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Last Updated on July 20, 2023
Are bubble baths and face masks just not cutting it? You might have given every generic self care activity a try, but none of it is truly getting to the root of your mental well-being. Your self care routine might need to go deeper.
Let’s do self care different.
You are likely in need of a hard reset and some solid attention on yourself and your feelings. And it might feel doubly impossible to wiggle self care into your routine among all the other obligations you have: work, family, errands, appointments, bills…the list goes on!
However, self care should be just as big of a non-negotiable as those other things on your list. You need to take care of yourself just as much as you take care of your other daily duties. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You are a priority, and your self care routine needs to reflect that!
So if you feel like you’ve tried all the self care ideas out there and nothing seems to really help, these unusual self care ideas might just do the trick! Approaching self care from a new perspective with fresh activities can be the reset your mental health needs.
This post covers unusual self care ideas for:
- Emotional self care
- Practical self care
- Physical self care
- Mental self care
- Social self care
- Spiritual self care
What’s the real definition of self care?
According to UW Medicine, self care is “the necessity to do things for our psychological, emotional, or physical well-being.”
Notice how this definition says necessity. Self care is essential to our ability to function psychologically, emotionally, and physically. So we need to prioritize it!
This can look like setting healthy boundaries and having dedicated time to rest, going for walks, or journaling to address and process your emotions.
Self care is different for everyone but the goal is the same: to perform activities that nurture your overall well-being. Think about which activities help you best accomplish that goal. These unusual self care ideas will be perfect for helping you find that inspiration!
What are the 6 types of self-care?
I found a nice run-down of the different categories of self care here, and they include:
- Emotional self care – activities that help you process and reflect on your emotions
- Practical self care – the tasks or obligations you complete to save yourself from further stress or consequences
- Physical self care – activities for improving your physical health and well-being.
- Mental self care – activities that stimulate your mind or allow you to take care of your mental health
- Social self care – activities that promote connection and interaction with the people in your life
- Spiritual self care – activities that help fulfill your soul, help you think beyond yourself, and let you self-reflect on the deeper meanings.
Keep these 6 types of self care in mind when browsing through the unusual self care ideas on this list. Think about what you could use more of. Feel like your social self care is lacking? Opt for activities that will nurture your social connections!
24 offbeat and unusual self care ideas to start practicing
Emotional self care ideas
1. Dive into some nostalgia
Starting off on the unusual self care ideas list is hitting that nostalgia factor! Whether this is childhood cartoons, cringey songs you listened to in middle school, or looking back at old pictures, the familiarity of nostalgia is so comforting. If you’ve been overwhelmed by a lot of new stimuli lately, it helps to take a trip down memory lane!
2. Have a good ugly cry along to sad songs or movies
I don’t know about you, but whenever I cry I realize just how many pent-up emotions have been sitting in my system! You’ve likely been needing to cry for a while too. So put on your go-to sad songs or watch your favorite sad movie (The Fault In Our Stars never fails me) and let it all out.
3. Write a self-love letter to yourself
Self love isn’t selfish. You deserve to take a moment to show yourself compassion and appreciation. And what better way to detail all of that out than in a letter to yourself? Reflect on your strengths, positive qualities, and the good you bring to the table.
4. Do therapy online from the comfort of home
Forget the anxious commute and waiting room jitters of traditional therapy! Since making the switch to online therapy, it’s been SO much easier to make therapy part of my weekly self care routine. Sometimes I even do the video call in my pajamas.
If you want therapy that fits into your busy life too, I highly suggest Online Therapy. Whether you think you have a mental health disorder or not, talking out those daily stressors we ALL face AND getting coping strategies tailored to your personal situation? Priceless.
I always recommend Online Therapy because it’s a comprehensive, effective online therapy toolkit at an affordable monthly cost. Get 20% off your first month at the link below!
Practical self care ideas at home
5. Do any task you’ve been putting off that can be done in 2 minutes
You may have heard the “2-minute rule” by productivity consultant David Allen, which states, “if it takes less than two minutes, do it now.”
Yup. This rule is a game changer. If you live by this strategy, you’ll notice how much LESS you’ll get overwhelmed by all the little tasks that always seem to pile up. So jot down a quick list of all those little 2-minute tasks you can do right now, and get to them!
6. Catch up on cleaning
This isn’t the craziest thing on this unusual self care ideas list, but ridding your environment of physical clutter and mess usually translates to less mental clutter and mess, too. If you’ve been putting off the routine house cleaning, pick at least a room or two and get started. You know it always feels a billion times better afterward, so sometimes ya just gotta push yourself to do it!
7. Get organized with spreadsheets, habit trackers, and notes
If you’re a planner-type, you’re probably already two steps ahead of this. If you’re not, it’s never too late to start! You can make spreadsheets for budgeting, home inventory, and projects you’re working on.
You can also use habit trackers (I have a printable goal planner you can get that’s filled with habit trackers and so much more!) to keep yourself accountable with good habits!
8. Declutter the one space of the house you spend the most time in
I know decluttering can be a daunting task at times. So start with the one space of the house you spend the most time in. I always try to keep my home office as clutter-free as possible since I do most of my work there, that way my clear environment can translate to a clear mind!
Physical self care ideas for your body
9. Watch ASMR videos
ASMR videos might not be your thing, or maybe you just haven’t found a genre you like. I really like the hair brushing and skincare ASMR videos because they almost make me feel like I’m the one getting my hair brushed or skin taken care of! Experiment with different types of ASMR videos and see what can bring about that relaxing tingly feeling for you.
