There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you buy. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please do your own research before making any online purchase.
Self-care is an essential part of well-being. Your co-workers, spouse, kids, family, friends beg you to take a day and re-energize, but you just don’t know what to do with that time.
Everyone has a different idea of what it means to take a self-care day. Therefore, you must listen to your body and mind. When it tells you it needs a break, you should do it. You just need to choose an idea that is best for you.
So in this article, we’ll explore 55 self-care ideas that can help you reduce the level of stress you experience on a regular basis.
First, let’s start with a quick definition.
What is a Self-Care Day?
A self-care day is important because it breaks you away from the pressure and hectic pace of keeping up with responsibilities. It allows you to recenter, refocus, and re-energize. Self-care is crucial for creating a healthy balance in your life.
Without it, health problems, exhaustion, and frustration may increase, causing an enormous number of issues and conflicts in your life.
The best way to schedule a self-care day is to calendar it ahead of time and commit to it to ensure that it happens and doesn’t get brushed aside. You can create a checklist and schedule it weekly, monthly, or whenever time allows. If you can’t commit to an entire day, schedule a few hours. The main premise is that you get some distraction-free time for yourself.
This list of 55 self-care day ideas to focus on yourself is only a fraction of the possibilities available to you. Keep in mind; the objective is that whatever you choose to do must benefit your self-care and wellness, even if it also helps someone else.
So let’s get to it the 55 self-care ideas.
1. Movie Marathon
Get your snacks and beverages ready to go. Whether you have movies lined up that you want to see or you’re game to pick them spontaneously, this is going to be fun. Focusing on movies distances you from stress and allows a temporary enjoyable escape.
Here are a few streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Tubi, Vudu, Peacock, Prime Video, Disney, or HBO Max, which offer immense amounts of movie content for your viewing pleasure.
Checkout 50 Feel Good Movies to Improve Your Mood
2. Spa Visit with Skin Care and Massage
Turn off the phone and social media and spend the day at a spa where you will be pampered with massage and skin care treatments. The massage will release the tension in your muscles and relax your mind and body. The skin care treatments are soothing and refreshing. What a great self-care day idea!
Here is a list of top national spa franchises.
3. Shopping Therapy
Moderate shopping or retail therapy can give you an emotional boost, especially if you are overworked or burned out. It re-establishes a feeling of control and distracts from depression and anxiety. The dopamine release in your brain improves your mood and gives you a sense of new things in your life.
Click on this link to learn how to do healthy retail therapy.
4. Day Road Trip
Using your self-care day to take a day road trip reduces stress, gives a sense of renewal, boosts happiness, and produces a feeling of resiliency. It removes that nugget of negativity that makes you feel stuck in one place. For that reason, travel decreases depression and anxiety as well.
These are a few great ideas for day road trips.
5. Fishing Trip
Fishing is a sport that provides exercise and a feeling of self-reliance, and it is meditative and connects you directly with nature. Fishing makes an excellent self-care day as it eases depression and anxiety.
Check out this link to see what you might need for a fishing trip.
Some of the items include:
6. Visit a Heritage Site or National Park
There are 423 national parks across the United States. When you take a self-care day to experience the beauty and wonder of one of these magnificent sites, you will find a state of relaxation, rejuvenation, and healing. While you’re there, make terrific lifelong memories.
Take a look at all the opportunities for National Parks.
7. Take a Nature Hike
A nature hike provides a connection with the natural world, often lacking when you’re tied up with making a living and taking care of family. Whether you hike in the desert, the mountains, or through a forest, it will be relaxing, calming, and meditative. Your muscles will get a workout while your mood improves and clarity of thought increases.
You can use an app like Alltrails to find the best hiking trails near you.
8. Sleep all Day
Everyone talks about taking a day just to sleep, but few rarely take a day off to actually do it. If you’re an ambitious person that overworks yourself, you may benefit from this idea.
