Self-care might feel like a guilty pleasure, but it’s as important as anything else you do. Just a few minutes a day to look out for your own happiness and health can make a difference. Here is a 30-day plan to get you started.
This post is in partnership with Patient First. All opinions are my own. You can read my full Disclosure Policy here.
How are those New Years Resolutions going? Anyone still on track?
I don’t really make resolutions anymore, but what I have started doing is one 30-day challenge after another. Each month, I focus on one thing. November was no-candy month for me. In December I did a little workout routine of crunches, squats, and push-ups (yes, even on Christmas Day). January found me on the treadmill at least 7 minutes a day (small, attainable goals are key), and I’ve got a new little workout routine for February, plus I’ve read every day this month. I found tips on the Patient First Health Matters blog, where they say that breaking your resolutions into small, attainable goals makes them feel less overwhelming. Less overwhelming means you’re more likely to stick with it!
March is a good time to refocus on our goals. Why? Because by now, many of us have given up. March 2021 also feels like a milestone to me, since it’s one year since life was totally disrupted by the pandemic. In that regard, this is kind of the start of a new year, too.
Why Is Self Care Important
If better self care wasn’t one of your goals this year, we should change that, and this is a great time to do it.
Why is self care important? Because you need to take care of yourself so you can take care of everyone else that depends on you.
In the hustle and bustle of our busy days, deliberately making time to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health can feel like a luxury that just doesn’t fit into your schedule. According to Patient First, making time for a healthier lifestyle can improve your quality of life. That seems like something worth making time for, doesn’t it?
Here’s a hot tip: You have time for what you make time for. And making time to take care of yourself, so that you can better manage all the other demands you face, is actually productive.
Making time to do the little things that keep you physically healthy and fill your cup are an investment in your future self. Because let’s face it: not taking care of yourself will catch up with you at some point.
Simple Self Care Ideas
Self care doesn’t need to mean booking a 3-hour appointment at the spa (but sign me up for this anyway). It can be simple, worked into your daily routine, and totally free! Don’t overthink it, and don’t make it into this big thing that feels hard to start.
Just decide you’re going to deliberately take a little time each day to do something that makes you happier and healthier. Be flexible, try new things, and learn something about yourself along the way. This should be fun and feel good. I love the Patient First suggestions that are simple, like opening the shades and letting some light shine in, and turning on some music. These things give you a quick boost, and take almost no time at all!
Tips for A Successful 30-Day Challenge
Before I share my 30-day self-care calendar, I want to give you a few tips for success:
- 30 days is 30 days. It can start any day of the week, any day of the month. Don’t put off doing something good for yourself until tomorrow, Monday, or the 1st. Get going now!
- This is YOUR challenge. I am giving you a bunch of ideas, but feel free to sub in your own!
- If you want to do the day 15 idea on day 6, go for it. You are in charge.
- Pay attention to which ideas make you feel the best physically, emotionally, and mentally. Then do more of those even after this 30 day period is up.
- Have fun! Self care shouldn’t be a chore.
I’m going to share my 30-day challenge with you in my Instagram Stories, so come over and join me there. Look for the Highlight if you miss it live!
30 Day Self Care Challenge
Use this printable 30 Days to a Happier, Healthier You as a guide to get you rolling on…well, a happier, healthier you!
Day 1: Read a Book. I love to read, but I very rarely grab my book and dive in during the day. For me, reading is part of my nighttime ritual and I read every night before bed. It’s something I always look forward to at the end of the day. Need a good book recommendation? Here are some of my favorites. Find something you like and dive in!
Day 2: Make a Cup of Tea. Or coffee, or hot chocolate. Whatever your most comforting hot beverage is, make yourself a delicious cup, put it in your favorite mug, and sit quietly and enjoy it.
Day 3: Stretch for 10 Minutes. Just a few minutes a day of stretching can really wake your body up and energize you. No need to go to the gym or put on special workout clothes. Just take 10 minutes of your day and stretch. There are tons of videos out there if it’s easier for you to follow along, and this 10-minute indoor exercise guide from Patient First is helpful, too.
Day 4: Bake a Treat. Okay, now we’re talking! I love to bake, so this one is definitely going to put me in a good mood. I’m eyeing up this recipe for healthier peanut butter cookies, because peanut butter is my favorite! Here are some of my other favorite sweet treats.
Day 5: Create Something. Let your creative juices flow and create something today! It can be simple, like a doodle or drawing. Coloring is therapeutic for many people, including me. There are so many great coloring books for adults now. But feel free to just let loose on a blank piece of paper. Hang in on the fridge and show it off!
Day 6: Make Your Bed. Simple, but it works. Making your bed often gets the ball rolling to move onto the next productive thing. Sometimes that’s all you need to have a great day! (Check out the book, Make Your Bed, too!)
Day 7: Soak in the Tub. Grab your favorite bubble bath, shut the door, fill the tub, and relax. A soak in the tub is one of my favorite reset buttons because it really feels like a special treat (and it’s a true break – you can finally be alone in the bathroom!).
Day 8: Hydrate. This is something I struggle with year-round but I always feel better when I am properly hydrated. A tip from Patient First: If you feel thirsty, you’re already partially dehydrated. Tricks I’ve been using are to drink one full glass of water as soon as I get up, and use a fun water bottle throughout the day. I have this water bottle in a few colors and love it! Bottoms up! Let’s drink more water today!
Day 9: Perform a Random Act of Kindness. Doing something nice for someone else is one of the best ways to boost your mood. Pay for the order behind you in the drive through line, drop off a meal for a friend that you know could use a helping hand, or text a few friends to let them know you’re thinking of them.
