Ten Self-Care Habits to Live a Happier and More Fulfilling Life

Live a Happier Life Through Self-Care Habits

Are you experiencing increased anxiety, depression, irritability, or feeling burnout? It’s likely because, like many Americans, you are avoiding implementing proper self-care. Nearly two out of three Americans don’t practice it. So it comes to no surprise that burnout, anxiety, and feelings of unhappiness are on the rise today. 

Society has allowed you to feel guilty and selfish for doing something vital to your overall health, happiness, and success in life. Don’t allow these common barriers to get in the way of a happier and more fulfilling life. Use this guide to learn why daily self-care is beneficial to your life and the ten self-care habits you can start adding to your everyday routine. 

Self-care is a personal process. No one’s plan will be or should be the same. It is about taking repeated actions, care, and attention to one’s own life: physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, financially, professionally, and sometimes spiritually. Finally, it’s about reviewing and improving each of these categories in your life to add consistency and positive movement to ensure you achieve overall health, happiness, and more.

Top Five Benefits of Implementing Daily Self-Care

To further encourage you on the right path to enacting daily self-care practices, you must learn all the benefits you will receive from going down this path. Self-care is not negative or selfish as long as you are doing it properly. Don’t allow society to persuade your opinion any longer. 

In fact, nearly sixty-nine percent of Americans have reported wanting to make self-care more of a priority this year, and many others are finding that their daily self-care plan is so essential to their life they couldn’t function without it. Meaning viewing self-care as selfish or as a guilty pleasure is becoming a thing of the past, as it should. 

Five of the most important benefits of implementing daily self-care:

Improved Physical and Mental Health

Many self-care tasks are just everyday things needed to live a healthy life. For example, keeping your immune system healthy and strong so you can power through each day and achieve your goals optimally. This means finding a well-balanced diet that allows you to take in the nutrients you need to be healthy. When you incorporate the right foods and commit to moving your emotional and mental health is improved. 

Many poor diets are responsible for increased inflammation and low nutrient levels that provide poor physical and mental health. For example, sugar, highly processed foods, or low nutritional value promote inflammation that can lead to symptoms of anxiety, depression, and heart disease. All of which can harm your overall happiness and life.

Improved Self-Esteem and Confidence

When your body is supplied with the right resources, and you take a moment to reflect and improve your life, you naturally build more confidence to tackle your dreams and aspirations—putting yourself first as self-care allows you to understand your full value, potential, and self-worth. Through self-reflection, you can better see the barriers in your way and discover your worth. The more you prioritize self-care and give yourself what you need to thrive, the more you will be able to offer the world while simultaneously fulfilling your own needs, wants, and other self-care benefits.

Improved Self-Awareness and Purpose

Proper self-care must and will always include self-awareness. Without it, you won’t identify what is in your way or implement the appropriate steps to get there. So, the first step to creating any self-care plan is to take the time to really challenge your thoughts and experiences and evaluate what you can and can’t do to do better. The more self-aware you are, the further your purpose and self-worth are defined. Every human wants to feel valued and important, and self-care is the first step to achieving it. 

Improved Relationships: Personally and Professionally

When you take care of yourself, you can better take care of others or simply be there for them. As you experience less stress, you will gain greater clarity to effectively communicate and enhance your shared experiences with others. This leads to stronger and more sustainable relationships in your personal and professional life.

Improved Productivity and Determination

With the clarity that self-care promotes, you will have a more defined idea of what you want to do and get from life. Thus, further increasing and enhancing your determination and motivation to get more out of life. Getting lost in this busy world is easy, but committing to making yourself a priority with a proper self-care plan allows you to get back on track and produce more. No one is perfect, even with a self-care plan. You will still have down days but have an easier way to get back on your feet. 

As you can see, these benefits clearly demonstrate the need to challenge the negative American narrative surrounding self-care and embrace its rewards. Self-care should not be perceived negatively; instead, it serves as a valuable tool to reduce stress, improve physical and mental health, and guide you toward achieving your personal, professional, and life goals.

Ten Habits to Practice Self-Care for a Happier and Healthier Life

Achieving a happier life relies on mindfulness and a commitment to implementing proper self-care habits. It is essential to have a plan in place and not expect failure when attempting something new or different.

Here are the ten self-care habits to follow to live a happier and more successful life: 

1. Perform an End of The Month Life Assessment 

Review all areas of your life to ensure you are doing what you need to be doing to stay happy. Next, create new goals for the next month, be proud of what you have accomplished, and review why you didn’t achieve the goals you were hoping to. Then create a new action plan to better tackle the following month. 

