10 Daily Self-Care Activities

Updated April 25, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

The National Institute of Mental Health defines self-care as taking time to do things that promote your mental and physical health and your general well-being.  Practicing self-care comes with a number of personal benefits, such as lowering your risk for illness, helping you to manage stress, and increase your vitality. When you care for yourself without the need for medical or other professional interventions, you are practicing self-care. 

Self-care is something you can practice each day and can help your personal growth and path to emotional wellness. These emotional wellness activities can be as simple as taking a walk or eating your favorite food for lunch. As much as you want to practice self-care, sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Maybe you already have a routine or activities you have been doing to help improve your life, but you are bored or uninspired. Fortunately, there are many ways to practice self-care. You do not have to look at it as daunting, and in fact, it is not as complicated as you might imagine. Here are some ways that you can practice taking care of yourself each day. It takes one small change to make a massive difference in a person’s life. Continue reading about these daily exercises and examples of self-care to discover which ones work for you. These are among the best things to do by yourself.

Wondering How To Create A Fulfilling Self-Care Routine?

  1. Give A Gift

One of the best self-care tips you can live by is being good to yourself, which can translate to doing things that bring you happiness, including giving to yourself or others. You can gift yourself with a new item of clothing or a favorite dessert to celebrate your existence. You can also make yourself a delicious meal from food you bought from farmer’s market. Reminding yourself that life is not all about working to make money by taking yourself out to lunch is a form of self-care. 

You can also give a gift to a loved one or even a stranger. Research has shown that people who spend money or give gifts to others report a higher level of happiness than when they spent money on themselves. Giving also does not mean spending money to purchase an elaborate gift. Maybe you have been thinking about an old friend and have yet to reach out. Take some time and write them a letter and send it in the mail. Our society is focused on electronic communications, such as emails and text messages, to communicate with lightening speed. The art of the handwritten letter has been lost and your friend will be happy to receive a card or letter in the mail. Gift-giving, whether it is to yourself or others like a friend, can bring you happiness, which is an essential part of enjoying life. 

  1. Take A Walk

One simple act you can incorporate into your self-care routine is taking a walk and enjoying the beauty of natural surroundings. Walks are therapeutic because they are not an extreme form of physical activity, but they can reset your mind and body. This low-intensity physical activity has been shown in research to lower symptoms of depression and anxiety with the added benefits of improved health, such as lowering your blood pressure. 

A walk is relatively easy to incorporate into a daily self-care routine. You can fit a stroll in during a busy day by walking to or from work or after the workday to reduce stress. Walks are meant to be pleasant and not stressful experiences to stay healthy. When you are walking, stay off your phone and listen to your emotions. Try to think of things you are grateful for, this can increase the benefits of your walk by building in positive mental health practices. Another way to improve a walk is to take one with a friend. The benefits of a walk for the brain and body last beyond a whole day, and a new habit starts with five minutes of walking.

  1. Get A Fidget Toy And Use It

Sensory stimulation, such as using a fidget toy or stress ball for self-control can be a form of self-care. If you find that certain situations cause you to feel anxious or scenarios where it is hard to focus – self-care could mean having a safety object with you. Fidget toys can have a positive effect on our mental health as a form of self-care activity. It can be challenging to manage life’s stressors, but it is a little easier when you have a small safety object. Fidget toys are not just for children. They have been known to help adults cope with anxiety and ADHD symptoms. If you are feeling nervous, it can help to have something to hold, play with or squeeze. A fidget has been scientifically studied and shown to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, improve focus, and instill a sense of calm. 

  1. Exercise

One popular form of self-care that also improves physical health is exercise. Regular physical activity can enhance your personal growth, lower levels of stress hormones, and improve your mood. Multiple studies have found that exercise can help relieve stress and anxiety. This decrease in negative emotions can be attributed to the added levels of endorphins, and serotonin exercising produces. These chemicals are known to improve one’s mood and sense of well-being. 

Exercise can relieve stress and anxiety not only due to physiological actions within the body but can help a person healthily distract themselves about the concerns of the day. When you exercise, you can focus solely on the physical task at hand and let go of any worries or stress you are currently managing. This active form of mindfulness is a healthy coping mechanism that frees you from external responsibilities into the present now of your body and mind. 

Whether you go to the gym or do physical activity at home, exercise is something you can incorporate into your daily self-care routine. Try to engage in different forms of exercise each day to keep you motivated. You can use a home elliptical machine or treadmill one day. Another day you can practice yoga in a class or in the safe space of your house. There are many different health benefits to physical activity, and when you engage in long term exercise, you will reap the rewards. You will especially notice it when you feel stressed..

  1. Keep Morning Journal

Some people like to call it “morning pages.” When you wake up in the morning, write a page or two of what you are thinking while you are eating your breakfast and drinking your morning coffee and a cozy blanket. You can get out your thoughts for the day and release any anxiousness or other feelings that you might have. Sometimes we are so preoccupied with rushing through the morning routine that we forget to embrace quiet moments. 

