Unusual self-care ideas

20 Unusual Self-Care Ideas for Uplifting Your Mood

Discover unusual self-care ideas, from forest bathing to dopamine dressing. Find ways to practice self-love and relaxation.

As a woman, I know how challenging it can be to prioritize our needs in a world that demands so much of us. But I’m here to tell you that self-care is important. It’s essential for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

It’s so important to recognize and fulfill our own needs. Don’t let anyone tell you that caring for yourself is a luxury or a selfish act. Au contraire, it’s an essential ingredient for our well-being and joy. I’ve been through the wringer with my own mental health issues. And I can testify to the transformative power of self-care. 

As women, we face unique pressures and challenges in our lives. Whether balancing work and family responsibilities, dealing with discrimination and inequality, or coping with stress and trauma. These elements can take a toll on our health and well-being. But by practicing self-care, we can reduce stress, boost our mood, enhance our self-esteem, prevent burnout, and increase our resilience.

You may think, “April, what are some unusual self-care ideas?” Well, I’m glad you asked! Here are a few easy but unusual self-care ideas that you may find helpful:

1. Try a sensory deprivation tank.

sensory deprivation tank unusual self-care ideas

A sensory deprivation tank may be an unusual self-care idea you have not considered before. I know it may sound scary or strange, but hear me out.

A sensory deprivation tank is a sound- and light-free space filled with salt water heated to skin temperature. The high salt concentration lets you float on the water’s surface. It creates a weightless and relaxing experience.

Now, you may wonder, “why would I want to float in a tank like that?” Let me tell you about some potential benefits, especially for women.

For starters, floating in a sensory deprivation tank can:

Now, I want to be clear. Floating has many potential benefits. But the effects may vary depending on the individual and the frequency and duration of floating sessions. Some people may even experience side effects, such as nausea or claustrophobia. That’s why it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider before trying this therapy, especially if you have any medical conditions or concerns.

2. Take a cold shower.

Have you ever thought about trying a cold shower? Like, seriously, hear me out – it could be the unusual self-care idea you never even knew you were missing! Some potential benefits for us women include:

  • Reducing pain and inflammation
  • Improving circulation and metabolism
  • Boosting immunity and mood
  • Enhancing skin and hair health
  • Increasing alertness and wakefulness. 

Of course, everybody is different. So it’s best to consult a healthcare provider before taking the plunge.

Also read My Favorite Women’s Self-Care Ideas for Ultimate Relaxation.

3. Go stargazing.

Stargazing is one of my favorite unusual self-care ideas for women. When we look at the stars and celestial objects in the night sky, we can experience a sense of awe and wonder. It can reduce stress and anxiety and boost our mood. Plus, stargazing can stimulate our right brain hemisphere. It is responsible for creativity and intuition and helps us focus better. 

Stargazing can also foster a connection to nature and enhance our kindness and compassion. And if that’s not enough, stargazing can boost our immune system. It can improve our sleep quality by increasing melatonin production.

4. Go for a bike ride.

Have you ever gone for a bike ride? It’s like getting a double dose of nature’s medicine – fresh air and exercise all in one go. As women, we need all the help we can get when caring for ourselves. That’s why I’m a proponent of unusual self-care ideas. And cycling? That’s a perfect example.

  • Cycling can do wonders for your cardiovascular health. It can strengthen your heart and lungs, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. 
  • Cycling can also enhance your mood and mental health. When you hop on that bike, it releases endorphins. These neurotransmitters can improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost your self-esteem, confidence, and resilience. Who knew a simple bike ride could be so beneficial?
  • Cycling can also support weight management. It’s a great way to burn calories, increase metabolism, and build muscle mass. Cycling can help you keep a healthy weight or shed those extra pounds you’ve been carrying.
  • And let’s not forget about the social benefits of cycling. It can be an excellent way to connect with new people, join a community, or spend time with friends and family. 
  • And the cherry on top? Cycling is an eco-friendly activity that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution. So, not only are you taking care of your well-being, but you’re also taking care of the planet.

Please give cycling a try. It’s an unusual self-care idea that can bring you so much joy, health, and happiness. 

