5 Unexpected Forms of Self-Care

March 3, 2020 Megan Griffith

Many forms of self-care are absolutely essential for any healthy, functioning person, but, oftentimes, we see the same recommendations online over and over, like getting a manicure or snuggling with a weighted blanket. But what if these self-care activities aren't right for you? There are different forms of self-care that you might enjoy.

I've started taking self-care much more seriously in the last five years, and in that time, I've discovered a wide variety of unorthodox self-care activities. If you're looking for forms of self-care that branch out beyond the typical "spa day" style, then this list is for you.

5 Forms of Self-Care You Probably Haven't Tried Before

  1. Go through a car wash. Seriously, you will be shocked at how calming this can be. If you're struggling with some intense emotions and need a way to get through the next couple of minutes, I highly recommend going through a hands-free car wash. It's dark, but not pitch black, there's lots of soothing white noise, and in some car washes, they have beautiful lights. Plus, if you get the most basic option, it usually costs five dollars or less. 
  2. Clean one thing very well. Cleaning is an underrated form of self-care. Because it's a chore, I think most people don't think of it as something that can make us feel better, but it really can. Don't overwhelm yourself with trying to clean everything, because that will likely only create more stress. Instead, pick one thing you've been meaning to clean for a while, like the pile of dishes mounting in the sink or the mildew-ridden grout in the shower, and just clean it until it's completely spotless. Cleaning even one thing will provide you with a sense of accomplishment, and your living space will be just a smidge nicer, which always makes me feel good.
  3. Bake something. This one is really hard for me because when I'm upset, I don't feel like I have the attention span to follow a recipe, even one on the back of a box. But if I can force myself to try anyway, it really does help. Baking forces you to focus on the recipe instead of your painful emotions, just for a few minutes, and you get a comforting sweet treat at the end.
  4. Totally destroy a journal page. I've been using this form of self-care for years because it is honestly one of the most effective ways for me to manage the intense feelings of self-hatred that can take over my mind. When I'm this kind of upset, I don't want to be soothed, I want to be angry, and destroying a journal page helps me with that. Sometimes, I take huge globs of paint on my hands and smear them all over the page, other times I make deep grooves in the paper scribbling with a pen, but there are lots of other ways to destroy a journal page.
  5. Do something small and nice for someone else. Okay, to be fair I have seen this one elsewhere online, but I think a lot of other articles don't explain why this is so helpful. In the past, I've felt like this form of self-care was about making myself less of a horrible person, rather than actually making myself feel better, and when I'm in distress, I need to find ways to actually feel better. But recently I've been trying this anyway, and I've found that it really can reduce feelings of distress. I've found that making someone smile, even in the smallest way, makes me feel a tiny bit better.

Make Your Form of Self-Care Work for You

Still don't see any self-care activities that work for you on this list? Don't give up. There are tons of self-care options out there, and you will find ones that help ease your negative feelings and improve your quality of life.

Do you have your own unusual forms of self-care? Share them in the comments so the community can benefit from a wide variety of self-care strategies.

APA Reference
Griffith, M. (2020, March 3). 5 Unexpected Forms of Self-Care, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Author: Megan Griffith

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Lizanne Corbit
March, 4 2020 at 2:16 pm

I love the variety of these suggestions! I remember the last time I went through a car wash, it had been a while and I found myself thinking, just how calming it really was. There is something so great about baking (beyond a delicious end result)! It's so refreshing to think of self-care in different, and applicable ways. Thank you for sharing.

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