The Importance of Self Care and How to Practice It Every Day {with FREE printable checklist}

With so much going on in our lives, particularly at the moment, it can be hard to remember to look after ourselves and our own mental health.  But, however busy you are, and however many other people rely on you, it's not selfish to take some time out for yourself each day to focus on your self care.

Don't look at this time as a luxury, it is a necessity if you are to be able to function well and look after yourself and others tomorrow, the next day and in the days to come.  Here's how to practice some self care every day.

The Benefits of Self Care

Self care is, put simply, taking better care of yourself, which is essential for your mental and physical health. It can really make a positive impact on your life, and is a key way to relieve stress.

Here are just four of the benefits of self care:

1. It helps to relieve stress

If you are like most people, you probably deal with a lot of stress. This can be stress from your job, financial situation, relationships, or other personal reasons.

Self care is important for stress relief because it helps to improve your mood, and helps you take better care of yourself. Keep in mind that self care doesn't have to be either time consuming or costly, it can be as simple as taking a bath or going for a walk.

2. It can improve your mental health

In addition to relieving your stress, self care can also help improve other aspects of your mental health. Perhaps you have anxiety or depression, and are trying to relax while also figuring out your triggers.

Well, things like writing in a journal and walking help you to accomplish both. You are able to focus more on your mental health during these activities, so you are practicing self care while actually improving your mental health at the same time.


3. It helps boost your self esteem

Did you know taking better care of yourself can help with your self esteem? Lack of proper self care often causes you to feel bad about yourself, so you will not feel healthy, fit or beautiful.

With higher self esteem, you raise your confidence, and that can help boost your mood and help with your stress levels too.

4. You deserve some quality time

Don’t underestimate the power of having quality time to yourself. There are so many ways to do this, whether you allow yourself some time to meditate in the morning, get up early to have your cup of coffee alone, or have dance parties in the living room with your family.

This quality time gives you a short break from your daily life, and can be so wonderful for your self care.  Try to give yourself at least a few minutes a day for self care. It will help reduce your stress and improve other areas of your mental health.

Simple Everyday Ways to Practice Self Care

Self care is vitally important not just for stress relief but also for overall mental health. It doesn’t take a lot to take proper care of yourself and only requires a few minutes day.  Find that time by getting up a bit earlier or by kicking your TV habit once the kids are in bed.

Here are some simple ways to practice self care every day:

1. Keep a journal

A really excellent way to start practicing self care every day is to keep a journal. We recommend a good old-school physical notebook and pen, as this is something you can easily keep with you no matter where you are.

Write whenever you feel stressed or just to talk about your day. It can be very cathartic.

2. Spend some time alone every day

Make sure you have at least a few minutes each day all to yourself. This can be a 30-minute walk that you go on after dinner, a 15-minute facial or manicure all alone in your room, or just a peaceful 5 minutes in the morning before everyone else gets up in which to enjoy your cup of coffee.

It can seem so simple and minimal, but these little stretches of time where you are alone and just doing something for yourself can make all the difference.

3. Get more exercise

Exercise will help you feel better about yourself and raise your self confidence, which also helps your mental state. Plus, exercise is really good for helping to relieve stress.  The endorphins you get from exercise can really help to lift your mood too.

You don’t need to go to the gym for an hour every day either. Something as simple as an afternoon walk or doing weight lifting in the morning before your shower is perfect.

You can also take advantage of other activities that include exercise, such as taking your dogs for longer walks or taking the kids hiking over the weekend so everybody is exercising more.

In addition to exercise, you should also be focusing on proper diet by drinking more water and eating healthier. This is all part of taking better care of yourself.

Try These Self Care Activities

If you are looking to improve your self care more, here are some of our most highly recommended activities to get you started with proper daily self care.

Try Sensory Activities

When you are working on self care for stress relief, one thing to note is that sensory activities can have a really beneficial effect. You should try to find activities that use different senses, like touch, smell, taste, or sight.

Perhaps you want to have a bonfire at the beach, which is going to use multiple senses. You can smell the fire and the saltwater in the ocean, see the flames, feel the warmth and the wind from the ocean, and possibly even taste salt in the air. Try to find activities that really awaken your senses.

Exercise on a Regular Basis

Exercising regularly is good for your body and your mind, and can do wonders for stress. If you have a lot of mental stress, you can improve your mood and feel happier by releasing endorphins.

You can choose a type of workout that helps you take better care of your physical and mental health, whether you relax during yoga, have fun while dancing, or get some quiet time by going for a walk or hike. Think of exercise that you enjoy doing, but that will also give you the time alone that you really need.


Do Creative Activities

Another way to practice self care is to find creative or artistic activities that you enjoy. If you used to love drawing or painting, why not try it again now?

Just because you’re older and have other responsibilities, doesn’t mean you have to let go of your favourite things to do. Take a sketchbook out with you and draw something during your walk, or even in your lunch break from work.

Or you can get adult colouring books and some coloured pencils and take them with you anywhere, like the train or the bus.  You could also try different types of crafts you enjoy doing, like making wreaths for family as Christmas gifts or doing some baking.

