Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

15 of the Most Awesome Self-Care Gifts Ever

Awesome self-care gifts.

Working too hard, feeling overwhelmed by family responsibilities, or dealing with an ongoing challenge?

Maybe it’s time to turn your attention back to yourself and to your own self-care.

Although we often brush it aside, self-care is not optional if you want to be happy and healthy, and stay the course.  Regular self-care ensures you feel grounded, think clearly, and dwell in a comfortable emotional zone. It helps you to modulate stress, which, in excess, can quickly deplete your joy, upset your relationships, and compromise your health.

I do my best to make self-care a priority.  Over the years, Iʻve gathered a wonderful repertoire of self-care practices and resources, that Iʻd love to share with you today.   Think of them as gifts to yourself, which you so deserve, and as gifts you can bestow on others whom you love.

Self-care isn't a luxury, it's a necessity.

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Self-Care Gift #1:  Epsom Salts for Your Bath

These days, self-improvement bloggers rush to point out that self-care is far more than a relaxing bath.  I agree.

But please, let’s not get hasty and throw out baths altogether! Instead throw two cups of Epsom Salts into your bath three times a week and make it a highly healing and restorative experience.

Epsom salts are inexpensive, pure, and fragrance-free, perfect for most sensitive souls.  The healing properties of Epsom Salts result from the combination of magnesium and sulfate, both of which can be absorbed through the skin when you bathe.

That’s important because the average American is deficient in magnesium. I imagine this might be the case in other parts of the world as well.   Magnesium deficiency may contribute to any number of modern day maladies like heart disease, muscle and joint-pain, and stress-related illnesses.

Epsom Salt baths taken on a regular basis can help:

  • Ease stress and help you sleep better.
  • Relieve muscle soreness and pain.
  • Flush toxins from the body.
  • Support muscle and nerve function.
  • Positively impact heart health.
  • Improve the use of insulin and decrease the risk or severity of diabetes.
  • Assist the proper functioning of more than 300 enzymes in your body.

You can ditch the plastic bag or waxed box and store your Epsom Salts in a large wide-mouth jar for a more attractive look. Tie a ribbon around it if you would like to gift all this goodness to a friend.

Self-Care Gift #2:  Adult Coloring Books

Have you tried coloring for its stress-relieving, happiness inducing benefits?

In one groundbreaking study, anxiety levels dropped when subjects colored mandalas, round images with geometrically balanced patterns inside.  The famous psychotherapist Carl Jung recommended coloring mandalas to his patients decades ago.  He saw a link between the mandalas and an individual’s move toward wholeness.

Coloring has the potential to ease stress, improve mindfulness, and enhance focus.  If you want to see what all the hubbub is about, download these beautiful coloring pages for FREE (some with sign-up) and try it out for yourself:

If you get hooked, you might like one of these:

Add a good spectrum of recommended colored pencils and you are good to go:

Self-Care Gift #3:  Rescue Remedy

I keep a vial of Rescue Remedy in my bag at all times.

Rescue Remedy Natural Stress Relief is a Bach Flower mix especially for emergencies and crises.  That can mean anything from nerves before an exam or job interview to the shock of a car accident to the arrival of unexpected news.  Rescue Remedy calms you, but it doesn’t make you sleepy or groggy.

Put four drops on or under your tongue and prepare to chill out.

Self-Care Gift #4:  A Gratitude Jar

Research has shown that cultivating gratitude can lead to greater happiness, more optimism, a reduction in physical symptoms, and lower levels of depression and stress.  Who can argue with that?

One way to practice gratitude is to make a gratitude jar.  You can use any type of glass jar to hold your gratitude notes, but if you pick a special one it might uplift you even more. Decorate it with a sweet ribbon if you wish.  Get a small pad of paper for your gratitude notes and grab a pen.  Youʻre ready to go.

