Self-care seems to be most often associated with the golden trio of face masks, bath bombs and journaling. Despite their genuine ability to pamper — or in the case of journaling, help someone work through their emotions — they don’t have to be the only means of self-care. After all, face masks and bath bombs can be expensive, and not everyone benefits from journaling. So as someone who is tired of being recommended these avenues of self-care, I present an alternative self-care starter pack for those times when it feels as if you’ve got your own personal rain cloud hanging over your head.
Pet a cute animal
Petting a dog, cat or really any animal you prefer can do a lot to cheer you up. There is something magical about dogs, as their ever-present joy manages to transfer over to your own mental state as you pet them. As for cats, petting these seemingly too-cool-for-you pets can make you feel better just by knowing that you won over their trust — yes, you really are that great of a person.
If you don’t own a pet and don’t know anyone who does, there are many places that you can go to find these beloved animals. If you prefer dogs, there is always De-stress with Dogs, a club at UC Berkeley that often tables on Upper Sproul Plaza with its very lovable pups. For cats, you might try visiting Cat Town, a pet shelter in Oakland with a cat café where you can pet cats and drink coffee. If you are more of a reptile or rodent person, head down to the local pet store and take a gander at all the lovely pets up for adoption.
Perhaps you need alone time but staying at home isn’t what you feel like doing. It’s not that you don’t like your friends or partner, it’s just that you don’t have the energy to socialize at the moment. Does that mean you need to stay holed up in your room? No way — go hang out with yourself! Better yet, take yourself on a date.
OK, perhaps this sounds a little sad, but having a night to yourself and doing whatever you want is a very pure form of self-care. There are so many options: You could eat at your favorite restaurant, watch that movie none of your friends wanted to see or head to that museum you’ve been aching to check out. It’s the perfect way to remember that you can have fun all by yourself because, even when you don’t feel like it, you are a fun person.
Call a loved one
This is nice to do after a stint of being alone. Remember to reach out to those you love and care about. You don’t even have to talk about your feelings — just talk to someone you enjoy talking to. Nothing abates those feelings of isolation better than talking to your friends and family members about what is happening in their lives. Besides, just because you’re feeling down doesn’t mean you should neglect the ones you love.
Indulging yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. Sure, it would be amazing to treat ourselves á la Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle, but even these fictional characters could only afford to do so once a year. There are ways we can treat ourselves every day that are more cost-effective. Sometimes this comes in the form of eating a big bowl of ice cream or making yourself some hot chocolate; other times, this could mean indulging in a guilty pleasure, such as watching TV that’s “below” your standards, listening to music you find “embarrassing” or reading fan fiction.
Appreciate the little things
This is probably the quickest and most low-effort activity on this list. Even if you feel like everything is terrible right now, how about the wonderful warmth of tea? Or perhaps joking around with your friends? Maybe you simply appreciate the weather or the coziness of your favorite sweater. This isn’t insinuating that your emotions aren’t valid, rather it’s a quick pick-me-up for when you feel as though nothing is going right.
With that, we’ve made it to the end of this alternative starter-pack. Hopefully, you have found some of the activities on this list helpful. If not, have you heard of face masks, bath bombs or journaling?