50 Simple Acts of Self Care that Don’t Take a Lot of Time, Effort, or Money

Simple acts of self care

Read on to find out some easy ways to make yourself feel better and more loved. These small acts of self care don’t take too much effort yet can have big impact on your mood and self esteem!

For someone who truly believes in the importance of self love and self care, I have been treating myself in a rather contrary manner for the better part of this year.

I soon got to a point where I was desperate to make some changes. And since I always do better with writing things out and then analyzing them, I started working my way through my recently released self love journal & workbook. Feels like a self plug, but the journal is proving to be really helpful in finding my way back to myself.

It’s not always easy to open yourself up and be vulnerable (even to your own self) but it’s a part of the process to make the real (internal) shift happen.

Anyway, all this self-reflection has driven home the fact for me that by not taking care of myself beyond the adulting basics, I really haven’t done my physical or mental health any favor. So slowly but surely, I am working on re-incorporating small acts of self care into my daily schedule.

And I know, it often seems like self-care is a luxury that we indulge in. But from my first-hand experience, I know that without taking care of ourselves, we can quickly become burnt out and/or unproductive.

It’s important to take care of yourself so you can continue to be your best self!

Simple Acts of Self Care: Low on Time and Effort, High on Impact

In the interest of keeping things simple, I’ve rounded up 50 simple acts of self-care that won’t cost you a lot of money or time but will make a big difference in how you feel about yourself!

1| Make your bed

It hardly takes much time to make your bed in the morning, but this simple act allows you to start your day off on a win, no matter how small it might seem.

2| Repeat 5-10 positive affirmations to yourself

A little bit of uplifting pep-talk never really hurt anyone!

Check out: 30 Body Positive Affirmations and 30 Self Love Affirmations

3| Change up your outfit to the vibe you want to achieve

If you want to have a productive day, get out of your pajamas and wear whatever makes you feel more confident and put together. If you’re having a lazy, restful day, by all means, hang around in your comfiest pajamas.

4| Eat nutritious food

Switch your mental talk about food from calories and macros to nutrition. No doubt when you’re working towards a certain fitness/weight goal, calories and macros are important, but thinking of food in terms of nutrition is a far more gentler approach that you start practicing to make peace with your eating habits.

5| Stretch it out

Do some gentle stretches to loosen up your muscles. And yes, even child’s pose counts. :)

6| Give yourself a compliment

You don’t need to wait for the perfect opportunity. Sometimes, you just gotta practice being kind to yourself by giving yourself at least one positive pat on your back before bed each night.

7| Do something that makes your heart happy

It’s up to you whether it be playing guitar or piano with abandon, watching goofy cat or dog or baby videos on YouTube.

8| Take a guilt-free nap

Work from home life has made me nap queen, but it’s amazing how even a 15-minute nap feels restorative!

9| Drink something warm

Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water, hot toddy! Whatever works for you. There is something incredibly soothing about a warm cup of something!

10| Clean up a small area

Take a couple of minutes to dust, vacuum, or just straight up tidy/clean up one small space in your home. I’ve found that a clean physical space usually makes for better mental space.

11| Write out how you’re feeling

Grab a notebook and get it all down on paper (literally) about what’s weighing on your mind. Once you write it all down, you’ll feel more clear and find some clarity.

12| Listen to your favorite (upbeat) playlist

There is a time and place for that emo playlist, but listening to music that makes you feel good/happy is what you need to reach for when you’re trying to keep the mood fun and light.

13| Brush your hair

If you’re being mindful enough, even the simple act of brushing your hair can feel like a mini-head massage.

14| Open the windows

Fresh air is the essence of life! Open up your windows and let some fresh air in.

15| Do something that makes you laugh

Whether it’s watching reruns of The Office or Parks & Rec, reading a silly article on Twitter, get out there and find whatever it is that can make you giggle like an idiot at least once a day.

16| Seek the sunlight

Whether it’s going on a walk or sitting outside for even 5 minutes, be mindful of the sun and seek out its presence.

17| Change your bed linen

Ahhhh, the pleasure of crawling into some clean and crisp bedding!

18| Give yourself an at-home spa day

Use whatever products and tools you have at home, whether it’s oil for your face or cucumbers on your eyes, make time to take care of yourself!

19| Take a social media break

Sometimes, the overuse of social media can trigger just a whole lot of FOMO and comparison traps. Take a short break from it all and focus on yourself!

20| Listen to a motivating podcast

Whether it’s a podcast on building your own business or minimalism tips or offbeat experiences, listening to someone speak about their journey can be truly inspiring. Earn Your Happy is usually the one that I reach out to when I need a quick pep talk or motivation boost.

21| Give yourself the day off

Sometimes we need a mental health day and that is totally okay! Make sure you take care of yourself first before others.

22| Call up with a loved one or an old friend

Making time for those you care about ultimately makes you feel good.

23| Take a long bath or shower

Turn on your favorite tunes or simply turn off the lights, light that scented candle, and take some me-time with a hot bath or shower!

24| Get in some time with a baby

Some of my close cousins and friends have recently had babies, and honestly, sometimes it’s the most refreshing thing to do a video chat with them just to see what antics the babies are up to. Of course, I am sure it’s not always fun and games with small little babies, but if they’re in a playful mood or just babbling around, something about babies just warms my heart. The other day one of the babies blew me a flying kiss over the video call and it just about made my day. :)

25| Make a gratitude list

I’m probably repeating myself for the 1000th time with this one, but seriously, an attitude for gratitude is an incredibly positive self care habit to cultivate. I always feel so much better after doing this simple activity. It could be something as small as “having air conditioning” on a hot and humid rubbish day!

