Select Page

Mental health is about more than just counseling. It is also about proper self-care. Self-care is essentially just doing things that are good for you. Things that relieve stress, feel good, and help you generally enjoy life. There are things that we need to do daily to take care of ourselves like having a healthy diet, exercising, and getting a good night’s sleep. There are also plenty of free or low cost things right here in the Omaha area that we can take advantage of.

1. Get A Cup Of Coffee With A Friend

One of my favorite things to do is have a meaningful conversation with a friend over a good cup of coffee. It does my soul good to just sit and connect with someone over a latte and I make a point to schedule these times throughout my week. No agenda, nothing to accomplish, just a good friend and a tasty beverage. A few places that I like to visit are Archetype, Hardy Coffee Co., or Blue Line, but there are plenty of good coffee shops around Omaha.

2. Have Fun At The Park

If you spend a lot of your day inside like me then getting outside more can be of great benefit to you. Bring food, some friends, a Frisbee, a book, a bike, all of the above, or just yourself. Go for a walk, read, or just sit and admire the beautiful old trees that grow there or practice some mindfulness meditation. Omaha has some great parks like Elmwood Park, Heartland of America Park, Zorinsky Lake, or any of the other beautiful parks here in town. Pick one and enjoy the slice of nature. It can be all too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the city and forget to slow down and enjoy the world around us.

3. Go To The Zoo

Depending on when you go, the zoo can be relaxing or stressful so I recommend going during the week or another time when there aren’t too many people. The Henry Doorly Zoo really is one of the treasures of Omaha and there are so many wonders to enjoy there. Go and take in some of the beauty our planet has to offer without leaving town.

4. Take A Yoga Class

I’m bad at yoga, but I always feel better when I do it. It’s great self-care. Even five or ten minutes can make a world of difference in my day. There is something so relaxing and centering about taking the time to just stretch and breathe. Yoga is one of those things that you can do just to show yourself that you value your wellbeing. A regular yoga practice has been shown to have a vast array of health benefits and might be just what you need to help relieve some of the stress and anxiety in your life.

5. Visit A Museum

There are several great museums here in Omaha. The Durham Western Heritage Museum, the Joslyn Art Museum, and Great Plains Black History Museum are just a few to take advantage of. Stop in and enjoy some the history and art that we share. Museums have a great way of giving us perspective by displaying the heights and depths of human history.

6. Go Hiking/Camping

If you like getting out and enjoying nature then getting out and hiking or camping could be just thing you need. Slow down, sit by the campfire with friends, and relax. Two Rivers State Park, Cunningham Lake, or NP Dodge Park are some fun campsites just outside of the city or Hitchcock Nature Center is great if you want something a little more scenic.

Self-care looks different for everyone and you might not find many things on this list that you enjoy, but it is just a starting point. Find some things that bring you life and make time to do them.


Cole Johnson is a counselor at First Light Counseling in Omaha Nebraska.