Self-Care Challenge - Day One: 50+ Ways to Start Taking Care of Yourself

This gal looks like she knows how to take care of herself.

We are excited to kick-off our week-long, self-care challenge and we’re so happy to have you along for the ride! Let’s spend this time getting to know ourselves better, treating ourselves more kindly, and pinpointing what obstacles are getting in the way of our feeling more contented. But this isn’t just about treating oneself with kid gloves; this is a challenge, after all!

So, not only should you select a goal that is meaningful to you, we also ask you to please write it down in the comments section below, so you can see it in black and white and feel accountable. Let this accountability motivate you to work toward your goal.

Not sure what goal to select? Have we got a great guest post for you! Deb Dane from Australia’s Home Life Simplified has put together a great list of things, big and small, that you can do to take care of your body, your mind, yourself.

An Epic List of Over 50 Ideas to Start Taking Care of Yourself
(adapted from the Home Life Simplified blog)

I was so thrilled when Justine and Flannery announced they were going to run a seven-day, self-care challenge. I know many of us struggle to make ourselves a priority – whether it is basic, like a daily shower, or bigger picture, like continuing to honour our passions. It can be uncomfortable for some parents because they feel guilty taking time and energy from their families. Others are stuck in a cycle of not having any energy to begin with, due to chronic absence of self-care.

If you feel guilty about taking time for yourself, start small and just pick one thing you could fit in your week; be present in that moment and that experience.  Take note of how you feel during and after.  Does it feel uncomfortable? Can you push through the discomfort and start to see that maybe you are out of practice?  If it feels good see how you feel in the time afterwards - do you feel more open? more patient? happier? lighter?  Try to build on that feeling.

You must learn day by day, year by year to broaden your horizon. The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens. - Ethel Barrymore
  • Go "unplugged" for a day, a weekend, or a week. See how much you gain in terms of time and energy. After your technology diet you can decide new limits for yourself when you return.
  • Pick up a book on a subject you've always been interested in.
  • Find a class where you can learn a new skill or improve on one you already have (cooking, crafting, car maintenance, etc).
  • Have a DVD marathon and indulge in all your favourite movies and TV shows. Popcorn is an acceptable dinner!
  • Take a bubble bath and use a fresh and fluffy towel. Don't save the nice towels for guests - you are worthy of quality towels.
  • Blast music in your living room and dance like crazy, even if someone's watching - bonus points if you do this in your car!
  • Buy yourself that special dress you've been wanting - you deserve to feel hot and beautiful!
The name of the game is taking care of yourself, because you're going to live long enough to wish you had. - Grace Mirabella
  • Eat well and nourish your body.
  • Enjoy an afternoon nap.
My sister took this picture while I was grabbing a catnap at her place. Pretty sneaky, Sis.
  • Go to a store and find some scented candles or oils that you love. Burn one when you need a lift, another when you need to chill out.
  • Meet your spouse at their office and whisk him or her away for a lunch for two, even if it is just the coffee shop or cafe across the road. Bonus points if they can take the rest of the afternoon off.
  • Try a gym class you've been too intimidated by in the past.  Allow yourself to just be a beginner and see how it goes.
  • Pick out a new magazine - something that speaks to you from the newsstand - foreign, glossy, or just featuring a yummy recipe on the cover.
  • Select one spot in your house that is driving you crazy and clear it out.  Notice how the emptier space makes you feel.
  • Try out meditation - no pressure.
  • Say no to requests that don't feel right, take you off your own path or simply drain you of too much time and energy.
  • Go to the gym and skip the workout - head straight to the steam room and unwind.  Enjoy having a hot shower where no one comes in to ask you a question.  Take more than five minutes to get dressed and maybe even put on some make up if you want.  The hour is yours to spend!
  • Get a change of scenery - book a night away, a holiday or simply get in the car and head out on an adventure. 
  • Take music lessons just because you've always wanted to. Who says a 40-year-old cannot learn the cello or flute?
  • Pick up the phone and call someone and let them know you are thinking of them. Make sure they know you care - don't leave it unsaid.
  • Start a blog and meet like-minded people and share ideas with your tribe.
Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health - it rusts your spirit and your hips. -Adabella Radici
  • Be a tourist in your own town - check out an art exhibit, market, festival, cafe or new playground.
  • If you hate cleaning, hire someone to come in.  Weekly, monthly, with the change of seasons. When we eat out we are outsourcing cooking and no one blinks an eye. If cleaning is the bane of your existence, give up something else (if necessary) to find the funds, even if it is just occasionally.
  • Call a bunch of friends and go to a small music gig or a new movie that's just opened rather than waiting for the CD or DVD.
  • Wear what feels comfortable for you, whether it is a fab dress and boots or a tracksuit and flip flops.  What makes you feel like you?
  • Make a list of books you want to read this year and follow through - even if it is done 10 minutes at a time.
  • Sign up for a 5k walk/run and start training now.
  • Start a journal - gratitude, your personal story, an art journal, whatever works for you - get writing and creating.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain
  • Plan a regular date night and organise a babysitter, a night at Grandma's, a sleepover or use a babysitting swap to take care of the kids.
  • Make something fun for dinner like ice cream sundaes, fondue or design your own pizzas.
  • Treat yourself to new sheets or towels.
  • Start saving for your dream overseas holiday. In the meantime, get travel brochures, start learning the language, cook some local dishes and enjoy touches of that culture until the day arrives for your trip.
  • Volunteer and help someone else.
  • Find a place of worship that lifts you up and inspires you.
  • Create something with your hands.
Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It's our goal in life to find it and to keep it lit.--Mary Lou Retton
  • Write a letter or email to someone you admire or are a fan of. You never know where it may lead. Just because someone is a star at what they do, it does not mean they won't be happy to connect with you.
  • Go through all the projects and ideas you have bookmarked and "pinned" and pick five to actually work on. Stop dreaming and start doing.
  • Start a top 10 journal and set out to discover your favourite books, restaurants, songs, movies, etc
  • Join your partner in pursuit of one of his or her hobbies - even just once – to see why they love sailing, playing poker, taking salsa classes, swimming in the ocean...
  • Reach out to a new neighbour and drop off dinner or afternoon tea. Connect with your local community.
  • Order groceries online and use that hour or two (normally spent at the shops) on yourself!
  • Join in a regeneration project and help save a local natural resource in your area.
  • Get involved in a political campaign and support ideas you want to see happen in your community - local, state or federal.
  • Go to a farmer's market and buy your favourite flowers to fill up your home.
  • Get out your kids’ art supplies and let yourself go.
  • Go to the park with your kids and see how high you can swing - I dare you to jump off mid air just like when you were eight years old!

