In a world where we’re all constantly busy, taking time out for yourself is so important for your mental and physical health. I feel this time of year – with Christmas on the horizon and SAD rearing its ugly head – I need the opportunity to unwind more than ever.
‘Self Care’ isn’t necessarily just applying a face mask and painting your nails once a week. It’s doing whatever you feel your well-being deserves – whether that be investing time into your hobbies, spring-cleaning your house, attending an exercise class or catching up with friends/family. Here are several things I like to do when I’m feeling a little burnt out and a Sunday night pamper just isn’t going to cut it!
Walk the dogs. One of my greatest joys is taking the dogs out for a good long walk. If I decide to bring my phone along (I sometimes leave it at home so I can really switch off) I’ll stick a Podcast episode or Audiobook on and head along a local scenic route. I’d always considered myself to be an ‘indoor girl’ before getting the dogs – I’d usually favour the gym over walking/running outside. As cheesy as it sounds, having pets made me fall in love with nature and now I adore nothing more than being in the fresh air.
Wake up early. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lie-in as much as anyone. However, there’s nothing that makes me feel more motivated than an early morning. Rushing around first thing puts me in such a bad mood so I really try hard not to snooze my alarm. On my days off I allow myself to sleep in a little, but I still like to get up relatively early, even if I have no solid plans. I remember during my uni days I’d go to bed stupidly late and wake up well into the afternoon and it’d make me feel so fed up and lethargic. I can’t think of anything worse now!
Eat a nutritious breakfast. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day – it’s literally the first thing I think of when I wake up! If I have work I usually just make myself porridge with fruit, but on my days off I like to savour something a little more exciting like an omelette or French toast.
Buy myself flowers. I’m trying to get out of the habit of buying chocolate as a treat and getting myself fresh flowers instead. Granted they’re a little more expensive but they’re worth it! They brighten up the room and instantly lift my mood.
Clean. Anyone reading this who knows me personally will probably be shaking their head right now – I’m not a naturally tidy person but it doesn’t mean I don’t like a clean house! My environment affects my mental health massively, and nothing makes me more miserable than clutter and mess. I’ve never been one to make my bed first thing or clear my make-up away as soon as I’ve finished getting ready, but recently I’ve been pushing myself to abandon my bad habits and it’s made me feel so much better. After all, a tidy house equals a tidy mind!
Watch YouTube videos/listen to Podcasts. It was around this time last year I stumbled across Georgia Marie on YouTube and became seriously addicted to her content. Georgia is a True Crime vlogger and is incredible at storytelling – I must have watched all her videos at least twice now! It wasn’t long after that that I was introduced to True Crime podcasts (Crime Junkie is my favourite) and now they’re all I listen to on my commute. You’d think that consuming something as morbid as stories of murder or mysterious disappearances would make me feel anxious, but I actually find them super interesting and – dare I say it – quite relaxing! The mind boggles.
Clear my to-do list. Nothing makes me feel worse than knowing I have a to-do list as long as my arm – I can’t sit still! I always used to leave things until the last minute and let everything get on top of me, but over the years I’ve become much better at managing my schedule. Even if I have the smallest task to complete, like replying to an email or sending a parcel off, I feel like I can’t relax until it’s done.
Go for coffee/lunch with my mom and dad. I love spending time with my parents. If I’m off on a Sunday, my dad and I will walk the dogs, then head to a pretty Country town to do some shopping and go for coffee. During the week when my dad’s at work and my mom and I have an afternoon off together, we’ll have lunch at a nearby tea room or garden centre. They’re two of my absolute favourite traditions and something I always look forward to.
How do you practise self care?