Self care is about taking time to support our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Good self care is important to improve your mood and reduce anxiety. It’s also key to having healthy relationships with family, friends, colleagues and most importantly, ourselves!
Improving your self care routine is not as hard as it might feel
We have listed 12 easy self care ideas that we find helpful to take better care of OURSELVES (having a nap should actually be number one!). While self care should be embraced by everyone, each of us will have different ways to practice self care that suit our lifestyles and needs. Don’t worry, self care isn’t all bubble baths and sage cleansing, it has a practical side to it too. If any of our self care ideas don’t necessarily fit for you, that’s ok, the important thing is to find a self care routine or activities that you can enjoy.
Why self care is important for anxiety suffers?
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 positive for our anxiety levels. The anxiety you feel comes from being overwhelmed without the ability to pause, reset and re-energise. This is where self care comes in, having a self care routine is when we deliberately participate in an activity that can be very small or quite big, in order to take care of ourselves.
Self care breaks your negative train of thought, it makes you pause and reset
Sometimes you might feel that a self care routine means you have to make time for it, like it’s a massive effort that will completely throw your day out of balance. Think of what you get taught when flying on an airplane, “always put an oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on others”. It doesn’t matter if the house is a huge mess or you haven’t completed everything on your list for that day. The important thing is, that you stop and take a moment for yourself. Doing this can actually enhance your energy levels, restore your health, reduce anxiety and give you a clear mind… everyone deserves that don’t they?
And it’s not just for people with lots of money either, you don’t need to jet off to a Bali retreat or pop down to your local spa for a few hours (nice, but not practical in any sense). The below self care ideas are either free or very inexpensive. And some you don’t even need to leave the house for!
12 Simple Ways To Kickstart Your 2021 Self Care Routine
Drink Tea (hot or cold): A tea blend 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. The process of boiling water, steeping your tea and then sitting down to enjoy it with no disruptions creates the perfect well-deserved ‘me time’. Turn off the lights, put your phone on silent, remove any distractions and just enjoy the moment.
Light a Candle: Candles can be an inexpensive way to treat ourselves as part of our self care routine. Make it a routine to have one close by while you do other relaxing things such as reading, crafting or when you have a bath or shower. Scented candles with fragrances such as lavender or clary-sage can support those struggling with anxiety or stress. Even simply resting for 5 minutes while looking at the flame flickering can be calming.
Take a bath or an extra shower: A warm bath with therapeutic herbs, rose petals, essential oils, mineral salts, honey, or milk is a self care ritual like no other and can relax your muscles and mind. It’s not just the bath itself that is good for you, it’s also the process where you disconnect for 15 minutes while you run the water, enjoy the fragrances as they fill the room, or you can brush your hair and stimulate your scalp while you wait to hop in. If you don’t have a bath, having a warm shower can be just as good especially if you have a beautiful shower steamer to fill the steam with calming essential oils. Showers don’t have to be reserved for the morning or night, if you are feeling high levels of stress and anxiety, have a shower, and if you feel like it cry while you are doing it, trust us – you will feel better once you are finished.
Take a Nap: Never feel guilty for having a day nap, even when you know you have a lot to get done. Think about all the times you have had a list a mile long and you end up in a spin getting none of it completed. Completely some things are better than completing nothing because you haven’t been able to find the right head space to keep moving forwards. Research has shown that naps improve reaction time, logical reasoning, mood, and even help with fatigue. Napping is also great for the heart, weight management, blood pressure regulation, stress, alertness, and anxiety. But remember, a self care nap does not mean laying down and flicking through socials on your phone. You need to be hands free with eyes closed thinking about all the things that make you happy.
Go For a Walk: We know that while it is the most easiest thing to do, for some reason it can be the hardest thing to actually do. If you are stuck inside Monday to Friday in an office and on a computer screen that drains your energy and is really uninspiring. Going for a 5 or 10 minute walk can really break fatigue and fill your mind and body with beautiful fresh air. Think about it, going for a 30min walk that can improve self-esteem, mood, and sleep quality is way better than 30 minutes of static, stress inducing scrolling. The hardest part about going for a walk as part of your self care routine, is stopping yourself from thinking that a walk means effort.
Edit Your Social Media: This is a good one, and one that some people don’t think of. We all know that social media can be really triggering for anxiety and silent stress. Seeing post after post that is showing you everyone else and their successes and must haves. No one’s life is Instagram worthy 24/7 (if it even is at all) so go ahead and remove anyone, or anything that doesn’t make you feel good. Unfollow and create less digital exhaustion for yourself.
Brain Dump: Living in a civilised society can in fact create a lot of anxiety because we have the means and the resources to do a lot of things and experience many more, but this can be stressful because when there are limited boundaries everything becomes overwhelming as to what to do and where to start. Your to-do list never gets smaller, it just keeps on growing. Buy yourself a notepad or journal (maybe even a special pen) then put aside 5 minutes a day to write down anything and everything that comes to mind in that moment. It doesn’t need to make sense to anyone other than you. But what you are doing is creating an opportunity to get out everything that is cluttering your headspace. At the end of the week go back through and pick a few things to start working on getting done. You will feel less stressed and anxious once you can clear the woods for the trees and it will help you centre your focus on what is really important.
Declutter: Now you might be thinking how can de-cluttering be self care? The environment around us impacts our mood, but finding motivation can be really difficult and it doesn’t mean you need to do a full Spring clean from top to bottom in every room of your house. Start by listing all the areas you want to de-clutter and then go through them one by one. You might do one a week, the important thing though is to start and finish, not put it off to another day. Reducing ‘clutter’ in your life allows you to then tackle your stressors head on. You will also feel like you have accomplished something and in turn you will be more motivated to stay on track elsewhere in your life.
Watch a movie or a TV show: Some of us don’t actually watch or stream a lot, so if you are one of those people pick a night, day or time and lock yourself in to a movie of your choice or start a series that you have been wanting to watch for a while. Remove any distractions such as your laptop or phone. This is your time to watch and enjoy. If you have kids, get your partner or family to mind them (even if its in another room). Remember, it’s not about finding time for you, it’s about making time for you.
Go For A Drive: Jump in the car and drive somewhere where you can sit and enjoy the magical moment of a sunset, sunrise or beautiful view. Spend 30 minutes just sitting and reflecting about anything you like. Talk to yourself, cry if you want to. Slow down your breathing and enjoy what is in front of you. There’s no need to post about it on social media, this is your moment to watchand be still.
Dance: A self care routine is not necessarily all about being quiet and still, pop on Proud Mary and get your heart rate up by dancing and re-energising yourself. Create a playlist of songs you like to listen to and 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. You can even unwind by dancing with the kids to release tense muscles and to deplete their energy before bed. While you might be puffed at the end, what you have done is filled your body with energy and for those moments you have also stopped worrying about everything else.
Create Your Own Spa Experience: Ten minutes is all it takes to unwind your mind with a mini spa treatment at home. This is one of the very reasons we created our clay masks. Pop a candle on, maybe your favourite music, mix up a clay mask and then lay down and relax. The process of mixing the mask and applying it is in itself extremely relaxing, these steps are all about concentrating on yourself, plus afterwards your skin will feel amazing!
Self care is important for everyone!
A good self care routine, or self care activities 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, re-energize and re-engage.
So here is your reminder to slow down and treat yourself to some well-deserved me-time.
Forward this onto a friend who might need a gentle self care nudge, or pin it so you can remind yourself later!