Make time for me-time with these simple self-care ideas

by Kaiser Permanente |
Person practicing self-care by writing in journal outside

Life has ups and downs, and it’s important to find ways to manage stress, build resilience, and feel mentally and emotionally strong. Self-care can help you overcome these day-to-day challenges. There are many ways to practice self-care — and it’s important to find a routine that works for you. Since it’s a brand-new year, now’s a perfect time to make self-care part of your routine. The mind-body benefits of self-care are real and can help support your overall health and well-being.

Get to know the different types of self-care

There are lots of ways you can practice self-care. Even something as simple as drinking more water throughout the day is a small act of self-care. Breaking down the different types can help you narrow down what kinds of activities you’d like to explore.

  • Physical — Eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and prioritizing your health.
  • Mental — Being creative, keeping your mind sharp, and learning and trying new things.
  • Emotional — Self-compassion, acceptance, and creating space to express how you feel.
  • Social — Nurturing relationships and spending quality, face-to-face time with friends and family.
  • Spiritual — Spending time in nature, meditating, practicing religion — anything that feeds your soul.

3 simple self-care ideas to try today

Self-care is personal. As long as it’s something you do for yourself to enhance your well-being, it counts. How you choose to practice it is up to you, but here are some quick, easy, and free ideas you can try:

Take a mindful moment

Short on time? When stress strikes, emotions rise, or you just need to recharge, one minute can make all the difference. Try this quick and simple way to get calm, focused, and centered:

  • Get comfortable. Relax your jaw, sit up straight, and drop your shoulders.
  • Set a timer for 1 minute.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply. Notice how your breath moves through your body.
  • Count your breaths. Inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3. When you get to 10, start over.
  • When your mind wanders, bring your focus back to your breathing.

Get down to earth and into nature

Spending time in nature can ease symptoms of stress and anxiety and help you feel happier and healthier.1,2 Head outside to enjoy the view, breathe the fresh air, and quiet your mind. You can try:

  • Walking, biking, or hiking
  • Forest bathing
  • Stargazing or cloud watching
  • Joining a community garden
  • Literally stopping to smell the roses
  • Sitting under a tree and reading, journaling, or just being still

Limit your screentime

Phones and tablets need time to reboot, and so does your brain. Yet, since early 2020, screen time increased by 80% for American adults.3 And being connected to technology nonstop has been linked to sleep issues, depression, and anxiety. 3,4 Spending time offline helps you reconnect with yourself and others. So instead of scrolling, posting, and texting, try one of these tech-free self-care activities:

  • Get creative and draw, dance, write, cook, or play and create music
  • Spend some real face time with family or friends
  • Declutter your desk or clean out your closet

A little self-care goes a long way

Practicing self-care only takes a bit of time and effort, and it can make a big difference in how you feel. For more inspiration, check out our wellness resources — including self-care apps to help with stress, sleep, anxiety, and more.

MaryCarol R. Hunter et al., “Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress in the Context of Daily Life Based on Salivary Biomarkers,” Frontiers in Psychology, April 4, 2019.

Mathew P. White et al., “Spending At Least 120 Minutes a Week In Nature Is Associated with Good Health and Wellbeing,” Scientific Reports, June 13, 2019.

Apurvakumar Pandya and Pragya Lodha, “Social Connectedness, Excessive Screen Time During COVID-19 and Mental Health: A Review of Current Evidence,” Frontiers In Human Dynamics, July 22, 2021.

Qiyu Chen et al., “The Impact of Screen Time Changes on Anxiety During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Sleep and Physical Activity as Mediators,” Sleep and Biological Rhythms, June 16, 2022.