Day 10: Try a New Recipe. Getting creative in the kitchen can be a lot of fun! I love to try new recipes, but am often pressed for time when menu planning and fall into the same old routine. Tonight, I’m going to choose something new and surprise the family. This Mediterranean Lentil Soup from Patient First looks delicious, is full of healthful ingredients, and is a one-pot meal. Win-win!
Day 11: Clean Out Your Closet. Or a drawer. Or just organize your shoes. Remember, this is your challenge and it’s mean to make you feel happier, not overwhelmed. Cleaning out my closet is a real chore (it’s a bit of a mess) but I can definitely tackle the shoes all over the floor in there, and I can organize my dresser drawers, too. Even better, as I clear out things I no longer need or want, I’ll put them in a box for donation to give to an organization that can use it.
Day 12: Cuddle Your Pet. And if you don’t have one, borrow a friend’s! I am obsessed with my dogs, Sam and Champ, and they literally do make my life so much happier. Pets are good for your health, too. Patient First states that they can lower stress and anxiety, decrease blood pressure, and alleviate depression. Getcha some cuddles from a furry friend today!
Day 13: Call a Friend. We all have those friends we text with day in and day out, but when is the last time you actually heard their voice? There’s something fulfilling about that kind of connection, so today, pick up the phone and call a friend.
Day 14: Make a Donation. Giving to others is one of the easiest ways to lift yourself up. It just feels good to help someone in need, doesn’t it? Donate to your local animal shelter or food bank, or hop online and make a donation to your favorite charity.
Day 15: Meditate. I’m reading a book right now that recommends meditation, and it suggests that meditation allows us to become observers of our thoughts, which allows us to realize that we have the power to change them. Pretty exciting! If you’ve never meditated before, try using one of the many free apps, or a guided meditation on YouTube to get started.
Day 16: Wear Your Favorite Color. My favorite color is green, and oddly enough, I don’t have much green in my closet. Why is that? I do have one green shirt I love, so I’ll be sporting that today!
Day 17: Get Outside. Fresh air can change my whole mood. If you’re like me and spend a lot of time staring at a computer, getting outside is SO good to get me refocused and refreshed. Plus, soaking up a little sunshine is a great way to boost your Vitamin D (yes, even in the wintertime). Patient First states that 10 minutes of time outside, even in cloudy weather, is helpful.
Day 18: Practice Gratitude. Get a notebook and write down five things you are grateful for. Focusing on the good is good for your spirits.
Day 19: Learn Something New. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to learn, this is the day to get started! Not sure what to focus on? Go to YouTube and search for ‘how to’ and see what starts popping up and grabs your attention!
Day 20: Try Yoga. I’ve never felt like I was good at yoga, but I always feel good after I do it (even if I do it poorly!). I’m going to find a beginner YouTube video to follow today and go with the flow.
Day 21: Pamper Yourself. Get your nails, brows, or hair done. Have an at-home spa day. Cozy up with a good book and your favorite blanket. Whatever feels like you’re treating yourself, do that today. You deserve it!
Day 22: Unplug for One Hour. I am totally guilty of spending too much time on a screen. Deliberately unplug for at least an hour today. Get outside, spend some time with your family and pets, and enjoy a little electronics-free time.
Day 23: Buy Yourself Flowers. I love having fresh flowers in the house, and believe it or not, you don’t need to wait for someone else to buy you flowers! Go treat yourself and grab your favorite bouquet at the store. To me, love me.
Day 24: Have a Pajama Day. You’re never too old for a pajama day. Get cozy and have a stress-free day at home in your comfy pjs.
Day 25: Get In Your Steps. You’ve probably heard that 10,000 steps a day is a good target. In the cold-weather months, I almost never get there! But today is about doing better than we did yesterday. Progress over perfection! So get outside and take a little walk, pace the floor while you talk on the phone, or hop on the treadmill to watch your favorite show. Here are some other suggestions from Patient First for creative ways to get in more steps throughout the day. Parking farther away is a good one that I often use!
Day 26: Go To Bed Early. Sleep is restorative, and most of us don’t get enough of it. Give yourself the gift of rest, and turn in early tonight. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
Day 27: Try a New Hobby. Is there a sport, craft, or activity you’ve been wanting to try? Don’t wait any longer. Go for it today and give it a whirl! Frisbee golf is picking up steam in my area, and this is something I’m going to try my hand at today!
Day 28: Tidy Up Your Space. Clutter in your living space usually translates to clutter in your mind. I can’t think clearly when I’m in a big mess of stuff. Take a few minutes to pick things up (and enlist help – put those kids to work!) and clear your mind while you tidy up your house.
Day 29: Make an Appointment. If you’ve been putting off making an appointment, do it today. This could be a health-related appointment like your yearly physical, (Patient First has some great tips on how to get the most out of that important appointment) or an appointment for that long overdue haircut. Get your health and happiness on the calendar today!
Day 30: Write a Letter. In the age of texts and emails and instant messages, a good old fashioned handwritten letter is a thing of beauty, isn’t it? Sit down and write a letter to someone you have been thinking of. Think how excited they’ll be to hear from you, and get something personal in the mail.
After the Challenge
When your 30-day challenge is up, it doesn’t mean self-care time is over. Think about the different things you do, new things you tried, and what really filled your cup and made you feel good.
Now do more of those things. Taking good care of yourself allows you to take care of others. This stuff is easy, doesn’t cost a lot of money or time, and is worth the investment in your own physical, emotional, and mental health.
Learn More About Patient First
Patient First is an urgent and primary care provider located throughout parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and New Jersey. They provide a variety of services to patients, including urgent care, physicals, immunizations, and more on a walk-in basis. Visit their website to find your local center, and be sure to check out their Health Matters blog for many more healthier living and wellness articles.