July 24, 2018

A two-hour deep-tissue massage. A shopping spree. Sipping coconut water under a cabana. Ask anyone to conjure up the typical image of "self-care" and they’ll usually jump to a buzzy new trend or the pricey things we feel pressured to purchase to "be well."

But what if someone asked you: What do you do to feel good?

You might picture the 10 minutes you spent reading last night, or savoring the quick walk to grab coffee this morning, or that time you took three deep breaths before a big conversation.

While the image of self-care may seem out of reach, in practice, it doesn’t have to cost money or even much time. Self-care can and should be simple.

That’s why, in honor of International Self-Care Day, we asked Shine members around the world how they actually practice taking care of themselves—and they delivered.

We got so many incredible responses, that we created an Atlas of Self-Care, full of unique, easy ways to take care of yourself, sourced from Jamaica to Spain to Nigeria and more. Consider it your new go-to resource when you need “me-time” ideas.

🇦🇲 Armenia

“Sleeping and hanging out with friends.” - Jenna M., 12

🇦🇷 Argentina

“When I feel really tired because of my anxiety or depression, I turn the lights off and choose a specific songs that makes me feel special. Then, I start turning on some lights while I start feeling better.” - Cecilia Z., 17

🇦🇺 Australia

“Being outdoors (preferably warm weather) and near the water lifts my mood—I watch the waves and hear the gentle movement or crashing waves.” - Maree G., 49

🇧🇧 Barbados

“Meditation.” - Raymond B., 35

🇧🇪 Belgium

“When I need a little boost of positivity, I do something exciting! I go for a swim, go to a concert, or do something wild and loud and adventurous. I take a risk! Because when all is well at the end, peace and quiet is so much more rewarding.” - Malik F., 18

🇧🇭 Bahrain

“I like to plan my day from the beginning until the end. I add in self-care like going to the gym, my skin routine, eating healthy food, reading, and studying new things.” - Enas H., 25

🇧🇸 The Bahamas

“I walk in nature and on the beach.” - Jin S., 29

🇨🇦 Canada

“I take advantage of the beautiful outdoors in Canada and go mountain biking. Being in the forest on a mountain biking trail helps me clear my mind and recenter myself. While I bike, I try to focus my mind on just one thing.” - Lexi N., 16

"Being in the forest on a mountain biking trail helps me clear my mind and recenter myself."
- Lexi N., 16

“I keep a gratitude journal. At the end of every day, I write down three things I’m grateful for or three good things that happened that day. I’ve been doing it for going on 9 years now, and I really think it has saved my life.” - Donna L., 49

🇨🇱 Chile

“Walking home after a grueling day, I take time to take in the sights and sometimes buy myself a treat, such as flowers.” - Valentina B., 30

🇨🇳 China

“I use swimming or diving as my form of self-care. I hear nothing but the sound of the water—it helps me find peace.” - Dan L., 36

🇭🇷 Croatia

“I pray and meditate each day to prevent possible stress reactions.” - Ines B., 43

🇨🇾 Cyprus

“Going to the gym, going out with friends, or even the opposite! I’ll stay home to just relax and ground myself to my emotions in a stress-free environment.” - Maria C., 34

🇪🇨 Ecuador

“When I'm feeling down, I arrange a night of extra self-care. I make a facial mask, take out my special oils and lotions, and take a long bath and apply all these products without thinking—just trying to make me feel better.” - Andrea M., 35

🇫🇮 Finland

“My most important self-care practice is mindfulness in many different forms. It means yoga, meditation, and spending time in nature every day.” - Katariina, A., 22

🇫🇷 France

“I work on my relationships with friends every day—they are my sounding board. I could even say board of directors! It’s important for me to have them, and I want to give them back the same support.” - Claire B., 31

🇩🇪 Germany

“I like to prepare a healthy meal, garnish it beautifully on the plate/in the bowl, and appreciate it and what I did.” - Alina B., 23

🇬🇭 Ghana

“I like to affirm my beliefs in my goals by saying them whenever possible during the day.” - Sophiyya A., 28

🇬🇹 Guatemala

“Whenever I need a moment, I meditate. I try to not do anything and see what my body asks. Maybe I just need to stay in bed longer or eat something not that healthy :).” - María P., 24

🇬🇾 Guyana

“I sing karaoke and spend time with my grandkids.” - Sibby S., 46

🇭🇰 Hong Kong

“I give positive talks to myself or write my feelings down in a letter format and send it to no one.” - Hanz B., 18

🇮🇩 Indonesia

“I go for a yoga class.” - Heera S., 39

🇮🇳 India

“I hike every Sunday and mediate for more than 10 minutes peacefully in the nature surrounded by trees up on the hill.” - Ritesh G., 29

“Whenever I feel like I’m in a situation that I think I won’t be able to handle, I remind myself that a few months ago I was in a situation I thought I couldn’t survive and 2 years ago I was in a situation I thought I couldn’t survive. But here I am. I just remind myself that I can do anything if I believe I can.” - Shriya A., 17

