Let’s talk about self-care.
When I say “self-care”, what is your reaction? Honestly? Does the thought of taking time out of your day to nurture yourself and your soul excite you? Or does it fill you with dread, impatience, or judgement? Perhaps you’ve tried it before and you just can’t get behind it. Maybe you’re new to the concept, or love the prospect and need some new, fresh ideas of how to implement it?
Whatever your belief, I am here to take a deep dive into all the things self-care, busting down myths, offering a guide for how to get started, and giving you 101 ideas on how to implement it easily to your life!
I truly believe that self-care is one of the most important foundations to every single person’s health, happiness, mental state and overall well-being.
So, without further adieu, let’s get this self-care party started, shall we?
SO, WHAT IS SELF CARE?
I’m so glad you asked! The Dictionary’s definition of self-care is: Care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.
Any steps that you take to personally nurture and foster your own internal growth can be categorized as self-care. And we’re not just talking about face masks and bubble baths here. It’s deeper than that. Core elements of self-care include:
Listening to your body and responding to it kindly
Learning to trust your gut or your bodily intelligence
Building your self-esteem
Creating healthy relationships with yourself and with others
Establishing boundaries within relationships
Learning to politely say “no” – and not feeling guilty about it!
Clearing out the clutter in your life, both literally and figuratively
Finally taking control of the things you’ve been avoiding
Figuring out your own unique needs
When you consistently develop a practice of self-care, you won’t be able to help but create positive shifts and momentum in all other aspects of your life.
Think of it like this…
You can’t expect your car to drive you thousands of miles without ever filling the gas, changing the tires, refilling the oil, or offering it maintenance. And you sure as heck can’t expect it to look good while chugging along in the harsh world! The same goes for you and your beautiful mind, body and spirit!
You can’t expect yourself to look your best, act your best, think your best, and be your best if you never slow down for a minute to take care of yourself.
The beautiful part of all of this is self-care has no barrier of entry, meaning anyone can do it, and should! A person who regularly practices self-care will look and feel more connected, more vibrant, and more energetic.
Let’s explore the benefits in more depth:
4 INCREDIBLE BENEFITS OF SELF CARE
Committing to self-care can truly have an incredible return on investment. If you’re interested in through-the-roof confidence & self-esteem, improved compassion & care for others, and uncovering your own authentic self, then self-care is an amazing place to start! As anyone who has tried self-care practices might know, the reward for taking time to care for yourself far outweigh the time costs or monetary costs associated with it. A few of the bigger benefits include:
IT WILL IMPROVE YOUR PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING
Self-care, in essence, is mindfully taking time to pay attention to you and your needs, not in a narcissistic way, but in a preventative way that ensures you are being cared for by you. When you nurture yourself, learn your limits, care for your mental state, and settle into what you need and want in life, you create more energy and positivity to then share with the world. Your interactions will become more positive, and because your cup is full, it will truly overflow into the lives of your friends, family, coworkers, and innocent-Starbucks-baristas! People who take time for self-care find that other things take care of themselves equally.
Don’t just take my word for it! A new study by the NHS is suggesting that self-care could actually save the NHS.
Self-care has proven to be effective for a wide range of long-term conditions including diabetes, asthma, multiple sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, HIV, hypertensions, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease and cancer.
2. ACCESS THAT BEYONCE-LEVEL CONFIDENCE:
Take it from Beyonce:
“It took me some time. But now I am strong. Because I realized I got me, myself and I.”
If I can’t convince you, then listen to the Queen herself! We both understand the importance of connecting with yourself and taking the time to truly nurture and recognize your own resilience and strength, which can then boost your confidence immensely.
There is a strong dose-response relationship between time spent engaging in self-care and self-esteem. Perhaps one reason for this could be that those who avoid it already have low self-esteem and therefore don’t see themselves as “worthy” of the time or investment. The beautiful part of this is that it can easily be overcome with baby steps. Research findings about neural plasticity show that it’s possible to rewire our brains in ways that affect our thoughts and behaviour, regardless of age, demeanour, shyness, or any other barrier you think might be preventing you from it.
One way to apply this “neuroplasticity” advantage is to simply to fake it til you make it, my love’. Start by carving out 5 minutes of time for yourself in a day, and spend those mindfully expressing positivity, gratitude, and kindness to both yourself and your environment. Let this practice grow over time, and as you notice the positive results, I’m sure you will build up momentum to keep it going long-term! And if even that is too tough, just begin by smiling. That simple act alone can positively change your mental state, and retroactively switch your mood from dark and brooding to positive and happy.
3. WHEN YOU CARE FOR YOURSELF, YOU CAN CARE MORE FOR OTHERS
Don’t think this is all just for you! Caring for yourself puts your ethics into action in a very personal way, helping to boost your conscientiousness and compassion for those around you as well. When you are filled with this type of positive energy, vibrancy, and respect, you will naturally find it easier and more rewarding to return the love to those around you! They will also be more inclined to ask for help since you’re in a more peaceful, connected state.
As you build this practice of self-care, you will begin to notice that you can take care of others more effectively than before and that tasks and chores that you used to despise won’t seem so bad. Dealing with high-stress family get-together’s won’t be so hard, either 😉
4. BECOME YOUR TRUE, AUTHENTIC SELF
Who are you when no one is looking? Specifically, who are you when all of your armour is down when you’re not worried what anyone else thinks, when you’re just truly, deeply, listening and engaging with yourself?
