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Staff Picks: Favorite Self-Care Practices

March 29, 2021

Self-care is the act of preserving your health and well-being, especially during times of stress. It is prioritizing activities that make you feel whole, balanced, and restored. Even the simple act of pausing and asking yourself “what do I need right now?” is self-care.

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Get inspiration for self-care activities and resources from NPL staff, and check out our adult self-care kits available April 1 at three curbside branch locations--Bordeaux, Madison, and Edmondson Pike.

Time in nature

“It's hard to overstate how restorative being in nature can be. I use the AllTrails app to find new parks to explore and map my hikes. My favorite is the Laurel Woods Loop at Beaman Park. It just opened in October, and it's beautiful!" – Nikki

Neighborhood walks

"When the weather is not super cold or hot, I grab my headphones and walk around the neighborhood early in the morning." – Sade

Yoga and meditation

"Yoga with Adriene YouTube channel has great daily meditations and breath practices, in addition to monthly challenges." – Kelly

Check out our beginner-friendly yoga videos and meditation videos, with local instructors, on NPL's YouTube channel.

Backyard bird watching

"The best mental health break I can take is to watch the birds eat at the feeders. I've seen a greater variety of songbirds than ever before and have gotten pretty good at identifying them by sight and sound. Cornell's Ornithology Lab's website, along with a birding guide have been a big help!" – Liz

Tending a garden

"Gardening is a powerful form of self-care for me. It gives me something to take care of, love, and protect from the elements. In return for my attention and dedication it provides me with nourishment and a feeling of accomplishment." – Rebecca

Access free seeds and programming with the NPL Seed Exchange.

Writing it down

“I recommend five minutes of journaling each morning – I list things I’m grateful for and set goals for three things I WANT to do and three things I NEED to do. This helps me approach each day with intention.” – Katherine

"I use the Done app to track my habits, which has helped me stay on track in a work from home world when the typical daily rituals are paused." – Kelly

White noise

"Listening to white noise helps to block out distracting noises and focus your brain. "I am a big fan of the white noise albums available on Hoopla." – Klem


"I’ve been doing a lot of knitting this past year. It can be a meditative act, something happening in the background during a conversation, or simply a creative act in and of itself. To relearn the basics I picked up Melanie Falick’s book Kids Knitting. The instructions were clear and easy to follow." – Susan

Home workouts

“Something that’s gotten me through the past year has been returning to an old routine: working out to Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home DVDs. They aren’t the newest workouts on the block, but they’ve been working for me for about 15 years.” – Emily

For more free fitness ideas, check out our previous post on staff favorite online workouts

Connecting with friends

"I have a weekly video call with my best friend about mundane stuff, and another weekly call with a friend where we explore thought-provoking topics." – Magda

"If you’re used to going to movies or watching good tv with friends, many of the streaming services now offer the option of “Watch Party,” which is a little like a conference call, but is designed to have the group experience the entertainment content together." – Bridget and Melissa


"I’m on a big self-compassion kick, and listening to free meditations on the theme. The whole thing may sound corny to some (it did to me!) but I’ve given into the corniness, and it really is a helpful tool." – Lindsay

Reading, of course!

"The Little Book of Hygge is full of great ideas to find contentment in simple things." – Stephanie 

"I enjoy incorporating the poetry of Mark Nepo into my meditation practice. Things that Join the Sea and Sky is a favorite to conjure contemplation and gratitude." – Tasneem

"I have been reading Burnout and have found it very helpful." – Shannon

"Real Happiness is helping me learn more about mindfulness and self-compassion." – Lindsay

"I use the quick writing prompts in Feel Better in 5 to alleviate anxiety and cultivate gratitude. Answering 'What are three things that went well and why?' can really shift my attention to the good." – Megan

"Our work team has been reading The Power of Ritual together, and it has a lot of great ideas for restorative practices and ways to incorporate ritual." – Kelly

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