Try to find ways to release your inner creative energy, no matter what that entails. You will feel better by doing something you love, plus you get some quality time that helps to relieve stress at the same time.

Self Care Activities That Cost You Nothing

Remember, self care activities don’t have to include getting an expensive facial or massage, or joining a gym. You can practice self care every single day and not spend a thing.

Here are some great free or low cost ways to embed more quality self care in your life:

Take a Bubble Bath

As long as you have the bath supplies, this isn’t going to cost you a penny. Run yourself a hot bath and pour in some bubbles, essential oils, or baths salts. Soak in the tub with some music playing or just sit in silence.

Hint: music is a good distraction if you have kids in the house that you want to tune out for the time being. Lock the door so you have no distractions and let the dogs out so they don’t bother you either. And it goes without saying that you shouldn't take your mobile phone in the bathroom with you!

Try Meditation

Many people also like to give meditation a try when they begin to practice self care. This is something else that can be free or possibly cost a small amount of money, depending on your method.

For example, if you want to purchase a meditation CD to follow along to, naturally you will be spending a small amount of money. However, for the most part, this is minimal and a one-time cost.

Meditation involves breathing exercises and sitting in a quiet space alone while you relax your mind. You should try to think about as little as possible, using imagery to think of something that brings you peace and happiness, instead of using this time to think about what is causing you stress in the first place.

It does take a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, you will realize just how beneficial meditation can be.

Go For a Walk or Run

Exercise should always be at the top of your list when you are trying to find activities for yourself that don’t cost anything. Many workouts, including both walking and running, cost nothing.

Just wear comfortable clothes and a good pair of shoes, and you’re good to go! You can walk around your local area, head to somewhere more scenic, or even walk in up and down the stairs at home if the weather is bad outside.

Creative and Artistic Ways to Practice Self Care

Not all self care activities involve going for a walk or meditating. There are also quite a few creative activities that will channel your inner artist or writer, and still provide excellent self care benefits.

Here are some creative and artistic activities to help you practice self care:

Try Drawing or Painting

Self care is simply about doing activities that makes you feel good about yourself and can distract you from what is causing you stress, thereby helping you to spend more time focusing on yourself. So grab a sketchbook and some art tools to draw, sketch, or paint as you wish.

Get a Colouring Book

Adult colouring books have been popular for a while, and are available in all sorts of different designs, depending on what you are interested in. You can get gardens and flowers, animals, patterns, scripture, or even colouring books with curse words in them. This allows you to be creative and de-stress by simply colouring and not having to worry about anything.

Learn a New Craft

What better way to express your creative side than to learn something brand new? This is the perfect opportunity to get out there and try a new craft or form of art. You don’t have to be naturally artistic to be creative and enjoy any type of creative activity.

Think of some hobbies you always wondered about.  You could take up oil painting, making jewellery or metal stamping, or simply give sewing or knitting a try.


Writing can be very therapeutic, whether writing in a journal, writing short stories or working on a novel. One good practice to start writing is to set a timer for 10 minutes, then just start writing whatever comes to mind. Continue writing without taking a break until the timer goes off.

Put your pages away without re-reading them and continue the practice for a period of time, say a week, a fortnight, or even a month.  Then get them all out and re-read what you have written.  The insights from this can be amazing.

Self Care Activities For a Bad Day

When you have a bad day, you might find that you want to grab a drink or eat something unhealthy. But a better option is to work on your self care activities, which can make you feel better and will be good for you at the same time.

Try these calming and fun self care activities:

Watch Something Funny

Don’t underestimate the power of laughter! If you are having a terrible day, watch TV or a movie that makes you laugh. Avoid action, drama, and other genres that might make you feel miserable by the end. Binge watch your favorite comedy on Netflix, or turn on the TV to try something new. Laughing is extremely healing and can quickly change your mood even after the very worst of days.

Get Out More

Spending more time with your loved ones can be great for self care. Many people think being alone is the only way to take care of themselves and relieve stress, but sometimes the best thing for you is being around others.

Think about your daily lifestyle and what tends to stress you out. You might find that you feel worse when you are constantly alone, but your mood seems to lift on happy hour night or when visiting your best friend. This is a good sign that what you really need is to get out and spend more time with others.

Try meeting co-workers for drinks after work or calling up a sister or cousin to have a girl’s night out. Get a little bit out of your comfort zone and it can be very good for you.

Meditate For 10 Minutes

On a really bad day, try to have at least a short meditation session. Even if you can’t find a few minutes where you are alone, you can think of other places you might be alone and able to meditate, like when you are going on a walk or run, or while taking a shower.

However you choose to do it, commit to improving your mental health with self care every day from now onward.

If you have been prioritising self-care but are still experiencing mental health issues like depression or anxiety, it is recommended that you speak to a professional. Licensed therapists (like those at BetterHelp) can address the underlying causes behind mental health issues, so that you can maximise the benefits of self-care.

And remember to grab our free checklist to stick to your wall as a daily self care reminder!


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