When was the last time you have felt that connected to yourself? So connected that you are clear on all of your needs, views, and feelings? If it’s been a while, the great new is self-care can help you cultivate this kind of connection! When you start prioritizing your own needs, it brings clarity to your life. You will discover who you are, what you want, what you need, and where you’re going. You will stop viewing yourself through the fear of judgment of others and feel happy being your true, most authentic self.
Convinced that you could use a little self-care in your life yet?
Just in case you’re still holding on to negative beliefs or myths around the subject, let’s bust a few of those now!
5 SELF CARE MYTHS – BUSTED!
With magazine covers shouting “You do YOU” and “Treat Yo-self”, self-care can sometimes get painted as a selfish indulgence, one that only wealthy, bored and privileged people get away with. I promise that this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Have you let any of these beliefs hold you back before?
MYTH 1: SELF CARE IS SO SELFISH
I’m going to be real blunt here. Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do for your family, your friends, and everyone that’s important in your life. When you take care of yourself first, you have so much more to give others.
And the honest truth? The other people that you feel the need to take care of honestly don’t want you helping them when you’re tired, cranky or exhausted. Remember benefit Numero 2 that I mentioned earlier? The people that are the most effective at helping others are the ones that have taken care of their needs first, and are in a confident, self-assured state so that they can offer the level of compassion and attention that those around them deserve.
MYTH 2: THERE’S JUST NO TIME FOR SELF CARE!!
When it comes to time, it’s all about how you choose to frame the situation. Remember, every single one of us has the same 24 hours to work with. Granted, some of us have different responsibilities or priorities, but I would argue that self-care should be high on the list. And it doesn’t need to be an elaborate 2-hour process! 5 minutes is more than none. If you’re still resistant, why don’t we try a little exercise?
Instead of saying “I don’t have time”, try saying “it’s not a priority” instead.
Instead of “I don’t have time to meditate”, say: “I can’t take 5 minutes to meditate because my health and well-being is not a priority.”
Now tell me, how does that feel? I’m sorry if I’m coming off harsh, but it’s all a re-framing exercise. And guess what??
The wonderful thing is, the more that you begin to organize and care for your life, the more momentum and clarity you will gain, and the more you will accomplish, even with less time!
You will learn to focus your energy on what matters, instead of wasting time and energy toiling on dead-end projects. Why? Because you will become more self-aware and able to identify areas of personal fit.
You will actually feel the shift within you as you get consistent with building out your favourite caring rituals. You will feel light, happy, and enlivened. And that feeling contrasts so sharply with other “tasks” or “obligations” that you may have been doing previously (such as that Tuesday night drinks with the girls-you-only-kind-of-like from work) that you know to clear it away from your schedule.
And it doesn’t just have to be about clearing things out of your calendar. You will also improve your efficiency in accomplishing tasks because you will start to approach your days with clarity, comfort, and trust with yourself to get the big goals hit! That’s a huge return-on-investment!
MYTH 3: I HAVE TO DO SELF CARE PERFECTLY OR I SHOULDN’T DO IT AT ALL
I feel you on this one. If I’m being completely honest here, this was a huge roadblock for me.
When I decided to take my time and my self-care seriously, I was frickin’ committed. I was revved up and ready to make this self-care thing my b***, with a checklist of 4,000 To-Do’s to make sure that I achieved “the-ultimate-state-of-connectedness-and-care”.
It was fantastic for about the first 10 minutes. Then I started feeling my adrenals giving out, my anxiety kicking in, my perfectionist tendencies judging everything I was doing.
“You’re not meditating correctly! You’d better read that soul-nourishing book faster if you want to fit in your Kundalini-yoga session!”
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably at risk of falling into this trap and then resenting the “goal” of self-care. My advice? Chill the F out! Yes, there are a ton of benefits that come from self-care, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult! If anything, this is your opportunity to get comfortable with being flexible, giving yourself some breathing room, and actually enjoying the process, rather than the destination.
Any amount and any kind of self-care are better than nothing. In fact, the best kind is just listening to your body and mind and doing what it enjoys. You DO NOT have to follow a list of rules. Invent your own and have fun!
MYTH 4: I WILL BE JUDGED FOR GIVING MYSELF THIS TIME
Here’s a question for you: Have you tried asking for time, help or understanding? There’s a chance you’re just not being clear about what you need, so those people closest to you have no idea that they’re not supporting you. And if you have tried to talk to them about needing time to care for yourself and they’re ignoring you or judging you, then that might be an area of your life that you need to re-assess or take steps to change. Who you surround yourself with has such a significant effect on your overall well-being, and truly requires attention if you hope to reach a higher connection with yourself and your needs.
Please remember, you absolutely do not need to embark on a self-care journey alone! Start small, share your honest feelings with those around you that you trust, and help them to understand how they can best support you. Whether that means scheduling in relaxation time into your calendar, getting extra support (like a babysitter or cleaner) to free up your availability, or reaching out to friends and loved ones to plan a trip or establish a new, nurturing routine. Whatever is best for you, trust that you can include the people in your life that love and value you, and they are bound to join you in the journey.
MYTH 5: SELF CARE IS EXPENSIVE! HELP ME, I’M POOR!
A common misconception, my love. You don’t need any money to make self-care a part of your life! In fact, a lot of self-care is more about your spiritual and mental strength, which requires no money at all. There are plenty of other activities that can be done freely as well, or for incredibly cheap. I am about to share a lot of activities that you can simply do with the clothes on your back! (Well, you could do some of them naked if you really wanted to but you may get arrested…!)
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH SELF CARE
PREPARATION – TIME TO GET REAL WITH YOURSELF
We’re here!! Time to talk action steps! First things first: preparation. You can get out a journal for this part, your iPhone notes, or just answer these questions mentally if that’s best for you.