Make it a habit to write down anything and everything you feel grateful for at least once a day, and place these gratitude notes in your jar.  Keep your jar in an easy to access place so you can be spontaneous as well.

As you think about what you’re grateful for, try to really feel the gratitude and joy in your body.  When you make gratitude an embodied experience, you unleash a stream of positive energy that can change your body, mind, and spirit in lasting ways.  Just watching your gratitude jar fill up will bring a feeling of happiness too.

And, if you’re ever feeling down, you can go through a few of the gratitude notes in your jar for a lift.

Self-Care Gift #5: Illuminating Audio Programs

At the moment, I’m listening to inspiring audio programs on a daily basis.  This practice keeps me out of dark places and tuned into the larger perspective.

These audio books by the amazingly popular Pema Chödron will help you soften troubling emotions, move through obstacles, and get in touch with who you really are.

Or you could learn to meditate with Sharon Salzberg.

Self-Care Gifts for You + Those You Love

Self-Care Gift #6: Relaxing Audio Meditation

The Bone Dreaming Meditation by Giles Marin is one of my favorite relaxing meditations, perfect for reducing stress, calming the mind, and increasing your body’s capacity to heal.  It’s based on Taoist healing principles.  I absolutely adore Giles Marin’s soothing French accent.

Self-Care Gift #7: A Good Mystery Novel

For those times when you want to relax or distract yourself, I recommend the Charlotte Anthony mystery novels.  Intelligent, modern, and satisfying, these mysteries will captivate you for hours.

  1. An Uncollected Death
  2. An Unexamined Wife
  3. An Undisclosed Vocation
  4. An Uncharted Corpse

Self-Care Gift #8: Self-Discovery Courses and Classes

I love online learning and these are some of my favorite self-discovery courses along with my own self-paced course as well.

Self-Care Gift #9: A Blank Journal

Create a safe refuge for yourself in a journal, where you can privately express all your thoughts, feelings and dreams.  Journaling is a good way to get to know yourself, process through difficult emotions or patterns, and keep track of your practice.

I love the elegant Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks, which feature:

  • Excellent paper quality, bleed proof and acid free
  • 5.75 x 8.25 inches
  • Lays flat
  • Two ribbon bookmarks
  • Index pages at the front
  • Numbered pages
  • A total of 249 pages (in my current one), making it one of the most generous paper-wise

Self-Care Gift #10: Tarot and Oracle Cards

I donʻt know why or how it works, but the cards never fail me.  Here are some of the benefits I personally receive from consulting either oracle or tarot cards on a regular basis.

  • I more clearly see the life lessons gifted to me each day.
  • I observe recurring patterns in my life, and thus can take steps to heal and resolve them.
  • I’m less likely to get sucked into emotional drama and more likely to respond with clarity and compassion.
  • My actions are better informed and therefore more effective.
  • When I’m uncertain, the cards help me to see more clearly or affirm what I already know at the deepest level.

These are my favorite decks:

They each have a guidebook, so you can learn as you go.  The Wild Unknown guidebook is a tiny leaflet, but the others are full on books.

If you donʻt feel ready to dive into the cards on your own, but have a question, decision, or dream to explore, you could try a tarot reading.  I recommend Carrie Mallon.

I had a remarkable reading from Carrie at the beginning of the year, which continues to serve as my touchstone, bringing me back to whatʻs really important, again and again.

Because self-care is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Self-Care Gift #11: An Interactive Adventure Journal

Are you due for more adventures?  Tammy Stroebel enriched her life by embarking on regular tiny adventures.  She created an interactive adventure journal to encourage you to get out in the world and experience more.

Hereʻs the description:

Everyday Adventures: Tiny Quests to Spark Your Creative Life is an interactive journal. It includes twelve tiny quests that will enable you to explore what your community has to offer, document your adventures, enjoy tiny beautiful moments, and find beauty and magic anywhere. Photographer and writer Tammy Strobel encourages journalers to record observations about their daily adventures with words, photos, drawings, watercolors, and more. Discover that your adventures can be tiny, yet extraordinary!

