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A Complete Guide to a Zero Waste Self-Care Routine

Feeling overwhelmed by life's demands? We've all been there. The good news is that self-care can be a game-changer when managing stress. Whether it's a soothing bubble bath, face mask, or a brisk walk in nature, self-care can help calm your mind and body. 

However, some self-care activities harm the environment and contribute to the climate crisis. We may inadvertently be causing harm to the planet through the purchase of unsustainable self-care products. Many of these products, like face masks, soaps, shampoo, and conditioner, come packaged in plastic; and we all know how harmful plastic is to the environment. 

Zero-waste self-care is a concept that advocates for the practice of self-care that doesn’t harm the environment—for instance, purchasing products that contain natural skin care ingredients instead of harsh chemicals and volatile organic compounds. 

So, this article offers tips on achieving a zero-waste self-care routine. It also explores the importance of self-care in our lives. For more reading, you might also like our self-care ideas you can practice at home.  

Why is self-care so important?  

For many people, it's essential to maintain a continuous streak of productivity to keep up with the demands of daily living. Adulting is all about a ton of responsibilities, and fulfilling these responsibilities takes so much of our time. As a result, it can prove challenging for many of us to take time to relax and breathe. The amount of stress we accumulate contributes negatively to our overall well-being and can result in burnout episodes. 

We often forget how important it is to care for ourselves. We need to practice self-care to support ourselves emotionally, mentally, and physically. 

Self-care has a lot of benefits. We need a break from society to recharge and refill our energy bars. Unfortunately, we struggle with practicing self-care regularly because of how busy we get. Even though practicing self-care is pretty easy for most people. 

Here is a list of benefits we gain from practicing self-care. Let it remind you to take time to care for yourself. 

  • It helps you create a safe relationship with yourself. 
  • It increases your motivation and, by extension, your productivity levels. 
  • It boosts your physical and emotional health. 
  • It reduces anxiety and manages your stress. 
  • It can help you boost your self-esteem and confidence. 
  • Self-care helps you maintain your interpersonal relationships. 
  • It allows you to discover new things about yourself.

Zero-waste self-care activities

1. Skincare

Woman with a natural face mask
Photo by Kimia Zarifi on Unsplash

Skincare is an essential aspect of self-care that makes you feel good about your appearance and boosts your confidence. However, you must remember to care for your skin in ways that wouldn’t harm the environment. For example, you should only buy plastic-free sheet masks for your facial care. 

There are loads of options for eco-friendly makeup and beauty providers selling plastic-free face masks, zero-waste lotions, and moisturizers made with organic natural ingredients. Furthermore, you’ll often support smaller independent companies and vote with your money for the big companies to reduce packaging waste. 

Or you can make your skincare routine more fun by creating your products. There are so many recipes for a face mask. These recipes use organic ingredients like turmeric, aloe vera, avocado, honey, yogurt, and essential oils. 

Making your own face mask for your facial care is more advisable than purchasing a sheet mask with plastic packaging. Facial care with all-natural products is an excellent way to have a good time. For more ideas, check out our 20 tips for zero-waste skincare

2. Go on a walk 

Couple walking
Photo by Andres Ayrton

An excellent way to care for yourself the natural way is by going on regular walks. There are many rewards associated with walking for at least 15 minutes daily. Walking in nature will improve your mental health by reducing anxiety and stress. 

Walking for 30 minutes as self-care can work many wonders for you. It eases joint pain and burns calories, helping you maintain or lose weight. It also improves your heart health by reducing your risk of heart disease7, lowering your blood pressure, and controlling your blood sugar.

Walking gives you renewed vigor and puts you in a good mood. You should go on walks more often. The best part is when you spend time walking and connecting with nature; it is harmless to the environment. It’s an effective zero-waste self-care activity. 

3. Drink tea 

A nice cup of tea has a lot of health benefits for your body. This beverage has come a long way in our society, as we have been drinking it for centuries. The cultivation of tea plants goes back thousands of years ago. 

Researchers discovered this beverage has cancer-preventive qualities8. Drinking it regularly can reduce the risk of developing skin, prostate, lung, and breast cancer.

Also, studies show that regular consumption can improve cardiovascular and metabolic health3. Other studies conducted in Britain showed that older women with a greater bone mineral density drank tea regularly6, which can reduce the risk of developing arthritis.

So, drinking tea morning and night can do wonders for your health. It is a healthier beverage to consume regularly than alcohol and coffee. It has a gentle flavor you will love. You can make it fun by exploring the fresh, organic, eco-friendly tea brands available, offering green, black, white, oolong, and herbal teas. 

And whereas a simple cuppa may immediately seem zero-waste, it is worth remembering that most tea bags contain plastic. As such, grab a reusable tea bag and opt for loose-leaf tea; it tastes better too!

4. Have a long bath or shower 

Another self-care activity that encourages you to be gentle to your skin is baths and showers. 