More ideas from the Full Belly Sisters:

  • Go swimming. Listen to the sound of your breath; appreciate the (literal and figurative)  weightlessness.
  • Drive with the radio off and the windows wide open.
  • Do you usually make dinner for your family? And you probably always make your partner's and kids' favorites, right? Well, tonight make your favorite meal--whether or not anybody else likes it; it's okay if they have cereal for dinner while you're eating some Salmon Mousse with Salmon Roe.
  • Expand your horizons. Go to the farmer's market or a grocery store and buy a fruit or vegetable you've never tried before. 
  • Pick a favorite dessert. Figure out how to make it from scratch--with ingredients from your pantry and not a chemist's lab--and really savor it because you know exactly what's in it.
  • Go for a walk outside. Don't bring your iPod. Just listen to the sounds around you.
  • When visitors come over to visit your new baby, go into your bedroom and nap if you need to. Your visitors can come back another time, wait till you've gotten your rest, or spend the time folding laundry or making a nutritious meal for you! Your job is to rest so you can take care of that new baby.
  • Celebrate even the smallest successes. Any baby steps toward better physical and emotional health counts, even it seems "routine." It's only routine because you've taken the time and energy to make it routine! Brushed your teeth twice today? You remembered to make your health a priority. And that, my friends, is meaningful. Be proud of your hard work.
Do you have a favourite way to nurture your soul or your body? Is there one thing on this list you are going to try out?  

New to the Seven-Day Self-Care Challenge? Check out our other posts:
Day Three - Move Your Body!
Day Four - 101 Ways to Cut Yourself Some Slack
Day Five - Take a Deep Breath
Day Six - Bottoms Up!
Day Seven - 10 Tips for New, Breastfeeding Mamas

Deb Dane blogs at Home Life Simplified - a personal development blog about parenting, household management, organising and changing your mindset. Her aim is to help parents get in touch with what is important to them and use those values/priorities as the main building block of their life. She encourages everyone to "find your simple," which means to find your own way to what is "right for you." You can also find her on twitter @findyoursimple or on facebook

And don't forget to follow the Full Belly Sisters, both here on our blog and on Facebook, so you don't miss any upcoming self-care tips and guest posts. Post about your challenges and successes and let us cheer you on!


