As I sit peacefully in my living room, with the sun shining through my window, flowers and bushes within my view and a cup of tea sitting on the table by the side of me, I consider this part of my weekend ‘self-care’ ritual. I might be tapping away on my laptop planning blog-posts or preparing for the week ahead at work, but i’m really appreciative of the fact that I woke up without an alarm, I made a cup of tea for comfort, not routine necessity and the weather at the moment is gorgeous first thing in the morning, it lights my living room up perfectly.
Self-care is 2019’s buzz word, this is the year to look after your mental, emotional and physical health and focus on what makes you happy. It’s something I love to embrace but haven’t always been very good at; I have never kept up an elaborate skin care routine, I can’t always be bothered to let a face mask sink in for even 10 minutes and I am almost always groggy after a nap.
The great thing about taking care of your self, your whole self, is that it’s a personal experience and you’re not obliged to incorporate every tip, trick and idea that Pinterest throws at you. Sometimes I feel a little jealous or bitter (bad for mental health, by the way) when I listen to friends or other people talking about the lengthy excursions they go on to finally let their head hit the pillow, but the truth is, what works for them doesn’t work for me because i’m too impatient and impatience isn’t conducive to good self-care, so why would I follow the same patterns?
I follow a few regular self-care rituals that have helped my physical, emotional and mental wellbeing this year and I thought I would share them. I’d love to know yours, no matter how elaborate or simple they seem.
Don’t buy expensive skin care all the time
If you find you’re too tired or too busy to follow a 10 step skin care routine every night before you hop into bed, don’t. There’s nothing wrong with a cotton pad, some micellar water and a bit of moisturiser. Sometimes I forgo the moisturiser because it’s in a different room and, frankly, I just can’t be bothered.
Take your make-up off before you sleep, you won’t regret it, but if the way you do that is by washing your face with soap and water, then girl, that’s still self-care.
Some times, if I have some extra cash and I feel like treating myself, I’ll buy skin care or make up items that cost more than £10 and makes me feel a little more put together. Treating yourself is self-care too.
Have a shower
During the week my showers last about 5 minutes; I get up before the crack of dawn, shower enough to clean but not enough to use all the hot water before anyone else gets a chance and because I’m usually cold I get no real enjoyment out of it.
There’s something really soothing about coming home on a Friday, jumping into a hot shower and really taking my time. It takes very little effort, no extra cost and yet I come out feeling so refreshed.
I have grown up in an environment that is somewhat fast-paced for no reason other than my family are kind of uptight. My Mother’s natural walking speed is about 3 times faster than anyone else and my dad sits in traffic chomping at the very bit, thinking of any short cut to get home. I noticed, over the years, that I had naturally picked up these habits and found I was getting wound up over insignificant situations, like crowds or time keeping.
It seems silly, but if you’re the same you probably feel a little bit stressed on daily basis. As I don’t think I’ll ever be that person who doesn’t watch the clock, I’ve started allowing myself more time to do things just so I slow down. I wake up earlier so I can enjoy getting ready in the morning, I leave earlier for work so i’m not rushing or getting frustrated with the commute. It really helps to keep my mind calm.
I’m trying to stop talking about exercise with other people
In a world where everyone is in competition, where our bodies are under constant scrutiny and body positivity directly affects our mental well-being, I am slowly trying not to focus on what other people are doing to stay fit or feel better about themselves.
In my early 20’s I was gym-obsessed. I was following the likes of Nikki Blacketter, Buff Bunny, Steve Cook and I really enjoyed lifting weights and eating BIG.
Life changes though, other things take priority and a new lifestyle has made it not only harder to commit to 5/6 days in the gym a week but it’s also undesirable. As a result, it’s taken a long time to get myself out of the habit of directly relating my fitness routine and body image to my own self worth.
I think exercise is important to feel and look good if that’s your goal, but I don’t think it’s ideal to follow other people’s fitness regimes. Not everyone has the ability to get to yoga before work, swimming at lunch and a PT session after work 4 days a week but that’s ok. Do what you can, when you can and don’t post it on Instagram – trust me 🙂
Take a Social Media Break
Perhaps my biggest recommendation. Social media does a lot of good, but it also has a lot to answer for when it comes to toxic mental health.
Stop watching what other people are doing, stop believing that their lives are full of self-care and indulgence, stop following anyone whose posts don’t bring you joy.
I’ve recently tried to stop thinking about my Instagram profile as my online social resume and instead, considered it my own little slice of online heaven. I post things that make me happy, I follow accounts that inspire me without leaving me feeling any negative thoughts and I don’t let it rule my spare time. I also deleted the instagram account I’d had for years, I removed myself from social media for about 6 months and when I returned, I started a fresh which felt freeing. I feel I’m able to be a little bit more ‘me’, now that i’m not followed by all the people I went to school with, or worked with back in 2009.
Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive, patronising or hard work. you don’t have to follow difficult routines or buy regular spa days. You can if that’s within your limits and if they make you happy but ultimately, the point of self-care is to look after your own well-being, to put yourself first and sometimes it just takes a small and simple activity to make you feel a little more like yourself.
I’d love to know the things you do on your self-care days, or the routine you keep every single day to help you through it.