Now, boldly and bravely look at your inner and outer environment, and try to identify blocks that are holding you back from taking care of yourself.
Begin by thinking about areas in your life that cause you to feel deprived, stressed out, angry, frustrated or resentful.
Then think of what you need more of. In other words, what are you yearning for, starving for, longing for, and hungry for?
Finally, combine the two in one succinct statement, such as:
“I feel deprived of a peaceful time at night because I work so late. I am longing for time to read more and get back into journaling”
“I feel stressed out about my To-Do List. Whenever I think I’m done I feel like a thousand small things pop up again. I am longing for an escape from the lists and to reconnect with my spontaneous, fun self”
“I feel stressed out and tired at work, and like I never have any time for myself in the first half of my day. I yearn to find space to just breathe, move a bit, and feel comfortable with myself”
“I feel stressed out by my dating life, and going on a million meaningless first dates with no final commitment. I am yearning to disconnect from the need to please a man, and enjoy time by myself to grow my confidence.”
“I am yearning to feel comfortable in my own skin. I am longing to make time to learn how to cook nourishing, delicious meals and to reconnect with my love of walking and yoga”
“I feel deprived of solitary quiet time away from my family because we are always so busy. I yearn for time to rediscover my passion for writing poetry.”
Be as specific as possible! We want to clearly identify the root cause of your stress, and identify what can help you reach your longing. After you have done so, work through these steps:
• What is your self-care goal?
Example: I want to wake up a half hour earlier every weekday morning to make time to go on a long walk.
• Identify the current internal rule that is stopping you from nailing that goal.
Example: I am not a morning person, therefore is no way I will do this and enjoy it, let alone stick to it
• Create a new internal rule
No matter what time of day it is, when I carve out time for myself, I notice that I am happier and more connected. As I feel this, I reinforce my commitment to making mornings my happy place.
• Take actions that align with new goals and rules
I will set my alarm a half hour earlier, set out my walking clothes the night before, queue up an awesome audiobook to listen to on my walk, and go to bed a half hour earlier.
A FEW FINAL STEPS BEFORE DIVING IN:
REMEMBER, SAYING “NO” IS ONE OF STRONGEST FORMS OF SELF CARE THERE IS
Saying no can be tough. Trust me, I get it. Coming from one of the biggest people-pleasers out there, I understand that it can be hard to justify to yourself and others why you’re declining plans, and push past the feeling of guilt or FOMO that might follow. Especially if your life is already booked solid with other people’s priorities, you can find yourself opting to “go with the flow” of others’ decisions rather than making your own choices.
But believe me, saying no is one of the strongest habits of self-care that you can practice, whether it is in your career, your personal life, or anywhere else that you notice you’re losing touch with yourself. It doesn’t do anyone any good if you’re juggling too many obligations since you won’t be able to focus your full attention on any one person, goal or task.
Rather than give in to this zombie-brain-people-pleasing trap, test out saying no. Just try it!
Obviously, do it politely, but don’t feel the need to over-explain why you need to decline a plan or a task. Notice the strength shift you feel inside, and get excited for the space that you are opening up in your life.
IT’S GO TIME!
Okay, beautiful! This is the moment we’ve been waiting for!
You’ve busted your myths about self-care, prepped your mind, written down your goals, and you now have a strong grasp on what areas of self-care you need to focus on. Read through the list of options below, and start implementing new practices that resonate with you and your needs on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
101 SELF CARE IDEAS AND HABITS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
As a firm believer in the powers of self-care, I am so excited to share this list of self-care ideas. Hopefully, a handful of them will resonate with you, and get you started on a journey to spiritual, physical and mental nourishment, self-love, and rejuvenation.
Remember what I said before: there is no right or wrong way to do this self-care thing!! What matters the most is that you make the space in your life and in your mind to truly take action and do the damn thing!
While on your own self-care path, pay attention to what makes you feel good, what doesn’t quite jive, and the methods you like best for fitting new routines and practices into your life. Enjoy!!
GIVE YOURSELF SPACE TO JOURNAL
Despite what you may have been previously taught in school, there is no “right” way to journal! In fact, I find it most cathartic and nourishing to simply “brain-dump” into my journal every morning to clear all of the cobwebs out before starting my day. You can also use it to keep notes about gratitude, to reflect on your day, to set goals, to do some creative writing, and so much more! It’s up to you, all you have to do to get started is get your pen and paper and start writing!
Once again, there’s no “right” way meditate. According to one of my favourite meditation apps, Calm: Meditation isn’t about becoming a different person, a new person, or even a better person. It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well” If you’re new to the practice, I would definitely recommend starting with a guided-meditation app like Headspace or Calm!
Have you ever been in a yoga class when the teacher got all spiritual on you and you wondered where that came from? Yoga feels can feel so simple and physical at times that we can forget the practice’s spiritual origins. Yoga actually began as an ancient practice (circa 3000 B.C.) to find harmony and balance between the heart and soul and was used for more meditative means than physical. So next time you’re doing yoga, rather than focusing on striking the highest bridge, use it instead as a moving meditation where you connect breath with movement and find some internal peace.
Nervous to start? No need to go to a class, I always use my Down Dog app in the comfort and serenity of my own home!
DO SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU!
Rather than running and hiding under the covers from your fears, what if you faced them head-on, embraced them, and conquered them? Wouldn’t that feel amazing?! What could you do with that newfound freedom and confidence? It’s a practice that I teach, called the “Face and Embrace” Method, which helps you to face and then overcome any fears that may be holding you back. What is something you’ve been nervous to try?