Self-Care Gift #12: Lavendar-Scented Eye Pillow

An eye pillow can help you fall and stay asleep at night, give you a quick pick-me up during the day, or help you relieve stress in moments when life feels too much.

This all comes to pass through the gentle pressure the pillow places on your eyes, which stimulates the vagus nerve and by so doing allows you to rest more deeply.  The aroma of lavender is known for its relaxing properties as well.

 Self-Care Gift #13 – Sunshine

Vitamin D deficiency is widespread, with the majority of the population weighing in on the low side.

Vitamin D contributes to bone health, blood sugar regulation, protection from cancer and heart disease, hormonal balance, healthy immune response, mood regulation, and better concentration, learning, and memory.

Sunlight remains the best source of Vitamin D.  Spend at least 10 – 20 minutes a day in the sun without sunscreen.  You can build up the time gradually.  You will need more time if you are darker skinned, live further from the equator, or it happens to be winter.  Some people need up to an hour.

If you have sensitive skin or concerns about skin cancer, talk with your doctor first about the best ways for you to get sun exposure.

Ask a friend to join you for outdoor time, if you would like to give sunshine as a gift.

Self-Care Gift #14 – A Simple Self-Healing Treatment

According to the ancient art of Jin Shin Jyutsu acupressure, you can harmonize your emotions and nourish your body by holding each of your fingers in sequence.  This is a subtle yet powerful self-help approach I’ve personally used to great effect for several years.  It only takes 10-15 minutes!

Each finger is associated with an attitude that can imbalance a corresponding function and organ system via the subtle energy channels that invisibly course through your body.  A practice as simple as holding a finger can be one of the most powerful ways to pacify your emotions and balance your organ functions.

Try it out for two weeks and see if it makes a difference in your sense of well-being.  You’ll find the instructions in my article: A Simple Way to Balance Your Emotions and Revitalize Your Body.

Once you learn to do this for yourself, you can give this gift to others by offering to hold their fingers just like you would give a gentle massage or you can show them how to do it for themselves.  This is powerful medicine!

Self-Care Gift #15 – The Women’s Comfort Book

The Women’s Comfort Book is a classic self-nurturing guide, which contains more than 200 self-care prescriptions. It’s designed to help you move through any feelings of guilt you may have about self-care as well.  With all these ideas, you’ll be able to continue a happy and healthy flow of self-care throughout the year.

How do you feel after reading this list?  Do you feel excited about some possibilities that could work for you?  Or do you still feel some hesitation or guilt around the idea of self-care?

If it’s the latter, please take some time to explore what’s holding you back.  Or experiment with tiny doses of self-care for a start.  Remember, self-care is not a luxury.  It’s a vital nutrient that everyone needs to be happy and healthy and to serve others from a space of wholeness.

Tell me, what are your thoughts and feelings about self-care?  I would love to hear.

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

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25 Comments

  1. Lily

    Thank you so much for these rich and beautiful offerings! I’m appreciate you and your posts so much!

  2. Enjoyed your post. Great doable advice.

  3. Loved this list!!! I already practice several of these, including the first two. My next door neighbor has a wonderful independent bookstore in our neighborhood. She is the one who told me about the adult coloring books. Oh no, I thought, too silly. But I bought one and I love it. When I summoned the courage to tell my sister the ARTIST about it, she said she thought they were great! So there you go.

    What a great list. We could definitely use a little more sunshine here in the Pacific Northwest after a particularly cold and wet winter. Could you send us a little please?

    • Dear Galen,

      I’m thrilled to know how much you love coloring! How wonderful. I wish I could send you some sunshine. We’ve had a lot lately. Some of the bamboos don’t like it at all. I don’t want it to rain all the time, but I like it when it rains a bit at night to replenish the plants.