"I remind myself that a few months ago I was in a situation I thought I couldn’t survive and 2 years ago I was in a situation I thought I couldn’t survive. But here I am."
- Shriya A., 17

“My self-care practice is dancing. Whether I am sad, happy, angry, dancing helps me connect with myself. It helps me feel and know myself better.” - Gunjan V., 24

🇮🇹 Italy

“Singing helps me to free all the emotions I have inside. For example: When I’m depressed, I sing a song that helps me cry so I can find some relief. When I feel anxious for an exam or something that scares me, I sing songs from my childhood, like theme songs of anime or sometimes Disney songs. They make me feel at home and confident.” - Laura M., 25

🇯🇲 Jamaica

“In Jamaica we say ‘Jah nuh give yuh more than yuh can bear.’ It means Jah (as in God) doesn’t give you more than you can bear. I use that as motivation, taking things as they come because I know this too shall pass.” - Suzanna H., 22

🇱🇧 Lebanon

“Going to the gym every morning gives me the mental and physical energy I need to power my day. Everything from the music to the community pumps me up and helps me feel ready to tackle anything that comes at me.” - Renee L., 59

🇱🇹 Lithuania

“I walk in the forest all alone by myself, without my phone. I also like to calmly sit on the bench in my city center and just watch people walking, trying to hear, smell, and understand everything around me.” - Bubble B., 15

🇲🇾 Malaysia

“I was brought up by Asian parents, and showing my shoulder or thighs to the outer world is a big NO. So, once in a while, dressing myself up in off-the-shoulder dresses or crop tops with high waisted denim shorts is me telling myself that I am beautiful in my own skin. Because I don’t own the dresses, I have to leave my house to go and try them on in nearby malls, which also is a bonus.” - Thaashmeena V., 19

🇳🇬 Nigeria

“When I’m feeling down, I usually watch sappy movies to get me through the emotional pain. Or, if it is just a general feeling, then I love talking to loved ones about it. It makes me feel as if I've lifted a ton of weight off my chest.” - Joy O., 25

“When I'm feeling down, I go to the stores and play dress up. The point isn't to actually buy anything but rather to simple play dress up or window shop. I intentionally don't bring my wallet or at least don't bring enough money with me to spend anything outrageous (to avoid emotional impulse buys). Rather, I just bring my imagination and put together fabulous outfits from head to toe that I imagine my inner ego would love.” - Joanne A., 25

🇳🇱 Netherlands

“I’m a sensitive person, which means that when I experience an emotion, I feel it 10x more than most people. And being social takes away a lot of my energy. To make myself feel better, I put on my favorite feel-good movie to give me the feeling everything will be OK again. Or, I put on my favorite playlist and sing very loudly to the songs.” - Esther W., 23

🇳🇿 New Zealand

“I look at funny memes on the internet, or a funny picture, text, or video. A good laugh helps me.” - Angelica B., 13

"I go off road biking." - Becks H., 53

🇵🇭 Philippines

“When I feel down or when I feel that everything is just so overwhelming, I go to our local church and pray. I pour all my worries and anxieties into prayer. It is how I care for myself, because I can tell everything (that I sometimes can't tell my close friends and family) to God. It's the best self-care tip I can share (aside from watching How I Met Your Mother all over again or enjoying a serving of chocolate ice cream).” - Aufe F., 20

“I remind myself: Tough times never last, tough people do.” - Mia Aira R., 25

🇵🇱 Poland

“My first option is always to take a walk, anywhere you are at the time it will work. It will clear your mind and calm the feelings.“ - Joanna K., 32

🇷🇴 Romania

“I love to travel, and I try my best to visit a new country every 3 months. It helps me to surpass bad moments in my life, and, as a proud solo female traveler, it's increased my self-awareness and helped me make friends.” - Georgiana S., 35

🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia

“Journaling.” - F., 18

🇷🇸 Serbia

“I like to remake my clothes, adding some details and cutting off sleeves, etc. It makes me feel worthy.” - Arabella H., 16

🇸🇬 Singapore

“When I feel anxious or flustered, I find a way to move! Even if it’s a walk around my room/house/neighbourhood. My favourite method is to blast music and dance around like a crazy person. Oftentimes I end up laughing at myself and this makes me feel even better :).” - Keisha S., 29

🇸🇮 Slovenia

“I do something that puts me at ease and/or makes me forget about my problems for a while until I figure out how to solve them. (Reading, taking a walk, creating,...)” - Dina H., 26

🇿🇦 South Africa

“Because my anxiety and depression always wants to hold me back, my go-to motto is ‘Love over fear’ and ‘Yes.’ I always try to say yes to more things to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone.” - Adellé DV., 18

🇰🇷 South Korea

“I like to practice guitar and sing.” - Hyung K., 18

🇪🇸 Spain

“Sobremesa! Translated literally, it means ‘on top of or over the table.’ It’s the time spent during and after a meal when you hang out, talk, laugh, cry, and spend time together. It’s about connecting over a meal. The food isn’t the main purpose of gathering, but rather what brings us to the table. You stay for the sobremesa. It can go on for 20 minutes or for 2 hours, but no matter how long it goes, it creates human connection, deeper friendships, and recharges my heart to go out and tackle the rest of the day. It’s one of the forms of self-care from Spanish culture I love most!” - Hannah W., 23

