21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

Even if you're off from school for the summer or no longer driving kids from one after-school activity to another, it's easy for self care to fall to the bottom of your to-do list. That's why I'm rounding up 21 research-backed self care activities that are so easy, you can do them without even leaving the comfort of your bed.

21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

So whether you have a chronic illness like fibromyalgia that sometimes prevents you from leaving bed or you just need easy self care ideas for your next self care Sunday, keep reading to learn about 21 research-backed ways you can add self love and self care into your daily routine!

1. Flip through some old photographs (in your phone, computer or photo album).

When I'm feeling lonely or just want to take a trip down memory lane, flipping through old photographs, cards and notes I keep in a box under my bed is my go-to self care activity. Even if you don't have your own memory box (though this could be your sign to start one now!), you can look through the photographs on your computer, phone or in your photo album. You'll be reminded of some of the amazing things you've done and the great friends and family you have. You might also get ideas of things you want to do again, like returning to a favorite coffee shop you'd forgotten about or texting a friend who's fallen out of touch.

2. Use online tutorials to learn something new.

Is there a skill that you've always wished you had but never took the time to master? Why not dedicate your self care Sunday (or even just a few hours one day a week) to learning a new skill? Thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can learn a variety of skills for free online. Plus, research shows learning new things can actually improve people's happiness and overall well-being, as well as their memory as they age.

21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

3. Write about something that's bothering you for 10 minutes, and then throw the paper away or rip it up!

There's something comforting about being able to vent about a problem and then literally throw that problem in the trash. Putting your feelings into words has also been shown to make negative emotions feel less intense. Plus, writing about your problem could help you better understand why it's bugging you and what to do about it.

4. Challenge yourself to not use your phone for at least the first 30 minutes after you wake up.

Anyone else guilty of checking their phone and scrolling through email and Instagram as soon as you get up? I know I am. Self care can be as simple as saying "no" to technology for the first thirty minutes of your day, especially if you find that looking at work emails or social media comments as soon as you get up gives your days a stressful start.

21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

5. Identify three of the most important goals you want to achieve that day...and they can be big or small.

As famous baseball Hall-of-Famer Yogi Berra once said, "If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else." To help ensure that you accomplish everything you want to each day, try identifying three important goals you want to achieve. These goals don't have to be big either. Sometimes, like when I'm having a fibromyalgia flare up, my biggest goals are to rest, get extra sleep and eat three square meals, and that's totally OK!

6. Read a book for at least an hour.

Besides getting to escape real life for at least an hour, reading a book also comes with a variety of other science-backed benefits, including increased empathy, reduced stress, higher rated intelligence and improved comprehension of whatever you're reading about. If you're looking for self care ideas that will definitely improve your overall health, reading a book is a solid option.

21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

7. Groove out to music you haven't listened to in years.

If you've never had a solo dance party on your own bed, here's your invitation to try. Bonus points if you break out the old high school soundtrack you used to jam out to but haven't listened to in years. You'll be amazed at the memories old songs can bring back!

8. Meditate...or at least try to.

I'll be the first to admit that, although I know meditation would be good for me, I have a hard time actually incorporating this self care tip into my daily life. Luckily, research reports that meditating for even 20 minutes a day can be enough for you to reap big benefits like improved brain function. Meditation is also easily nowadays thanks to countless YouTube videos and apps that help guide you through. As I tell myself when I try to meditate but can't stay "focused" for longer than 10 minutes, something is better than nothing...and you'll never get better at meditating if you don't try.

21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

9. Unplug from social media for at least a few hours...or even longer.

Social media can be an amazing thing. After all, as a blogger, I use social media almost daily and appreciate how it connects me with the rest of the gluten free community. However, social media can also be a huge time-sucker and some studies have correlated high social media usage with increased anxiety, depression and stress. If you're wondering how your social media usage is affecting you, you might want to try unplugging for a few hours (or even a few days) and seeing how you feel. Who knows. Maybe you'll discover a new social media routine (like only looking at it for a certain amount of time or on certain days) that works better for you.

10. Stretch your body!

You've probably heard about how good exercise is for your physical, mental and emotional health. However, you don't have to start doing jumping jacks in bed to get a lift in mood. In fact, experts report that stretching impacts both people's neurological and muscular health. So if you're really not feeling the gym, why not spend some time stretching in bed instead?

21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

11. Listen to at least one podcast episode. Bonus points if it's on a topic you've been wanting to learn more about, but never find the time to.

Lately, I've been all about that podcast life, and listening to even one episode a day is a super easy form of self care. Some of my personal favorites include Oprah's SuperSoul, the Ted Radio Hour and Hidden Brain from NPR and How It is with Hello Sunshine (for a splash of feminist/girl power awesomeness), but you can find podcasts on whatever you're interested in learning more about. If you do feel like leaving bed that day, you can also listen to your podcast in the gym or on a walk. That makes it a nice break for the mind and body.

12. Call a friend you haven't talked to in awhile.

Even if you aren't feeling very social, you might surprise yourself with how much you enjoy catching up with an old friend. Like looking through photo albums, a phone call can also be a trip back in time and have you smiling over happy memories.

