Home » 17 Best Ideas for Self Care (free printables)

17 Best Ideas for Self Care (free printables)

I’m sharing 17 self-care ideas that will boost your mood, won’t take up much of your time, are free or affordable and you can do from home.

You can also download my free printables to help you with some of the self care activities:

  • anxiety tracker
  • self care worksheet
  • morning routine checklist
  • sleep tracker
  • meditation journal
  • mindful baking tips
  • mandala colouring book
  • craft project planner
motivational quote 'make it happen' on a yellow background

Taking Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself can really have a positive impact on your life, from helping you to become closer to friends and family to relieving your stress.

Self-care is important because any self care activity you choose to do improves your mood and helps you take better care of yourself.

However, on the other end, a lack of proper self-care can often cause you to feel bad about yourself.

Self care activities such as regularly exercising, planning nutritious meals or having a regular skin care routine help you feel healthy, fit and beautiful.

Not being able to fit them into your self care routine is a mood-sucker!

Join in the free 30-day self-care challenge that will give you the opportunity to take time for yourself … and come out the other side glowing!

pink background with a young woman in big curlers and a colourful top is wearing sunglasses and holding a heart shapped candy

Self-care can be anything that makes you happy! (these 6 tips for how to be happier on the NHS website are a great resource).

It doesn’t have to be taking a bath or going for a walk.

There are lots of options available for you to find something that suits your needs. 

Related self-care posts

Free resources in brackets (  )

17 Best Ideas for Self Care

1. Write it down

An easy way to practice self-care is to keep a journal.

This is something you can easily have with you no matter where you are, whether it’s paper or pen or a digital notebook on your computer or device.

With journaling, you are able to write in it whenever you feel stressed or just to talk about your day.

You could use a journal to write down your self love affirmations and make notes about how you feel as your practice progresses.

Perhaps you have anxiety or depression.  Writing in a journal can help you figure out what your triggers are.

Free Printable!

Download the anxiety tracker to help figure out what your triggers are and add to your journal

a worksheet to help you figure out what you anxiety triggers are

When you’re journaling you are practicing self-care and improving your emotional well-being. Win-win!

Journaling can be very cathartic.

2. Positive Self Talk

An easy way to boost your mood is to pay attention to the language you’re using.

Is what you’re telling yourself littered with things you can’t do or do you tell yourself you’re not good enough?

Negative self talk blocks our brains ability to de-stress.

Once you know you’re doing this, you can turn it around.

Turn that negative self-talk into positive!

Sensory Self Care Ideas

Sensory self care activities can have a really beneficial effect on your well-being. Find activities that use different senses … touch, smell, taste, or sight.  

3. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is simply:

mindfulness

/ˈmʌɪn(d)f(ʊ)lnəs/

noun

a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Oxford Languages

Join in a mindfulness challenge to motivate you.

My 30 day mindfulness challenge has mindful sensory activities that you will find helpful. 

They’re everyday self care routines you do already, you’ll just be switching up your focus.

4. Baking

Baking is a fabulous sensory activity which can also be very rewarding.

Choose a new recipe or bake something you’ve never made before. Setting a specific goal will challenge you and give you a sense of accomplishment when it’s fulfilled.

Alternatively, choose a simple and familiar recipe which you find soothing. A well-loved recipe can allow for a more meditative state as you bake.

Pay close attention to the recipe. Measuring out/preparing the ingredients you need will help you to focus and be in the present moment. It will help quieten your internal chatter and be very therapeutic.

Senses

Pay close attention to how the ingredients look, smell, taste, feel, and how they sound.

Take some time to really look at the ingredients as you measure them out and add them to the mixing bowl. Notice the texture of the sugar: is it fine and white, or coarse and golden brown? How does it fall as you sprinkle it into the mixture?

Notice the colour of the butter, and the texture as you cut through it.

Take time to smell the individual ingredients, and then notice how they smell as they become combined.

