We hear a lot about self-care and how it’s good for us. It can help support good mental health. And having good mental health affects not only how you think but also how you feel, act and make choices.1 But how do you actually make self-care happen? Let’s explore seven simple ways to make it a habit.

1. Experience what you’re experiencing

Before we get too far, let’s define mindfulness. The American Psychological Association says: It’s being aware of everything that’s happening inside and outside of you. You can be mindful by noticing your thoughts, feelings and what’s happening around you without judgment and reaction.2

You could start practicing mindfulness with your next meal. Sit down with your food, alone and without any distractions like TV or your phone. Think only about the food in front of you. What does it make you feel and think? Let all your senses experience the meal.

2. Put a pin in the positive

How you experience your days can affect whether you label them as good or bad. Try taking note of all the good things that happen. Then, see if your view of that day becomes better.3 Be on the lookout for everything positive. You could even recall all the goodness to help boost your mood. Write it down before bedtime.

3. Stretch

Let’s face it—stretching just feels good. That’s probably because it’s good for the body and mind. And by its very nature, it helps us slow down. Consider making a stretching program part of your routine.

4. Pet a pet

Ever feel a sense of calm when you pet a furry friend? One reason could be because of the rush of oxytocin you get. Oxytocin is a type of hormone that promotes positive feelings. This has been shown to be true specifically for dogs and their owners.4,5 If you have a pet, try setting aside focused time with them each day. Play, cuddle or go for a walk. It could do you both a world of good.

5. Sit and sip

There’s something comforting about filling up your favorite mug with your favorite drink and relaxing. Try holding it with both hands and taking a deep breath before drinking. Sitting in this posture with both your hands centered on what’s right in front of you can help you focus on your drink and special moment. This is great self-care time you can enjoy anywhere.

6. Set yourself free time

Try devoting at least 15 minutes a day to doing something that makes you happy. Schedule this time so that it becomes a priority. You could read, scroll, talk to a friend, take a bubble bath…the opportunities are endless. This is time just for you to do whatever brings a smile to your face. And while you’re having your special time, try to put the rest of the world on hold. This is a worry-free zone!

7. Look to the light

You may benefit from exposure to sunlight, especially if shorter days are affecting your moods. Whether you’re being active or just enjoying the fresh air, being outside during daylight hours is a great way to nourish your mind and body. Even sitting next to a window can help.6 You could even combine this time with our other self-care ideas like sitting and sipping, petting a pet and free time!

Want more ideas?

Try talking with one of our therapists. They may also be able to help you find self-care strategies that are specific to your needs.

Talk with a licensed therapist

We’ve also got everything you need to keep your whole body healthy, from primary care to nutrition support and more. Sign in or create an account now. Not sure if you’re eligible for Teladoc Health?

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You make good company. Practice more self-care by making a date with yourself.

Published February 27, 2024


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