‘Self-care’ can have a bit of wanky connotation – it can feel needlessly indulgent, a bit silly or plain unnecessary. But is any of that true? I don’t think so.
To me, self-care means is taking some time to do the things that make you a healthier, calmer, saner person – pretty important, yes?! I love the saying “‘You can’t pour from an empty cup” – when I take the time to look after myself, I can give so much to the people around me: I’m calmer, more organised, more switched on at work, a better friend and more patient with my husband. All of that is good for me and everyone around me.
And it’s totally individual – one person’s self-care will (and should) look completely different to another’s. I’m a big fan of the clichéd hot bath and candles (admittedly while I
watch Real Housewives read a book or listen to a podcast), but you may hate baths as a much a cat. Traditional self-care advice says you should go to bed early, but some people are night owls who get the most enjoyment out of staying up later with the house to themselves. Personally I cannot wake up early enough on weekdays to exercise, so I do it after work. Don’t let anyone tell you what you ‘should’ be doing, or make you feel guilty if your idea of self-care looks wildly different to other people’s. It’s your job to figure it out, but once you have, embrace it!
You don’t even have to call it ‘self-care’ – you could refer to it as your wellness routine, or your happiness checklist, or even just “stuff you want to do each day”. Just as important as finding activities that suit you, it’s important to find language that resonates with you.
- Drink a big glass of water (or two) when you wake up. Our bodies get dehydrated overnight – drinking water gives you extra pep to start your day.
- Do some easy stretching or light yoga. Try it first thing in the morning to wake you up, or just before bed to relax you. I love this quick 10-minute sequence.
- Get into dry body brushing. Just 5-10 minutes exfoliates your skin, helps prevent stretch marks, is said to help with cellulite and helps your body’s lymphatic (drainage) system.
- Moisturise head to toe. Keep your skin hydrated and smooth with regular moisturising. Add some essential oils like geranium for extra nourishment (and to keep you smelling lovely).
- Eat lunch outside. Get some fresh air and soak up some vitamin D with your lunch. This will also help you slow down and eat mindfully, instead of scoffing your food at your desk or in front of the TV.
- Have a nap. Even a quick 15 minutes of shut-eye will boost your concentration, energy and mood.
- Have a greens powder. We know how good fruit and veg is for us, but it can be hard to get the 5-7 recommended servings a day. Supplement with a greens powder (or a chocolate greens powder, yum) instead. You can mix it into smoothie or protein shake, add it into recipes like bliss balls or muffins, or have it straight with cold water.
- Listen to an inspiring podcast. I love Happier with Gretchen Rubin, The Melissa Ambrosini Show and The Tony Robbins Podcast.
- Read a novel. Get lost in another world with a great book.
- Keep a ‘compliments file’. Record the good things people say about you. Refer to it often.
- Detox your social media. Unfriend (or if that’s a bit drastic, unfollow) Facebook friends and remove Instagram accounts that don’t make you feel good.
- Do a mini de-clutter. Clean out just one drawer, or choose three items from your wardrobe you don’t wear anymore to donate.
- Lay out the next day’s clothes the night before. A simple way to feel calmer and more organised each morning.
- Do something you’ve been putting off. Choose something that’s been hanging around on your to-do list and in the words of Nike, just do it.
- Write in a journal. Journalling is a great way to become aware of our thoughts, beliefs, fears and goals. And it doesn’t have to be long – even 3 pages will do. My lovely friend Amelia has some beautiful journalling prompts here.
- Help someone. Pay for someone’s parking. Buy someone flowers. Boil the work kettle for the next person to use. Open the door for people.
- Be patient with yourself. If insecurities or self-doubt starts to creep in, choose to take a deep breath and ignore it. Gently repeat, “I’m doing the best I can with the resources I have” until you start to feel better.
- Compliment someone. Find one person a day to give a (genuine!) compliment to.
- Do a mini meditation. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for two minutes.
- Let someone know you’re thinking about them. It doesn’t have to be long – just reaching out with a quick “I’m thinking of you!” can make someone instantly feel special.
- Open up to a friend. Call someone and share something you’re struggling with.
Choose three of these that resonate with you and give them a try this week!
Over to you – what are your favourite self-care ideas? Do you do any of these already?