55 Unusual Self Care Ideas You Probably Haven’t Tried

It’s sometimes difficult to find time for traditional self care practices — such as massages, pedicures, and a ride in the country — but there are many free, simple, and unique ways you can practice self care every day. Let’s take a look at 55 unusual self care ideas you probably haven’t tried yet! I think you’ll be able to fit some of these things into your days to help you refresh and reboot.

a group of middle aged women run in the waves along the shoreline for one of many unusual self care ideas they practice
55 Unusual Self Care Ideas You Probably Haven’t Tried

Related Article: 17 Positive Reasons Why Self Love Isn’t Selfish


Every time you travel on a commercial plane, you have surely seen the flight attendants demonstrate what to do in an emergency. They always say something to the effect of “In case of the loss of cabin pressure, put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.” They instruct you to take care of yourself and prioritize your safety FIRST so you have the ability to help others.

This is one BIG IDEA behind the concept of self care. If you prioritize your health and wellbeing, you’ll have more to give to the people you love.

What is Self Care?

Self care can be described as activities we do to look after our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.  They are things we do to feel refreshed and reenergized. Often we hear about proper sleep, good nutrition, time outdoors, meditation and yoga, and time with friends as good self care.

The World Health Organization defines self care as: “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.” This is a nice global definition of self care.

I like the definition of self care provided by the National Institute of Health because it’s simple:

“Self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health.”

“When it comes to your mental health, self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. Even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a big impact.”

Remember is that self-care is not synonymous with self-indulgence or being selfish so let’s not get that confused.

two out of focus women are sitting in the background of a photo relaxing in an all white environment and a wooden vase sits in the foreground with some dried flowers in it
Traditional ideas of self care include massage, bubble baths, spa days, and girls’ night out. But there’s more to self care.

Examples of Traditional Self Care Practices

These are some traditional self care practices that many people enjoy for a little reboot and new perspective on life. These self-care activities can help clear negative emotions and help you refocus on positive things in your life. They help you settle back into the present moment and remember to be mindful.

  • long quiet bubble baths
  • Sunday night face masks to refresh for the week
  • relaxing spa days
  • experimenting with new beauty products
  • spending time alone or with your best friend
  • a calming yoga class
  • a strong detox to cleanse the body
  • work with a life coach

Each of these examples is a great way to support your health and wellness. But they sometimes need time and resources that aren’t easily available — such as time and money. Not everyone can add this kind of self care into their daily routine.

So let’s look at some unique self-care ideas that people don’t always think to include in their self care plans — and the best part is they are free and don’t necessarily take a lot of time.

a young women with brown hair wearing shorts and a tank top does yoga along the shoreline with the ocean in the background as she demonstrates unusual self care ideas
Self care means doing things that help you feel good and maintain your health and wellbeing. It does not have to be something indulgent, expensive, or extravagant.

Free and Unusual Self Care Ideas You Can Do From Home

Many of these self care ideas can be added into your morning routine, bedtime routine, or even as you’re driving to work! Self care doesn’t have to be complicated and it’s not selfish. Even the smallest task can help you feel good and maintain your health and wellbeing.

These activities will help you take care of your health so you can be a better and more energized YOU for those around you. Every family member and good friend will appreciate you taking good care of yourself!

1. Let go of perfectionism.

Expecting yourself to be perfect all the time can be exhausting and frustrating. No one can ever reach a level of perfect. So allow yourself the freedom to be perfectly imperfect and release the added anxiety of trying to be perfect.

2. Enjoy a quiet cup of tea.

How often do you actually sit down and do nothing but enjoy the taste of a cup of tea? Probably not often enough! Taking 5-10 minutes a day to have quiet time with a cup of tea is good for your immune system.

3. Give yourself a digital detox.

Social media is a double-edged sword. While we generally enjoy it, it can be exhausting for our mental health. One of the best ways to practice self care is to plan a digital detox each week. Think of all the good things you can do for yourself while you’re not on social media!

4. Exercise daily for 5-10 minutes.

This does not mean you have to workout hard and get all sweaty! Just move your body — do something fun like dance or walk or hop like a bunny — get your heart rate up! It’s probably been a long time since you skipped across your yard, right? Take care of your physical health by moving your body and doing some stretches. A few minutes of exercise every day is a great self care habit.