Here are eight questions to ask yourself each month to get you started:

  • “What did I learn and discover about myself this month?”
  • “What am I most proud of and why?”
  • “How and where can I manage my time better?”
  • “What obstacles or challenges did I experience, and how did they affect my plan?”
  • “Did I experience any specific fears or resistances this month? What were they, and how do they affect me?”
  • “What bad habits did I perform this month that I should stop doing and why?”
  • “Did I achieve all the goals that I set out for myself last assessment? Why or why not, and what factors contributed?”
  • “What goals do I want to accomplish next month?”

Next, you will want to focus on each type of self-care to better break down the assessment and get a better perspective of how your life is going. 

The following are the most common types of self-care and a few questions to help you evaluate them: 


  • Do you feel your emotions and express them freely?
  • What do you feel is causing you emotional distress?
  • Have you taken the time to recognize and reflect on your strengths and value?


  • Do you truly follow a proper diet and exercise routine?
  • How often do you get enough sleep at night?
  • Have you been to the doctor recently?


  • What new thing did you learn within your industry last month?
  • How do you rate your work-life balance on a schedule from one to five? One being horrible and five being perfect. 
  • What weaknesses can you improve to achieve your career goals?


  • What goals did you set and achieve right away?
  • Did you learn anything new?
  • What do you wish you could have done more to treat yourself with?


  • Have you reached out to a loved one consistently?
  • Did you introduce yourself to anyone new this month?
  • How did you enjoy your time with others?


  • Do you practice positive thinking and affirmations?
  • Do you practice gratitude and generosity?
  • Do you practice self-love and compassion?


  • Do you set and follow a realistic budget each month?
  • Do you track your expenses at least weekly?
  • Do you save or invest?


  • Have you reached out for help when you needed it the most?
  • Do you practice meditation or time alone and away from society?
  • How did you feel the majority of the month? Did you track your mood each day? How stable was it, and what do you think contributed? 

After you answer these questions, go back, and rate each category one through five; one means the category needs the most improvement, and five means you are truly happy and satisfied and can take the time to better focus on the other areas of your life. Next, find the categories that you rated a three and lower and create at least three small short-term goals you wish to achieve for them throughout the month or year. 

2. Implement The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule suggests that you can achieve eighty percent of the desired results with just twenty percent of the effort. In other words, focusing on the most impactful tasks can yield significant rewards while saving you from overwhelming yourself. By identifying the tasks that bring the most value and eliminating or reorganizing less productive ones, you can maintain balance and achieve success.

To implement the 80/20 rule effectively, follow these three steps:

  1. Assess Your Activities: Make a list of all your daily tasks and highlight the two or three that consume most of your time. Identify the ones that generate the highest return and reflect on why you prioritize the others.
  2. Reorganize and Eliminate: Find ways to reorganize, automate, or eliminate tasks to prioritize those that yield the desired results. Limit the tasks that do not contribute significantly or are merely time-consuming distractions. Understand the reasons behind choosing less valuable tasks and work towards improving or eliminating them.
  3. Track and Repeat: Maintain awareness of your behavior and promptly recognize when you find yourself engaging in unproductive or stressful activities. Prioritize the most important tasks and complete them first. Continuously repeat this process, understanding that self-care, like the 80/20 rule, is an ongoing endeavor. Strive for a balanced and successful life through consistent effort.

3. Practice Your Favorite Hobby For At Least an Hour Daily

Research indicates that engaging in your favorite hobbies can reduce stress and depression, leading to increased happiness and better overall well-being. Prioritizing activities that bring you joy has a positive impact on your mental and emotional state.

Personality assessments such as 16Personalities are a good source of information for finding new hobbies. The best hobbies are the ones that are realistic for you as your life is now and that fit your personality. 

To find a new hobby, consider the following tips:

  1. Reflect on Childhood Interests: Think about your childhood hobbies and activities. Revisiting these interests can help you reconnect with your true passions that may have been overshadowed by the responsibilities of adulthood.
  2. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: Challenge yourself by trying something you least expected to enjoy or engaging in hobbies you thought you would dislike. Stepping out of your comfort zone offers new perspectives, enhances self-awareness, and helps you understand your capabilities and limits.
  3. Explore Common Hobbies: Experiment with popular hobbies like biking, reading, gaming, or cooking. Don’t dismiss them simply because they seem ordinary. You can add your own unique touch, creativity, and innovation to make them more fulfilling and enjoyable. Popular hobbies often offer communities, resources, and expertise that can enhance your experience.

Make time for your hobbies and avoid making excuses. Engaging in activities you love and developing your skills brings fulfillment, relaxation, and overall happiness to your life. Prioritize your hobbies by scheduling dedicated time, waking up earlier, or finding ways to monetize them. By being mindful of your actions and inactions, you can find the time and resources to embrace your hobbies fully.