🇹🇭 Thailand

“I do a breathing exercise: I slowly and gently take a deep inhale for 10 seconds, hold for 10 seconds, then exhale as long as 10 seconds or more.” - Atchareeya B., 43

🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago

“I allow myself to feel whatever I am feeling. Go through the emotions and get through them.” - Akeela P., 20

🇺🇬 Uganda

“Meditation, good food, and positive vibes.” - Sarah K., 24

🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates

“I take time to do my hair.” - Tia W., 25

🇬🇧 United Kingdom

“I’ve put a reminder in my phone that goes off at 11 a.m. every day, which reminds me if I’m not having a great day I should play a song that makes me happy.” - Lynsey B., 37

“If I'm feeling down, I treat myself like my own best friend. That means comfy clothes, self-indulgence, pampering, and finding something to laugh about.” - Maddy L., 25

"I treat myself like my own best friend."
- Maddy L., 25

“When I feel down, I go for a drive, wind my windows down, put on my favourite playlist and sing like crazy. Being present with the wind blowing in my hair is so cleansing and sunshine helps too! I just pick a direction and drive to where I feel drawn. Then, I turn on Google maps and figure out how to get home from where I am.” - Kerry H., 27

🇺🇸 United States

“Whenever I am stressed or anxious, I try to focus on counting down from 8: Think of 8 things you love, 7 people you love, 6 feelings you love, 5 books you love, 4 songs you love, 3 things about you that you love, 2 quotes you love, a 1 psalm or poem you love. It helps me calm my mind and make stress seem a little more manageable.” - Katie D., 18

“I practice self-care by disconnecting from social media for a while. I just take the time to recharge, and I sometimes read or write during this time.” - Yancy M., 17

“One thing I like to do daily is take what I call my ‘Birthday Break.’ My birthday is October 4th, which is 10-4 or 10:04. So every day at 10:04 in the morning and 10:04 at night, wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, I press pause on it and give myself that little break to focus on me. I give myself that time to enjoy the moment and be happy. Plus, it’s like celebrating your birthday twice a day, and who doesn’t like that?” - Cecilia S., 22

“I see a therapist a little out of town so that going to therapy feels like a little getaway for me. I always make sure to swing by a cute little coffee shop or walk around the small town after sessions. Positively rewarding myself for self-care and designating a physical space for it really helps shift my mood and keeps me looking forward to sessions!” - Kylie G., 22

"I see a therapist a little out of town so that going to therapy feels like a little getaway for me."
- Kylie G., 22

“I start laughing alone when I'm feeling down. I start counting the HAs. Start with one HA, then 2 HAHA, then 3 HAHAHA....by the 6th HA you will be laughing out loud. It never fails. I learned this practice from a Cuban friend back in high school.” - Yomara E., 29

“I turn to tarot cards. I know it sounds strange, but the cards give me better insight and understanding to my unique personal situations.” - Cindy B., 29

“I love riding my motorcycle. I call it wind therapy, and it gives me a chance to collect my thoughts and free my mind. No one can talk to me or tell me negative things while I’m riding.” - Ginger C., 35

"I love riding my motorcycle. I call it wind therapy."
- Ginger C., 35

“I do archery after work one day a week. Hearing the thwack against the target is so satisfying (even if I never hit the bullseye).” - Rosh S., 33

“My chosen family is very important to me. I have several very close people whom I text with and we remind each other to eat, drink water, meditate... And reassure each other that we are human beings worthy of love and belonging.” - Puck M., 27

“I started boxing when I was going through a very difficult time in my life. I feel so empowered boxing that I can feel like I can take on anything my day throws at me after working out.” - Valerie E., 24

“I like to pause for a moment and look up at the beauty and wonder of clouds. Clouds remind me to live in the now. At least once a month I will go to the beach to sit and stare at the sky and ocean. Nothing ever seems as bad or hectic when I take a moment to live in the now.” - Darlene H., 48

🇺🇾 Uruguay

“I have positive affirmations on the mirror in my bathroom so that if I'm thinking poorly of myself, I can read them and restart my day! Every morning I ask myself to feel my feelings, speak my truth, & trust in the process. I try to identify what I'm feeling and trust myself to give it to God if I've done everything I can do.” - Wendy F., 58

🇻🇪 Venezuela

“I try to meditate at least 10 minutes per day.” - Isabel L., 26

🇻🇳 Vietnam

“I often reflect on activities and events that happened during the day and write them down. This helps me to collect my thoughts, and when I catch myself over thinking, I focus on my breath. That helps me to relax.” - Cindy L., 16

Responses were edited and condensed for clarity.

To help you practice self-care in whatever way works for you, we're giving one lucky Shine member $1,000.