5. Take a nap.

Even if you don’t sleep, find a quiet spot to rest and close your eyes for a few minutes. Think of places that bring you a genuine sense of contentment. Put your phone on airplane mode and forget the world exists. It will be there when you get up.

6. Use your essential oils.

Our lives often get so busy that we forget to use the essential oils collections we have accumulated over the years. Make a habit of using them and getting to know which ones work to help with different forms of stress.

7. Go test drive a sports car.

You don’t have to tell anyone you can’t afford it. Kick up your feet and DO IT! Make it a convertible and get some fresh air!

8. Go to a movie by yourself.

Sit in the dark and forget the world is going on outside around you. Choose a comedy or romantic movie to lighten your mood and clear your mind.

9. Reinvent your Pinterest boards.

Take time to create new Pinterest boards and update the ones you haven’t visited in months. Focusing on things you like can turn a bad day better and reduce your stress levels.

10. Find a new hobby.

Hobbies are an important part of a balanced life. You need an outlet to use your creative energy. Check out what kind of classes are being offered at your local community center or craft store and sign-up for one! Step outside your comfort zone and try something totally new!


Related Article: 101 Creative Hobbies to Promote a Balanced Life


11. Purge your closet.

How is this a self care idea, you ask? Studies suggest that practicing a minimalist lifestyle is an excellent form of self-care. So get rid of those clothes you haven’t worn in years and clean out your closet. Then support your emotional health by donating them to people in need. You get two benefits from a single task.

12. Volunteer at your local animal shelter.

Volunteering in your community is another act of self care. Community engagement is an important aspect of a balanced life.

13. Take time to cuddle.

Cuddling is a great self care activity! After a long day of hard work, cuddling with a loved one or a pet can bring you peace and tranquility. Cuddling is one of the best things you can do to refresh and renew your mind.

14. Sleep late.

This is another simple activity you can add to your self-care routine! Enjoy the extra rest and give your mind the much needed rest you deserve!

15. Read a good book.

When was the last time you made time for a good book? It’s something that typically gets left off the to-do list. So let a good story take you away from the stress of life and make time to read.

16. Practice good sleep habits.

Developing good sleep hygiene is one of the small ways you can add self care into your daily self-care practices. It doesn’t take extra time and it will support your mental, emotional, and physical health.


Related Article: 60 Peaceful Bedtime Affirmations for Good Sleep


17. Listen to inspirational podcasts.

While you’re making dinner or driving to work, put on your favorite personal growth podcast or cooking podcast to expand your intellectual wellness.

18. Pause… Breathe… Relax.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, force yourself to pause, take a deep breath, and relax your body. You would be surprised how much this simple activity supports your emotional self-care.

19. Drink more water.

This is something I include in any self care article because who doesn’t need a reminder? It may not be unusual, but it’s one of the best self-care tips you will find in any article because it’s so critical to your body and mind. So I had to include it!

20. Jump in a puddle.

What better way to connect with your inner child than jump in a puddle? Go ahead. Take off your shoes and jump in a puddle — and howl with laughter! You’ll forget all about your stress.

21. Try a new recipe.

Find a recipe that sounds delicious and try cooking or baking something new. Even if you are the only person who likes it, go for it! It’ll be fun!

22. Listen to your favorite songs.

Even if no one else likes your favorite music, you deserve to enjoy your favorite songs and artists. It will lighten your mood and give you a little time to yourself.

23. Practice positive self-talk.

We all have days when we stay in bed, or ignore our responsibilities. It’s totally okay to not be okay sometimes. But instead of beating yourself up, give yourself positive feedback for making it through a difficult day. Use feel-good words about YOU just like you’d do with your best friend.

24. Get dressed up.

You don’t need an excuse to get dressed up. Put on something special and do your make-up for your own self-care — not for anybody else.

25. Use daily affirmations.

Positive affirmations are a simple way to meet your emotional needs. You can choose daily positive affirmations for just about any area where you need help, such as confidence, procrastination, and healthy eating. Affirmations are a powerful new way to change your mindset about anything.

