15 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care

Sometimes the game gets hard and self-care is needed to refill your cup. If you have a big heart, the pain of others can sometimes feel like your own pain—so it’s really important to vibe-check yourself and take the time to relax, regulate, and rejuvenate. Here are 15 free or inexpensive yet effective ways to ground yourself so you can bring your A game to your activism for animals.

  1. Lean on Your Support System
    When people who eat meat, wear wool, or buy dogs are giving you the ick, turning to like-minded people is the key to feeling accepted and heard. Make an effort to surround yourself with people who understand you and make you feel less alone. You can build this type of community for yourself by joining an animal rights group at school.
  2. Take a Luxurious Bath or a Long Shower
    Treat yourself to a cruelty-free bath bomb or some nice body wash, and enjoy a calming bath or shower. With all the water you save by being vegan (1,100 gallons a day), you’ve earned it. LUSH, Aesop, The Body Shop, and Bath & Body Works products are all chef’s kiss.
  3. Meditate and Breathe
    Meditation is like a shower but for your insides. You may feel like you’re doing it wrong at first, but just keep practicing. You will notice a shift in your outlook after a couple of weeks. And don’t underestimate the power of a few deep breaths. Try this simple method: Breathe in through your nose for four seconds and then breathe out through your mouth for four seconds. Once you’ve mastered this, try other patterns.
  4. Go for a Walk
    The simple act of going outside for some fresh air and movement are game-changers for mental health. Take a break from the fam and the phone and just get into nature. Look at the clouds, listen to the birds, and take a few of those deep breaths in through the nose. You will deadass feel like a new person.
  5. Connect With Animals
    Staring into the eyes of a dog and petting their sweet little head is the soul-soother you didn’t know you needed. If you don’t have an animal companion, try volunteering at a local animal shelter or walking dogs in your neighborhood. Doing good makes you feel good, too.
  6. Create or Learn Something
    Expressing yourself creatively through writing, dancing, painting, sketching, music, embroidery—or whatever—is essential to mental health. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think your creation slaps, because it’s just for you. But if you decide to monetize your work, you can help animals by letting a local animal shelter or PETA secure the bag.
  7. Disconnect and Unplug
    The internet just ain’t it sometimes, and the best thing we can do to rest and recharge is to step away from all screens and just leave the tea in its rightful pot.
  8. Write Out a List of Emotions or a Letter to Yourself
    Anger, disappointment, resentment, and frustration can sometimes live rent-free in activists’ heads. If it all feels too overwhelming, write about it. This helps you get your thoughts off your chest so that you don’t keep ruminating and getting weighed down by difficult feelings. You can also write a letter to yourself, which is a great way to offer compassion and support to yourself.
  9. Watch a Funny Movie or Show
    Sometimes interacting with others, leaving the house, or having to think about anything does not give what it’s supposed to have gave. In these moments, just get comfy and cozy, round up some vegan snacks, and watch a lighthearted comedy. Reese Witherspoon for the W.
  10. Visit an Animal Sanctuary
    Visiting or volunteering at an animal sanctuary can change your perspective. Seeing happy cows, chickens, pigs, and sheep who are living their best lives can refresh your determination to keep spreading awareness of the plight of animals on farms and in slaughterhouses. Just make sure that the sanctuary is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries before you support it. Sometimes roadside zoos and other exploitative places add the word “sanctuary” to their name and it’s total cap.
  11. Make a Green Smoothie or a Smoothie Bowl
    Gut health affects your mood, and certain vitamins and foods have mood-boosting benefits. For example, the flavonoids in blueberries, omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts, and magnesium in dark leafy greens can all improve your mood. That’s science, bb. Make yourself a “happy smoothie” with your favorite endorphin-boosting ingredients when you’re feeling worn out or sluggish.
  12. Treat Yourself to a Vegan Lunch or Coffee Date
    You ate up activism and left no crumbs—and now you deserve to sit down for an oat milk flat white or go all out for a nice meal. Harness your main character energy and reward yourself for slaying.
  13. Start a New Hobby
    Learning something new is a great way to decompress after a long day of changing the world. Learn to make your own sourdough or kombucha, knit, or speak another language. Get into gardening, reading, sports, yoga, or a musical instrument. These are all are mindful practices because they let you escape your thoughts.
  14. Find Stillness
    Sometimes you just need to sit, breathe, and be present. We’re called human beings for a reason—so just be.
  15. Focus on the Positive
    Hearing stories about cruelty to animals or seeing disturbing videos is big sad—but the world is changing! Restaurants are adding vegan options to their menus like there’s no tomorrow, mainstream fashion brands are unsubscribing from fur and exotic skins by the hundreds, and Congress has passed the FDA Modernization Act 2.0, removing the mandate for animal tests for new drugs. Focusing on milestones like these will inspire you to stay loud for animals.

Compassion fatigue and burnout are real, so don’t forget to check in with your own needs and refer back to this list any time you feel low and need a little pick-me-up. We got you.

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