  4. Thanks for the post, Sandra! I do a bunch of the self care ideas you’ve posted and they all help. I’m realizing that I need massage on a semi regular basis, but because of the expense, I’ve also started self massage, using a tennis ball against the wall. I call it the “poor woman’s massage” because it’s free! The tennis ball (or any solid ball) can get in to stiff back and gluteus muscles, as I roll it up and down my lower back and gluteus muscles. It definitely relieves tight muscles!

    • I would love to get regular massage or body too, Susan! I’ve been getting some since my car accident and it helped relieve the trauma, but I will be cutting down soon. The tennis ball massage is a great suggestion. Thanks for this! And glad you liked these ideas.

  5. Absolutely love this Sandra. Rescue Remedy is one of my all time favorites, and I’m going to be trying a bath with Epsom Salts this week. I like the lavender scented eye pillow if every I’m fortunate enough to get a little nap in!

    So many other jewels that I have to try. 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed these ideas, Elle, and that you already have your own resources like Rescue Remedy set to go. You so deserve some naps, my dear!

  6. As you already know, Sandra, I have been trying to get my ears back to normal with all sorts of techniques—-and the last thing I tried (last Friday) was Jen Shen Jyutsu. I was already experiencing a lessening of the tinnitus and after the session I felt much more grounded. The ears are nearly normal right now so I am very grateful! I have a hearing test scheduled in a month and I am hoping to keep this healing going so I can get a true test without all the interior noise 🙂 I feel like I am hearing nearly normally now. I am SO grateful for all the healers and helpers who have gotten me a little further along the path to complete healing. I went back to your other post and learned a little more about Jen Shin Jyutsu. Thanks for a great post (for me, 2 great posts ), Sandra!

    • That’s wonderful, Jean! I’m so happy for you. I hope the healing continues. The old axiom to never give up is really true isn’t it. You’ve suffered with this so much, how incredible for this to heal. I love Jin Shyin Jyutsu. It’s perfect for practicing on myself and I’ve had a few powerful sessions from another person as well. Good luck with your hearing test.

  7. What a sweet list Sandra! I think there is plenty here for us all to get our teeth into. And that’s the second time someone has reminded me of my dusty colouring book – maybe it is time to get it out 🙂

    • Yes, maybe it is time to get the dusty coloring book out. Would love to hear how it goes if you get into it. Glad you liked the list, Ellen.

  8. I love the idea of a good mystery novel Sandra. We get so busy working and taking care of those we love that we forget to just take the time to relax and escape with a great story

  9. I love the whole idea of this blog and so appreciate your reminder to take care of ourselves first. I’ve been needing that message.

    I love the Epsom salt bath. I did buy an assortment of “bath bombs” which are scented with natural oils and full of good stuff like Epsom salt and cocoa butter. They’re yummy, but I’ve only used one so far.

    I love the idea of giving yourself the gift of sunshine, Just yesterday, I stretched out on the deck for 5 minutes and soaked in the sun. Heavenly.

    • I’m so glad that the timing of this message is perfect for you, Debbie. 5 minutes in the sun is a good start. It’s a tiny pleasure isn’t it! I hope you’ll be able to find some time for the bath bombs too. You do so much and give so much, you completely deserve this.

  10. This is just an amazing list of self-care ideas, Sandra. There are a number of these that I’ve not tried, so I’m definitely saving this article to refer back to. Self-care has been key to my overall well being. Thank you!

  11. These are such beautiful offerings Sandra. I will check them out and dig in 🙂
    they make me so happy too 🙂
    xoxo, Z~

  12. It’s really interesting to read this article here and the information is totally new to me. Thanks for this article

  13. Lynda Rankin

    Thank you so much Sandra. This list feels like a life saver to me right now. Perfect timing. I just ordered Rescue Remedy and am looking forward to trying it. I am going to start the finger massaging today.

    • I’m so happy, Linda! I’m glad you’re finding some of the resources supportive for you right now. Wishing you all the best.

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