Updated: May 19, 2019
Spending time on yourself is not 'selfish', in fact it is an essential part of being human and an important investment in our overall wellbeing. Energy levels are constantly being depleted from our day-to-day routines that we can often find ourselves close to mental, physical and emotional burnout if we haven't stopped to 'reset' ourselves once in a while.
Incorporating self-care routines within our daily lives can become second nature if we can just take a step back and take a moment. If we look after ourselves better, many areas in our lives can improve. We can reduce stress, learn healthier coping mechanisms and understand ourselves a little better. Now who would argue with that?!
I have put together a wide range of mental, physical and emotional activities that you can pick and chose from for the next 14 days to help you kick-start a regular self-care routine. (Did you know it can take as little as 2 weeks to form new 'healthy' habits?!) Whatever you decide to do, it doesn't have to be time consuming at all, something simple can help....just know that you are important and setting a little time aside each day for yourself can help you feel more grounded and re-centred and ready to take on life with more energy and fulfilment. So challenge yourself to focus more on you- the driving force of your own life!
Mental Self Care
Get creative - Something as simple as colouring in or making something you have found on Pinterest. This has become more popular of late as it focuses your mind on the task in hand. You may even find yourself forgetting the world around you exists and surprising yourself at how creative you can really be!
Detox on social media - Take a moment to think about your morning routine for instance. Set your alarm on your phone? Ok, good. Do you then go straight onto Facebook (or other social media platforms)? Scrolling, scrolling.... comparing, smiling, annoyed, upset from the posts you're seeing? That's not unusual. Why not challenge yourself to stay off social media until say 11am...or even better take yourself off it for a week. Notice how your mental health improves. Any friends that need to contact you will have your number and better still, will understand that you're looking out for yourself for a while and possibly follow suit.
Make an emergency music playlist - This is a good idea for when you need a quick fix or a 'switch off' (or on!). Choose calming music, birds singing, ocean waves, waterfalls etc. or a playlist of your favourite songs that make you feel good as soon as you hear them. Be aware though of any music that trigger any unwanted emotions - so stay away from those break-up songs!! This is a feel good activity remember!
Set some achievable goals - this is a personal task. Everyone is different. Is there something you want to change in your life? Polish off some skills or learn something completely new? Go for it. Make sure they are attainable though as the fear of failure is the exact opposite of what this is trying to achieve!
Read - for pleasure and/or personal development. Dust off those books that are on your bookshelf that you 'keep meaning to read'. The time is now, if you make it now!
Declutter or move some furniture around - How many times have you heard the phrase "tidy house, tidy mind"? Well it is so true. Throw out those piles of stuff you don't need anymore (honestly, you really dont need it!). Feeling stagnant at home? The flow of energy may be blocked so have a shuffle of your furniture- it'll make you feel like you've had a mini make-over and will help you notice any more 'things' you just don't need anymore. You could even clean the car if this is something that will make you feel better, especially for on those drive to work days when you really arn't feeling it!
Watch the clouds - Perfect for break times or even when you're out and about. Stop, sit down and fully observe. There is a world of wonder out there and this activity is great for a mental vacation. Get using that imagination of yours; make pictures out of the clouds. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
Say positive affirmations - "I am excited about the person I am becoming", "Today I choose positivity", "Don't sweat the small stuff", "I can. I will". Dont forget to really mean what you say. Simple yet effective. Motivate your mind first, the rest will follow.
Unplug technology - Similar to the detox social media challenge but a complete technology wipeout. As harsh as it may sound, its really not meant to be! Take some real time for yourself. So for today: no distractions, just you and the real world!
Physical Self Care
Hydrate - Minimum of 2 litres of water a day. Get yourself a reusable water bottle (the environment will thank you too!) so you know exactly how much (or little) you are actually drinking in a day. Start feeling good from the inside! Easy!
Eat real food - Do you know where your food has come from? What actually is in it? If you can't answer that then take a closer look. Eating a clean, plant-based diet, free from processed foods, can help many different types physical and mental health conditions. If you want to care for yourself, start caring about what you are fueling your body with. You will thank yourself in the long-run.
Exercise - On the subject of running.... cardiovascular and strength training is good for your heart and mental health. So why not join a local gym, fitness classes, swimming or boxing. Or go for a walk or a bike ride- that doesn't cost anything and you get some fresh air whilst you're at it! Bonus!
Go outside - Take your shoes and socks off and walk on the grass. Feel the earth beneath your feet. Feel connected. This is a perfect simple grounding technique when you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed.
Move your body - Dance! Even if its for 30 seconds. Get moving... out of your head and into your body.
Get an early night - Yes, you say this all the time-I know because I for one am guilty of this too! But do you really do it? Promise yourself to be in bed by a certain time and stick to it. The tomorrow 'you' will thank you for it!
Pets - Take your dog for a walk or spend some play-time with your cat. Animals are great stress-relievers and bonding time with your furbabies can only be a win-win situation for both of you.
Emotional Self Care
Look at the stars - Mindfully observe. Feel part of the bigger picture, smile at your place in the world and feed your curiosity with that childlike wonder locked inside your mind.
Breathe deep - Take 5 slow, long deep breaths now. Feel your lungs fill up with thoughts of self compassion on every inhale and release the stress away with every exhale. Don't rush this. How do you feel now? In times of stress this is perfect to do on the go...after all we all breathe, we just don't do it mindfully enough!
Journal your thoughts and feelings - You're feeling all kinds of emotions all day long. Some we can't even process as they are interwined with so much other 'stuff'. Taking the time to let yourself write freely without any specific reason or for anyone else to read, can be theraputic in itself. Give it a go! You may feel lighter or even get the lightbulb moment you've been waiting for!
Meditate - A quick YouTube search will give you hundreds of simple guided meditations. The "Headspace" app is a wonderful simple tool that you can use on a daily basis. Meditation really isnt meant to be a chore. If you're too busy to meditiate then ironically meditation is exactly the thing for you! Every one can meditate because meditiation is actually the art of 'doing' nothing. Bliss!
Take a bath/shower and light those candles - Relax. Wash away the energy you have picked up over the day that isn't yours to carry. Reset your mind. Imagine you are floating in clear blue sea somewhere beautiful. When you unplug the bath, watch the water flow away taking those negative feelings with it and vow to pay no more attention to what you have mindfully let go down the plughole.
Watch your favourite film/tv series - Duvet, tissues (ready for laughing or crying!), your pet for company and sit back and take yourself to the cinema in the comfort of your own home (or even to a real cinema...not sure about taking a duvet or the cat though!) and switch off for a few hours. Time for you to do exactly what you enjoy.
Write a gratitude list - All those things you are truly grateful for...write them down. Read over the list and feel those positive feelings. We let positive feelings pass far to quickly without acknowledgement most the time so remind yourself of what you really hold dear in your life. An instant feel good activity and it is always good to re-read at a later date and to add to the list when ever something else comes to mind.
Call a friend - Talking to someone you care about can make all the difference. Is there someone you've not spoken to lately? Pick up the phone and hear their voice.
Feeling inspired? Maybe you have your own self care ideas now after reading this blog. If so, great!
Now go prioritse yourself for once and make sure you invest some of your time for you and most importantly....
.....do not feel guilty about it!