8 Small Self-Care Ideas That Make a Big Impact

By Kerry Weiss
Reviewed by Susan Ko, Ph.D.
November 18, 2022

“Self-care” has become a buzzword in recent years, often evoking the image of pampering yourself with a luxurious spa day or eating dinner at a high-end restaurant. Those de-stressing activities are okay, of course. But self-care doesn’t have to involve elaborate, expensive, or time-consuming ways to treat yourself.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the concept of self-care simply involves spending time doing things to help you improve your physical or mental health—and even small acts of self-care can have a big impact when it comes to managing stress, boosting energy, and improving your health.

“Self-care is the practice of doing things that ultimately help you,” says Marni Amsellem, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist based in Stamford, Connecticut. “It doesn’t necessarily mean a spa day. It can—but it's really doing something that honors what your needs are.”