Perhaps the thought of public speaking gives you butterflies, or standing in the front row of a dance class? Whatever your fear, facing it and conquering it can be an amazing catalyst for change and growth!
Whether you sit or stand for your job, holding your body in one static position for a long time can build up lactic acid throughout your limbs and joints, causing stiffness, soreness, challenged mobility and lethargy. Fight these symptoms by giving yourself time each morning and night to stretch out, releasing your muscles and getting that blood flow circulating!
SINK YOURSELF IN A RELAXING BUBBLE BATH
I find baths so incredibly nourishing, especially during the harsh winter months! I love to add Epsom Salts a little baking soda, and some coconut oil or jojoba oil to turn it into a detoxifying and moisturizing soak. The baking soda and salts work together to pull out impurities, while the oils help moisturize and soften.
SWEAT IT OUT! GO ON A RUN OR WALK
Sometimes you just need to get moving. Perhaps this time you don’t have a destination in mind, and just let yourself go. This in itself can be a form of meditation and release!
LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE PODCAST OR FIND A NEW PODCAST ABOUT A TOPIC THAT FASCINATES YOU
I actually have a podcast just in case you didn’t know … 😉 But seriously, there are loads out there which is why I started my own. Find others that you like and look forward to listening to.
READ A GREAT BOOK
I find that fiction novels have an amazing ability to stimulate your creative side while creating an enjoyable flow-state (like when you’re mentally running around Hogwarts or participating in the Hunger Games). Self-help books are also great if you’re in the mood for some motivation, inspiration, or guidance. Some that I highly recommend are: Art of Not Giving a F***, You are a BadAss and A Course In Miracles
TRY DRY BRUSHING & EXFOLIATING
Dry brushing (using a soft-bristle brush in sweeping motions across your skin) helps to improve the efficiency of the skin to eliminate toxins and other impurities. It’s a highly encouragable practice and contributes to brightened, softened skin. It also just feels SO good!!
Here’s the thing: you do not need to have all of the answers. And it’s unfair to expect yourself, your friends, your family or a significant other to have a steady supply of answers for you, either. If you feel that a certain part of your life is not where you would like it to be, or if you’re struggling with something personal, spiritual, emotional or physical, now is the time to hire an expert!
PUT ON A FACE MASK
You can either buy a luxurious face mask that you’re excited to try or simply turn to your cupboard and make your own DIY face mask! One of my go-to recipes is honey, yoghurt and a small egg. It will tighten and brighten your face like no other! For extra oomph, exfoliate with baking soda before applying the mask to open up those pores and deepen the penetration of the ingredients. NATURE IS ALWAYS BEST!
FULL-BODY COCONUT OIL TREATMENT
This is yet another practice. A full-body coconut oil treatment is referred to as abhyanga, and according to the Chopra Center: it can be used as a moisturizer to improve complexion, suppleness, and elasticity. It can also be used to treat an array of skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, dry or flaky skin, scars, and burns. To give yourself a full-body treatment, I use a half cup of coconut oil, then massage it into my body and hair, massaging it into my skin to encourage circulation. Leave it on for as long as you’d like (the longer the better!), and then rinse it off. Gerard Paul wrote a wonderful article about the vast benefits of coconut oil, check it out here!
SET THE AMBIANCE (ONE OF MY FAVORITES)
This is one of my favourite rituals when I get home every night! It immediately puts me into a calmer mood and relaxes me before bed. I will light a natural incense burner and play some soft, classical piano music. Ahhhh… the serenity 🙂
I am sure that this tip doesn’t surprise any of you one bit. But seriously, we literally are what we eat – our cells either thrive or starve depending on the nutrients that we are putting into our bodies. So do your selves some good and feed them what they want!! If this thought overwhelms you or you’re not sure where to start, perhaps I can offer some guidance 🙂
GET A MASSAGE
Remember the coconut oil treatment in step 14? You can also incorporate a self-massage here, or without the grease. If you’d rather go big, order yourself a massage. Benefits of massage include improved circulation of blood and lymph, reduction of stress, increased flexibility, decreased soreness, restored metabolic rate, and promotion of relaxation.
BAKE SOMETHING WARM AND COMFORTING
Is there anything better than the smell of fresh bread baking?? Or maybe you could whip up your favourite healthy-brownies or almond-flour cookies? Mmmm… now I’m hungry…
TRY OUT A BRAND-NEW RECIPE WITH INGREDIENTS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF
Not only will you be able to add a new recipe to your repertoire, but you’ll also get a boost of self-confidence when you take the leap to try something new! (and hopefully, you’ll get to eat something delicious. And if not… have fun laughing at your own (“Nailed It” scenario!)
CREATE SOMETHING FOR THE SAKE OF CREATING!!
It’s important you go into this without an end-goal. You’re not trying to post about this or sell it or turn yourself into the next DaVinci. Rather, you’re expressing your creative side freely and comfortably. Some places to start could include: colour in a colouring book (this one has mermaids!!), draw, practice calligraphy, sew, sculpt, knit, paint, crochet, or whatever else feeds your creative side!
TAKE A POTTERY CLASS
I have heard from multiple sources that shaping and forming pottery is one of the most flow-inducing pastimes out there! Get a little dirty and get that wheel spinnin’!
COOK YOURSELF YOUR FAVORITE MEAL
Not sure you want to test your “Master Chef” skills quite yet? Go ahead and cook yourself your favourite meal. Light some candles, put on some music, and enjoy a meal prepared with love for yourself.
WATCH A CLASSIC MOVIE
Ya know those movies that never grow old…? Pretty Woman anyone…?!
