25 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care on Tough Health Days

Do you ever forget to take care of yourself?

Practicing self-care is crucial for everyone, but more so if you live with chronic and/or mental illness. Finding time to look after you and nourish your body and mind is important and doing so regularly will hopefully help you to manage any physical or mental health conditions. Scheduling even one or two evenings a week where you do some of these activities will help.

So, here are some simple things you can do to practice self-care.

1. Keep a list of accomplishments for each day, to help you reflect on what you should feel proud of. If getting out of bed was difficult, this is even an accomplishment. Sometimes we can get bogged down in what we haven’t managed to get done that day, but we should be focusing on what we did do as well.

2. Tidy, clean out or reorganize a draw, cupboard, space, etc. Getting something organized can feel therapeutic and it could be something small like a drawer in your desk, the clothes in your wardrobe or your whole spare room at home. Just take your time and don’t overdo it. You should feel accomplished and a sense of control after finishing.

3. Schedule in a regular phone call with a friend or family member for a catch up and just chat about whatever comes to mind. A weekly half-hour phone conversation with a friend can help combat feelings of loneliness and stress, and in our busy world, it can sometimes feel difficult to keep up with and in touch with those we love. Making it part of your routine can help this and you should find you’ll start to look forward to it.

4. Go for a walk in a park. If you can’t physically walk too far, find a spot to sit and watch your surroundings. Listen to the sounds and look closely at the details around you. The way the breeze feels on your skin and how sunlight penetrates through the trees. Take a blanket to sit/lie on and possibly a book.

5. Read a book. Reading is well known to be relaxing and an escape from reality.

6. Take a bath. I do love a good bubble bath but I also like an Epsom salt bath to help me relax and recharge. Lighting some candles and putting on some relaxing music while you relax should help, too.

7. Fix a small annoyance at home that’s been bugging you, such as a missing button, a broken door handle, a light bulb that’s gone, a picture that needs hanging, etc.

8. Try meditation. It can help you feel back in touch with yourself and ease stress.

9. Try acupuncture. It has been reported to help with pain and stress.

10. Unplug yourself for an hour or even a day. Switch off from phones, computers, the TV, social media, etc.

11. While we’re on about social media, edit your feeds on Facebook and Instagram for example and take out any negative people or sources. If you don’t want to unfriend, unfollow or delete them, you also have the option to hide their posts from showing up on your feed.

12. Also look at removing any negative people or energy stealers from your life, too. Life is too short to have people who bring you down in your life. They’re not good for your mental or physical health and even if they’re family, you shouldn’t feel bad about removing them from your life or limiting contact for your health and well-being.

13. Try a massage. You could go to a masseuse, ask your other half to give you a leg or back massage or even have a go on yourself. YouTube has helpful videos on giving hand, neck, head, leg and feet massages which you could do yourself. They can be super de-stressing, help you get ready for sleep and feel rejuvenated.

14. Listen to music. I truly believe there’s not much listening to music can’t help. A good sing or even boogie can raise feel good chemical levels and raise spirits. Make a playlist of songs that make you feel motivated and give positive vibes and play it when you’re feeling particularly low, stressed out or in need of some good songs.

15. Give yoga a go. Just like acupuncture and meditation, it can be good for stress levels and can even be practiced in the comfort of your own home. YouTube has helpful videos.

16. Try cooking a new meal. Something healthy and wholesome. Pick up a cookbook or look up some online. It’s important to give your body what it needs and eat well. Take some time to prepare something your body will thank you for.

17. Find something that makes you laugh. A comic series, your favourite TV show or even some old photos and memories. Laughing is a very powerful mechanism.

18. Animals and pets are proven to lower stress levels. If you don’t have a pet, maybe visit a friend or family member who does more often and see if it helps. Offer to look after their pets for them. You could also visit a zoo, sanctuary, rescue center, cat cafe, etc. (Yes, cat cafes do exist!)

19. Give a TV show or film you’ve never seen a go and see if you discover something new you love.

20. Do something crafty. Make a card for an upcoming friend’s birthday, create a pin board or positivity board, try knitting or even making a sock monkey. There are countless artsy ideas you could try and there’s bound to be something for everyone. Visit a hobby/craft store for inspiration.

21. Hang out with friends. Maintaining a good social life can help a lot mentally. Go for coffee, a sit in the park or watch some Netflix together and spend time with someone else.

22. Light a candle, some essential oils or other fragrances and relax.

23. Write your thoughts and feelings down. Whether it’s with good old-fashioned pen and paper, your phone or laptop, write out how you’re feeling and any thoughts you have at that moment in time. Create a mind-map of all your worries and stressors and take them one by one.

24. Write down compliments. When someone says something nice about you, write it down and put it in a notebook or even a jar. Read them back to yourself on low days.

25. Have a duvet day. Grab your duvet, some snacks and drinks and snuggle in to the sofa with books, DVDs and a cuddly toy or your other half.

Is there anything else you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Rachel’s journey on The Invisible Hypothyroidism.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Chronic Illness

woman taking medication

I Need Others to Understand That Medication Can't Solve All My Health Problems

For a lot of people, being sick is as simple as going to the doctor and being given some antibiotics, but for the thousands of us who aren’t going to get better, it’s a grueling process of going to your GP and being given a prescription with a list of medications that may or may [...]
woman standing outside in autumn

Holding On to Your Identity With Chronic Illness

Chronic illness shows up whenever it wants to, as we all know; however, this week is such an important one as we have two major opportunities in our arena to advocate for ourselves and many others. This also leads into a marvelous coaching piece. This week is Invisible Disability Week (a.k.a. Invisible Illness Week) as well as [...]
roll on peppermint oil, mandalas coloring book and blood pressure monitor

24 Things to Put in Your Chronic Illness 'Crisis Kit'

A “crisis kit” can look different for everyone. Depending on your chronic illness and the symptoms you experience, a “crisis” may be a bad flare-up that keeps you in bed for a few days, or it could be a sudden spike in symptoms or dangerous “episode” that requires you go to the hospital immediately. So, [...]
lularoe leggings

LuLaRoe Is Being Sued By Consultants Who Call It a 'Pyramid Scheme'

LuLaRoe’s comfortable, brightly-colored clothing is popular among women with chronic illnesses and chronic pain, and its “buttery soft” leggings and dresses have been named a favorite clothing choice by many in the Mighty community. But on Friday, the company was named in a class-action lawsuit that alleges the company is a “pyramid scheme” and utilizes unlawful business practices. The lawsuit, [...]