5. Try forest bathing.

Bare feet of a woman standing barefoot outdoors in nature forest bathing concept

Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, as the Japanese call is a beautiful practice of immersing oneself in nature and engaging all the senses. It can work wonders for your well-being, both physically and mentally.

Let me share some of the benefits of forest bathing:

  • It can help reduce stress and anxiety. Being surrounded by trees and natural greenery can lower heart rate, cortisol levels, and blood pressure. It can improve mood and self-esteem.
  • Forest bathing can boost immunity and sleep quality. It increases natural killer cells that fight infections and cancer. It also improves melatonin production, regulating sleep cycles and protecting against diseases.
  • Forest bathing can also enhance creativity and focus. It stimulates the right brain hemisphere. It’s part of your brain that handles imagination and intuition. Forest bathing reduces mental chatter and distractions, which can improve cognitive function.
  • Forest bathing can promote social connection and kindness. It can make women feel more connected to nature and themselves. Forest bathing can make you more compassionate and generous towards others.

6. Go to a laughter yoga class.

We all know about bubble baths and face masks, but have you ever heard of laughter yoga? It’s an unusual self-care idea that combines laughing with breathing exercises.

Now, you might wonder what laughter yoga is and why you should try it. Well, let me tell you, it has some profound benefits for our well-being.

  • It can help reduce stress and anxiety. Laughing can lower cortisol levels, heart rate, and blood pressure, which we could all use a little help with. Plus, it can improve mood and self-esteem. Who doesn’t feel better after a good laugh?
  • Laughter yoga can also boost our immunity and improve our sleep quality. Getting sick and not getting enough sleep are both major bummers.
  • Laughter yoga can also enhance our creativity and focus. Not only will you feel better physically, but you might just come up with some killer ideas during your laughter yoga session.
  • Laughter yoga can promote social connection and kindness. It can make you feel more connected to yourself and others. And in today’s world, where it feels like we’re more disconnected than ever, we could all use more of that.

7. Write a letter to your future self.

Writing a letter to your future self is an unusual self-care idea that has been a game-changer for many people.

I know what you’re thinking – “April, that sounds a little woo-woo, even for you.” But hear me out, my friends. This practice can be transformative for your well-being in so many ways.

  • Writing a letter to your future self can reduce stress and anxiety. It allows you to express your emotions, cope with challenges, and gain perspective. It’s like having a wise friend who knows what to say to calm your troubled heart.
  • Writing a letter to your future self can boost your motivation and help you achieve your goals. By visualizing your desired outcomes, aligning your actions with your values, and tracking your progress, you’ll be more likely to make those dreams a reality.
  • Writing a letter to your future self can also enhance your self-esteem and happiness. It can help you appreciate your strengths, celebrate your achievements, and express gratitude. It’s like giving yourself a big ol’ pat on the back and a hug all in one.
  • Writing a letter to your future self can promote self-compassion and kindness. It can help you treat yourself with care, forgiveness, and understanding and encourage yourself to overcome difficulties. It’s permitting yourself to be human, flaws and all.

8. Engage in crying therapy.

Crying therapy encourages individuals to release emotional distress by shedding a few tears. Now, you might be thinking: “Crying? That’s not something to be proud of.” But it’s a healthy way to express emotions and cope with emotional difficulties.

Now, I’m not one to jump on every trendy wellness bandwagon. But research shows crying therapy can have benefits for women’s emotional well-being. For instance, women who cried during therapy experienced more remarkable improvement in depressive symptoms. They reported feeling more connected to their therapist than those who didn’t shed a tear. Crying during therapy can even help lower cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.

It might sound unconventional. But crying therapy can be an effective way to process emotions we’ve been bottling up inside. It can be an unusual self-care idea. It’s like you’re allowing yourself to be honest, vulnerable, and feeling all the feelings. And in that moment of emotional release, you might feel a weight lifted from your shoulders.

Of course, crying therapy requires guidance from a mental health professional. But consider this unique self-care idea for emotional healing and well-being.

9. Try forgiveness therapy.

Forgiveness exercises are an extraordinary form of self-care that can transform your life. It might sound counterintuitive. But we can heal our physical, emotional, and spiritual health by releasing grudges. It’s like a balm for the soul!

Forgiveness is vital to a fulfilling life, healthier relationships, and improved mental health. It can ease symptoms of depression, boost your immune system, and improve heart health. Can you believe it? Such a simple concept can have such a profound impact.

