If you’re struggling to take better care of yourself and need tips to help you turn things around, then this list of physical self care ideas is a great place to start.
Even though all types of self care (such as spiritual and emotional self care) are important, for some people, physical self care is the easiest way to recharge and hit the reset button.
So, this post is going to cover the basics of what physical self care is and give you some practical tips for implementing physical self care in your daily life.
Note: this post contains some affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you use them.
WHAT IS PHYSICAL SELF CARE?
Physical self care focuses mainly on the daily habits and rituals in our lives that affect our physical health or physical well-being. In general, those habits and rituals are related to diet and lifestyle choices, as well as biologically programmed habits that aren’t a “choice” (like the need for sleep or the need to eliminate waste from the body).
All too often, physical self care is equated with “pampering” – massages, manis or pedis. And while that’s part of it, there’s much more to it (as you’ll see when we get to those physical care tips!).
In addition, it’s worth noting that our emotional and spiritual state of mind can also impact physical health.
As a matter of fact, if you’re a highly sensitive person, those other aspects might affect your physical health much more than anything else.
But for the sake of simplicity, we’re going to stick to the initial definition of physical self care that was provided above – those daily habits and rituals that are tied to diet and lifestyle.
WHY IS PHYSICAL SELF CARE IMPORTANT?
Physical self care is important because it’s part of the “body” element in the mind body spirit connection. I think we can agree that the health of the body can make or break our quality of life as a whole.
Now, here are a few reasons why you want to prioritize taking care of your body.
1. Supports Brain Function
Feeling forgetful, experiencing mood swings or having a hard time making decisions? The answer may lie in what you’re eating (or not eating).
The body is one big chemical-producing factory (well, a factory with thoughts and feelings).
And changes in brain function or brain chemistry can sometimes be due to something as basic as our diet. For example (source):
- Iron helps to normalize cognitive function in young women.
- Vitamins C and E, along with carotene can delay the decline in cognitive function in the elderly.
- Low selenium is associated with lower cognitive function in the elderly population.
- Omega-3 fatty acids can affect how well we process information, as well as the brain’s ability to make new neuronal connections (which affects learning, for example).
So, by prioritizing physical care, you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs for optimal functioning.
2. Cultivates Self Love and Appreciation for Ourselves
Caring for the physical body means making time for you. No one else.
Unfortunately, we live in a world that often applauds us for being busy, overworked and drained. And if we dare to put our needs ahead of the needs of others, we’re told – directly or indirectly – that we’re being selfish.
But this is the only body we have. These are the only eyes we have..the only lungs we have…. the only ankles we have.
So, how can demanding the best quality food for yourself or making time for exercise be selfish? Truth is, the body is the physical vessel through which we experience life as humans.
It’s our responsibility to care for it and love it to the best of our ability.
3. Enhances Our Relationships
We can’t pour from an empty cup. So, taking the absolute best care of the physical body is one of many ways in which we can refill our cup.
The better we feel physically, the more present we are in all of our relationships.
After all, a strong, healthy body gives you the energy to play with your kids, help them with homework, take them to a museum, cook for them and so on.
Basically, the healthier your body is, the easier it is to give the best of yourself to your children, partner and other loved ones.
10 PHYSICAL SELF CARE IDEAS TO START USING TODAY
1. Lather Up With Natural Soaps
Taking a shower is something we all have to do every day (or at least I hope so!).
But unfortunately, many commercial soaps contain toxic carcinogens, preservatives, artificial dyes and artificial fragrances.
All of these ingredients get absorbed into the skin and end up in the bloodstream, where they contribute to inflammation and chronic health problems.
In addition, many of the ingredients in soaps are very abrasive and they can ruin your skin microbiome.
Yep, your skin has a microbiome (friendly bacteria) that keeps skin looking radiant.
That microbiome also fights off inflammatory conditions like acne, rosacea or eczema.
So, why not make the switch to truly clean and natural soap?
Once you try natural soaps, a whole new world opens up to you!
Not only are the best ones scented with essential oils, but they’re also made with moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, olive oil and coconut oil.
Much gentler on your delicate microbiome 🙂
If you’re not sure where to find these soaps, then check out my favorite clean soap brand, Chagrin Valley Soap, on Amazon.
You can also head over to your local health store, or browse through Etsy and Pinterest for endless inspiration.
2. Give Yourself a Head-to-Toe, Ayurvedic Self Massage
If you’re looking for a simple way to reconnect with your body while also improving your health, then give abhyanga a try.
Abhyanga is an ancient Ayurvedic self massage practice that is said to:
- Decrease the effects of aging.
- Improve skin and muscle tone.
- Enhance vision.
- Improve sleep.
…and a whole lot more!
If you’re curious about how it all works, it’s quite simple.
- You start with some warm jojoba oil (or any other natural massage oil).
- Then you apply the oil from your scalp to your toes in very specific motions.
Not only is the self massage soothing, but because you’re using natural oils, you’re also feeding your skin microbiome (which we talked about above).
If you’d like to explore this self care practice, then check out this video for details on how to do abhyanga:
3. Go Barefoot Regularly
Although it seems too simple, going for regular walks really is one of the best ways to stay in good physical shape.
And you can get even more out of it if you walk barefoot.
That’s because walking barefoot (aka “earthing” or “grounding”) has been shown to:
- Lower stress.
- Reduce pain and inflammation.
- Improve inflammation.
So, how does walking barefoot do all this?
Well it turns out that our bodies, and the earth, are one big energy or electrical field.
However, these days we spend more time indoors and we wear rubber-soled shoes.
This means our feet are not in contact with the earth very much, if at all.
So, the balance of positive and negative charges in our bodies is out of whack.