It is one of the most relaxing ways to get into a good mood after a stressful day. It allows you to take time for yourself and calms your hectic mind. Also, it improves the quality of your sleep. 

However, taking a zero-waste bath or shower requires using plastic-free and organic products. For instance, you can change your plastic-housed bathing soap to a zero-waste body wash bar. You can also get a sisal soap saver bag, making your soap bars last longer. 

You can even make your own bath bombs for your bubble bath for an extra treat. To set the atmosphere for your bath, you can light a non-toxic candle and incense sticks. Also, add a few drops of essential oil to our bath water for maximum experience. Lastly, you can’t go wrong with soothing jazz music in the background. We guarantee you have a good night’s sleep. 

5. Meditation 

Woman meditating
Photo by Los Muertos Crew

Meditation is one of the best ways to connect the mind and body. It involves various practices that help improve your focus and attention to the present moment. These practices form connections through breathwork, and they help you process difficult unidentifiable emotions. 

There are many upsides to maintaining a regular mindfulness and meditation practice. These upsides have scientific premises. They are:

  • Mindful meditation has been proven to reduce the inflammation response induced by stress1. Also, it reduces symptoms of stress-related conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
  • When you practice meditation to reduce stress, you can also expect a decrease in anxiety levels5.
  • Some types of meditation can improve your emotional and mental health by managing depression. It reduces depression by reducing the levels of inflammatory chemicals that lead to depression2.
  • It helps you become more self-aware as you develop a better understanding of yourself.
  • Also, meditation improves your sleep cycle.

If you don’t know how to meditate, guided meditations are available on YouTube, Spotify, and apple music. 

6. Journaling  

Journaling is an excellent way to release stress, worries, doubts, and anxiety. It's a great way to help you talk to yourself with no reservations. It helps you express your gratitude and keep up with your progress. 

A research review published by Cambridge shows that writing about traumatic, stressful, and emotional events leads to improved mental and physical health4. So, writing in your journal for 15 to 20 minutes daily is beneficial.

You could keep a self-care journal, gratitude journal, visual journal, reflective journal, or stream-of-consciousness journal. Getting started is easy with our journal prompts, and if you don’t already have one, grab an eco-friendly journal, and you’re good to go.  

7. Exercise  

Exercise is a great way to keep your body healthy. It improves your muscle density, your endurance levels, and cardiovascular system. It improves your overall energy, enabling you to live a productive life. 

Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight, preventing stroke, arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure. There are various types of activities you can engage in, like yoga, pilates, dance, jogging, weight lifting, etc.

Related: Check out our yoga quotes to learn more about their benefits for a range of advocates and fans, and our helpful guide to eco-friendly yoga mats is perfect for helping to choose the right accessory while shunning plastic. 

8. Read a book 

Reading a book requires spending time away from social media and society. Getting engrossed in a good book will make you ignore your phone for hours, reducing your chronic online hours. It is a great way to relax and enjoy your free days. 

9. Watch your favorite show

Watching your favorite show is an excellent way to relax. Whether you immerse yourself in your favorite fantasy world or opt for something new, it will uplift your mood and help you unwind. Whichever one you choose is perfect if you are having a good time. 


It is highly beneficial for us to prioritize taking care of ourselves. Adulting is rigorous and unkind to us, so we must have an adequate coping mechanism. However, our coping mechanism should be good for the planet and produce the least amount of trash. 

Meditating, reading, drinking tea, exercising, and journaling are zero-waste self-care activities that will help us navigate life more effectively. So, set time aside to create a self-care routine that you find suitable. Your body and mind will improve drastically as you maintain this routine.


Rosenkranz, M. A., Davidson, R. J., MacCoon, D. G., Sheridan, J. F., Kalin, N. H., & Lutz, A. (2013). A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 27, 174-184.


Kasala ER, Bodduluru LN, Maneti Y, Thipparaboina R. Effect of meditation on neurophysiological changes in stress mediated depression. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014 Feb;20(1):74-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2013.10.001.


Arab L, Liu W, Elashoff D. Green and black tea consumption and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis. Stroke. 2009 May;40(5):1786-92. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.108.538470.


Baikie, K. A., & Wilhelm, K. (2005). Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 11(5), 338–346.


Hofmann SG, Gómez AF. Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Anxiety and Depression. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2017 Dec;40(4):739-749. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2017.08.008. Epub 2017 Sep 18.


Hegarty VM, May HM, Khaw KT. Tea drinking and bone mineral density in older women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Apr;71(4):1003-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/71.4.1003.


Lee, I. M., & Buchner, D. M. (2008). The importance of walking to public health (pdf). Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise40(7), S512-S518.


Khan N, Mukhtar H. Tea and health: studies in humans. Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(34):6141-7. doi: 10.2174/1381612811319340008.

By Jennifer Okafor, BSc.

Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.

Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

Photo by Spring Fed Images on Unsplash
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