4. Break Away and Unplug From Technology

Did you know that over 80% of cellphone users admit they can’t go a day without it? Taking time alone, free from distractions, is crucial for self-discovery and reducing outside influences on your behavior.

Allocate at least 30 minutes to an hour daily for alone time and gradually increase it. If you are struggling, here are some tips:

  1. Create a Technology-Free Zone: Remove electronics from the bedroom and don’t use your phone as an alarm clock. Set a consistent bedtime and develop a new nighttime routine to unwind before sleep.
  2. Resist Constant Notifications: Designate specific hours when you refuse to check notifications or turn them off completely. Allow yourself time to check messages throughout the day, focusing on incentives and hobbies instead.
  3. Use Productivity Apps: Explore apps like Forest that help you focus on important tasks while contributing to tree-planting efforts. Concentrate on growing your virtual forest and supporting real-life tree-planting initiatives.
  4. Embrace Being Alone: Recognize the value of solitude for self-awareness, reflection, and mindfulness. Use this time to explore new hobbies, immerse yourself in favorite subjects, or practice meditation and journaling.

Take breaks from technology and embrace solitude to enhance mental and emotional well-being, promote self-discovery, and create a healthier life.

5. Stretching and Deep Breathing for Stress Reduction

To reduce stress, incorporate simple stretching and deep breathing techniques. These movements stimulate the release of endorphins, promoting a refreshed and improved state. Research shows that diaphragmatic breathing can significantly decrease cortisol levels, the stress hormone.

Try these techniques:

Belly Breathing:

Find a comfortable place free from distractions. Place one hand below your ribs on your stomach and the other hand on your chest. Breathe deeply through your nose, letting your belly push against your hand while keeping your chest still. Exhale through pursed lips, feeling your hand move as your stomach contracts. Repeat 5-10 times, focusing on your stomach and maintaining mindfulness.

4-7-8 Breathing:

Sit or lie comfortably and safely. Place a hand on your stomach. Inhale deeply for 4 counts, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale completely for 8 seconds. Practice mindfulness throughout the exercise, being aware of your body and mind.

Wrist, Finger, and Thumb Stretches:

Extend one hand in front of you, palm facing down. Use the opposite hand to gently pull your fingers towards you, feeling a slight resistance. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat in the opposite direction, pushing each finger down towards your wrist. Pulse for 5-10 seconds on each finger.

Overhead Stretch:

Stand straight or sit at your desk. Interlock your fingers and raise your hands above your head, palms facing up. Exhale and push towards the sky with your palms, holding for 15 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.

Incorporate these techniques into your morning and nighttime self-care routines for improved well-being. Increased oxygen, reduced cortisol levels, and relaxed muscles contribute to overall health and happiness. Take care of your physical body to live a long and happy life. Find a quiet and safe place whenever you’re stressed to practice these exercises.

6. Learn Something New Every Week

Challenge your mind each week by learning something new. Whether it’s diving into your favorite hobby, exploring a random subject, or trying out the latest trend, schedule time for education. The more knowledge you gain, the more your self-awareness, confidence, and perspective improve. This allows you to make decisions that align with your way of life and see the world objectively, leading to greater success.

Here are four ideas to get started:

  1. Brain Games: Try brain games like Lumosity to make learning fun. These games improve memory, speed, problem-solving skills, and more. Challenge yourself with tasks like finding matching cards or multitasking in coffee order fulfillment.
  2. Community College or Church: Explore affordable classes or workshops offered by local community colleges or churches. These cover various subjects like art, small business, culinary arts, and programming, benefiting your life even if you’re not in those professions.
  3. Utilize YouTube: Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge available on YouTube. Learn at your own pace, but remember to verify information for accuracy and value.
  4. Seek Career Responsibilities: Motivate yourself to learn more by taking on additional responsibilities in your career. Enhance your skills, improve your finances, and meet the expectations of your boss or customers.

Learning is easy in the modern world. Ask friends, family, or coworkers for their recommendations to explore fun and interesting subjects. If something feels like a chore, switch to a different topic. Learning should empower you, not overwhelm you.

7. Engage in Group Activities

Social self-care is vital for overall happiness, even for introverted or anti-social individuals who still enjoy brief interactions with others.

Here are self-care group activity ideas:

Start or Join a Club: Create or join a book club or hobby club, using social media or local community platforms to gather like-minded individuals.

  1. Group Fitness: Participate in group exercises like kickboxing, high-intensity interval training, or spinning classes. Challenging yourself alongside peers provides motivation and resources to enhance your workouts.
  2. Group Therapy Sessions: Find support and guidance from others who have faced similar situations. Learning and tackling problems together fosters a sense of belonging and equips you with valuable tools to improve your life.
  3. Attend Arts Classes: Explore art classes or workshops at local community colleges. Engaging in artistic expression allows you to view the world through others’ perspectives, imparting lessons in self-compassion and patience.
  4. Join an Online Community: Create or join an online community that aligns with your interests and passions. Platforms like Facebook offer numerous groups to connect with people who share common goals.