Sleep is essential to your body, mind, and energy. It rejuvenates you and recharges your battery. If you’re feeling run down, sleeping all day may be the self-care you need. If you need a reason to catch up on rest, check out this link.
Sometimes, focusing on helping others benefits you in ways you may not realize. Giving of yourself causes your brain to release chemicals that create happiness. No kidding. It also reduces stress and gives you a feeling of purpose and satisfaction. It’s a great way to spend the day!
Here are 34 Best Online Volunteering Ideas to get you started.
10. Read a Book
What a great time to sit down, relax outdoors, grab a cup of java, and read that book you’ve always wanted to enjoy. Nowadays, you can download books onto your notepad or smartphone or listen to a great audiobook while you’re relaxing.
Check out Barnes & Noble’s Best Books of the Year.
11. Start a Blog Page
If you’ve got things to say that have been weighing on you, start a blog page. Unload all those positive ideas in a therapeutic way that can also help others sort through their thoughts.
Take a look at The Minimalists’ recommendations for starting a blog page.
These are the main things you’ll need to do to start:
12. Begin Writing a Book
Writing a book is also therapeutic. The creative process relieves stress, anxiety, and depression while providing a satisfying, productive outlet. The creative aspect produces dopamine in your brain, which results in happiness. Give it a go! Try your hand!
Scribe Media gives good advice to get started.
13. Baking Day
Baking is an excellent self-care idea because it is meditative, creative, and relaxing. It also reduces depression and anxiety by stimulating the senses that produce happiness and enjoyment. The delicious by-product then makes everybody happier as their tummies fill up with love.
Check out Baking Smart’s ideas for how to get started baking at home.
14. Mani-Pedi Session
Women and men alike appreciate being pampered and having their hands and feet massaged. Personal grooming and human touch relax your body, mind, and nerves. It’s re-energizing and a fabulous way to spend your self-care day.
Because there are many thousands of nail salons across the country, you may want to check out this site to learn how to choose the best one near you.
15. Get a Reiki Healing Session
Reiki sessions deal with energy. If you have adverse health issues, stress, depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any other problematic condition, Reiki works to correct the energies that feed those troublesome concerns. You will feel relaxation, peace, and a sense of well-being.
Click on this link to learn how to choose the right Reiki practitioner.
16. Take a Yoga Class
As a form of meditation, yoga is relaxing, reduces stress, increases blood flow and flexibility while toning your muscles and making you stronger. You’ll also notice an improvement in mood, mental clarity, and focus. Yoga has been around for a couple of thousand years, so its methods and results are proven.
Yoga Medicine offers a list of the top ten yoga gurus with online classes.
17. Get a Hypnosis Session
Therapeutic hypnosis is designed to help you control negative behaviors and emotions. It can help you break negative habits and cycles that lead to worry, depression, and weighty negative energies. The result of hypnosis as self-care is a feeling of empowerment and overall well-being.
Check out this site to locate a hypnotherapist near you.
18. Adopt a Pet
Adopting a pet not only helps the animal out of a tough situation but also provides a huge emotional benefit to you. Helping an animal releases endorphins that create happiness. Owning a pet decreases loneliness and offers unconditional love and affection.
The ASPCA offers some great advice to get started.
19. Join a New Adventure Group
Being part of an adventure group takes your experience of enjoying the outdoors and expands upon it by the reinforcement of being with like-minded souls. Meeting new people who enjoy what you do is fulfilling and healing.
Consider Meetup’s site to get started by finding a group near you that fits your interests.
20. Do Nothing Day
This self-care idea may well be the most difficult on this list to accomplish. If you know how to take a day and do absolutely nothing, you’re a talented soul. However, doing nothing can be relaxing and revitalizing because you get the rest your body and mind need to function.
No Side Bar has some excellent ways to do nothing all day.
21. Play Date with Kids or Grandkids
If work and responsibilities overwhelm you and dominate your time, you may not be spending a lot of time with your kids or grandkids. Taking a self-care day to reconnect with the young ones can be rejuvenating and rewarding as you create great new memories for yourself and them.