WATCH YOUR FAVORITE ROM-COM
This is my go-to after a long day or week. Netflix series are great, but sometimes you just need a good old rom-com to make you feel fuzzy inside, and your favourite mug of tea (or glass of wine if you’re being honest)
TAKE A LONG NAP
Emphasis on long. Give yourself time to wind down, snuggle into your warm sheets, and let yourself drift off to la-la-land. Studies show that a full sleep cycle is about 90 minutes, so try to time your nap to fit this span in order to wake up feeling refreshed rather than groggy.
NATURE-BATHE, OR GO ON A SLOW WALK IN NATURE
With our concrete-jungle cities and dim offices, it can be easy to forget the serenity that Mother Nature has to offer. Reconnect with your natural side and give yourself time to take a relaxing walk through a forest, park or near water. The simple act of leisurely taking in the beauty of nature can be incredibly restorative, and can also wake up your creative side!
TRY OUT GARDENING
Digging in the dirt has amazing benefits for your mood, health, and connection to self. Get out there and plant some tomatoes, pull some weeds, and have fun! Do you live in an apartment? Not to worry! Either build an indoor herb garden (tip 28) or look up a local community garden that you could get a plot in or contribute to!
BUILD AN INDOOR HERB GARDEN
Even if you don’t have access to an outdoor garden, you can bring the fun inside and build yourself a cute little indoor herb garden. They’re so cute, and give you the benefits of gardening along with the health perks of eating completely home-grown, organic good!
FIND A D.I.Y. PROJECT THAT EXCITES YOU AND CREATE IT!
When it comes to finding D.I.Y inspiration, there’s no better source than Pinterest. Trust me… you’ll walk away with 50 new inspirations!
Everyone needs some good pampering! Go all out and have fun painting your nails, testing out a new make-up tutorial, or treat yourself to a new hair cut/colour.
MARIE KONDO THAT SHIT – DE-CLUTTER YOUR HOUSE TO DE-CLUTTER YOUR MIND
I’m sure by now you all know about the Marie Kondo movement and the “Magic Art of Tidying Up”. Aside from the benefit of physically cleaning your space, de-cluttering can have an amazing impact on your mind! It frees up mental space (you know, from that nagging voice yelling at you for an overflowing laundry bin?), and helps to calm you down. Very well Mind suggests that you go room by room and divide your things into four boxes: things to donate, things to throw away, things to keep, and things to store. If you don’t need it or love it, consider getting rid of it. Go through your box of things to keep, and do your best to find a place for everything
PUT ON YOUR FAVORITE OUTFIT FOR THE DAY
Even if you’re just taking the dog out, nothing feels better than flaunting what your mama gave you in your go-to power outfit. Own that pavement like a runway, girlfriend!
HIT THE TOWN WITH FRIENDS
Karaoke anyone?!? Letting loose with your girlfriends can be just as restorative as relaxed time alone.
**My one recommendation here, since we are talking about self-care, is that you go out with friends that are supportive and positive. If you have girlfriends that you can let loose with, that is the right group to be with. Get out there and let your hair down (just please don’t get arrested, K?)
EXPLORE A LOCAL EXHIBIT IN YOUR TOWN
Does your town have any famous artefacts, capital, museums, old buildings, or historical sites? Take an afternoon to explore and learn more about where you live.
GO TO A MOVIE ALONE
Have you ever been to a movie alone!? If not, I highly recommend you try it out! Talk about liberating… you can, stretch out, hog your popcorn, and just BE.
PLAY WITH YOUR PET, A FRIEND’S PET, OR GO TO A SHELTER
I probably don’t need to back this suggestion up with research (because who wouldn’t want an excuse to play with a fuzzy animal?!), but I will anyway 🙂 The American Psychological Association published the results of a massive study on pet ownership and concluded that people who own, foster, or live around an animal enjoy benefits of better self-esteem, higher physical fitness, lowered loneliness, increased conscientiousness, improved extroversion, and less fearful. Need I say more?? Go cuddle that puppy!
FOSTERING IS AN AMAZING OPTION TOO
See above, and go sign up to foster volunteer or pet-sit for a neighbour or friend. Whether you’re walking dogs, cats, iguanas, chinchillas or other specimens, you’ll enjoy the physical benefits of walking and psychological benefits of fuzzy animals and volunteerism.
TAKE A PAINTING CLASS
Putting yourself back in the student seat can be an invigorating experience! Go try out a painting class or art class you’ve been eyeing. I also wouldn’t be mad at all if you made this a Wine and Painting expedition 🙂
FIND A NEW LOCAL CHARITY AND GET INVOLVED
Simply put, volunteering, or more importantly giving to others, makes you healthier and happier. According to HealthGuide, volunteering can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose.
LISTEN TO AN UPLIFTING AUDIOBOOK
This is one of my favourite things to do in the morning! I will cue up my audiobook and go on a 45-minute walk or run. I get my fitness in while stimulating my mind. Some of my favourite audiobooks for self-care and spirituality include; A Course In Miracles, Ask and It Is Given, Body Positivity Power.
WATCH A DOCUMENTARY
I am a sucker for a good health documentary! (surprise, right?). Whatever genre strikes your fancy, go ahead and delve into documentaries about it! One that I recently watched that blew me away – like I literally agreed with every part of it – is Heal (you can watch it on Netflix)
CALL A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND
EXPRESS GRATITUDE TO SOMEONE YOU HAVEN’T CONNECTED WITHIN A WHILE
If you’re ever in need of a mood-boost, expressing gratitude is the fastest way to achieve it! This can be as simple as “thanks Mum for your encouragement the other day”. That alone will do wonders for your mental state, not to mention it will also improve and bolster your relationships.
