Scent. Burn scented candles or incense. Pick some fresh flowers or herbs for your home (basil = heaven). Fry onions or garlic if it’s your thing (it’s definitely mine). If you can afford to, buy some essential oils that make you feel relaxed. You can wear them as perfume or dilute them with water and put into a spray bottle for your bed sheets. Bake cookies. Sit in a local coffee shop. Buy or make some fancy scented soap or lotion and use it liberally.
Touch. Are there textures that you find soothing? Collect them and keep them somewhere. Cuddle with a stuffed animal, a pillow, or a person. Go out in the grass with bare feet. Or to the beach (I love sand between my toes). Have a long, soothing bath or shower. Masturbate. Finger paint with your body as the canvas.
Sound. Go to the beach, or download/buy a cd of relaxing sounds like ocean waves (my favorite). Discover new music. Make a mix cd. Blast your favorite music. Sing along. Play an instrument.
Sight. Make an inspiration board. Redecorate your space. Find quotes that are the most helpful/inspirational to you and put them in places you’ll see them (ie. your walls). Go to a museum, zoo, aquarium, or another place that is visually stimulating. Change the lighting in your home/room (sometimes just covering a lampshade in a sheer colored fabric is enough) - this can make a huge impact on mood.
Taste. Try a new recipe or cook something familiar and comforting. Eat your favorite food. Eat juicy fresh fruit. Drink your favorite tea. Go to a restaurant, with a friend or by yourself (if you can), either a new one or your favorite one.
Self care activities:
Dance. In public or alone. Naked or clothed. Learn the dance moves from your favorite music videos or movies.
Write. Write yourself a letter (to your future self, past self, or for times of distress). Write someone else a letter. Write fiction or nonfiction. Write about something fun or ridiculous that happened to you, or something you wish would happen to you. Write erotica. Write poetry. Write an essay or a speech. Write a blog post or make a zine. Write down a list of things you like about yourself, and/or things that you’re good at.
Talk. Talk to your pet. Call a friend. Hang out with someone. Talk to a stranger. Go to a social event by yourself. Practice daily affirmations.
Exercise. Hula hoop. Go for a run, a hike, or a long bike ride. Go swimming or use your favorite equipment at the gym. Stretch. Practice yoga or pilates. Take an exercise class.
Go outside. Fresh air can do wonders. Walk around a familiar space, or explore a new one. Sit or lie in a park with a book or your imagination. Watch clouds or animals or other people. Blow bubbles or fly a kite. Go to a park with swings, and swing. Sunbathe. Tend to a garden or start one.
Learn. A new skill or new language. Read something that’s challenging. Watch a nature documentary.
Relax. Sleep. Sleep in. Stay in bed all day if you want/need to. Call out of work. Recognize the ways you’ve been pressuring yourself and try to let go. Do breathing exercises. Meditate.
Laugh. Watch a funny TV show or movie, or read a funny book. Tell jokes or learn new ones. Make funny faces at yourself in the mirror. Be goofy. Try laughter yoga.
Fun. Make travel plans. Play games, by yourself or with other people. Play with a pet, or go to an animal shelter and play with animals there. Go shopping, window or real. Play a sport. Dress up in clothes that make you feel fancy.
Beauty rituals. Get a haircut or do it yourself. Trim your bangs. Dye your hair. Paint your nails. Get a massage, pedicure, or other spa treatments if you have the money. Play with make up. Get a free makeover.
Use your hands. If you’re into it: knit, sew, embroider, cross stitch, draw, paint, take pictures. Weave, collage, reupholster a piece of furniture, build something, work on your car/bike, plant trees, go foraging.
Most importantly, GO EASY ON YOURSELF! Recognize your limitations and don’t overdo it. Don’t get too down on yourself for not getting shit done. Try to eliminate thoughts revolving around a need to be “productive”. If you need medication, please take it and realize there’s nothing wrong or “weak” about doing so. Recognize your needs and articulate them, especially when it comes to relationships with others. Realize there’s nothing wrong with being “selfish”. Cry when you need to. Identify & eliminate toxic people and behaviors from your life. Remember, you’re allowed to say no, and you deserve love too. Taking care of yourself and putting yourself first in a capitalist system is a form of resistance.