Here are a few ideas for things to do on a play date.
22. Meditation or Prayer Day
A quiet place, a soothing environment, breathing exercises, and mediation or prayer are things you can do to focus on yourself that don’t cost money but bring huge benefits.
Sometimes, we get so busy; we forget to slow down and focus on awareness. Having a day to simply sit in meditation or prayer can help us clear our minds, express gratitude, and convey our wishes for the future.
Meditation Oasis demonstrates how to spend a day in meditation.
23. Bubble Bath with Music and Candles
Pampering yourself at home with a warm bubble bath, music, and candles is therapeutic and revitalizing for your body, mind, and spirit. Take all the time you need and enjoy the relaxation.
Check out Howcast’s ideas for How to Take the Ultimate Relaxing Bath.
24. Start a New Hobby
Spending your self-care day starting a new hobby is exciting and rewarding. Between work, raising kids, and taking care of family, this is probably the first self-care idea you brush aside. Consider doing it. Creativity does beautiful things for the mind, reduces stress, improves your mood, and might even extend your social life.
Here are some ideas to find the right hobbies for you:
- 55 Hobbies for Women to Relax and Enjoy Life
- 101 Hobbies for Men to Add Happiness to Your Life
- 35 Best Solo Hobbies for People to Do Alone
25. Go Horseback Riding
Horseback riding gives you exercise and bonding with an incredible animal. Riding is known to improve PTSD complications and reduce negative psychological issues like depression and anxiety. What an excellent way to spend your self-care day!
Check out this site to locate horseback riding near you.
26. Walk on a Beach
Walking on a beach and connecting with nature is one of the most relaxing and thought-cleansing ideas on this list, perhaps because of the meditative aspect it brings. Your body gets a little exercise, your mood improves, and clarity floods over your mind.
These are some of the best beaches in the U.S.
27. Visit an Animal Sanctuary
Animal sanctuaries are a fantastic place to recalibrate and heal because they connect you with animals that have been rescued from horrible conditions and given a second chance at life. Some sanctuaries have animal-assisted therapy that matches you up with an animal to enhance healing for both of you.
This therapy is often used to help autism, medical conditions, depression, addiction, and schizophrenia. What an optimal self-care idea!
Here, you can locate animal sanctuaries near you.
28. Start Learning a New Language
Learning a new language is a confidence-builder, and as it increases self-esteem, it decreases depression. Learning a language is proven to stimulate neural pathways in the brain. It is a great way to exercise your brain and keep it flexible and on top of your game, cognitively speaking.
See the best language learning apps & software to make learning a new language easier.
Picnicking is therapeutic because it gets you out into nature, where you can connect with the real world. It can provide opportunities to build social interactions and enhance meditation and reflection.
The Spruce Eats offers some great picnic ideas.
30. Visit a Museum or Art Gallery
Visits to museums or art galleries are quiet spaces that allow for meditation, reflection, self-inspection, exploration of expression, and promote wellness. Museums and art galleries promote a sense of identity, clarity, and hope.
Here is some excellent advice for choosing a museum.
31. Create a New Music Playlist
As long as humans have played instruments and sang songs, music has produced therapeutic effects. It improves brain waves, breathing, heart rate, state of mind, and many other things.
It is relaxing, reduces blood pressure, and gives a sense of well-being. Take a self-care day and create a new music playlist for yourself. You won’t regret it.
There are several ways to create a playlist. Click here for ideas to consider.
32. Get a New Hairstyle
Getting a new “do” can give you the sense that the old is gone and exciting new adventures are on the horizon. It provides a sense of hope, self-esteem, self-confidence, and empowerment. Some even say it changes their life. Take a chance. Get a new cut and color and feel the love.
Check out these apps that help you choose your next best hairstyle.
33. Get Your Car Detailed
Your vehicle may be a space where you spend a lot of time, especially commuting to work, chauffeuring kids around, or getting out every day.