So, what are these unusual self-care ideas, you ask? Well, forgiveness exercises can involve various techniques, such as:

  • Taking the other person’s perspective
  • Recognizing the value of forgiveness
  • Giving up unrealistic expectations
  • Practicing empathy and compassion
  • Committing to change

It might not be the most leisurely journey, but it’s worth it.

We all carry burdens from our past that weigh us down and prevent us from reaching our full potential. But forgiveness can lift that weight and free us from the shackles of resentment. 

10. Learn a new language.

One thing that might surprise you is that learning a new language can do wonders for your mental health. And that’s not some hippie-dippie talk.

Learning another language can delay the onset of dementia in women by an average of four years! That’s impressive. But it’s not only about keeping your mind sharp as you age. Learning a new language can also enhance your social connections. It can boost your self-esteem and increase your cognitive flexibility.

And the benefits don’t stop there.. Speaking a second language can also open up new job opportunities. It can lead to an increase in your financial stability and reduce stress. Plus, it can help you understand other cultures and facilitate travel. These things can promote personal growth and fulfillment.

So, if you’re seeking out-of-the-box self-care ideas, why not try language learning? It’s a fun and rewarding way to care for yourself and your brain. And who knows, you might discover a whole new side of yourself in the process!

11. Play strategy games.

Have you ever thought about playing strategy games? It might sound crazy, but hear me out – strategy games can do wonders for your mental health!

These games stimulate your brain and enhance your creativity. They also improve your problem-solving skills and reduce stress and anxiety. Plus, they give you a sense of achievement and increase your self-confidence. Who doesn’t love feeling like a boss babe?

Strategy games can educate you about mental health and promote reflection and mindfulness. How cool is that?

So, what exactly are strategy games? They’re games that require players to use planning, decision-making, and resource management to achieve a specific goal or outcome. There are two types: real-time strategy (RTS) and turn-based strategy (TBS). In RTS games, you must react and adapt to real-time situations. In TBS games, you take turns executing your actions.

Some examples of strategy games are:

  • StarCraft II
  • Civilization VI
  • Total War: Warhammer 3
  • Crusader Kings 3
  • Stellaris

12. Visit a museum or art gallery.

Have you ever thought about taking a trip to a museum or art gallery as a form of self-care? It may sound unusual, but it can do wonders for your well-being!

It stimulates your senses, inspires your creativity, and enriches your emotions. It can also help relieve stress and anxiety. Fun fact: it lowers the production of cortisol, the hormone related to stress, in your body.

And if that wasn’t enough, visiting a museum or art gallery can foster social connection. You get to interact with other visitors, staff, and artists. And even challenge your worldview in the process.

But one of the unique benefits is that it can promote reflection and mindfulness. It encourages you to focus on the present moment and appreciate the beauty and meaning of art.

You know, there’s a reason why art is helpful in mental health rehabilitation and care. It evokes emotions and bodily sensations that feel pleasant to the viewer. So why not try it and add it to your list of unusual self-care ideas?

13. Practice sound bathing.

a group of people holding singing bowls

One of the unusual self-care ideas making waves lately is sound baths. 

What in the world is a sound bath? It’s not like you’ll soak in a tub full of notes and melodies, right? Well, not exactly. A sound bath is a therapy that uses deep, resonant vibrations from instruments. It could be singing bowls, gongs, bells, or tuning forks. They create a relaxing and immersive experience for the listener. 

But what makes sound baths so special? They’re believed to have various benefits for women’s well-being. Sounds too good to be true?

Here are some of the ways sound baths can work their magic on your mind and body:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety. Sound baths can induce a state of relaxation and calmness. They lower cortisol levels and increase endorphins in the body. It’s like taking a mental vacation without ever leaving your home.
  • Improving mood and emotional regulation. Sound baths can modulate the activity of brain regions involved in emotion processing. These are the amygdala, insula, and prefrontal cortex. Sound baths can also stimulate the release of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals have links with happiness and pleasure. Who doesn’t want more of that?
  • Enhancing cognitive functions. Sound baths can improve attention, memory, creativity, and problem-solving skills. They stimulate neural networks and synchronize the brain waves to the sound frequencies. It’s like giving your brain a little tune-up.
  • Relieving pain and inflammation. Sound baths can reduce physical pain and discomfort. They activate the body’s natural healing mechanisms and anti-inflammatory responses. Sound baths can also help with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, and migraines. Talk about a holistic approach to healing!
  • Promoting sleep quality. Sound baths can help with insomnia and other sleep disorders. They regulate the circadian rhythm and induce a state of deep restfulness. 