If you’re mixing anything by hand, notice how it feels on your skin.

You can even notice how the mixture sounds as you stir it or whisk it. The sounds of cake batter or bread dough as it is kneaded might bring back warm memories and comforting sensations from your childhood.

Download these mindful baking tips and share with friends and family.

Creative Ideas for Self Care

5. Drawing / Colouring

Do you love drawing or colouring but haven’t practiced your art for a long time? Maybe you loved to draw and colour as a child?

Just because you’re older and have other responsibilities, doesn’t mean you have to let go of your favourite things to do.

Dust off your sketchbook and draw something. 

Give yourself time to practise before deciding it’s no longer for you.  Your muscle memory is still there 🙂

Mandalas are a great way to take your mind away from any issues that need resolving. Download my mandala colouring book (free).

Download free colouring pages from this collection on The Spruce Crafts.

6. Crafting

Learning a new craft is easy with a range of craft kits that can be delivered directly to your door. 

Maybe you always wanted to give mosaic art a go but didn’t know where to start.  Mosaic craft kits are a great place to start and inexpensive. 

Take your craft kit outside when the weather is ok.  Enjoy the breeze and the sun on your skin. As you create, you’ll be combining creativity with sensory activities.

Free Printable

Plan your crafts with this craft project planner

Experiment with finding ways to release your inner creative energy and have fun!

Struggling to find your inner artist?

Jessi Raulet’s creative guided art journal, the Bright Book: A Creativity Workbook Designed to Help You Shine, could be just what you need!

cover for The Bright Book by Jessi Raulet.  Different art techniques to create a heart in purple, pink, orange and blues

Themes include:

  • nurturing the artist within
  • exploring various art techniques without self-judgment
  • identifying and expressing an authentic style
  • harnessing the creative energy of travel and movement
  • experiencing the powerful effect of color on emotion
  • developing creative confidence
  • sharing the joy of creativity with others

The Bright Book

7. Learn something new

Succeeding in learning something new will make you feel more confident in yourself and your ability to tackle all types of new tasks.    

Concentration, attention to detail, memory recall and your problem-solving abilities will improve. 

You’ll be improving your mental health and improving your brain by keeping those neural pathways open.

Online learning is a gateway towards gaining CPD points towards applying to university, boosting confidence to start your own business or applying the skills you learn to your own life.

8. Make your own self care box

A self care box is simply a box of goodies that makes you feel happy, relaxed and nourished.  It’s a hug in a box which you can dip into when you need that boost.

It’s easy to make your own. Fill it with things that make you feel good so that it’s ready for you to use when you need to give your emotions a boost.

Free Printable

Figure out what to put in your self-care kit with this self care worksheet

9. Drink More Water

This sounds pretty obvious but I don’t think we give enough value to just simply drinking water!

There are practically endless amounts of benefits to drinking more water, and self-care is one of them.

When you want to take better care of yourself, drinking water to hydrate should be one of your top priorities.

It is great for diet and physical health, which in turn can help with your mental health as well.

Sometimes, when you are stressed out or feeling extreme emotions, sitting alone to drink a glass of water can bring you back to your centre of balance.

10. Eat Healthier Options

Eating healthier is another obvious self care tip but one which we tend to let slip when we’re in a low mood.

Remind yourself to fill up on healthier options before eating the less healthy options.

You’re not dieting, just trying to add more healthy options like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

If you find that you have a lot of cravings for sweet and salty foods, skip the cookies and fast food, and instead opt for a handful of nuts with a few pieces of dark chocolate.

Another good way to eat a healthier diet while focusing on self-care is to eat superfoods.

This is another good way to avoid being on a ‘diet’ but just try to follow a healthier eating routine.

There are many different superfoods you can try:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach
  • Strawberries and blueberries
  • Almonds, cashews, walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Wild salmon or tuna
  • Avocado

Morning self care routine ideas

Are you hopping out of bed, grabbing breakfast, and starting your day on the run? You are probably already stressed at the start of your day! A healthier option is to start your day with a better morning routine.

