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I originally wrote this blog when Covid had just put us into lockdown. I was looking for simple ways to distract me from working 24/7 because I now had the excuse of staying inside away from people (introverts dream!).
Even though it's sometimes difficult to pull myself away from the screens, my mental health needs me to. Self care is all about taking care of our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Good self care is the key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to having healthy relationships with others and ourselves!
Below I've listed 12 things that help ME take better care of MYSELF (having a nap should actually be number one!). While self care is for everyone, but not everyones self care looks the same. I fully understand that self care isn’t all bubble baths and bon-bons. So if any of the self care ideas doesn't fit for you, then it's not your self care.
There are certain fundamental things that a human requires in order to take care of one’s self such as air, food, water, a balance between rest and activity, time alone and time with others. Whilst these tasks seem like pretty straightforward concepts, we can sometimes overlook them without even realizing, this can often lead to mood swings and irritability. These feelings and emotions do nothing good for our anxiety levels. This is where self care comes in, self care is when we deliberately participate in an activity in order to take care of ourselves.
Put an oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on others.
I often battle that self-care isn’t selfish and that I have to make time for it, it doesn’t matter if the house is a huge mess, or I’ve not accomplished everything I wanted to in that one day. Think of what you get taught when flying on an airplane, “always put an oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on others”. I know… that’s super hard for some of us, but when we practice self care, it can enhance energy levels, restores health and reduces anxiety, I think everyone deserves that don’t you?
Ohh and it’s not just for people with loads of money either, I’m not talking about jet-setting to a luxury holiday in Bali, or spending every weekend at a spa (would be nice but not practical really), most of my self care ideas are free or very inexpensive, some activities only require a short drive or walk, some you don’t even have to get out of your pj’s for. Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. Drink Tea: Tea’s such as chamomile, lemon balm, and lavender have all been traditionally used to relax and calm the nervous system which is perfect for those suffering with symptoms of anxiety and stress. Treat yo-self to some well-deserved ‘me time‘ by sitting down while you have your self-care tea, perhaps in a cozy corner table in a cafe, or with a friend or two.
➤ Try the Calming Organic Loose Leaf from Love Tea
2. Light a Candle: Self care doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Candles are an inexpensive way to treat ourselves, have one close by as you take time to read, knit, crochet, paint, or bathe. Scented candles such as lavender or clary-sage can support those struggling with anxiety or stress.
3. Take a Bath: Lock yourself in the bathroom, start running the bathwater and get ready to bathe like Queen Cleopatra! A warm bath with therapeutic herbs, rose petals, essential oils, mineral salts, honey, or milk is a ritual like no other and will make you feel like a goddess. Our Coconut Bath Milk is packed hydrating coconut milk, soothing oats, and mood balancing rosehips and pink grapefruit. It will (almost) make you forget real life is a thing!
4. Take a Nap: I’ve always felt guilty for having day naps, especially because I know I actually have shit to do! However, research has shown that naps improve reaction time, logical reasoning, math skills, mood, and even help with fatigue. In addition, napping is great for the heart, weight management, blood pressure regulation, and stress, alertness, and anxiety!
5. Go For a Walk: Monday to Friday I am normally stuck indoors in the aircon behind my screen and it can be really draining and uninspiring. So I like to go for a brisk walk on the beach or in the forest and soak up all that fresh air and vitamin D on the weekends. Going for a 30min walk can improve self-esteem, mood, and sleep quality, it can even reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
6. Edit Your Social Media: This is a good one, and one that some people not think of! Ever be scrolling through Instgram and seeing peoples “best lives” and instantly comparing it to the mess all around you and wonder how they seem to have it all together? Yup same, all the time. But remember that’s a quick snapshot of a very particular moment in their lives, no one’s life is instagram worthy 24/7, so go ahead and remove anyone, or anything that doesn’t make you feel good.
7. Brain Dump: The world is filled with great things to do, make, and accomplish, but not with a lot of time. I really struggle with this, and it makes my anxiety severe when I feel like my to-do list is just not getting smaller! I’ve so many ideas and dreams filling up my headspace, that sometimes I can’t see the woods for the trees! So I will often sit down with a pen and paper and just write down everything that springs to mind, it doesn’t have to be organized or make any sense to anyone else, but it gives me the opportunity to get everything out that’s cluttering up my headspace. I’ll normally select like the top 5 and act on those so I can cross them off my list, then come back to anything else at a later stage. After my dump (sounds terrible doesn’t it!) I feel less stressed and anxious about all the tasks I need to complete and helps me to centre my focus on what’s really important.
8. Declutter: K, I’ll be honest, I’m really bad at this! Sometimes I can’t think for all the stuff and mess that’s around me. The environment that we find ourselves in can undoubtedly affect our mood, but I don’t have enough motivation in me to clean my house top to bottom every day however, (weird I know) so in order to feel some sort of self-achievement, I take it in bite sizes. One day I will tackle my office, then the next I might go through the kid’s drawers and purge anything they don’t need anymore. Reducing the ‘clutter’ in our lives allows us to tackle our stressors head-on, which in turn will benefit our mental health.
9. Netflix and Chill: I don’t do this that often as we’re lucky to live in a part of the country that has fab weather almost all year round, so we do a lot outside in the evenings, but I do like to treat myself to a Nexflix marathon every once in a while (anyone else a Stranger Things of Vikings fan?). Or maybe you need to get out the house, why not ring up some friends that you’ve been meaning to catch up with and head to the movies, or ring a baby sitter and take your hubby.
10. Go For A Drive: Jump in the car and drive somewhere where you can sit and enjoy the magical moment of a sunset or sunrise. I recently saw the moon rise over the ocean here in Western Australia and it was just spectacular, it was so peaceful and awe-inspiring. Don’t take any pictures or post about it on social media. Just watch and be still.
11. Dance: Like there’s no one watching baby! Create a playlist of songs you like to listen too and just move your body. You don’t have to be professionally trained or even “good” at dancing it to reap the benefits, dancing can be an enjoyable way to be more physically active for those of us who don’t enjoy sports or fitness. I like doing this with my kids, it helps me to unwind and release tense muscles, and makes them tired before bed, YUS! #winning
12. Have a Spa Day: You could pay for these services, but if you’re not in a position to do that, then do it in your own home! Create a relaxing space by diffusing some of your favorite essential oils or lighting a scented candle, then allow yourself a decent amount of time to give yourself a facial (try one of our masks from this sample pack here), paint your nails, wash your hair or shave your legs. Taking time out to pamper yourself will lift your self-esteem, reduce anxiety levels, relax you, and help you to get a better night’s sleep.
Self care can help anyone in any stage of life, it’s not just for people who suffer from a mental illness either, we all need to take time out of our busy lives to stop and re-energize. So this is your reminder to slow down, treat yourself to some well-deserved me-time. Join the conversation on Instagram!
Go ahead and forward this onto a friend who needs a gentle self care reminder, or pin it to come back to later!
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