52 Self-Care Ideas - Something for every week of the year

Updated: Jul 24, 2021

Repeat after me, "Joy is Resistance, Joy is Survival!" In psychology, one of the most common thinking errors we find people falling victim to is all or nothing thinking. In the most non-technical terms, it's basically when we act as though life is black and white. It’s when we are quick to lump stuff into a dichotomy-- like forcing a decision about whether someone is smart or dumb, or pretty or ugly, or good or bad. It’s an easy trap to fall into because it requires much less energy than accepting the truth. And the truth is that life isn't all good or all bad. It's a beautiful mixture of all sorts of things that we can experience all at the same time (the good, the bad, the ugly). Our capacity for experiencing emotion is huge, and when we face challenging times (like living through a double pandemic) it can be your greatest weapon. So, while there is no denying that there was some bad and ugly in 2020, what else is true? In what ways were you able to experience good and beauty? If the good stuff didn’t happen naturally (and sometimes it doesn’t), it’s important that you create it. You see, the good stuff is our armor against the bad and how we ensure we live to fight another day. Going through a hard time is no excuse for not also creating moments of joy. It’s not self indulgent, and it’s actually not even optional. It's simply about survival! Research proves that moments of joy begets more joy (ain’t that something)! Just like interest in the bank, joy compounds over time and leads to a more fulfilling life. So, no matter what 2021 brings, remember this one thing, aim to experience a moment of pure joy every single day! Below I’m sharing 52 of my favorite ways to create joy-- one for every week of the year. P.S. save the ones that are less pandemic friendly till later in the year (fingers crossed)!

1) Get yourself a very large and vibrant bouquet of fresh flowers (whatever is in season)!

2) You don’t have to sit still to meditate. Try a walking meditation in the middle of your day to keep your stress at bay. Instructions here.

3) Check out your favorite comedians’ social media page and get in a few good belly laughs! Trevor Noah never fails for me!

4) Trap walking- yup it’s exactly what it sounds like. Suit up and grab your earphones. Power walk the block while listening to your favorite trap music.

5) Change your passwords to be your mantra. Take a password you use regularly (like the one you use to unlock your laptop), and change it to an affirmation. For example, if your mantra is "I am enough every day," use a combo of letters, numbers, symbols, and words like: IamEnoughED#badB! Repetition is a powerful tool.

6) Order a puzzle (a hard one with over 1000 pieces) and work on it throughout the next few weeks (or days if you’re fast). Work on it alone or include family. You'll feel proud when you finally finish and the concentration it takes to complete is a good exercise in mindfulness.

7) Bake (or buy) a single serving of your favorite dessert! Savour every bite or share some with a loved one (but only if you really want to).

8) Go for a drive—no destination required. Roll the windows down and turn the music all the way up.

9) Do a random act of kindness for a close friend or family member.

10) Spice up your sex life! Try something different in the bedroom (while being safe, of course!). I know it feels taboo to talk about, but you deserve pleasure. Start by reading this blog on pleasure worthiness by psychologist, Dr. Candice Nicole.

11) Try a new drink at a coffee shop you've been meaning to visit (you know, the one you flagged on Yelp last year). Close your eyes, sip slow, and really experience what you purchased. Consider yourself a food critic and pay attention to all the details. It's a great exercise in mindfulness.

12) Try a bedtime yoga routine. Check out this video and follow along. Just do the best you can and have fun with it, no judging allowed! #namaste

13) Spend some time with your mentee who wants to be just like you! Young people truly are our future and they can remind us to be hopeful. Impart your wisdom onto a young mind and watch your heart melt as their eyes light up with inspiration. It’s good for them, it's good for you, and it's great for our future.

14) Sit Down! Take a mental health day and call out sick from work. Yes, it's OK to call out even if you're working from home and don't have anywhere to go.

15) Sign up for an exercise class you've always wanted to try– even if it's expensive. And don't forget to actually go to the class (wink wink, I see you).

16) Blast your favorite music and sing at the top of your lungs to a song that inspires you. Don’t worry about your neighbors-- they should consider themselves lucky to attend your concert for free!

17) Take a 24 hour break from the news cycle and all social media. Alert those in your house of your plan and ask them to help you stay away. No news talk or consumption for 24 hours (or possibly longer). You can task one person with breaking your pact if and only if the revolution starts, but that's the only exception!

18) Order lunch from one of your favorite restaurants. Most of us wait until dinner to get takeout, but a mid-day burst of joy should always be on the menu.

19) Think of 3 people who have shown you motherly love in some way and send them a letter of appreciation. If they are no longer living, write the letter, say a prayer over it, and tuck it away somewhere special. Expressing gratitude is an awesome way to care for yourself.

20) Simply sit outside for 15 minutes allowing the sun to kiss your gorgeous skin!

21) Sometimes self-care is adding something into your life and sometimes it's taking things away. Set healthy boundaries and decline that Zoom party invite you don't really want to attend and enjoy the benefits of reducing your screen time.

22) Research up and coming artists and start following their journey. In 2020 I started following @thepiperjonesmusic on IG and I'm obsessed! There is something about pure talent that nourishes the soul.

23) Check out a local art gallery or antique shop and browse aimlessly around taking in all the artifacts.

24) Try a new scrub and do a full body exfoliation. Your skin will feel so good in your sheets! The Black Girl Doctor staff loved sampling Beloved Box products last year.

25) Come up with a new favorite drink (or drank) recipe. One of my favorite dranks is a spicy mango jalapeno margarita. But if that doesn't tickle your fancy, check out @thebourbonbohemian for some truly magical concoctions (you are welcome in advance).