  1. For me, this challenge begins at both the best and the worst time. The freak October snowstorm knocked out our home's power and we won't have it back for days. My family is crashing with my sister and, let me tell you, there's nothing like a bad night's sleep on a couch or aerobed to make you feel out of sorts. Our routines are up in the air, everything feel's out of control and I'd really like to just get in bed and watch crappy Lifetime movies all day. 

    So, as much as I (kind of) resent having made a public pledge to take extra good care of myself this week I'm also grateful: it will surely be a catalyst for me, especially during those pity party moments.

    Looking forward to hearing how everyone else is doing today. And if you've already hit any snags, please feel free to share them here! I'd love to know I'm not alone in this!

  2. I went to my first meditation group on sunday. i do alot of meditation using the internet ( guided relaxation etc) but I want the fellowship of a community. The focus of last sundays meditation group was to  set intentions and learn to be more mindful....that is my self care focus!

  3. And what a meaningful and powerful focus it is! Thank you for sharing with us - looking forward to more contributions from you :-)

  4. great post. i have to bookmark this list. i'm definitely in the camp of being caught in a cycle of low energy because of lack of self-care. i'm looking forward to my nightly showers, starting tonight! :)

  5. Enjoy those evening showers, Nancy! And think about really doing them up - maybe light a candle, moisturize with some scented oils. Make it an "event."

  6. woa. take it easy there. baby steps, right? i do need more soap so i'll get a girlie one... how's that? :)

  7. haha! nice soap is good enough. (but if you've never tried a candlelit shower, i highly recommend it!)

  8. So day 1 has gone well for me so far. My goals were no snacking and 2 mile walks in the AM and PM with my dog. Round 1 of walking was tough because grumpy nephew was with us, but we did it.

  9. Thanks for having me here Justine and Flannery!

    So far so good on my no refined sugar goal - it is very hard here in Oz as there is little alternative that does not cost a fortune and I need to start preparing some sugar free alternatives for myself like berry muffins and banana cookies as the 1 month mark is usually when i cave and start eating junk again.
    My other goal was earlier to bed (10:30) but forgot it was the start due to the time difference. Stayed up late getting things done for today since I will be away from my blog and FB all day. I need to put things on ebay tonight after dinner and know i will be tempted to put it off so I am making a sign to leave on my computer reminding me to get it done before 10!

    I don't remember the last time I went to bed by 10:30 for a whole week - my husband thanks you as he has tried for months!

  10. This is such a great idea! Happily, as I read through the list, I realized that I do a lot of these things already (What can I say, I'm a therapist...I'm big on self-care:). One thing I would really like to bring back into my life, however, is journaling. Thanks for giving me a boost:)

  11. Jenn, So glad to have you here with us! I'm impressed that you already take such good care of yourself. But I'm even more impressed that you remain open to even more growth and a new challenge. I hope this week of kick-starting your journaling is a good one. And I hope we can give you some other tips you can use, too :-)

  12. This is such a great list and I love so many of them. I am a believer in self care love the feeling of organizing and also adore a good nap I am going to focus on sleep as I've been lacking a bit lately. One thing I can't do is go unplugged for a day- hard!

  13. One of my goals is not computer after 9pm. And, let me tell you, I struggled with that last night! I guess that's a good reminder of how much I *need* to do that more!

    Thanks for joining in :-)

  14. I really love what I've read here. I wish I would have had this type of connection /the internet/FB when I was a new mom 32 years ago. There are a lot of really good ideas here for everyone. 

  15. Thanks, Sarah, for taking the time to read through and comment. As a relatively new mom (my son is 3 1/2) I know that the internet has been an amazing resource and connection for me. Of course, it's never too late to take good care of yourself. I hope you take the time to focus on one or two things that you can do for yourself today, to feel more whole and contented :-)

  16. Just found this list - it's great!  I am pleased to see that I actually do a lot of this stuff already - my problem is that I do too much and don't leave enough down time.  I have been meaning to call in a babysitting favour and this is a greeat reminder.  I'll plan a date with my hubby this week!  Thanks!! 

  17. Enjoy your date night!

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