Seek encouragement from friends, family, and coworkers to accompany you in these activities. Meeting new people may be nerve-wracking, but the benefits of social engagement outweigh the risks.

8. Understand Financial Independence and Responsibilities

Understanding financial responsibilities and working towards financial independence is crucial for self-care. Mismanaging money often leads to anxiety, but with financial awareness, future planning and resource financing become more manageable, allowing for easier and happier living.

Here are key steps for improving financial self-care:

Set a Proper Budget: Use methods like the 50/30/20 rule or the Kakeibo method to manage your budget effectively. Allocate funds for living expenses, wants, and savings or debt repayment. Following a budget helps you prepare for the future and handle unexpected situations while enjoying life.

Keep Track of Expenses: Regularly check your bank account and track your expenses. Avoid relying on memory or mental calculations. Staying aware of your spending allows for better financial management.

Be Mindful of Shopping Habits: Evaluate your shopping habits and ensure each purchase adds value to your life. If it doesn’t bring joy or pay essential bills, question its worth.

Review Income and Career Development: Increasing income contributes to financial freedom. Continuously assess ways to boost your earnings and identify areas for personal growth. Consider whether the work required to achieve more money aligns with your happiness.

Remember, money alone does not equal happiness, but it is a practical tool for survival. Learning and implementing financial responsibilities empower you to make better decisions and improve your overall well-being.

9. Practice Gratitude, Daily Generosity and Compassion

Self-care goes beyond personal activities and includes helping others. The more you focus on giving, the happier your life becomes. Acts of generosity build self-confidence, empathy, and understanding of the world, allowing you to approach challenges with gratitude for what you have.

Here are some ways to cultivate generosity and compassion:

  • Volunteer at a local food bank to make a meaningful impact in your community.
  • Support your local SPCA by walking dogs, bathing them, providing financial donations, or fostering animals in need. Helping animals not only boosts emotional well-being but also keeps you physically active.
  • Check-in with a friend or loved one, offering help or a small treat to brighten their day.
  • Set up automatic monthly donations to your favorite organizations, making generosity convenient and easy.
  • Assume the best in others, find the good in those you meet, and maintain empathy and compassion.

Research suggests that focusing on giving without expecting anything in return leads to a happier and more successful life. It deepens self-understanding and helps you move towards your dreams. By thinking positively about others, you can release negative thoughts and maintain focus on personal growth and well-being.

10. Get Out into Nature

image of lady backpacking in nature image

Nature provides not only physical health benefits but also inspiration and stress relief. Fresh air and sunlight improve mood and happiness by boosting vitamin D production.

Here are seven outdoor self-care ideas:

  1. Practice Mindful Walking: Take a five-to-ten-minute mindful walk, focusing on your senses and noticing your body, breathing, steps, and surroundings.
  2. Get Crafty: Paint a scenic view, use chalk, or engage in outdoor arts and crafts.
  3. Start a Garden: Test your gardening skills and enjoy the rewards of growing your vegetables.
  4. Watch the Sun Rise and Fall: Disconnect briefly, appreciate life, and witness the beauty of nature during sunrise or sunset.
  5. Soak in 15 Minutes of Sunlight: Spend time in direct sunlight, ensuring that you protect your skin with sunscreen for optimal vitamin D absorption.
  6. Go Camping: Unplug for a weekend, connect with nature, learn about yourself, and stay physically active.
  7. Have a Mid-day Picnic in the Park: Break up your day with a picnic, focusing on enjoying fruits and vegetables while immersing yourself in nature.

Remember, self-care is personal. Test out one new self-care habit at a time to track the benefits effectively and avoid overwhelm.

Self-Care Tips to Boost Your Life

Self-care is about finding those activities that connect with you to inspire and motivate you to grow and nurture yourself for a more successful and happier life. Overall, self-care requires more than just taking care of your body or outside appearance. It’s about putting yourself first in all categories of your life to create a balance that inspires, motivates, and maintains your happiness. 

Remember, happiness will never be consistent without action. Even with action, it will come in waves. However, implementing more of these daily habits will allow you to better adjust and cope with them. Instead of drowning as each wave comes crashing down, you have the strength and resilience to stay afloat and push through. Be sure to return to this self-care guide anytime you are feeling moments of weakness to remind yourself of some of the habits you could be missing from your life and increase your motivation as you remember what benefits self-care will bring you in every area of your life.

Scroll to Top