TRY A NEW INSTRUMENT
The word on the street is that the ukulele is the easiest instrument to start! No matter what instrument you choose, the neural, emotional and spiritual benefits of playing an instrument is priceless.
HANDWRITE A NOTE TO A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER
PUT TOGETHER A PHOTO ALBUM OF FUN MEMORIES
Get yourself a pretty scrap-booking binder, your favourite paper, a few doo-dads (like stickers and embellishments) and your box of photos, and go to town re-living these fun experiences and decorating your pages with a flourish!
D.I.Y A GIFT FOR SOMEONE YOU APPRECIATE
Remember Tip #29 when we collected a million-and-one D.I.Y. ideas? Put those creations to good use and give them away to appreciative friends and family
TRY AN OLD-SCHOOL VIDEO GAME
Nothing better than a throwback afternoon spent playing games from your childhood! Go dust off your old Gameboy, Wii, or whatever gaming system you have hidden in your closet, and enjoy a blast to the past!
RELAX IN A SAUNA OR RED-LIGHT THERAPY CHAMBER
Have you guys heard of red-light therapy!? I learned of it recently from the Bulletproof blog. According to Bulletproof: Red light therapy works from the inside-out to enhance mitochondrial function in cells. This, in turn, leads to several skin benefits. Red light decreases skin inflammation, smooths skin tone, repairs sun damage, fades scars and stretch marks, and even builds collagen in the skin, which reduces wrinkles.
I’ve heard it also immediately boosts your mood and can be an amazing rejuvenation technique, especially during cold winter months. If you’re not quite ready to invest in the full-on spa experience, here is a smaller version that can deliver the same benefits in a smaller package.
RELAX IN A SALT ROOM
Similar to red-light therapy, salt rooms or salt therapy carries a host of incredible benefits. I went to a spa at the weekend and they had a salt therapy sauna it was amazing. Basically, salt chambers emit negatively charged ions that help to improve our health and mood. Inhaling particles may reduce inflammation and mucus in the lungs, improving respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, and sinus congestion.
Want to bring the salt-chamber experience home? I highly recommend adding salt-lamps throughout your space, and even at work! Once again, you get the same positive results from a smaller package.
TRY A FLOAT TANK OR “SENSORY DEPRIVATION CHAMBER”
In similar fashion to the salt-chamber and red-light therapy, float tanks are a pretty unique and specialized experience but can be completely worth it depending on your needs. Especially in today’s day and age, we are exposed to countless stimuli, which can leave our bodies in a state of stress, causing numerous health problems.
Entering a float tank (with most sessions being 60-90 minutes) can significantly minimize this stress, yielding numerous benefits. It’s basically a giant, 1-foot deep tank filled with gallons and gallons of salt that keeps your whole body floating right at the top of the water so you don’t need to exert any stress over anything, and can instead relax in your thoughts, suspended in a zero-gravity sensation.
TURN UP THE TUNES AND RE-ORGANIZE A PART OF YOUR HOUSE
Does anyone else get as excited about compartmentalized containers as me?? No? Just me?
Anyway. I LOVE organizing. There is something so reassuring and relaxing about finding a home for all of your belongings, especially if you can do so in a stylish and innovative way. Some good starting areas could be under your sink, above your wardrobe, your kitchen drawers, your cupboards, or under your bed.
TAKE YOURSELF OUT FOR DINNER
Who says you need a plus-one to take yourself out? Choose your favourite restaurant and enjoy a date-night alone. Savour the experience, the food, the ambience, and the liberation of some time alone.
SPEND TIME IN NATURE
Whether this is a simple walk, going camping, hanging out with friends outdoors, getting into the garden, or exploring a new park, you will benefit from being outside in nature. And if it’s freezing or raining then take an umbrella or wrap up warm 😉
GO ON AN ADVENTURE BY YOURSELF TO A PLACE YOU’VE NEVER BEEN
Point to a map and go!! Whether that map is of the World, the UK, your City or your street, make an effort to be spontaneous and get out there!
MAKE A LIST OF WHAT AND WHO YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR
A quote that I live by is: “If you’re seeking happiness, find gratitude.”. With such busy lives, it can be easy to overlook or take for granted many beautiful parts of our life. I make a concerted effort to keep a gratitude journal and write down at least 5 things that happened that day that I’m grateful for. I also try to express gratitude as soon as I wake up in the morning to set a positive pace for the day.
GATHER A BUNCH OF MAGAZINES AND BUILD A VISION OR DREAM BOARD
The point of a vision board is to “intentionally design your ENTIRE dream life. To create a #LifePlan. To reconstruct your life from the ground up. Like an architect remodel’s an old building, mapping out each area, room by room, creating a blueprint for a whole new masterpiece. That’s what makes a vision board magical because it’s the physical representation of the life you’ve carefully and thoughtfully redesigned.”
BELT OUT YOUR FAVORITE SONG & THROW YOUR OWN DANCE PARTY
Grab that hairbrush, turn up the tunes, and throw your own dance party!! This can be solo or with friends!
HOST A GAME NIGHT WITH FRIENDS
Call up your friends and host a game night in. Have everyone bring their favourite game and let the good times roll!
ENJOY SOME SEXY-TIME!
Not sure I need to elaborate here 😉
Sometimes we just need to snuggle. Whether that’s your partner, a pet, a child (hopefully your own!?), or a stuffed animal, enjoy the warm fuzzies of snuggling!
ORDER TAKE-AWAY AND HAVE A MOVIE MARATHON
Some favourites of mine are Harry Potter, Twilight and The Rocky Movies!
