Discovering hobbies and habits that cultivate a feeling of self-care can be a process of trial and error for many of us. A lot of your self-care routine, contrary to popular belief, consists of the “boring” things you do on a day-to-day basis — such as cooking, going for a walk, or showering. Though boring, these activities are important: studies have shown that sticking to a daily routine can improve your mental health and decrease your chances of being diagnosed with a mental health disorder like depression.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t ever switch up your self-care routine if it begins to feel stale or monotonous. In fact, a 2012 showed engaging in a variety of different lifestyle activities throughout one’s life tended to improve memory and cognitive health, despite the effects of aging. Overall, it seems finding the balance between routine and spontaneity is key to maintaining your mental wellness.
While engaging in self-care, you should typically be gleaning some sort of mental health benefits from what you’re doing. And, if you’re not anymore, that’s your cue that it’s time for a change of pace with a new activity. If you need a little pick-me-up, here are nine ways to switch up your self-care routine.
1. Switch Up Your Apartment
One way to shake up your self-care routine is by, well, shaking up the way your apartment is laid out, too. Rearranging your furniture in a fresh way and clearing all clutter can boost your mood, and spur on some creativity. Who knows, it could be exactly what you need to break out of a self-care rut.
2. Switch Up Your Workouts
Being active is not a form of self-care for everyone, and that's OK. However, if you like to get the endorphins flowing by working out, it can be helpful to change your exercise routine every once and while. This could mean simply changing your walking route so you're surrounded by new scenery, or even trying a fitness class that's out of your comfort zone.
3. Cook Something New
Nourishing yourself is an essential act of self-care. Most of us have staple meals we cook throughout the week that won't stress us out, but you can bypass culinary boredom by incorporating new foods or ingredients into your diet. Farmer's market season is in full swing, making it the perfect time to try and cook something new to not only expand your palate, but to also positively impact your mental health.
4. Plan A Day Trip For Yourself
Most of us have beloved local hotspots we go to grab a bite, hang out, or center ourselves in nature. Every once and a while, consider taking a break from your faves, and plan a day trip to a new destination. Try a new restaurant, or hit up a new hiking trail to keep self-care outings from feeling too monotonous.
5. Or, Take A Short Staycation
No one says you need to take your PTO to jet off to a far flung destination. Not only do people typically save money by opting to take a staycation in lieu of a vacation, but they can also be a perfect way to de-stress and relieve anxiety. If your self-care regimen needs a shake-up, a staycation is an easy way to give yourself downtime to reflect and refocus your energies on the most effective ways to practice caring for yourself.
6. Download A New Mindfulness App
Maybe you've listened to every guided meditation in your favorite app just one too many times, or your go-to mantra doesn't center you quite like it used to. Either way, a simple and inexpensive way to shake things up is by downloading a new wellness app. There are apps tailored to people with anxiety disorders, depression, or even those just looking to meditate. Apps aren't a replacement for therapy, but they are a great tool for practicing self-care at home, or on-the-go.
7. Try A Complementary Mental Health Treatment
If you work with a team of mental health professionals, consider asking them about adding another kind of therapy to your self-care regimen — especially if traditional talk therapy doesn't seem to be helping you as much as it used to. Art therapy, gong therapy, and dance therapy all have proven mental health benefits, and are fun ways to make therapy feel fresh.
8. Treat Yourself To Something New
9. Pick Up A New Hobby
This tip may seem straightforward, but picking up a new hobby you've always wanted to try, or trying an activity that eases anxiety, is such a simple way to make your self-care routine feel brand new. Gardening, making pottery, journaling, spending time outside — whatever makes you feel relaxed can become a new go-to.
Of course, much of self-care will still most likely focus on the basics like eating, hygiene, and getting enough sleep. However, by trying a fresh spin on an old classic, you can totally revitalize your self-care routine without too much effort.