A smiling woman enjoys craft time with two friends.

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

JAN 02, 2020
  • Share this:
  • Linkedin

Life has ups and downs, and self-care can help you manage stress, build resilience, and feel mentally and emotionally strong. It doesn’t really matter what you do — just that you do it for yourself. Since it’s a brand new year, now’s a perfect time to make self-care part of your healthy routine. The mind-body benefits are real, and you deserve it.


Get to know the different types of self-care

There are lots of ways you can practice self-care. Even something as simple as making an effort to drink 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 you can 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 is up to you, but here are some quick, easy, and free ideas you might want to try:


1. 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 breath.

2. 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
  • Stargazing or cloud watching
  • Walking barefoot on the grass, dirt, or sand
  • Literally stopping to smell the roses
  • Sitting under a tree and reading, journaling, or just being still

3. Unplug to recharge

Phones and tablets need time to reboot, and so does your brain. But 43% of Americans constantly check their emails, texts, or social media accounts, and being connected to technology nonstop can cause stress levels to rise.3 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, or cook
  • Spend some real face time with family or friends
  • Declutter your desk, clean out your closet, or tackle other to-do’s

A little self-care goes a long way

Practicing self-care only takes a little bit of time and effort, and it can make a big difference in how you feel. For more inspiration, check out our new wellness resources — including videos, audio activities, articles, guided meditations, and more. They’re all reviewed and recommended by Kaiser Permanente physicians, and designed to support your healthy mind, body, and spirit.


1MaryCarol 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.

 2Colin A. Capaldi et al., “The Relationship Between Nature Connectedness and Happiness: A Meta-Analysis,” Frontiers in Psychology, September 8, 2014.

3“Stress in America: Coping With Change,” American Psychological Association, 2017.

TOPICShealthy lifestyleMental Health and Wellnessmind body healthself-careStress Management