58 Practical Ways to Treat Yourself Without Food or Spending Money After a Challenging Day

We’ve all had challenging days. Either at work, at school, or caused by a fight with someone or too much stress at home. When that happens, do you reach for the box of cookies or your credit card to order a new outfit online? It’s easy to think of self-care and taking care of yourself as eating treats or buying items you feel you “deserve” because your day was so difficult. And you totally deserve to eat whatever you like and to spend your hard-earned money however you please, but constantly rewarding yourself with food or purchases can lead to a negative relationship with food and a potential for debt or poor credit rating. Worse still, it can lead you to ignore all of those stressful moments because you automatically compensate with food or purchases and don’t give yourself time to process your feelings. So here’s 58 practical ways to treat yourself without food or spending money after a challenging day:

  1. Stop at the park before you head home
  2. Take a mindful walk
  3. Sit outside and watch the clouds
  4. Tend to your garden
  5. Make yourself a bouquet of flowers
  6. Ride your bike
  7. Visit an animal shelter
  8. Go for a scenic drive
  9. Go window shopping
  10. Visit a free museum
  11. Take a new and interesting class at your local gym
  12. Go to your public library or bookstore and browse the aisles
  13. Go to a support group
  14. Sit in front of a fireplace or fire pit
  15. Paint your nails
  16. Put on a face mask
  17. Give yourself a foot massage
  18. Wrap yourself in the softest blanket you own
  19. Look up makeup tutorials to brush up on your makeup skills
  20. Put on your favorite pajamas (or real clothes if you choose)
  21. Wash and style your hair
  22. Attend to personal grooming
  23. Take a warm bath
  24. Apply moisturizer to your entire body
  25. Put a few drops of calming essential oils in your shower or in your diffusor
  26. Re-read your favorite book
  27. Read the comics section of the newspaper
  28. Watch your favorite movie
  29. Catch the newest episode of a TV show
  30. Listen to a new or favorite podcast
  31. Blast your favorite music
  32. Pet your cat or dog
  33. Do a yoga or workout video
  34. Lay on the ground with your legs up the wall
  35. Roll out the kinks on a foam roller
  36. Go for a swim or just float
  37. Stretch the parts of your body that feel tight
  38. Dance or sing along to your favorite song
  39. Put off any unnecessary work or e-mails
  40. Say “no” to an obligation that interferes with your peace
  41. Make a plan for how you’re going to get through the day or the week
  42. Do a guided meditation
  43. Take a body scan
  44. Breathe deeply
  45. Make art- any kind in any way
  46. Make a list of all the things you’re good at (aim for at least 10)
  47. Make a list of positive affirmations
  48. Process your day in your journal
  49. Call a friend or support person
  50. Let yourself cry or yell, if needed
  51. Check in with your emotions
  52. Acknowledge an item on your to-do list you’ll never actually do and cross it off
  53. Throw out (recycle) the junk mail
  54. Donate clothes you know don’t fit and probably won’t fit again
  55. Turn off your cellphone and stay away from social media
  56. Unfollow negativity on social media
  57. Take a short nap
  58. Set yourself up for the next day and then go to bed early



Seeking additional support in your relationship with food and your body? In search of an experienced eating disorder registered dietitian nutritionist in the Long Island, New York area or virtually in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut? Send Christina an email to learn more about 1:1 nutrition therapy sessions!

Published by Christina Frangione, MS, RD, CDN, RYT

Christina Frangione, MS, RD, CDN, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist serving the Long Island, New York City, and New York State areas helping clients with eating disorders and disordered eating recover their relationship with food and their body. She utilizes a Health at Every Size® approach and supports Intuitive Eating and knows that while she is the food and nutrition expert, you are the expert of your body and life.

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