Now a super-popular phrase adopted by wellness brands and those in search of a way to unwind, “self-care” comes in numerous iterations, and its form depends heavily on the individual taking part. We’ve all heard of self-care tactics like a spa treatment, a massage, an hour of meditation, or a yoga class, but if those activities don’t catch your interest, we’ve got 11 less-cliche ideas for the next time you feel inspired to take some time for yourself.
1. Start a load of laundry.
Okay, so no one really enjoys doing laundry. But household tasks like this can easily pile up during busy periods, creating an overwhelming backlog of work that’s daunting to approach. Taking an hour after work to load up the washing machine and check that chore off your list can bring a highly worthwhile sense of relief.
2. Take a language class either online or in-person.
If your version of self-care involves keeping your mind sharp, consider investing your off-the-clock time in developing a new skill. Learning a new language not only hones your communication skills and opens up new possibilities for your future travel plans, but it’s also easy to do from the comfort of your own home, thanks to programs like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone.
3. Fire up your favorite fitness app.
Workout classes are effective ways to release endorphins and improve your physical stamina, but they can also erode your budget. A cheaper but equally-useful alternative involves fitness apps like Aaptiv and Nike + Run Club, which you can download on your phone or tablet and take with you everywhere that has WiFi.
4. Try a new recipe.
The sense of accomplishment caused by the successful execution of a cooking recipe is hard to beat...plus, the knowledge that you’ve made a financially-responsible choice and crafted a meal designed to suit your own tastes and dietary needs also proves beneficial.
5. Hit up Netflix and enjoy a tried-and-true TV episode.
With so many new shows and new episodes on cable TV and streaming platforms, it’s easy to feel the pressure to keep up with viewing trends. But sometimes, there’s nothing more comforting than lying down on the couch or bed and cueing up your favorite episode of “The Office” or “Friends” or whichever show you prefer, even if you’ve seen it a thousand times before (in fact, ESPECIALLY if you’ve seen it a thousand times and can recite the lines right along with the characters).
6. Volunteer at an animal shelter.
In many cases, using your spare time to help others can also serve as powerful examples of self-care. And when those others are adorable dogs and cats in need of pets and walks and visits, the volunteer experience is unquestionably therapeutic.
7. FaceTime a friend or relative.
Calling a friend or family member who lives far away can help smooth over a challenging day, but using an app like FaceTime to video-chat with your loved one offers an experience akin to catching up in-person, which may feel even better.
8. Clean out your car.
Like doing laundry, scooping the trash out of your car and taking a vacuum to the floors and seats isn’t an inherently fun task. But if you’re a daily commuter, you spend plenty of time in your vehicle, and you deserve a tidy space that doesn’t cause you additional stress.
9. Get yourself to “Inbox Zero.”
Take a look at your email inbox. How many unread messages do you have? If you’re like many people, the number may easily approach (or surpass) 1,000. Even if your overloaded inbox doesn’t actively bother you, the sight of that accusatory red number on your phone or computer screen isn’t exactly pleasant. If you make the choice to spend 60 minutes going through your inbox, filing away emails that need replies, deleting junk messages, and working your way toward the coveted state of “Inbox Zero”, you’ll position yourself for greater productivity moving forward.
10. Pull out a coloring book and crayons.
Here’s some good news for adults with active “inner children”: coloring books can be beneficial to grown-ups as well as kiddos. In a defense of coloring books for adults, CNN quotes art therapist Marygrace Berberian of the Graduate Art Therapy Program at NYU, who states that “coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring [about] more mindfulness." Sounds good to us!
11. Bring something green into your house.
Beautiful, natural, and relatively low-maintenance, live plants have the ability to both spruce up your house and backyard and to provide therapeutic perks, according to Women’s Health. Not blessed with a green thumb? Try a plant that’s especially hearty, like a succulent or a cactus.