14. Attend a silent retreat.

Have you ever heard of silent retreats? It may initially sound daunting, but the benefits are amazing!

A silent retreat is a spiritual retreat where you observe silence for a certain period. It usually lasts a few days to a few weeks. You’ll engage in yoga, mindfulness, breathing exercises, walking, reading, or journaling. The catch is that you’ll refrain from speaking, listening, or using electronic devices. Crazy, right?

But hear me out. Attending a silent retreat can do wonders for your well-being. Here are some of the benefits for women:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety. When disconnected from external stimuli, you can focus on your inner state. This can help you cope with the daily pressures and challenges of life. The absence of distractions lowers cortisol and increases serotonin levels in your body.
  • Improving mood and emotional regulation. Silent retreats enhance awareness of thoughts and feelings. It allows you to release negative emotions and cultivate positive ones. Silent retreats can also help you develop emotional resilience and stability. You’ll learn to deal with complicated feelings without reacting or suppressing them.
  • Enhancing cognitive functions. Silent retreats stimulate neural networks and synchronize brain waves to the alpha state. It can improve your attention, memory, creativity, and problem-solving skills. It also reduces oxidative stress and inflammation, protecting your brain from cognitive decline.
  • Relieving pain and inflammation. Silent retreats activate your body’s natural healing mechanisms and anti-inflammatory responses. It can help reduce physical pain and discomfort. Silent retreats can be helpful against chronic conditions like fibromyalgia and migraines.
  • Promoting sleep quality. Silent retreats regulate your circadian rhythm, helping with insomnia and other sleep disorders. It can also improve sleep quality and quantity by reducing stress levels.

15. Try a new type of coffee or tea.

One close to my heart is trying a new tea or coffee. Who doesn’t love a good mug of coffee or a soothing cup of tea? But did you know that trying a new variety can have some fantastic benefits for women’s well-being? Here’s why:

  • Providing antioxidants. Tea and coffee are rich in polyphenols, plant compounds with antioxidant properties. These little guys can help protect your cells from oxidative stress and inflammation. Trying a new variety can increase your intake of these beneficial compounds.
  • Providing caffeine. We all know that tea and coffee are natural sources of caffeine. They can help improve alertness, mood, energy, and cognitive performance. But did you know that the amount of caffeine can vary depending on the type, brewing method, and serving size? Trying a new kind of tea or coffee can help you find the optimal amount of caffeine for your needs and preferences. You can avoid overdoing it and experiencing side effects like anxiety and insomnia.
  • Providing enjoyment. Tea and coffee aren’t simple beverages. They are also cultural and social experiences. Exploring new flavors, aromas, and traditions can be fun and rewarding. These drinks can provide comfort, relaxation, and pleasure. They stimulate the senses and release dopamine in the brain. So, go ahead and indulge in a new brew – you deserve it!
Find out What are the Best Coffee Beans in Asia and try one!

16. Spend time in a sensory garden.

Have you ever heard of a sensory garden? This remarkable outdoor space can help boost your well-being in so many ways. Here’s why:

  • Providing a stimulating sensory environment. Sensory gardens engage your senses in various ways, from the scents of plants to the textures of surfaces. They can be a great way to get out of your head and into your body, experiencing the world around you differently.
  • Recreation, education, and therapy. Are you looking for a fun activity with friends or a chance to learn more about nature? Or a way to manage stress and anxiety? A sensory garden can provide that and more. It’s a versatile space for various purposes, depending on your needs and interests.
  • Promoting health and well-being. Spending time in a sensory garden can benefit your mental and physical health. It can help lower stress, improve mood, boost creativity, and lower blood pressure. Plus, being outdoors in nature is always a great way to get fresh air and exercise.

