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Posted on May 5, 2014 in How to simplify | 1 comment

89 Ways to Take Care of Yourself (without buying any stuff)


Sometimes things get out of hand.  We get a bunch of deadlines, or get caught up in everyone else’s schedules.  We get sick and fall behind at work, with shopping, cleaning, laundry, emails.  Then we get grumpy, overwhelmed and frantic.  Now is not the time to stop for fast food and sit in front of the screen.  Now is the time to take a breath and get back where you can think clearly.

Take one step first, then worry about the rest.  Taking care of yourself for even a few minutes can help bring you back to center.  Then you can take on the world.  Better yet, plan to do something nice for yourself every day.  You don’t have to buy anything to be nice to yourself, most of these are free:

Do yourself a favor

Have a piece of dark chocolate

Pack lunch for tomorrow

Ask for (or give) a hug

Make one decision (what to wear to that wedding, what to have for dinner, what today’s most important goal is)

Set the table for breakfast while cleaning up from dinner

Ask for help with something

Take one thing off your to-do list (decide what you don’t want to or don’t need to do)

Make a double batch for dinner tonight to freeze for that inevitable crazy day next month

Give yourself a pardon for having dinner at the drive through and staring at a screen to relax all last week

Eat a piece of fruit

Give someone a genuine compliment, then give yourself one

Go to bed 30 minutes earlier

Get up 15 minutes earlier

Laugh (I like to check herehere and here when I’m stressed)

Give out one traffic pardon per day.  Give it in good will.  Give it a name. Give it to yourself only if necessary

Do a 5-minute mindfulness exercise

Surround yourself with happy colors (looking at red may boost energy levels, blues may be calming)

Draw a doodle about a current problem

Take a moment

Stop what you are doing and take 3 deep breaths. In for a count of 5 and then out for 5

Close your eyes and imagine where you would most like to be

Do nothing for two minutes.  Need help?

Stretch.  Loosen up your shoulders, and you might prevent that headache

Drink a glass of water (this can stop some headaches, too!)

Write a thank you note

Make a cup of tea and drink it while looking out the window

Write down three things you are grateful for

Give yourself a hand massage with nice-smelling lotion

Pet your pet

Look at the photos on the wall or desk (or here)

Turn off all the media for 5 minutes.  Relish the silence

Sit in the sun for 10 minutes

Put on some rain boots and stomp in some puddles

Think about what it would be like to achieve the goal for your most stressful project

Listen to a podcast or read your favorite blog (or try here, here and here)

Do a crossword puzzle or sudoku

Try this Naam yoga hand trick to reduce stress, increase confidence or solve a problem (Let me know if these work for you)

Try something new to eat (something spicy)

Knit or do another craft with repetitive motions

Watch a video with puppies playing

Watch a video with kittens playing

Watch a video with puppies playing with kittens

Get a back rub, or give yourself a tennis ball massage


Go for a brisk walk or run for 30 minutes.

Take a 5 minute walk around the building

Walk the dog

Walk anywhere

Ride your bike to work

Chase the kids around at the park

Do some yoga (try these or these at work) or try eagle pose

Take a new class at the gym

Do a few quick balance exercises

Do a pool noodle back stretch (you don’t need to buy a special one)

Take a mini vacation

Go outside for lunch, hopefully, someplace green

Imagine a relaxing afternoon of pampering. (When I was under a stressful deadline, I spent 10 minutes each day looking up the lunch menu and afternoon spa treatments at the most expensive spa in the country.  I have never been there, but just thinking about the fancy, healthy foods and floating massage treatments relaxed me.)

Water the plants and imagine being where they came from (try spider plants, ivy or orchids)

Imagine doing something awesome for 5 minutes

Meditate (try this free guided 8 minute meditation from the Mayo Clinic)

Take a 20 minute nap (not too long!)

Take a bubble bath

Blow some bubbles (soap or gum)

Call that friend who always makes you laugh

Put on a facial mask and drink a glass of wine while it dries

Plan a vacation, even if you don’t take it

Take a webcam vacation from your desk (Try these nature webcams, or these awesome ones)

Try self hypnosis

Play a board game with the kids

Throw a potluck or barbecue

Get crazy for a few minutes

Sing your favorite song really loud with the car stereo

Talk back to the commercials on the car radio (try “No, thank you” or “When pigs fly!”)

Try the above with an accent

Say a few swear words to release your frustration (Be careful where you do this one)

Smile and wave at someone you don’t know

Dance around the house to an Abba song.  Provide the singing, if necessary

Try a new route home

Spin around in your desk chair, then spin the other way

Take one step towards a tidy space

(don’t use this to feel guilty about what is left to do-just do one thing!)

Make your bed

Tidy up the bathroom counter and use the dirty towels to wipe it before putting them in the hamper

Put one load of laundry on to wash

Fold and put away one load of laundry

Pick up a bag and collect all of the trash, recycling or dirty dishes (choose one), and put them where they belong

Throw away everything in the refrigerator that is too old to eat

Write a shopping list and put it where you will remember to take it with you

Take out the garbage

Brush the dog (do it outside so you don’t have to clean up afterwards)

Delete all the unused apps from your phone

Clean out one drawer in you home or office

Do one of the Flylady’s baby steps

Wash the car

Shred that stack of receipts


Photo Credit: CoCreatr


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1 Comment

  1. Congratulations on a year of wonderful posts!

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