11. Silence IS golden

Whether you drink coffee or tea, you can make this part of your self-care ritual.

Try to have your first hot drink in the morning all alone and in silence.

You can read a magazine, write in your journal, or depending on the time of year, sit on your patio and listen to the birds chirping as the sun comes up.

Don’t try to enjoy a few minutes to yourself by using your phone or checking email. Checking social media can be stressful!

Turn off all devices and dedicate that time for a self care activity.

I know how difficult this is. Set yourself a mini challenge to give yourself clear expectations.

Those minutes away from your phone or tablet are invaluable, giving you a real boost.  Don’t be tempted to check!

12. Read

Set your alarm for an earlier time to give the chance to catch up on your reading, whether that’s a fictional book that absorbs you or an inspirational non-fiction book that helps motivate you for the day.

Read just a few pages or a whole chapter, depending on how much time you have.

This is a great reason to wake up a little earlier than everyone else in your household.

Take advantage of these quiet moments.

You will be amazed by how much better you feel with just a few minutes to yourself.

Free Printable

Blank morning routine checklist

Set yourself up for the day with committing to a morning routine.

Bedtime Self Care Routine Ideas

13. Add an hour to your bedtime routine

Adding an hour before you actually go to bed gives you time to settle before you plan on falling asleep. 

Spend this time reading or working on a hobby that relaxes you.

Avoid activities that stimulate your mind rather than relaxes it.

Set aside time for personal hygiene, changing into nightwear, and taking care of any end-of-the-day details before getting into bed.

Practice a breathing meditation to help clear your mind and relax your body.  The more you can do this, the easier you will find it to fall asleep and to remain asleep much longer.

Try this 3 minute mindful breathing meditation from My Life.

It’s important to notice when you start to feel tired (which is generally around the same time each evening) and use this time to go to bed.  

This is the moment when you are ready for sleep.  

If you miss this opportunity your brain becomes active again!

14. Get your Sleep Cycle back on track

Insomnia is something we all experience from time to time whether that’s due to a stressful situation or maybe a change in your routine.

Be conscious of your current sleeping patterns and start a sleep cycle for new and healthier sleep habits.

Free Printable

Track and review your sleep patterns with a sleep tracker

Self Care Ideas for a Bad Day

15. Laughter

Watch something funny.

Don’t underestimate the power of laughing!

If you are having a terrible day, find some time to watch a movie or TV programme that makes you laugh.

Avoid action, drama, and other genres that might make you feel miserable by the end.

Binge watch your favourite comedy on Netflix, or turn on the TV to try something new.

Laughing is extremely healing and can quickly change your mood even after the very worst of days.

16. Meditate

On a really bad day, try to have at least a short meditation session.

Find a few minutes where you can be alone. 

Do a body scan or focus on your breathing.

Listen to a guided meditation. I love this 10 minute mindful meditation from Tamara Levitt at Calm. It helps to restore your equilibrium and reconnects you with the present.

Freebie!

Keep tabs on your personal meditation experiences with my meditation journal

Come Together with Others

17. Talk and share

Join a community such as Red Tents.

Red Tents is a global movement of women coming together and finding time to just be where they are, meet other women in their community and enjoy the opportunity to share in a deeper way than they might usually do. Click here for the UK directory.

vector woman hugging herself make yourself a priority barriers to self care

If you’re feeling guilty about giving yourself some time, joining in Self Care Sunday might be the validation you need.  Check out our self care Sunday ideas by clicking here.

If you find yourself struggling to make self-care work for you, you’ll find some nuggets in our article for overcoming barriers to self-care. 

Self care boosts your self-esteem which raises your confidence, and that helps to boost your mood and helps with your stress levels.

Assess where you’re at now and make a self care plan that will work for you.

Make time to start your self care practice today.

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