21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

13. Make a list of three things that are going "right" for you that day or week. Do it that morning, that afternoon and that evening.

Speaking of podcasts, I actually got this self care idea from listening to Oprah. Compared to a gratitude journal that you only write in at night, this self care activity is a whole-day affair, but it should only take you a few minutes each time. The thinking behind it is that gratitude can offer a variety of benefits, ranging from improved physical health, increased empathy, better sleep, higher self-esteem and reduced stress. By listing three things you're grateful for three times a day, you're maintaining a grateful mindset all day.

14. Map out the next few weeks in a calendar, journal or planner, and schedule fun time and breaks during stressful periods.

Maybe it's just the Type-A control freak in me, but I feel a lot less stressed when I know what the next month of my life will hold. Even though there are definitely some things you can't plan (like my computer dying a few weeks ago...), you might feel less stressed after spending twenty minutes or so filling in your calendar. This is also a great time to schedule some "fun" breaks, like lunches with friends or a relaxing massage, when you notice an especially busy week or two.

21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

15. Unfollow or hide social media accounts that don't give you positive energy or inspiration.

To make sure you're getting the most benefits (and least negatives) out of your social media accounts, do a spring cleaning of who you're following every couple of months or so. If someone's account is making you feel crummy more often then not (by making you feel inadequate, for instance, or by expressing ideas that you find hurtful or triggering), take a break from following them. Your mental health is more important than knowing what some influencer is up to every hour of the day.

16. Write your favorite quotes or inspiring affirmations on sticky notes that you can put in your room, on your laptop, in your car, etc.

Why not spend your time in bed doing something that will make your whole week - and your whole home - feel a lot more positive? Research has found that self-affirmations (particularly, writing about things you value, including your family, career, etc) can increase people's sense of self-worth along with providing other benefits. Personally, I like writing positive affirmations on sticky notes that I place on my computer, fridge or anything else I use regularly in my house. Regardless of how you write or where you put your positive affirmations, the important part is writing them in the first place.

21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

17. Enjoy watching at least an hour of your favorite TV show - and don't feel guilty or like you're "wasting time."

Anyone else feel like they constantly need to be “productive” in order for their day to be a “good” one? I know I do, but that often leads to burn out. So after a hard week or even a hard day, try to set aside time for a totally guilt-and-care-free Netflix binge of your favorite show. You’ll be amazed at how refreshed and motivated you feel after giving yourself a break and escaping from reality for a little bit! 

18. Do something creative for at least thirty minutes!

The next time you're craving some mood-boosting self care, try breaking out the adult coloring books, doodling on a spare notepad, making your own beaded jewelry or really doing anything that gets your creative juices flowing. Research has linked increased creativity with increased positive thoughts, as well as decreased stress and anxiety. Plus, who knows what cute stuff you'll end up creating?

21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

19. Paint your nails, oil pull, do a face mask or any other beauty treatment you rarely take time for.

I’m not usually a big beauty treatment kind of gal, but when I do take the time to put on a face mask or paint my nails, it can transform my bedroom into a spa. So if you need an easy self care activity, think of a beauty treatment you love doing but rarely get around to doing and add that to the top of your daily to-so list. Seeing your newly painted nails or feeling your extra moisturized hair could put a smile on your face for days afterward.

20. Write a card to someone for no reason besides saying hi.

How many handwritten cards do you get nowadays compared to phone calls, emails or texts? Probably a whole lot less! Taking the time to write a handwritten letter can benefit more than just the friend who gets a nice surprise in their mailbox. Expressive writing has actually been shown to improve people's mood, stress levels and overall well-being, so grab a pen and get busy!

21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

21. Smile for at least 30 seconds, even if you don't feel like doing it.

If you're looking for a self care activity you can complete in a minute or less, prepare to show off those pearly whites of yours and smile! Even if you're forcing it, smiling triggers endorphins that elevate your mood. Plus, smiling makes you look younger and thinner, creates the same happy feelings in your brain as 2,000 bars of chocolate and is even correlated with a longer lifespan. Now those are some benefits to smile about!

My Self Care Challenge to You

Whether you throw a self care Sunday every week or desperately need to start adding self care activities into your regular routine, making time for self care can not only make your day 100 times better, but also improve your mental, emotional and physical health. 

As I’ve shown with this list, self care doesn’t have to involve a high-end spa treatment or a weekend retreat to some exotic island. In fact, you can enjoy a plethora of self care activities from the comfort of your own bed...so whether you’re in bed rest because of a chronic illness like fibromyalgia or just need some easy TLC, there are some stellar self care options for you.

21 Self Care Activities You Can Do Without Leaving Bed

My challenge to you this summer is to try out at least one of these self care activities - or some other form of self care that makes you feel good - each week. As relaxing as summer can be, it also often involves lots of family activities, travel and stress. This summer, make YOU and your health a priority with some help from these easy self care tips!



What’s your favorite way to practice self care? Tell me in the comments! 

Comments

  1. Love number 2. Since RA has been kicking my hiney lately....ive appreciated self care so much more.

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