Until pretty recently, I always felt like self-care was all about taking baths with a lit candle and reading a book. But actually, self-care can be anything you want it to be. You don’t even have to do it alone! Mindblowing, right?
Self-care can be a cinema date night, a coffee catch up with a pal or even just be taking the time to enjoy a cup of tea at the start of the day. These are just a few examples, but self-care really is what you make it!
I thought it might be useful to share a few of the self-care routines I have started adding to my life in the hope that it will inspire you to find the time to look after yourself every day instead of falling into the trap of ignoring self-care until you *really* need it…
Self-Care Routines #1: A creative stroll
With the weather being absolutely ridonkulous at the moment, I’ve been using some of my lunch break time to go for a walk and get some fresh air. Last week, I decided to take along my blog post planner and tea in a travel mug so I could sit under a tree in the shade and take some time away from screens (I even left my phone at home!).
I love being a creative person, and that sometimes gets stifled by not finding the time or energy in the day to brainstorm. Luckily, my creative stroll changed this and I was able to come up with (and write notes for) five blog post ideas! Five ideas in the space of 30 minutes was pretty impressive for me and got me excited about writing for this blog again.
It made me realise that sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to take ourselves away somewhere that has minimal distractions to really get into the zone!
Self-Care Routines #2: Journalling my day
I’m not really into the “woo-woo” stuff and the Law of Attraction, but I have found that using a journal (the Happiness Planner) has helped me to give myself more focus and to find at least one thing to do with my day that will make me happy.
Before using the planner, days would go by where the only things I could be happy about were the fact I enjoyed my dinner, or basically that nothing bad had happened. Now, I start the day filling in the planner with my ambitions for the day and end the day with the outcomes and feelings. I am seeing day on day, week on week that I am already feeling happier overall.
Part of my journalling routine is to schedule the self-care time into my day as well which has made it a lot easier to stay on top of it!
Self-Care Routines #3: Waking up earlier
Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you to get up at 5am if you don’t have to. Or 6am. In fact, I often wake up at 7 or 7:30am which is probably late for some of you! However, when you work from home it’s always tempting to have a bit of a lie in, but it didn’t take me long to realise that always made me feel less productive.
Instead, I get up at least an hour before I plan to start working so that I can ease my way into the day. That may involve having a cup of tea while filling out my planner and scheduling work tasks for the day, or it may be having a relaxing shower to wake me up.
I find by following this routine that it allows me to incorporate some self-care time, but also it makes the separation between work and life that bit clearer by not rolling out of bed and straight to my desk!
Self-Care Routines #4: Making daytime and evening plans
Although you could hardly call me a social butterfly, I do enjoy spending time with others and I like having something to anticipate in the week that isn’t work related!
Recent plans include breakfast with one friend, dinner with another and trips to the cinema with Liam. I have also recently signed up for a dance class (!) which starts on Monday evenings in a few weeks time for six weeks which although I’m nervous about, I’m also very much looking forward to!
Self-Care Routines #5: Reading before bed
OK, I have to confess I am slacking in this at the moment. Unfortunately the book I’ve given myself to read is not as good as I hoped it would be and therefore I have been putting it off. However, I am keen to get through it and find another book to read instead! I have been reading mostly non-fiction at the moment so after this one I’m going to make the switch to fiction I think…I may even get back into reading graphic novels again as I have a few built up!
Reading before bed is great because it helps you unwind before sleep, unlike endless scrolling through Twitter and Instagram which does the opposite. If you’re not already reading before bed, ease yourself into it by going up to bed around 15 minutes before your usual sleeping time and just read a small amount at first – you can always develop to longer times from there (and you’ll probably want to!).
These are the self-care routines that personally work for me – and they could work for you too! Be experimental and try a few different things that you think will work best for you. For some its meditation or yoga, for others it may be blogging or going for a drive… the possibilities are endless!