17. Go to a farmer’s market.

A close up of woman buying organic eggs outdoors at local farmers market

One of my favorite self-care routines is heading to the local farmer’s market. Here’s why:

  • Access to fresh and local produce. Eating a healthy diet is best for your physical and mental well-being. And farmer’s markets are a great place to find fresh, nutritious produce. They can help reduce your risk of chronic diseases and improve your well-being.
  • Improved social well-being. Farmer’s markets are also an excellent place to connect with others in your community. You can chat with farmers and other shoppers or enjoy the lively atmosphere. These interactions can reduce isolation and loneliness, particularly among older women.
  • A sense of purpose and meaning. Supporting local farmers and businesses can give you satisfaction and meaning. That is so important for your well-being. Contributing to the sustainability of your local economy and the environment boosts self-esteem. You feel good about the impact you’re making in your community.

18. Take a creative writing class.

Creative writing is the art of producing original and imaginative texts. It includes writing stories, poems, essays, or scripts. And let me tell you, taking a creative writing class can do wonders for women’s well-being.

Here are a few ways that creative writing can benefit you:

  • Expressive therapy. Writing can be a powerful tool for processing and managing emotions. Putting your feelings on paper and exploring them through storytelling can be therapeutic.
  • Enhanced self-esteem and personal growth. You’re creating something unique and personal when you write. This can be empowering and can help boost your self-confidence. Exploring your thoughts, feelings, and experiences can lead to personal growth. It can help you gain new insights about yourself.
  • Improved cognitive function and mental health. Writing stimulates the brain and can improve cognitive function. Plus, when you set goals for yourself and accomplish them, it can give you a sense of purpose. That is great for your mental health.

19. Have a movie marathon.

I know what you might be thinking. “April, watching movies isn’t exactly groundbreaking advice.” But hear me out because a movie marathon can benefit your well-being in many ways.

  • Relaxation and stress relief. Sometimes, we must escape our worries and focus on the present moment. Watching movies can be a form of escapism that allows us to do that. Plus, it’s an enjoyable way to unwind and de-stress after a long day.
  • Social connection. Movies can be a bonding experience, bringing people together to share an interest. This social connection can help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. Those emotions are significant risk factors for poor mental health.

But hold on. Before you plan your next movie marathon, consider these potential downsides:

  • Sedentary lifestyle. Spending too much time sitting and watching movies can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. It can increase the risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
  • Negative impact on mental health. Watching movies with disturbing content can harm mental health and emotional well-being.
  • Interference with other essential activities. Excessive movie watching can interfere with work, school, and socializing. It can also lead to the avoidance of problems. It may prevent individuals from developing more effective coping strategies.

Having a movie marathon can be fun and relaxing. But it’s crucial to balance it with other activities and be mindful of the content. Moderation is essential to avoiding negative consequences and maximizing the benefits. 

20. Try a new style of clothing.

What we wear can influence our emotional state and how we perceive ourselves. When we feel good about our looks, we generally feel better about ourselves. So, if you’re feeling down, why not change your wardrobe?

Here are some reasons why trying a new style of clothing is a great self-care idea:

  • Clothing can have symbolic meaning. Wearing clothing associated with success and competence boosts confidence and performance. Researchers call this enclothed cognition. So, dress formally for crucial meetings or presentations. Formal attire promotes women’s sense of power and competence more than casual clothing.
  • Trying a new clothing style can be a form of self-expression. It can help women explore their personal style. It’s an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. It can be empowering and build resilience. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try a particular style but never had the confidence to do so. Well, now’s the time to give it a shot!
  • Changing up your wardrobe can make you feel good. It’s a mood booster! You may have been stuck in a rut lately and need a change. Trying a new clothing style can be a small but meaningful way to mix things up and improve your well-being.

Final Thoughts

Are you bored of the same old, same old when it comes to taking care of your emotional well-being? Switch things up and get creative with some unusual self-care ideas! Stepping out of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.

Think outside the box and discover new ways to nourish your mind and soul. It could be signing up for a laughter yoga class or trying a new coffee variety. Or treat yourself to some quality alone time with a movie marathon. Whatever it is, make it your own and prioritize your emotional health.

So, what are you waiting for? Don’t settle for the status quo. It’s time to unleash your inner self-care guru. Create a personalized emotional self-care plan for a happier, healthier life.