BUY YOURSELF FLOWERS
This is such a simple yet significant act of kindness towards yourself! Chose colours that attract you and notice how your taste changed throughout the seasons.
DRINK SOMETHING SOOTHING
Turn on that adorable kettle and settle in with a warm cup of somethin’ yummy, whether that’s tea, hot chocolate, coffee, bone broth, or an elixir of your own making (I love matcha (organic and ceremonial-grade are best), coconut milk, honey and a little bit of stevia!)
PRACTICE “EARTHING” OR “GROUNDING”
According to a study from the National Library of Medicine, earthing (or grounding) refers to walking barefoot outside in order to promote positive benefits, such as better sleep and reduced pain, due to the transfer of the Earth’s electrons into the body. You can also “ground” by sitting, working or sleeping indoors connected to a conductive grounding mat that transfers the Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body. Pretty cool, huh??
WATCH THE SUNRISE OR SUNSET
Absolutely no phones allowed! No pictures, social media, insta stories. Just watch it. Absorb it. Adore it.
MAKE A LIST OF EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY AND DELIGHTS YOU
I promise that even the act of writing the list will lift your spirits. And then go do one of the things you’ve just written down!
GO ON A TECHNOLOGY CLEANSE
Unplugging! This means turning everything off, preferably for 24 hours! Think about it honestly for a minute… when was the last time you let yourself completely disconnect from all technology for that long?? My guess would be when you were a child when you were on a vacation, or when you were locked in solitary confinement… And how did you feel? Exactly. Do it.
GO TO A CAFE AND PEOPLE WATCH
My mum does this all the time! I copied her and its one of my favourite past times!
FIND A LOCAL PARK AND PLAY!
Time to re-connect with your inner six-year-old! Go ape-wild: swing on swings, hang on monkey bars, play lava monster. Just let loose and have a ball!
GIVE YOURSELF A MENTAL HEALTH DAY (AWAY FROM WORK)
I am SUCH a huge advocate for mental health days. At the pace we’re all running around at, it’s no wonder our mental health numbers are at an all-time high. I truly believe that more corporations should allow their employees a few mental health days each year for their employees, with no questions asked. That being said, give yourself permission to rest (assuming you’re on good terms with your job) and take a day off. Use it to practice any of these other self-care techniques!
WATCH A COMEDIAN – LAUGH YOUR BUTT OFF!
There is nothing better for the soul than a good, deep belly laugh! Go to a local comedy club, or watch your favourite comedian on Netflix. Not sure where to start? Eliza Shlesinger is one of my all-time FAVES… any modern girl will appreciate her humour.
FIND A LOCAL SUPPORT GROUP
Who says self-care has to be done alone? Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to find a group to support us. Depending on what you need, take the first step and sign up for a local support group to help you with what you need most.
This is a truly powerful exercise. It’s not for everyone, but for those that are ready to take their self-care, self-love, and self-confidence to new heights, you may want to check out “The Mirror Exercise”. If you find this moving and useful, I highly, highly recommend that you read Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant.
DEVELOP A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
When I say “spiritual practice”, I’m referring to Institute of Transformational Nutrition’s definition of Spirituality, which is: an inner journey that enables a person to discover his or her authentic self.” Some practices to help you get to this authentic self could include studying spiritual texts that resonate with you, seeking out communities that you want to learn more about or get more involved in, praying, meditating, or any other form of connection with a higher power that you deem nourishing.
GET A MANICURE AND PEDICURE
Okay, I think we’re far enough down the list that I can say it… go ahead and treat yo self! Nothin’ better than some fancy claws to boost that mood and confidence!
GO WINDOW SHOPPING
Who says you need to shell out big bucks to have fun on the town? Go with your girlfriends or by yourself and just have a browse at your own leisurely pace.
Run wild! Explore your town, neighbourhood, country or across continents! The skies the limit (literally)!
DO A RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS OR PAY IT FORWARD
Have you ever been the subject of a random act of kindness? Maybe someone in the line ahead of you paid for your drink, someone ran to hold a door for you, smiled at you, or left a kind note. How did you feel after this? My guess is it felt pretty great. Maybe it even inspired you to “pay it forward” later on that day. This positive giving has such an amazing ripple-effect and is a wonderful way to express genuine kindness and care in a sometimes rough world. Here is a great article about how helping others is the key to happiness.
HIRE HELP WITH OVERWHELMING TIME-COMMITMENTS
I mentioned this earlier in Myth Buster #2, but hiring help can be an amazing first step in your self-care ritual. What are areas of your day or life that suck up your time and energy and give little in return? Now how could you outsource this work to free up some availability for yourself? Some common examples could include hiring a house cleaner, a gardener, a babysitter, or a virtual assistant for your business.
MAKE A BUCKET LIST AND DO SOMETHING ON THE LIST
When you build out your bucket list, do NOT hold back!! That’s half the fun of building the list – you can literally write down anything! Dream big and wide, and create a list that excites you and fills you with life. Perhaps you could grab a friend or significant other to write the list out with. Now choose one of those items and either accomplish it or set up goals to try and achieve it in the near future. Look at you, conquering the world and all 🙂
STIMULATE YOUR INNER CHILD
Why are we always soooo serious all the time?? This is your permission-slip to spend the day reconnecting with your inner child – we all have one!! Spend the afternoon or day watching kids movies or old TV shows, playing imaginary games, playing with legos or classic card games, going to the park, drawing with chalk, and whatever else used to light you up as a child.
CALL AN OLD FRIEND AND CATCH UP
Do you have someone in your life you’ve been meaning to catch up with? Now is your invitation to go ahead and reconnect. I guarantee you’ll feel better after you do.