Another strategy for making the time for your self-care routine is to set your alarm a few minutes earlier than usual. Take that time to write down your thoughts and feelings. You may be surprised at how refreshed you feel after letting out these words into a journal. Self-care is not just about physical activity; it is also a mental and emotional movement. It can be an excellent way to practice mindfulness, and when you re-read it, you may find some inspiring quotes. A good place to start with a morning journal is to write about what you are grateful for. Research shows that being grateful can improve one’s mental health, including reducing your risk for depression, anxiety, and other stress-related disorders.

  1. Start A Dream Journal

Dream journaling is an introspective way of practicing self-care. A dream journal is a writing space where you can record your dreams, especially those that resonate upon awakening. There are many subconscious mysteries revealed in our dreams along with recurring themes or patterns that are reflections of your personhood. Keep a notebook next to the bed and record your dream the next day, writing each detail and feeling you can remember. If you write soon after awakening, you are likely to remember more details. 

According to research, images in dreams can help people to integrate emotions and concerns that are experienced in waking hours to work towards resolution. When you record your dreams, you may notice repetitive images or themes and relate them to what you are managing in life currently. This can reduce stress and help you identify areas you need to process. You may find comfort in recalling how your mind wanders to mysterious places while you are sleeping. If you are seeing a therapist, you can bring your dream journal to sessions and discuss what you think the dreams mean. There are forms of therapy that focus on dream interpretation. The benefits of recording dreams are many, and understanding the nature of your dreams can improve your mental health.

  1. Have A Dance Party By Yourself

Dancing can be an excellent form of self-care. When you have had a stressful day, turn up some music, and dance those feelings out. Having a dance party in your living room, kitchen, or bedroom can release good-feeling endorphins and help you let go of your daily stressors. Dancing is a form of physical activity that does not feel like a monotonous workout, but rather joy in movement. When you have a dance party alone, you do not have to worry about how you look or who is watching and it does not have to be a “health fitness” sort of activity. Your dance party is more about releasing pent up energy and emotional distress, or just a way for you to enjoy yourself. You can also look for local dance studios or your local community center that may offer free dance classes where you can join others in a social setting. 

8.      Take a Nap

It is easy to get swept up in our hectic lives and forget about self-care. Before you know it, you are physically and emotionally exhausted. One way to handle these issues is by carving out time in the day to rest. Allow yourself to take a nap. Studies have shown that daytime naps can help reduce fatigue and increase your ability to control your emotions. A short nap that lasts from 15-20 minutes positively affects a person’s cognitive functioning. When you sleep, even for brief periods, it helps the brain increase focus. When you wake up from a short sleep, you will feel rejuvenated and refreshed. If you can sleep in nature, like a wooded backyard, even better. If you want to take a nap but need to unwind first, create a warm bath or a bubble bath. Naps are an excellent form of self-care that is simple to practice.

Wondering How To Create A Fulfilling Self-Care Routine?

  1. Go For a Drive

Spending time driving for pleasure can be another form of self-care. If you want, you can make a self-care day of it and enjoy leisurely travel around your area or to a nearby destination—simply with the goal of feeling relaxed. Instead of having a destination in mind, take a drive for fun. You can explore a part of town or the countryside you have never seen before. If you live in a city, you might drive out of city limits to a natural setting to get some fresh air for self-care. You might discover a new place you can revisit. Many people find that driving for fun clears their head, especially if they drive out into the country and nature. You can also listen to music or a podcast to take your mind off things. If you are overwhelmed, going for a ride might help. You may be one of the individuals who find driving relaxing. It is a way to spend quality time with yourself and spend time in the present moment. The process of taking care of yourself through the occasional drive can boost your mood and energy.

  1. Therapy

If you find that trying to work through life’s stressors through self-care and self-management issues is not working, consider making an appointment with a mental health therapist. Talking to a mental health therapist is a safe space where can talk out your feelings and develop strategies that help build resilience against the negative effects of stress. Mental health support can provide insight and clarity that may help a solution seem more possible and tangible and offers additional support until one's circumstances can be improved.

While in-person therapy is beneficial, many people find it difficult to manage appointments, commutes, and the inconvenience of making time for therapy. In these cases, online therapy can be a beneficial alternative to in-person therapy. Online therapy has also been shown in several studies to be not only just as effective as in-person but in some cases more beneficial due to availability factors and cost-effectiveness. This is especially true for people who are unable to find mental health support due to limited reach to psychotherapy resources, availability difficulties because of living in a rural or isolated location, and personal limitations that keep someone from making an appointment due to stigma or feeling embarrassed. 

As you continue reading articles on BetterHelp, remember that you are in the right place to find a good therapist to help you with self-care. For many, there may be no right time to start counseling. You may be managing a particular mental health issue like chronic anxiety, or perhaps you want some support in daily life. The therapists at BetterHelp understand the various reasons why people seek therapy. You might be concerned to release your personal details to an online therapy company or think, “will they sell my info?” That is not something that BetterHelp does. Your information is safe. You can get the support you need with a trusted online therapist and find ways to care for you in daily life.


In life, we face pressure from work, family, relationships, and school, which can in-time increase stress and fatigue. Furthermore, many of us are managing mental health conditions that complicate our ability to function with ease and comfort. National Self-Care Day is an important component that all people will benefit from when they practice it, however, this can also be difficult to include in our busy lives. If you are finding it challenging to engage in self-care, a therapist can provide you with techniques to help yourself and give you guidance on how to carve the time into your day to nourish your mind and body.

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