Self care has become one of the most recognised and important elements of working towards a healthy relationship with yourself and maintaining and increasing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Sometimes self care is sold as a a fluffy practice all about candles and bubble baths (more on that below), and those are wonderful ways of recharging, but self care can also look like going to therapy, taking any medications that you need to support your mental and physical health. Self care might also look like purging your social media of people who aren’t good for you, having some difficult conversations with the people around you, or decreasing your contact with activities/people/media that you find drain or negatively effects your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health.
Self care also isn’t selfish. When you recharge yourself, you have more to give to others. You can’t pour from an empty cup. When we neglect to care for ourselves we don’t have anything to give to the ones we love. When we take time and space for ourselves we say ‘I am worthy of love. I am worthy of taking care of. I am worthy of taking up space.’ As Audre Lorde said self care is an act of survival. Today I’m sharing 12 of my favourite self care practices. Let me know down below how you practice self care.
Books and reading are my oldest, truest, favourite form of self care. If I’m feeling uncertain, stressed or anxious the best way to calm me down is to put a book in my hands. Reading a book, browsing the library, or watching my favourite Book-Tubers (the community of people on YouTube who talk about books) videos is my surest way to calm.
2. Bubble Bath + Face Mask
Last year I discovered the awesome self care combination of soaking in a warm, bubbly scented water and soothing face goop slathered all over my face. This isn’t an everyday self care practice for me (because baths take up a lot of water and I live in a very water conscious place) but when I need that extra level of indulgence. Bubble baths also make me feel very aware of my body and how I talk to it. While I’m floating in the bubbles there is no room for body bashing only for loving and gratitude towards all the different parts that make up me. (PS. Chris bought me the fluffiest bathrobe for Christmas two years ago and I love it!)
I am not ashamed to talk about my mental health struggles with friends, family and sometimes strangers, but I sometimes forget just how good talking to a trained professional with no stake in my life feels. This year I have committed to going to therapy regularly and we are digging into some issues that have been affecting me for the last few months. It has been illuminating and healing.
4. Non-Exercise Walking
One of the easiest ways to cope with stress and give myself a little mental break is to take a short walk. Just getting away from whatever I am working on and getting out in the fresh air clears my mind and lowers my stress level.
How could this little bundle of love not be an amazing self care strategy! Penny is my constant companion when I am at home and makes sure I take regular breaks to smell the roses, play and snuggle. She is also my favourite way to get some non-exercise walking.
6. Watching Re-Runs of My Favourite Sit-Coms
Basically all of my viewing preferences fall in the period of television between Frasier starting and Will & Grace finishing. I love watching my favourite series over and over again while I am doing things around the house, and I find the characters and their easily solvable problems soothing. (Anyone else super pumped about the Will & Grace reboot?)
7. Listening to Podcasts
I was an early enthusiast of podcasts, and I love the variety of content available. Whatever you are interested in you can find someone making a podcast about it. At the moment I am especially loving Reclaiming You by Sarah Vance; Food Psych by Christy Harrison; Finding Body Freedom by Caitlyn Croteau; Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield; Dietitians Unplugged by Glenys Oyston and Aaron Flores; and Life. Unrestricted by Meret Boxler. Listening to these body positive ladies (and gentleman!)
8. Joyful Movement
Sometimes this gal likes to break a sweat. Whether it’s a run, a Pump class, a spinning session, or a heart-thumping personal training date when my body wants to move I honour that feeling. Engaging in movement that feels joyful and true for my body clears out the cobwebs and leaves me with major endorphin glow. 9. Dates with My Girlfriends
I am lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful women who offer nourishment to my soul in many different ways. I feel grateful to have friends across a wide age group from all walks of life who open their lives and hearts to me. Social Support is important to our health: encouraging us to take care of ourselves, lowering our chances of depression, boosting our self esteem, lowering our risk of cardiovascular and immune problems. So keep your lady friends close!
This year I am making a conscious effort to write a few lines everyday. I brought a bright, glittery journal and cracked it open on New Years Day. I take a few moments just before I go to sleep to jot down a few lines about what I’ve been thinking about that day, something I read or listened to, or a revelation I’ve had. Clearing my mind helps me sleep better and I’ve found so much clarity by writing about events or emotions.
11. Wandering Around the Grocery Store
I know most people hate going grocery shopping, but I love it! I find it so soothing to wander around the aisles finding new products to try out and thinking about meals I might make with Chris.
Although I love being at home, I do get cabin fever pretty easily so making sure I have little adventures to new and interesting places (like a date to the museum perhaps) is the best way to prevent me getting bored. Boredom is not a place I like to visit very often so one of the best self care practices for me is making sure I step outside of my comfort zone and try new things and visit new places often. Just a few suggestions for how I have been taking care of myself lately. I hope that some of these might be helpful to you if you are searching for a way to take care of yourself. How do you practice self care?