26. Learn to meditate and be mindful.

Mindfulness is one of the best self-care ideas you can include in your self care plan. It’s not exactly an unusual self-care idea l but it’s easy to forget so a reminder is always good.


Related Article: 12 Benefits of Mindfulness: Mind, Body, and Soul


27. Try a new skin care routine.

Just like with make-up, it’s always fun to explore a new skin care routine to see if a small change can help with a recurring skin problem.

28. Take yourself on a date.

You deserve a relaxing day or evening alone doing whatever you want to do. It’s a good way to clear your mind of the little things that drive you nuts.

29. Go to the park and swing.

How much did you used to enjoy swinging on your school playground? I think everyone did, right? Go find a beautiful park and swing to your heart’s content.

30. Go for a long walk.

Pack a picnic lunch or snack, find a trail, and go for a long walk by yourself or with an old friend. Make it like the good ol’ days — red and white checked tablecloth and all!

31. Plant some flowers or trees.

In other words, play in the dirt! Playing in the dirt will help you get grounded and release the bad energy that’s been holding you back.

32. Watch the birds.

You probably hear the birds outside your window every morning, but when was the last time you spent some time watching them or paying close attention to their habits and behaviors? A lot of people find it relaxing and soothing to watch birds. Give it a try!

33. Do puzzles.

Spend some time doing old-fashioned puzzles or word puzzles. It’s a relaxing activity that supports good brain function as you age.

34. Watch old reruns.

Remember when the tragedy of September 11 happened? People everywhere spent hours watching old reruns of I Love Lucy. It provided a sense of peace and safety that the world needed. Nowadays, you can find Friends, Golden Girls, and just about any old favorite on cable television. Enjoy them! They help to sooth and relax your mind.

35. Write a letter to your younger self.

Writing a letter to your younger self is always a fun personal growth activity. It really causes you to reflect on your life. It’s a great tool to help you stay mindful and reflective about what’s important in life.

a young woman with long dark hair in a beautiful yellow sweater gives herself a hug for self care outside in a park in the fall
A simple HUG for yourself on a bad day, or cuddling with a teddy bear can be great acts of self care.

More Unique and Unusual Self-Care Ideas

You’ve seen a variety of self care tips in the list above, but here are some more unique self-care ideas for stress.

  1. Purge the toxic things and people in your life.
  2. Join a yoga class.
  3. Practice kindness toward others .
  4. Pay It Forward.
  5. Go to the beach or mountains.
  6. Say ‘no’ to something you really don’t want to do.
  7. Spend time playing with your pets.
  8. Cancel plans if you feel overwhelmed and stressed.
  9. Write in your journal about how you’re feeling.
  10. Play with sensory tactile toys (play-do, sand, stress balls, etc.)
  11. Visit your neighbor just to say hello.
  12. Sing in the shower.
  13. Draw or color.
  14. Take a bike ride.
  15. Sit in the sunshine.
  16. Lounge in the bathtub.
  17. Try to new healthy smoothie recipe.
  18. Take a ride by yourself.
  19. Look at old pictures.
  20. Have a good ol’ ugly cry.
a young woman with blonde hair sits on a yoga matt in the mountains as she demonstrates self care
Getting outside in the mountains or by the water are great acts of self care, too.

Final Thoughts: Unusual Self Care Ideas

Remember, self care isn’t selfish — it’s essential. Use these unique and unusual self care ideas to create and maintain a self care routine that meets your health and wellness needs. There are lots of good ideas here to start with!

Don’t just read this list of unusual self care ideas and then go back to your regular stressful life. Be your own best advocate for your emotional, mental, and physical wellness.

And be sure to practice those more traditional self-care habits, too — a healthy diet, setting boundaries, saying ‘NO’, protecting your peace, spending time with loved ones, living a balanced life, etc.

Good luck with your self care rituals! Remember, you are worthy — you matter — and you need to take care of you so you are available to those you love!

Love to ALL! ~ Susan

You may also enjoy reading:

What Unusual Self Care Ideas Do You Use to Take Care of Yourself?

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