Getting your car detailed cleanses that space of gnarly things you haven’t had time to deal with and where dirt and dust accumulate. Having this space detailed can make you feel like a new person.
Here are the top five car detailing franchises in the country.
34. Clean Out Your Closet and Donate a Ton of Stuff
You may not believe this, but decluttering your space is one way of cleansing and purging the old tangible things and energy they carry with them. The excellent flip side is that donating these items provides someone else the opportunity to make use of them, so there’s nothing wasted. Then, you have room to invite exciting new things into your life.
If you don’t know how to begin, The Spruce has good ideas for decluttering.
35. Test Drive Your Dream Car
You’ve fantasized about driving that dream car you’ve always wanted. Why not take a day and do it? If you have a driver’s license and current insurance, there’s no reason why you can’t indulge. It might be the ultimate self-care day ever!
Check out Consumer Reports’ tips on taking a test drive.
36. Dress up and visit a new restaurant.
Think about that restaurant in town you always wanted to try but never had a chance to. Dress up and either invite a friend or make a date with yourself and go. Forget your diet for one day and order whatever sounds delicious.
37. Join a gym with a sauna.
Joining a gym helps you get in mood-boosting exercise regardless of the weather conditions.
It helps you feel healthier and is probably on your list of things you want to do anyway. Make sure it has a sauna so you can relax and treat yourself after each workout session!
38. Unfollow toxic people on social media.
This is the perfect time to go through your friends' list on social media and get rid of all those people that bring you down or simply don't add to your daily enjoyment. If you haven't interacted with someone for several months, let them go.
If they regularly make snide comments or post things that upset you, let them go. You'll feel much lighter and feel that the time you do spend on social media is much more mood-lifting.
If you wonder which people you follow on social media are toxic see 33 traits that will tell you is someone is toxic.
39. Create a vision board.
Think about your dreams and goals. Grab some markers, magazines, and craft supplies, and create a vision board that you can look at every day to remind yourself to keep reaching for the things you want in life. Vision boards help send a message to your brain that you will make things happen.
Learn everything you need to know about how to make a vision board.
40. Embrace your inner child.
Remember how easy it was to just let go as a child? Let that little one out for the day! Go fly a kite, blow bubbles, stomp in puddles or jump into leaf piles. You don't need to bring an actual child along, just go and enjoy the freedom of doing something merely because it's fun to do,
41. Work in your garden.
Digging in the dirt and breathing in that scent has a positive effect on the brain. Knowing that you are responsible for creating the beautiful flowers that grace your entryway or that the ingredients in your salad were all your doing creates a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
42. Do something creative.
Have you ever wished you could paint a Bob Ross picture? Grab some material and find a video and paint away. You don't have to be perfect, just enjoy.
Make sure you include happy trees! If painting doesn't interest you, consider sculpting with modeling clay or find a ceramics class.
43. Plan a dream vacation.
We've all dreamed of spending a week on a tropical island, visiting the pyramids, or traipsing through a rainforest. Even if you don't think you will get there anytime soon, act as though you will.
Plan it down to the details of where you will stay and what places you will visit. You just may find out it gives you the incentive to set a goal. Learn about the states you plan to visit.
44. Get a professional portrait done.
Most of us haven't had a professional portrait taken since we were kids. Don't just book any normal phot session, find a place that does glamour shots.
They normally have costumes to choose from and spend time doing up your hair and makeup before the shoot. For those more adventurous, try a boudoir portrait. Whichever you choose, you will find inspiration in seeing yourself in a new light.
45. Sky watch.
There are so many possibilities here! Remember as a kid when you'd lay back and look for pictures in the clouds. Do this. Or, take in a beautiful sunrise or sunset or throw a blanket out under the stars and watch a meteor shower.
Watching the vastness of the sky reminds us that we are but a small part of the Universe–and somehow that makes any problems seem so much less daunting.
