Self care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vesselEleanor Brownn
Self care has been a really important part of my wellness journey. It is something that I am relatively new to because I am quite a driven person and I’m always focusing on the task in hand and achieving set goals. What I never seemed to focus on was making one of these priorities myself. Since taking the time to focus on myself every once in a while I have definitely felt the benefits, particularly in my mental health. Not only that but it has actually helped me to be more productive, even though at first it felt like I was wasting my time and falling behind on other tasks that I should be doing. For me personally, what works best is splitting my self care into three sections: Mental, Physical and Emotional. Of course dividing it up into sections won’t work for everyone but as someone who benefits from being as organised as I can possibly be, I find this to be very helpful!
Physical Self Care
If I feel like I am having a bad day, the first aspect of self care that I turn to is the physical side. This is just personal preference, but if I feel like I am taking care of my body and listening to what it needs then I immediately start to feel better emotionally as well. Here are some of my favourite things to do to make me feel more comfortable in my body:
- Exercise- This is by far my favourite aspect of self care despite the fact it has taken me a long time to consider it being a kind of care! Of course exercising releases endorphins so this definitely helps boost your mood and for me, the feeling of being strong and the community aspect of doing sports really helps. Depending on the day I will either exercise on my own (such as going for a run) or exercise with others by attending a gym class. The latter always puts a smile on my face as it’s a great atmosphere!
- Yoga Practice- Yoga has absolutely changed my life over the last year. There are so many different types of practice that there is bound to be one that suits your individual needs, whether this be a calmer meditative practice or a more intense one working on strength and stability. My personal favourite is Hatha Flow Yoga which works on different postures and breathing exercises- great if you’re feeling stressed and need to chill out but also makes you sweat a little bit!
- Taking a shower/bath- This sounds like a bit of an obvious one but the feeling of hot water completely relaxes me! I particularly enjoy having relaxing scents around me such as lavender scented candles and the lush relaxation bath bombs- my personal favourite can be found here.
- Take a walk- Being surrounded by nature always makes me feel calm and I absolutely love taking my dog on a walk. It’s always more pleasant when the weather is nice but sometimes just getting a breath of fresh air can help either way!
- Try a face mask- The way my skin feels after a face mask is such a good feeling! I feel so much cleaner and fresher and my favourite go to is definitely from lush. My reason for this is that you can get the face mask that specifically suits your skin type which is so useful as it’s personalised to your skin’s needs. My skin suffers from a lot of redness and blemishes so rosy cheeks was recommended to me and it works wonders! Ask any member of staff and they will be able to recommend the best option for you. Also a bonus is that if you bring the pots back clean then you get a face mask for free!
Mental Self Care
I need this step in my self care routine because I find it particularly difficult to switch my brain off. I often have a million different thoughts buzzing around my head at once so I need to keep myself stimulated if I want to relax or I will become easily distracted. It also makes me feel more productive if I have a small task to focus on. My favourites include:
- Reading a book- This is one of my first go to options for when I’m not feeling myself. When I’m reading I really can’t think or stress about anything else and I’m completely lost in the book. For when I want a book particularly based around thoughts, wellness or emotions I always have the two same options: Milk and Honey and The Sun and her Flowers, both by Rupi Kaur. These books are a collection of thoughts, poems and feelings based around the journey of wellness. I absolutely adore them and the way that they are written. I also fold down the pages of my favourite quotes to go back to whenever I need them! I would definitely recommend reading them, you won’t regret it.
- Using my Happy Planner- I have been using the Happy Planner for just over a year now and it has become a new hobby of mine! Although it may seem counter intuitive to be planning and thinking of tasks when you’re trying to relax, I find that if I can write it all down and lay it out neatly then it doesn’t seem so overwhelming any more. The best thing about Happy Planners is that you can design them however you want with so many sticker options which is great for me as I am definitely not artistic enough to do any drawings myself! Each sticker pack has a different theme and there is one specifically designed for wellness, which I find to be very useful.
- Watching a Documentary- So this one may be just me but as I am particularly geeky I love watching documentaries! I love learning about topics that I am interested in and it really distracts me from any stress that I might have. My favourites are the Louis Theroux documentaries which I’m always watching on Netflix!
- Going out/Meeting People- If I want a complete distraction from everything then I will definitely get out of the house and see friends. Whether it be talking about something that’s bothering me or just doing something fun that completely takes my mind off of everything, I always end up having a laugh with them, and laughing is one of the best self care practices in my opinion!
- Listen to Music- I love music at all times so this is an obvious thing to do for me. I always create different playlists for different moods which will usually contain my favourite songs but for other, more calmer occasions I love listening to yoga music playlists or the sound of waves on a beach as this always makes me feel calm. It also helps me to drift off to sleep a lot quicker!
Emotional Self Care
I feel like this step is crucial in feeling the best way that you possibly can.Being in a positive mood can completely change my day, so to try to keep myself happy and in tune with my emotions I find these things help me the most:
- Journalling- I often write down my thoughts, feelings or anything that has happened during the day before I go to bed as I find that it helps clear my mind to get everything out onto a piece of paper. It also helps me fall asleep faster and is sort of like keeping a diary which allows me to look back at other positive events I have documented in there.
- Meditation- I have just got into meditation more recently as it’s something I find hard to do at home since there are so many distractions. I try to find yoga meditation videos on YouTube to guide you through the process and I ended up trying so many different types of meditation until I found what worked best for me. Chakra meditation is now what I find myself most drawn to as it focuses on bringing the whole body and mind in tune with each other and allows for a lot of visualisation which helps me to stay focused. Even if I only do it for 10 minutes I find that I feel a lot calmer and happier after taking time out to focus solely on myself and my body.
- Gratitude List- This is one of my favourite things to do as it puts everything in perspective for me. Writing down what I am thankful for is a great way of feeling more positive about life and stoping any overthinking. Realising and remembering how lucky I am in my life makes me appreciate myself and what’s around me a lot more.
- Positive Affirmations- For me, positive affirmations work best written down. In my room, around my mirror, I have post it notes of different compliments people have given me and my favourite things about myself so I can read them and be sure to leave the house in a positive mood. I keep most of them about my personality and not physical traits as I don’t like to bring too much attention to worrying about how I look as I can get in a downward spiral very quickly.
- Staying off Social Media- This one is hard for me as I’m afraid that going on social media has become a bit of a habit of mine whenever I pick up my phone. Despite this I am trying to limit my time as much as possible as I have realised that seeing other people on social media platforms can have a negative effect on my mood. It’s always important to remember that people usually only post the best things about themselves and their lives, so what you’re seeing isn’t a true reflection of what’s actually going on. I have also started following a lot more positivity based accounts so that there is more variety in my feed. Failing this, I will just try to stay away completely even if it’s only for a few hours!
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.Oscar Wilde
These are some of the things that help me personally to practice self care but of course different things will work better for different people. What I now realise is that whatever works for you, keep doing it so long as you’re taking care of yourself! XOX