11 Unique Self-Care Ideas for Mental Health

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Feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or mentally drained? You’re not alone. Taking care of our mental health today is more important than ever with how fast-paced things have gotten.

In this blog post, I’ll give you 11 unique self-care ideas for mental health that go beyond the usual suggestions you’ve likely heard a hundred times before. These tips will help you nurture a deeper sense of well-being and happiness.

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What to Expect From This Post

In this post, you’ll find practical, actionable self-care ideas that are easy to implement in your daily life. From unconventional mindfulness practices to creative expressions, these tips are tailored to help you enhance your mental health and bring more joy into your everyday routine.

My Story

I used to struggle A LOT with my mental health. For years, I just couldn’t figure it out and there were some pretty dark times with multiple hospitalizations. There were times I didn’t want to go on. Eventually, I decided I needed to figure it out. It was really hard at first, but I eventually not only found what works for me, but I got off of all the nasty medications I was on that my psychiatrist told me I’d never be able to get off of. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it and now I manage my mental health naturally. A big part of that is regular self-care for mental health. This post is some unique ways to take care of yourself so you can feel better too if you’ve been struggling.

11 Unique Self-Care Ideas for Mental Health

1. Dance Therapy

Dance therapy is a great way to express yourself and release pent-up emotions. Remember how Meredith and Cristina from Grey’s Anatomy would “dance it out” to relieve stress and bond with each other? Moving your body to music can help reduce stress, boost your mood, and increase your energy levels. You don’t need to be a professional dancer (I’m definitely not, but I still use dance therapy); just let the music guide you and move in whatever way feels good. The nice part is, you can do it in the comfort of your home and is a fun, effective way to improve your mental health.

2. Forest Bathing (Shinrin-Yoku)

Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, is a Japanese practice that involves immersing oneself in nature. As a long-distance hiker, I can attest that there’s no better medicine than nature. But it doesn’t have to mean hiking or exercising; instead, it’s about being mindful and present in a natural environment. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce cortisol levels, lower blood pressure, and enhance mood. Find a local park or nature reserve and spend some quiet time absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest.

wooden bridge in the forest with text that reads: spending time in nature has incredible healing properties, offering a natural remedy for stress and anxiety. The tranquility of the outdoors can rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirity, fostering a profound sense of peace and well-being manifesteveryday.com

3. Art Therapy

Engaging in art therapy is a fantastic way to express your emotions and reduce stress. In the last year, I’ve gone to some art classes with my mom and we’ve walked away feeling lighter every time. You don’t need to be an artist to benefit from this practice. The process of creating art allows you to explore your feelings, increase self-awareness, and cope with stress more effectively. Try activities like painting, drawing, making jewelry, or sculpting as a regular part of your self-care routine.

4. Sound Healing

Sound healing involves using specific sound frequencies to improve mental and physical health. Instruments like singing bowls, tuning forks, and gongs are commonly used. I first experienced sound healing while in Bali in 2014 and I was instantly hooked. These sounds can help to balance energy in the body, reduce stress, and promote deep relaxation. You can find sound healing sessions at wellness centers or explore online resources to practice at home.

a woman using singing bowls in a sound healing session with text that reads: Sound healing harnesses the vibrational power of music and tones to restore harmony within the body and mind. This practice can reduce stress, enhance mental clarity, and promote a profound sense of well-being, making it a powerful tool for self-care. manifesteveryday.com

5. Laughter Yoga

Laughter yoga combines laughter exercises with yogic breathing techniques. This practice not only boosts your mood but also enhances oxygen intake, reduces stress hormones, and improves overall cardiovascular health. Join a laughter yoga class or follow along with videos online to experience the benefits.

6. Digital Detox

Constant connectivity can lead to digital fatigue and increased stress levels. A digital detox involves taking a break from electronic devices to reconnect with the present moment and reduce mental clutter. Set aside specific times during the day to unplug and engage in activities that don’t involve screens, such as reading a book, going for a walk, or spending quality time with loved ones. If you feel you’d do better in a more guided setting, I can’t recommend this program by Nathaniel Solace enough.

7. Gratitude Journaling

Keeping a gratitude journal is a simple yet powerful way to shift your focus from negative to positive aspects of your life. Each day, write down three things you’re grateful for. This practice can help increase your overall happiness, reduce stress, and foster a positive mindset.

8. Grounding (Earthing)

Grounding or earthing involves connecting physically with the earth’s surface. Walking barefoot on grass, soil, or sand can help reduce inflammation, improve sleep, and enhance mental clarity. Spend some time each day grounding yourself to experience these benefits. If you live in a place that makes grounding outside more difficult, here is another option for grounding I’ve found to work well.

9. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses essential oils and/or flower essences to promote mental and emotional well-being. Different scents have various effects; for example, lavender is known for its calming properties, while peppermint boosts energy and focus. Flower essences, on the other hand, focus on the energetic properties of flowers to balance emotions and enhance mental health. Use a diffuser, apply diluted oils to your skin, add a few drops to your bath, or incorporate flower essences into your routine to benefit from aromatherapy.

10. Vision Boarding

Creating a vision board can help you focus on your goals and aspirations, providing motivation and a sense of direction. Use images, words, and symbols that represent your dreams and desires. Then put your vision board where you can see it daily to keep your goals top of mind and inspire positive action.

11. Regular Movement for Mental Health

Incorporating regular movement into your routine is a powerful form of self-care for mental health. While it may be the last thing you want to do when feeling low or anxious, exercise is often what you need the most. Engaging in physical activity is a great way to manage stress, and after just 20 minutes, your body releases endorphins—those feel-good hormones that boost your mood. Personally, I hated exercising at first, and it took a long time to make it a habit. However, it’s one of the most effective strategies I’ve found for managing my mental health. Regular movement not only helps to ease stress and anxiety but also enhances overall mental well-being, making it an essential practice for a healthier, happier life.

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1. How often should I practice these self-care activities?

It’s important to integrate self-care activities into your daily or weekly routine. The frequency will depend on your personal schedule and needs. Start with small, manageable practices and gradually incorporate more as you become comfortable. Don’t do too much at once because it will be harder to stick to. Master one new habit at a time before adding more.

2. Can I combine multiple self-care activities?

Absolutely! Combining different self-care activities can create a comprehensive approach to improving your mental health. For example, you can practice gratitude journaling in the morning, take a nature walk in the afternoon, and engage in art therapy in the evening.

3. What if I don’t have a lot of time for self-care?

Self-care doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Even small activities, like taking a 5-minute mindfulness break or writing down one thing you’re grateful for each day, can make a significant impact on your mental health. The key is consistency and making self-care a priority. And most importantly, just do the best you can. It doesn’t have to be complicated and more doesn’t necessarily mean better. Find what works for you and add more as you feel ready.

Self-care for mental health, and these 11 ideas can help you find balance and peace. Whether you’re trying aromatherapy, incorporating regular movement, or exploring other practices, each step you take towards self-care makes a difference. Remember, it’s about finding what works best for you and making it a part of your routine. I’d love to hear from you! Comment below with your favorite way to practice self-care or any questions you might have. I'd love to support you on your journey to better mental health!

11 Unique Self-Care Ideas for Mental Health
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11 days ago

Great post! These unique self-care ideas are exactly what we all need.:)

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