46. Buy yourself flowers.
How often have you passed a flower display in a grocery store and stopped to admire the flowers for sale? Pick one that makes you smile and buy it. Passing a flower shop and want something special? Go in.
You can gain points if you buy the wares from a street vendor. Somehow, those special flowers mean even more. I once bought a dozen rainbow-colored roses from a man selling them on the corner. We were stopped at a red light at the time and the transaction was done through the open car window!
47. Go on a photo adventure.
Set yourself a challenge like finding something beginning with the first letter of the alphabet or a picture from every color of the rainbow. Just grab your camera and get started. Don't worry about perfect shots, just have fun.
48. Do random acts of kindness.
Chances to make people smile are everywhere. Pick a number and set out to make that many people smile before you return home. You could pass out compliments, get a bouquet of flowers and pass them out, or buy dollar burgers and pass them around. Just look around and see what opportunities present themselves!
See 151 Great Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness
49. Go on a bike ride.
When was the last time you hopped on a bicycle and set out for a ride along your favorite bike path? This might be the best time to remind yourself of how good it feels to have the wind blowing in your hair as you take in the scenery and just enjoy the feeling of flying.
50. Buy a new journal and pens.
Who couldn't use a beautiful new journal and a set of colored pens? Look for one that really captures your attention.
Have favorite pens that you may not feel you can justify buying when you have a lot of them at home? Buy them. Go home and make your first journal entry
51. Create a photo collage of your favorite people/memories.
Go through your photos and pick out about a dozen that remind you of your favorite memories. These can be places, objects, or people. Create a collage you can hang up to remind yourself of the special times and people in your life.
52. Start a gratitude jar or journal.
While many people get in the habit of a gratitude journal that lists three things they are grateful for each day, why not create a gratitude jar? Find a beautiful container and gather strips of paper.
Write one item on each strip and place it in the jar. Do this whenever you think of something. At the end of the year, pull out all the strips and read them to see how blessed your year was.
53. Create a self-care kit.
Once you see how good a self-care day makes you feel, you will want to find time to take one more often. Grab a container and put together a number of items that you can pull out whenever the urge hits.
Including things like a good book, bubble bath, candles, essential oils, and anything else that makes you happy. If you have extra money to spend, sign up for one of those monthly delivery services that send you a kit every month or two.
54. Teach your dog a new trick.
Maybe your dog won't learn it, but spending time with the one being that loves you unconditionally will make you happier. You and him may enjoy the feeling of success from learning or simply relish in each other's company as you go for a walk (let him lead) or cuddle up on the couch.
55. Grab friends and visit an escape room.
Spending time with those who make you laugh can have you feeling good for days. Gather a friend or two and decide on something to do together that isn't something you normally do.
You can visit an escape room, play a round of miniature gold, or visit the local arcade for a journey back through the years.
More Blog Posts to Help You Make A More Enjoyable Life
- Couples Bucket List: 69 Fun Activities to Do Together
- 11 Steps to Stop Caring So Much
- 17 Valuable Things in Life That Money Can't Buy
- 95 Self-Care Affirmations for a Positive Start to the Day
- 43 Best Self-Care Sunday Ideas for a Relaxing Day Off
Final Thoughts on These Self Care Day Ideas
There is only one you. Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually is your most critical task. No one else can do it for you. And while others can lead you to the Fountain of Youth, no one can make you drink. It’s all on you to make it happen.
Make the time, take the day off, and do something extraordinary for yourself. You’ve earned it. Be at peace, love one another, and take a peek at 9 Spiritual Principles to Find Meaning in Our Daily Existence.
Rain Story is an author and screenwriter. She is an alumna of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Kentucky. She earned two B.A.s and four years of graduate studies in literature, languages, and creative writing before personal tragedies pulled her away from her graduate work. She is also a Donaghey Scholar and fellow of the William G. Cooper, Jr. Honors Program in English.
Finally, if you want to increase your happiness and life satisfaction, then watch this free video that details the 7-minute habit for planning your day to focus on what's important.