This contributes to various health issues.
By walking barefoot, we’re able to absorb the right electrical charge from the earth, which contributes to better physical health!
4. Enjoy A Detox Bath
Detox baths are exactly what the name implies: they help your body detoxify and eliminate toxins.
Now, as for what to use, the main ingredient for a detox bath is epsom salt.
Epsom salt contains magnesium, sulfur and oxygen.
When used in a bath, your body is able to absorb the magnesium and sulfur (both of which help with drawing out toxins from the body).
To do your own detox bath for physical self care, here are the steps:
- Fill a tub with warm water.
- Add 1 ½ cups epsom salt.
- Optional: combine five drops of lavender oil with 1 tbsp castile soap. Add the mixture into the tub.
- Soak for 30 to 40 minutes.
Note: the general recommendation for epsom salt baths is to use 2 cups in a standard-size bathtub. However, that quantity tends to leave me feeling very drained. So, I suggest starting with 1 ½ cups. That 1/2 cup really can make a big difference.
5. Have A Green Breakfast
What you eat really does help set the tone for the rest of the day.
And one of the best things you can do is drink a green smoothie as part of your breakfast.
Not only are green smoothies ideal for boosting your energy, but they are also full of fiber that feeds your gut bacteria.
Healthy gut bacteria also improves your energy, reduces your cravings and improves that foggy, can’t-concentrate feeling that sometimes drags us down.
To get started with this self care tip, use this quick guide on how to make green smoothies.
6. Take Care Of Your Back With Yoga
Your spine is home to your central nervous system.
All the nerves that serve your entire body – whether it’s your toes, ankles, knees, hips, eyes, ovaries, adrenals, thyroid – all those nerves originate from the spine.
So, it’s important to keep your spine strong (not rigid) yet flexible.
One way to do this is with a regular yoga practice.
The variety of side stretches, forward bends, backbends and twists in yoga take your spine through a healthy range of motion.
And this helps keep your spine in tip top shape (not to mention you get better posture too!).
Need a beginner-friendly intro? Watch this:
7. Sip on Some Golden Milk
Even though regular exercise is important for physical health, rest is just as important (if not more!).
And one thing you can do to help your body unwind and fall asleep is to drink a cup of golden milk.
If you’re not familiar with golden milk, it’s a blend of turmeric, coconut oil, coconut milk, cinnamon and raw honey.
Not only is this warm drink a real treat for your taste buds, but it has ingredients that help to balance hormones (which is important for deep sleep).
Although you can drink it at any time of day, I personally enjoy drinking it at night.
It just helps me unwind from a long day and preps me for sleep
You can find my golden milk recipe in this post on how to use turmeric for hormone balance.
8. Treat Yourself To A Plant-Based Day
We all know that a plant-based diet is associated with weight loss, longevity, gorgeous skin and less chronic illnesses.
So, if you’re not already on the plant-based train, consider hopping on at least once a week.
This means for 24 hours you get to enjoy plant milks, legumes, veggies, fruits, raw nuts and wholesome grains.
To get the most out of your plant-based day, think of yourself as an explorer!
If there’s something plant-based that you’ve been meaning to try, give it a shot.
See how your taste buds like it (or not) and how your body feels after a full day of plant-based meals.
And remember: plant-based doesn’t mean you have to go vegan or vegetarian.
You simply need to eat more plants in order to reap the benefits for your physical well-being.
9. Recharge and Re-Energize With Pranayama
The word “pranayama” comes from yoga and it refers to breathing techniques that support our health.
Even though there are various types of pranayama exercises, they all have some common benefits, which include:
- Detoxing and moving stagnant energy in the body.
- Clearing the mind.
- Creating a sense of clarity and groundedness.
The pranayama exercise that I like to do in the mornings is breath of fire (or kapalabhati).
It’s incredibly invigorating and also clears out the sinuses!
Here’s a quick tutorial:
For night time (or anytime you feel tension in the body) ujjayi breathing is absolutely soothing and amazing.
Here’s an ujjayi breath tutorial you can follow:
10. Say Yes To Sugar
Now, I’m talking about natural sugar here 🙂
Our taste buds, and the rest of our bodies, were designed to savor natural sugar and all of its health benefits.
But unfortunately, the dieting industry has lumped all sugar, including many fruit and veggies sugars, into the same category as say junk food sugar.
And this has caused many of us to avoid the simple pleasures of life – like eating a juicy and delicious mango.
This is rather sad because unlike a bag of cookies, that mango is loaded with fiber, vitamin C and other antioxidants that are even beneficial for diabetics!
In my humble opinion, I think nature’s always looking out for us and is on our side.
Why deprive yourself of all the delicious and decadent treats that she graciously offers up?
Go ahead and dig into those mangoes, pineapples, raw honey, peaches, sweet potatoes and whatever else you can get your hands on!
FAQs ABOUT PHYSICAL SELF CARE IDEAS
How can you pass time without a phone?
You can try listening or dancing to music, meditating, going for a walk, learning a new skill (like fermenting food) or reading an old-fashioned book.
How can I have the best self care day?
Focus mainly on activities that actually uplift you, even if those things are different from what an expert says you should do. Also, try not to plan too much. Have a general idea of what you want to do on your self care day. But give yourself time so that you’re not feeling like you have to rush just to get those self care to-dos off your list.
Physical self care is an important ingredient in our personal self care recipe.
And even though there are various aspects to physical self care – exercise, food, sleep and more – they all have the same objective: to transform your body into a healthy and thriving home for you!
Feel free to use these physical self care ideas as a starting point.
Adapt them to fit you and your preferences and your current life needs.
If you have any questions or feedback on any of the self care tips we covered, feel free to drop a comment below 🙂