10. Scribble really hard on paper
You probably haven’t done this since you were a kid, but you totally should. Getting that physical release of pent up frustration out can do wonders for any body anxiety you may be feeling. Tapping into physical sensations that help you feel a release is a great approach to these unusual self care ideas!
11. Put together a healthy meal or snack
Nourishing your body can make you feel good both mentally and physically! Take the time to prepare a healthy meal or snack you deserve. It could be as simple as a bowl of berries or as intricate as a protein power bowl. Whatever fuels you in a positive way (and obviously, tastes good too!) works.
12. Do a high endurance activity and tap into “runner’s high”
You don’t HAVE to run to take advantage of “runner’s high.” Any aerobic, high intensity exercise will do the trick. Exercise like dance, swimming, biking, and HIIT can all bring about that adrenaline rush of the runner’s high if you push yourself with it. This is another great way to get out any body anxiety and jitters.
Mental self care ideas for your mind
13. Spend time daydreaming
This is a super underrated unusual self care idea. Daydreaming usually catches us when we don’t mean to do it, but what about daydreaming intentionally? Allow your mind to wander. See where it takes you! Daydreaming about positive things is a good way to take a break.
14. Using a guided journal to plan a better self care routine
Self care is a must for good mental health. But duh, you probably knew that!
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15. Create Pinterest boards that motivate you
You can make a Pinterest board for any topic under the sun. Want to feel uplifted and motivated? Put together a board with positive affirmations and quotes. Want visual ideas of self care activities? Make a board exactly with that! This is a great way to give your mind a visual representation of positivity.
16. Do a brain dump of EVERYTHING on your mind
Brain dumping is a journal practice where you dump every thought you’re currently having onto paper, stream of consciousness style. This is perfect for when your brain is running a mile a minute and it could really help to organize your thoughts. You’re usually left feeling relieved after expressing these thoughts!
Social self care ideas
17. Do a new hobby with a friend
Do your activities with friends pretty much consist of grabbing food, going to coffee shops, and maybe some shopping? These activities are all good and well, but why not try something outside the box?! Take a yoga class together, go hiking, or anything you haven’t done together before!
18. Write a letter to someone you care about
This can be a significant other, friend, family member, or even a pet! Write them a letter expressing all the things you love and admire about them. You can give it to them if you want, or you could totally keep it to yourself. Up to you!
19. Send a message to someone you haven’t talked to in a while
Have a friend you used to be really close with but haven’t talked in a while? Send them a text! Chances are they’ll be happy to hear from you and it won’t be weird. Reconnecting with old friends, even just briefly, can feel really good.
20. Go on a walk with someone
I’m all for solo walks to clear your head, but walking with someone can be a nice change of pace! Being able to chat as you take in your surroundings is refreshing. I notice that when I listen to podcasts while walking, it almost feels like I have a friend with me. So why not make that a reality?
Spiritual self care ideas
21. Read one new book on a topic of spirituality that interests you
Knowledge is power. Reading a book on a spiritual topic you’d like to learn more about can help you seek clarity. I grew up Christian but a lot of the traditional Christian ideas and practices don’t really resonate with me, so I found a book on progressive Christianity and it was exactly what I was searching for.
But it doesn’t have to be religious either. You can explore any spiritual topic that appeals to you!
22. Make a conscious effort not to judge anyone or anything for a day
This unusual self care idea is a big test. Unfortunately, it’s human nature to pass judgment. We all do it, all throughout the day, without even realizing it sometimes. But these judgments can harbor negative emotions. So do what you can within your power to consciously not pass judgment on anything or anyone for a whole day. At the end of the day, write down how it went and reflect on it.
23. Try one new spiritual activity that resonates with you
This can be yoga, meditation, manifestation, prayer, or anything you haven’t done in a while or maybe ever. See how it makes you feel. Don’t be afraid to experiment with something even if it seems out of your comfort zone at first. You never know what might help you connect spiritually!
24. Visualize yourself at your happiest
If you achieved peak happiness and contentment in your life, what would that look like? What would you do to get there? Close your eyes and take some time to visualize the specifics on this. This can help you realize what really matters to you at the end of the day, and even what goals to set to get where you want to be.
This concept is also practiced in manifesting. I have a guide on how to manifest something just by writing it down.
How can I be more consistent with practicing self care?
I know, I know, life gets in the way and before we know it, we haven’t done a single darn self care activity in weeks! How can you prevent this from happening?
As lame as it may sound, it really helps to schedule your self care. I swear it works. I usually choose 1-2 self care activities per week that I’ve been loving (I’m always taking inspo from this unusual self care ideas list!), and I actually go and write them into my planner. It also helps to “habit stack” your self care activities with related tasks.
For example, drink coffee every morning? Make it a ritual to “stack” the habit of drinking coffee with journaling by grabbing your journal every time you sip your coffee. When you pair these two activities together every single time, it will be so much easier to incorporate the new habit of journaling with the old habit of drinking coffee!
So if you’ve learned anything from this post, it’s that self care can be so much more than taking a bubble bath! Tapping into each area of self care can help you target exactly what you need. Let these unusual self care ideas inspire you to do things a little bit different next time you need some extra support!
Pssst…want to make self care quick and easy? Grab my (free!) daily self care check in sheet below to incorporate a little self care journaling into your morning and night routine!
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