruining your day. Focus on letting yourself do something for enjoyment and work on encouraging rest.
18. Deep clean your home
Move your furniture around, clean under the couch, slide your bed to a different wall. Deep cleaning is a great way to reset your life when you’re feeling stuck. It’s also a great way to tackle all of those areas you want to clean while staying motivated.
Remember to make your future self proud and rearrange your physical space so you can reset and care for your mental space.
19. Complete your five-minute to-do list
To-do lists are tough to tackle because they’re just little lists of impending doom. But, I’m guessing there are a few five-minute tasks on that list that will give you a few small wins.
Choose short tasks to complete so that you can knock a bunch in a row. Instead of having this long, terrifying list, you’ll have a manageable list and the motivation to finish the rest of the stuff. (It’s also okay if you don’t.)