DIY Self Care Jar (with 50 self-care ideas)

Self-care is important for our mental and physical health. Without taking the time to care for ourselves we leave ourselves susceptible to burnout, mental, physical and emotional distress. By taking some time out to engage in self -care we can ease anxiety and depression, be more resilient to stress, improve concentration, reduce anger, increase happiness and improve energy. It's a wonderful way to restore our connection to ourselves and slow down in a world where it feels almost impossible to take a moment to stop.

Making a Self-care Jar

Ah, but what will become of all those empty jars? I know I'm not the only person here who washes out and saves jars for...Well, I'm not really sure what for (anyone?). I have this idea that I'm going to start making chutneys or get really into pickling. I haven't completely ruled either of them out, so watch this space (but don't hold your breath!).


What is a self-care jar?

A self-care jar is a wonderful tool-kit to help you when you need comfort and soothing. Your self-care jar is there to remind you of all the ways you can look after yourself. Some days when we need self-care, we aren't always able to remember how we can look after ourselves. So having all these ideas in one place takes away the pressure to remember.


How to make your own self-care jar

Take a jar (if you don’t have a jar, a box or container will work fine). Below is a list of self-care activities. Pick out ones that speak to you or that you’re curious about. You may choose to split the self-care activities into types of care. Or you may choose to split it out in duration (e.g. 10 mins, 30 mins, 60 mins, daily). Write each one down on a separate piece of paper (you’ll need different coloured paper if you wish to colour-code them). For example, you may write all the self-care activities associated with touch on yellow paper and all the activities associated with movement on green paper.


Whenever you need some extra self-care, draw a piece of paper from the jar. Think about what you feel you need right now. Is it to feel a connection, be nourished, feel comforted, move your body, or maybe get your thoughts out?


It takes time for some of these activities to feel self-caring. So give yourself plenty of time to adjust to these new ways of looking after yourself.

  1. A mini-spa session

  2. Pedicure/manicure

  3. Face mask (store-bought or homemade)

  4. A long shower or bath

  5. Floss your teeth

  6. Exfoliate/moisturise body (or parts of the body you feel comfortable touching)

  7. Self intimacy: sensual touch/touching anywhere that feels pleasurable, masturbation, reading/listening to erotica or romantic stories

  8. Self-massage

  9. Changing your bedsheets

  10. Putting on clean pyjamas

  11. Haircare: mask, protective styling, oils, head massage

  12. A longer skincare routine: exfoliate, steam and mask

  13. Put together a playlist of songs you enjoy

  14. Start a photo project: an album of favourite memories, places you’d like to visit, photos of places where you’d feel safe and comfortable.

  15. Create a vision board

  16. Watch your favourite film/show

  17. Watch funny videos on YouTube

  18. Listen to an audiobook

  19. Listen to a podcast

  20. A guided meditation

  21. Light a scented candle

  22. Spray your pillow with a soothing sleep spray

  23. Cook/bake your favourite recipe

  24. Create a snack box with snacks from your safe foods

  25. Write out an emergency meal plan with safe foods for days where you are struggling to nourish yourself

  26. Write out an emergency plan

  27. Make yourself a warm drink

  28. Journal: write out your thoughts, write a list of things you are grateful for, write about the “bigger picture”

  29. Learn/practice a new hobby

  30. Write a poem

  31. Write a short story

  32. Write a list of 5 things that you must get done this week

  33. Write a letter to yourself, to the part of you that doesn’t want to heal, to the part of you that needs some self-compassion, to your future self, to your inner child.

  34. Write out some boundaries that you need to set with others

  35. Do a puzzle

  36. Play a game

  37. Do some art. doodle, a colouring book

  38. Play an instrument

  39. Find something you like the feel of, e.g. a comfort blanket, teddybear, hot water bottle, favourite piece of clothing, favourite bed set

  40. Call a friend or loved one

  41. Ask for a hug (and if no one is there, hug yourself)

  42. Gentle stretches/yoga

  43. Breathing exercises

  44. Go for a mindful walk (taking note of the sights, sounds and smells)

  45. Dance like no one is watching (even if it’s just clapping your hands or dancing with your head and shoulders)

  46. Buy yourself some flowers

  47. Do some gardening

  48. Declutter - wardrobe, makeup bag, bookshelf, unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters, delete unused/unhelpful apps.

  49. Plan a dream holiday / your dream home/garden

  50. Spend time with your pet

There's no way I have thought of everything and so I shall continue to update this list over time. What ones do you like the most? Would you add any others?