20 tips for practicing self care

It’s been a rough few days. 

I’ve spent so much of this time thinking and reading and feeling all of the feelings. I’ve been using social media to share lots of these feelings, and the feedback of solidarity and understanding has been incredibly helpful. This election has showed us just how divided our country is, but luckily I’ve got lots of people in my circles that have been able to share words of comforting wisdom and ways to turn this anger into action.

All of that aside, now is an incredibly important time for a reminder on how to practice self care. Many of us are hurting and angry and upset, and it can be easy to forget to spend some of our energy focusing on ourselves and our well-being. Self care is something I learned about in college when I was heavily involved with my college’s feminist group, the Feminist Association of Wheaton. Being in that group and being a Women’s & Gender Studies major meant that a lot of my time was taken up with activist efforts, reading heavy articles & books about society, and learning about less-than-pleasant things, aka the systemic oppression of women and minorities in our world. Real fun, huh?

While not fun, all of that was incredibly important for me to learn and be involved with. Luckily, many feminist groups and communities know the importance of regular self care, so that is something that I learned about and practiced during this time.

What is self care? Self care is taking the time to put yourself first, to get in touch with yourself & your emotions, and to give yourself time and space to reflect and heal. It’s really something that everyone should be doing regularly, but is especially important in times like this, where it’s hard to avoid hearing or reading potentially distressing things. There are a lot of ways to practice self care, and a healthy form of self care is different for each person. Also, pro tip, be careful to avoid disguising unhealthy or self-destructive habits as self care. It’s way too easy to let that happen. Other than that, there’s not really a wrong or right way to take care of yourself – so your list might be totally different than mine!


  1. Read a book – I’d recommend a light-hearted page turner like Where’d You Go, Bernadette, or a book that you’ve already read.
  2. Cook something for yourself – vegetables are not a requirement but will ultimately make you feel less gross.
  3. Do some yoga – you don’t have to pay to take a class as there are tons of free videos and tutorials online. My favorite is Yoga with Adriene, who’s got a very calming manner.
  4. Take a long, hot shower
  5. Drink a big mug of herbal tea – too much caffeine can make anxiety and tension worse, so I’d recommend sticking with a calming herbal tea.
  6. Indulge in {a little} something sweet – dark chocolate, ice cream, a few cookies – but don’t go overboard!
  7. Journal, or doodle
  8. Cuddle with your pets – if you don’t have pets, visit a friend with pets or just look at pictures of cute animals on the internet. It helps.
  9. Watch a TV show or movie that you’ve seen & loved – for me, Friends is my first choice, but I also love guilty pleasure movies like High School Musical (no shame!) or any Mary Kate & Ashley movie (It Takes Two is the best one, if you’re wondering)
  10. Take a walk – fresh air always helps me, especially when the weather starts to get chilly.
  11. Make a playlist of your favorite uplifting songs – and listen to it on repeat.
  12. Meditate – if you’ve never done it before, I’d recommend using an app for guided meditation. There are lots of free ones out there, but I like Headspace the best. Even just taking some deep breaths with your eyes closed can count as meditation if you need a quick fix!
  13. Put on your comfiest pjs, find your softest blanket, and take a nap
  14. Light some candles – but don’t mix that with your nap!
  15. Phone-a-friend (they might not be able to give you any answers as to why things suck, but human connection is often nice)
  16. Just a lil bit of retail therapy – this one is easy to go overboard on, but sometimes it’s nice to treat yo’ self. Spending limits and set plans on what you’re going to buy can help avoid that.
  17. Get your sweat on – it might not seem great at first, but I promise you’ll feel better afterwards.
  18. Allow yourself to say “no” to events, parties, or meetings. If you’re feeling burnt out or just want to avoid talking to people, that’s totally okay. It’s important to know your limits.
  19. Get crafty! It’s not for everyone, but it feels almost like meditation to me to bead a bracelet or slap some paint on a canvas.
  20. Go ahead, deactivate your Facebook, delete your Instagram app, turn off your Twitter notifications – I wouldn’t recommend doing anything permanent, but it can be so nice to disconnect for a few days, or even a few hours. Give your friends/family a heads up so they know you’re okay!

Self care can be a radical act of self love, or just a way to get in touch with yourself and your emotions – it’s all up to you. This is a list I like to keep in my “back pocket” for times like this, and hopefully it can help serve as a reminder to you take care of yourself! What do you like to do as self care?