26| Move your body

Whether it’s going for a walk, doing some yoga or even just dancing it out to the latest peppy number (and no, I won’t judge you if that’s Jalebi Baby :P). Just move that ass!

27| Indulge in some feel-good TV or movie

Yes, watching Ted Lasso or Schitt’s Creek definitely counts as an act of self care, thank you very much!

28| Visit your favorite cafe

Bonus points if you make it a date with yourself!

29| Make your favorite comfort food

Nothing screams self care like comfort food, especially when they evoke happy memories of childhood, or past vacations, or cozy gatherings.

30| Host a fuss-free dinner party for a friend (or two)

Hosting a dinner party usually ends up being an elaborate affair, which is great every once in a while. But when you’re in the mood for self care and also craving some company, dial on the intensity and just have 1-2 close friends over for a hearty meal. Make it a pot-luck if you want!

31| Get lost in your favorite hobby

Whether it’s cooking, reading, painting, or drawing, whatever you’re passionate about will take you on an incredible journey. Let the world go by for now and get lost instead!

32| Make a photo album

Relive some happy memories by putting together a photo album. Don’t fret if you don’t have printed photographs. Just make an album online and order it for yourself. I love my Instax mini photo printer to print out photos from my phone and make memory albums.

33| Work through a guided journal

I’ve typically found guided journals to be extremely insightful and they’ve often helped me work through some mental blocks. Like I mentioned earlier, I am making my way through my self love guided journal, and that in itself has felt extremely healing.

34| Drink some water

Most of us tend to drink less water than what our body needs. Make it spa-level fancy by popping in a few slices of cucumber, lemon, and some grated ginger, and sipping that through the day.

35| Plan your next vacation

There’s nothing quite like planning for a new destination to get excited about. Whether it is an exotic locale or one closer to home, having something fun and exciting planned always puts me in a great mood!

36| Listen to some meditation music or nature sounds

The world can be loud sometimes (or all the time), and taking a few minutes to yourself with some meditation music or nature sounds can be extremely calming and soothing.

37| Do some vision boarding

Even if you don’t get around to creating a full-fledged vision board, simply writing down your vision for how your life will look like a year from now is a powerful exercise in itself.

38| Have ice cream (or dessert) for breakfast

You’ll feel better if you manage to do this without putting yourself through a guilt trip. But seriously, a one-off day where you have some ice cream or dessert for breakfast (or dinner) should not make you feel guilty!

39| Plan a date with your partner/spouse

If you don’t already make time for each other, now is the perfect time to do so! Make it an activity that both of you love doing and plan something special.

40| Do nothing

Seriously, do nothing for a few minutes. Lie in bed, or on the grass in your backyard, and just let yourself be for even just 5 minutes without distractions.

41| Get in touch with your younger self

What were your favorite activities as a child? Skateboarding? Playing video games? Making origami? Spend some time doing an activity that you used to love as a kid but don’t do much of these days and see how it lights you up from within!

42| Make an uplifting phone wallpaper for yourself

Or save yourself the hassle, and download something from this tech wallpaper library.

43| Go on an unfollow train on social media

Delete all those accounts that make you feel less than or bring you down.

44| Plan a weekend getaway with friends/family

For some serious self care! Get away from the daily routine and plan something fun for yourself. Whether it is camping or an escape somewhere close by, having plans set already will motivate to take better care of yourself.

45| Make a plan for the week ahead

Self care does not mean that you can’t be productive! Take some time out to plan out your week ahead and you’ll feel better about having that sense of control.

46| Learn something new

Knowledge brings confidence (and can earn you serious trivia points!). Pick something that you’ve always wanted to learn, or perhaps, try to understand more about an emerging technology/app. Even 15-30 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

47| Change up your exercise routine

Instead of doing the same old thing, try something different. If you usually go swimming or take a dance class, why not try out hot yoga instead?

48| Do something small that you’ve been putting off forever

That tax filing that you’ve been meaning to do? That overdue library book that needs to be returned? The annual doctor’s check-up that you’ve been putting off? It’s time to get it done! A sense of accomplishment, no matter how small the task, always feels fantastic!

49| Start saving for something

Financial self care is as important as any other form of self care. Start small, if you don’t have a lot of extra cash to spare, but make saving a regular habit. The power of compounding will make even the smallest consistent saving habit seem like a big amount in a few years.

50| Sleep well

A good night’s sleep is such an underrated wellness practice. Give your mind and body the rest that it truly deserves.

So there you have it – plenty of self care ideas that you can try out, even if you don’t have a lot of time or money to spare. Make some time for yourself and your mental and physical well-being because ultimately, only you can truly take care of yourself.

Do you have more ideas for small acts of self care? I’d love to hear your suggestions. Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Hi Shirsha,
    Thank you for sharing this! I think I want to try eating ice cream for breakfast!!! The last time I ate apple crumble for breakfast, it felt soo good!!

    I love that you wrote about 50 simple self-care ideas. When we hear the word self-care, we think about spending an hour doing something but it can be as simple as brushing your hair as you mentioned!

    I try to schedule time for self-care because when I’m busy, self-care time tends to be pushed back.

    I will definitely come back and read your other blog posts about self-care!

    Haruka | harukawrites.com