24 ideas for 30 minutes of self-care

Self-care ideas from Small Company Artworks

Have you been enjoying your five-minute breaks lately? I actually spent five minutes yesterday watching the birds out my window. No, seriously, I felt like a cat. I had to have tuna for lunch.

What's that? You've suddenly found yourself with a half hour of downtime, and you want to suck all the marrow out of the time? While you could technically extend any of the five-minute ideas that we talked about last time, why not have some special, dedicated half-hour ideas?

These ideas are designed for those of us who have trouble sitting still for 30 minutes, although I haven't forgotten the sitting-still people. I've even mixed in some semi-productive ideas, in case you have Relaxation Guilt. 


if you have a half hour of downtime

  1. Let's get the obvious, yummy "napping" idea out there, right off the bat. Always delightful, always legit
  2. Move. Walk, run, skip, do some yoga, stretch, dance. Get your blood pumping! Methinks this counts as six ideas, but who's counting?
  3. Carry some pencils and paper outside and sketch the first flower you see. Don't judge, just play with lines and shapes
  4. Try your hand at making stuff without judging the results. Just play with paint, paper, glue, pencils, whatever you have on hand.
  5. Or just doodle. Lisa at Today is Going to be Awesome has some lovely inspiration and tips in her Doodling Manifesto
  6. Hop over to Foxboro Therapy to learn about creating your own Art Journal, if you feel like taking art journals to a more artistic level
  7. Brew some tea and read a short story or two. I'm especially fond of Saki and Oscar Wilde for dry, British humor, or you might like some Neil Gaiman for fantastical stories (referrals)
  8. Sit with a book of poetry (referral) and find something that speaks you
  9. Go through your jewelry box and consider whether you want to pass any of your treasures on to a young relative.
  10. Write a love letter to your spouse. Mail it to your home, or save it for your next date night. Or hide it in his/her sock drawer, favorite work outfit, or someplace s/he will find it when least expected (why not spritz some perfume on the letter before it goes in the envelope?)
  11. While we're talking about spouses, why not pull out your thank-you notes and write a bunch of quick "Thank you for..." notes for your spouse? You get to spend an half hour reflecting on all the things your spouse is/does that makes your life better, which seems to me like a pretty pleasant break. Then you can either hide them a la tip #10, give them out one-a-day, or put them all in a mason jar as a surprise present. Or save them for your anniversary or his/her birthday
  12. Listen to your favorite music, without doing anything else. Okay, maybe make yourself a mix tape for fun. Yes, digital "mix tapes" count, if you can do this without surfing the internet or otherwise frittering the time away. Personally, I can't.
  13. Sit on your porch with cheese, crackers, and a glass of something. Just watch the traffic, people, and critters that pass by
  14. Organize your lingerie drawer. Commit to buy one pretty thing to secretly make you feel good
  15. Write a letter to someone you haven't seen in a while. No, a real, actual letter. On paper. Remember that wonderful feeling of getting a handwritten letter in the mail?
  16. Rummage through your kids' stuff and find some Playdoh. See how many animals you can make, or create food sculptures, or make some little clay flowers for your desk at work
  17. Find some crayons or markers and color in a coloring book
  18. Put on some sunscreen and sunbathe. Baby oil and lemon juice be darned!
  19. Try a guided meditation. I like Deepak Chopra's soothing voice, or if you're into chakras and such, Mirabai has a nice half-hour meditation (referrals)
  20. Give a try to walking meditation. I really like the one on this CD (referral) from Bodhipaksa
  21. Or lock yourself in the bathroom and play with makeup and hairstyles. Trust me, this is just as much fun as it was when you were 15
  22. Speaking of being 15, write a letter to your teenage self
  23. Or write a letter to yourself five years from now. File it away somewhere you might find it again
  24. Do you have a DIY project taunting you from a dark closet? If it makes you feel good, pull it out and make a little progress. (If it makes you feel lousy, I suggest pulling it out and throwing it away)

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