I’m a huge believer in self care and the reason why I think it’s so important is because it’s all about looking out for the most important person in your life, you! If you’re reading this and find yourself rolling your eyes and thinking ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’… then hear me out. Self care is not about taking hours out of your day to go on a deep personal quest, self care is about doing small things, every day that improve your state of mind. By focusing on yourself and improving your mindset, you will find that you are in a much stronger position to tackle all that life has to throw at you. Here are some simple ideas that you can integrate into your daily routine.
Yes yes I know that we all breathe, all day long, but I’m talking about really breathing. Deep, long inhales followed by deep, long exhales. During the day the majority of us don’t use our full range of breath, this is quite normal. However if we make a conscious effort to breathe deeply it can have incredible effects on our mind and body. Deep breathing calms our nervous system, helping us to relax so it’s great to rely on in times of stress. It also increases the amount of oxygen to the brain, allowing us to focus and feel grounded.
Ways to integrate breathing into your daily routine: Before getting out of the bed in the morning, sit upright (or stand tall) and take 10 deep breaths. Try counting to 4 on each inhale and then again on each exhale. The more you practice, the easier it will become. You can also try this conscious breathing at work. No one will even notice! I swear.
2. Set the Menu
What we eat can have a huge impact on how we feel. When we are busy it can be easy to fall into the habit of ordering takeaway or eating dodgy leftovers. By preparing what we eat each week we can have fresh and healthy options at home and be less tempted to eat impulse snacks. The benefit of weekly meal preparation is that it saves you more time during the week as you have everything you need and you often spend less because you only buy what you need and less on impulse takeaway.
Ways to integrate meal prep into your daily routine: Sunday is a great day to plan what you’re going to eat for the week. Write a list (making sure you don’t forget your greens) and then head to the supermarket. Do any cooking you need to on Sunday and then Monday you’ll be all ready to go. A great way to start the week.
3. Do a little dance
I’m not even joking. In fact I challenge you to not feel good after a little boogie. I’m not talking about heading to a nightclub, I’m talking about twisting and turning in the privacy of your own home to your favourite beats. Dancing is a great form of exercise but most of all it’s fun. Don’t overthink it. Don’t worry what people will think. Just shut your eyes and dance. Or grab the nearest hairbrush and sing into the mirror… that works too. Just saying. If you need a little inspiration, say no more.
4. Treat yo’self
Everything on this list is designed to make you feel good but now I’m talking about really spoiling yourself! You don’t have to go overboard and book in a weekend at a day spa. Just take some time out each week to do a little something for you that will make you smile. This could be as simple as having a long bubble bath, painting your nails, having a facial at home or getting a massage.
One of the easiest and cheapest things to do for yourself is to cut 2 slices of cold cucumber (fresh from the fridge) and place them over your eyes while you’re lying down. This will cool your eyes and is the ultimate relaxer. If you want to up the anti you can also add in your favourite skin care products as a mask or moisturiser at the same time.
5. Social Media Detox
Think about switching off your social media for a while. I know, I know, this is harder than it sounds but let’s get real for a minute. Exactly how much time do you spend on social media? Do you tap, swipe and write to your hearts content and then all of a sudden realise that half the day has gone?! If this sounds like you then perhaps you’re in need of a little social media detox.
How to switch off without going insane: If you can’t go cold turkey straight away, why not try removing yourself from your phone. If you always spend an hour on instagram before bed, how about charging your phone in another room and reading a book instead. And don’t go saying you need your phone for your alarm, there’s a few places that sell alarm clocks that I know of. OR if you’re always checking your phone throughout the day, put it on silent and hide it away in your bag. If it’s not within arm’s reach, you’ll remove some of the temptation.
Different to social media, this is that thing we used to do where we would actually talk to people face to face. This can sometimes be hard to do as we can be short on time, or our friends can have different routines to ours. If you’re struggling to arrange a catch up, how about a phone call? Being able to check in with your mates is incredibly important. Chat about your day, listen to what’s going down in theirs and you will feel more connected than ever.
Want to win at self care socialising? Why not meet up with your mate for a walk, that way you get to tick both the socialising and exercising box. Win win!
Try and include 30 minutes of regular exercise every single day. What you choose to do is really up to you, but you will want to find something that you enjoy otherwise it will be difficult to maintain. Prioritising time for daily exercise will do wonders to improve not only your body but your mental health.
How to integrate daily exercise into your routine: It all comes down to finding out what time best suits your routine. Personally I like to exercise first thing in the morning, because any later and I will start making excuses. Find what works for you and stick to it!
8. Start your day with water
Hydrating your body is the best way to start the day. A big glass of water will let your body know it’s ready to get going. Try to continue to drink water throughout the day, I always have a water bottle on hand. Water helps with digestion, circulation, absorption of nutrients and detoxification. Basically water is good for you, don’t forget to drink it every day! Try to drink at least 2 litres of water a day, that’s about 8 glasses. However if you’re exercising, you’ll find that you will need more. A good rule of thumb? If you’re thirsty, grab your water bottle.
9. Get some shut eye
Whilst everyone is different it’s recommended that we all get at least 8 hours sleep every night. Sleep plays a vital role in our mental and physical health, and unfortunately most of us are not getting enough of it. If you struggle to fall asleep, take a look at your current daily activities: are you exercising? are you eating healthy food? are you on your phone 24/7? What we do during the day can affect our ability to fall asleep at night. If this sounds like you, check out our Top Tips to Having a Good Night’s Sleep.
Want to make sleep a little more enticing? Think about bringing in a hot water bottle, heat pack or eye mask into bed. This will help you to relax and create a cosy environment to help you fall asleep sooner.
10. Do what makes you happy
This is a personal one but that’s what self care is. It’s about looking out for number one (that’s you, remember!). Try to do something special for yourself. That might mean buying that new pair of shoes you’ve been thinking about for ages; going to see an art exhibition; taking yourself out to lunch; trying something new like a dance or yoga class; or just taking an hour out of your day to go for a walk with your favourite music on your headphones. Whatever it is that makes you happy, be sure to do it! When you’re happy and healthy it will benefit not only you, but everyone around you.
A big love to all of you out there. I hope you’ve enjoyed these 10 self care tips and remember, it does’t matter how you are feeling whether you’re stressed or happy, it’s always a good time for self care. You deserve it. x