GO BOATING, WATER-SKIING, OR SWIMMING
Grab those ray-bans, throw on your suit, and channel your inner mermaid! Caught in the middle of winter? Search for your nearest indoor pool or rec facility and dive right in – the water’s great!
SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS DOING SOMETHING ADVENTUROUS AND FUN
I’m not just talking about lounging at a bar, brunch or restaurant. Work on getting creative and try something new with your friends. It will not only liven up the day, but it will help you bond and form deeper connections in new, creative ways! Some possible ideas could include doing an escape room, setting up a scavenger hunt, playing charades or playing a pick-up sport like Softball or Volleyball.
PLAN OUT A HOLIDAY JUST FOR FUN.
This is one of my all-time favourite activities in spare time! I love to use Pinterest, but you can also use magazines, Google, newspapers, books or whatever inspires you and build out a holiday. You could even paste your ideas to a vision board or dream board (see Tip #57).
SIT IN THE BACK GARDEN, A SWING, A HAMMOCK, AND JUST RELAX
Grandma down-the-street had it all figured out… all you need is a swing, a porch, and you’re good to go! Bonus points if you can figure out how to string up a Hammock, OR buy this indoor version (and please send me a pic! This looks awesome!)
GO ON A WALK…
…without a destination or goal! Just wonder, and see where you end up.
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BINGE WATCH A SHOW WITHOUT GUILT
Emphasis on ZERO guilt here. I find that I am resistant to starting shows because I know that I’ll get hooked, and the next thing I know it’s three days later and I’m resurfacing from a pile of blankets and take-out with no recollection of the past days. Okay kidding, kidding, but I do often feel guilty after “over-indulging” on a series. The best way to overcome this kind of guilt is to set a specific day and timeline that you’ll watch the show, and allow yourself to relax into it. We all need our crime-drama-nourishment at times!
PRACTICE A NEW SKINCARE ROUTINE
If you’re looking for inspiration here, I definitely suggest you read Charlotte Cho’s “The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin”. Her explanation of the 10-step Korean skin routine blew. my. mind. I’ve never considered how little attention I give my skin… until I heard about the common Korean routine. No wonder Korea boasts some of the healthiest, dewiest skin in the world! I promise you’ll walk away with some amazing tips after reading.
VISIT A BOOKSTORE OR LIBRARY AND GET LOST IN THE SHELVES
Kindles are great, but I don’t think there’s anything better than holding a book in your hands, flipping the pages, smelling the ink, and getting lost in its pages. Let yourself get lost in a bookstore or library, browsing the shelves and finding inspiration in the most surprising places.
LOOK AT THE STARS OR WATCH THE CLOUDS
Isn’t it amazing that we are all here, on this Earth, in this Universe, surrounded by planets, galaxies and solar systems?? The sheer improbability of our life on Earth is cause for wonder and astonishment. Take a minute to appreciate this magic by spending time in nature, gazing at the stars or watching the clouds float by.
WALK AROUND A FANCY SUPERMARKET OR SHOP WITHOUT A LIST!
How often do you go to the store to simply browse? Is there a certain store that you never go into because you assume it’s out of your price range? Take the leap and walk around those aisles and learn about new products. If you’re particularly moved by something or find an item that brings you authentic joy, go ahead and buy it! You’ll be happy you did
SING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS!
Belt it out, queen!! (TBH, I know that my singing voice might scare away small children, so I usually save my serenades for the shower or car)
GO TO BED EARLY OR SLEEP LATE
Practice “saying no” and getting yourself into bed earlier or sleeping in later, and reap the benefits of a healthier brain and immune system.
MAKE A BATCH OF INFUSED WATER OR ICE CUBES.
Sip, Sip… ahhhh. I make a large pitcher of lemon-and-lime infused water every Sunday so that I can enjoy it throughout the week. Get creative and add your own twists, whether that’s mint, ginger, orange, or whatever else infuses some fun into your day.
SAY “NO” TO SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T FILL YOU UP
See section above about “Getting Started for Self Care”. Saying “no” and clearing space can truly be one of the strongest forms of self-care out there. When you say no to someone else you’re saying yes to yourself.
LEARN ABOUT THE PLACE YOU LIVE IN.
Have you ever wondered about your local history, local leaders, artefacts, or how it all came to be? Get studious and go on an adventure to learn the origins of your home.
TRY WRITING POETRY OR SONG LYRICS.
Just like morning pages (Tip 1), simply let it flow! You may surprise yourself with how poetic you can be!
DEVELOP AN ENERGIZING MORNING ROUTINE
I will definitely have a new blog post coming out soon about my specific morning routine, but creating a ritual that helps you to wake up positive, connected and motivated can truly change your life. A helpful starting point would be focusing on three aspects of morning vitality: light (let sunshine in or get an alarm clock that mimics the sun), movement (try to move within 25 minutes of waking up), and intention (whether this is through meditation, journaling or other forms of mindfulness, check-in with yourself and your goals for the day).
WRITE A POSITIVE REVIEW ABOUT A GREAT BOOK, STORE, PODCAST, OR ANY PRODUCT YOU’VE LOVED.
Spread some good vibes and positivity! The universe will surely notice 🙂
- BONUS idea! I had a lovely lady reach out to me and share with me how gardening can improve mental health. Please have a read of her great page here:
5 Reasons to Try Foodscaping Your Lawn
And that’s a wrap!! I hope you’ve gotten lots of value and useful tips from this longggggg blog post! Please share below what resonated with you, and how you’re going to start implementing self-care into your life 🙂
Yours In Health and Happiness,