5 Simple Self-Care Ideas
What are some small things that used to put a smile on your face, things that used to make you feel happy and excited when you were a child?
I remember jumping on the bed, reading books while sitting next to the open window, listening to the rain. I also remember spending a lot of time in the kitchen with my grandmother, baking, or running barefoot on the grass in the yard.
Things were so simple back then- we didn’t need much to put a smile on our faces. These days we’re too stressed, too worried, too preoccupied.
What is your biggest challenge, when it comes to practicing self-care?
Time is definitely one of the big ones. Another is admitting that you do need (and deserve) a small break. It’s getting over the idea that self-care practices are all about self-indulgence.
I like to think that it’s a “you can’t pour from an empty cup” kind of thing.
5 SIMPLE SELF-CARE IDEAS FOR WHEN YOU’RE SHORT ON TIME
GO BACK IN TIME
You’re never too old to jump on the bed. Or run barefoot on the grass, or dance in the rain, or spend an hour cloud-watching.
Think of some of the things that used to bring you joy, things you find you no longer have time to do and do them- make them a part of your simple self-care routine.
Stress is what challenges and what helps us grow, but we all know a little bit too well that too much stress can wreck a havoc on our bodies and eventually cause a burnout. If you’re looking for more joy, peace, and calm while also showing your body some love- try yoga.
When you’re stressed, whether it be due to bad or good experiences, your muscles tense up, you breathe faster in an effort to distribute oxygen and blood quickly to your body core, your heart rate and blood sugar level increase. Stress doesn’t just affect your mind- you feel it in your body, too. If you don’t have time to take a class, you can try places like YogaDownload and take a class at home, at your own convenience.
UNWIND AT NIGHT
For many of us, late evenings are the only time we have for ourselves. It’s not until the day officially ends, that we can finally sit down and unwind. If that is the case for you, your nightly unwind ritual can be a part of your simple self-care routine.
Don’t bring things like your laptop or other electronics to bed. Use this time to shut your brain down: take a warm bath, read a book (or listen to an audiobook, like I usually do), apply a face mask- whatever it is that calms and relaxes you. I love indulging in my nighttime skincare routine. I do some deep-cleaning using a cream/oil cleanser like MUN Akwi cleanser (use a code “MUN13T” to save some $$); I massage it into my skin and then put a washcloth under hot water and gently press it into my skin. I usually followup up with a gel cleanser, have a little facial massage and go in with my serums, eye cream, do some dry-brushing. This helps me unwind, relax and prep for bedtime.
Maybe you don’t like to talk about your feelings to other people; maybe your favorite person to talk to isn’t available- have an emotional check-in with yourself, by yourself.
Many moons ago, a therapist gifted me my very first journal, and it’s become one of the best emotional growth tools I’ve used. At first, journaling might seem a bit strange, if it’s something you’ve never done before. If you are new to it, I highly suggest you start your journey with some writing/journaling prompts.
Writing down all your feelings, your thoughts, your plans, your questions, your fears, can bring some much-needed clarity into your life. This is especially important and useful if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed at times.
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
If you’re short on time and rarely treat yourself to a piece of pie or sushi from your favorite place, or taking a class you always wanted to take, schedule it in- just like you would schedule a dentist’s visit. Don’t just think: “I’ll treat myself to *fill in the blank* on Friday,” but actually write it down in your calendar. No cancellations allowed.
And you know what? Self-care doesn’t always have to look all pretty. Every Friday I go grocery shopping after work, stop by my favorite sushi place after to pick up some brown rice + avocado sushi, and then grab some frozen coffee. I get home, unpack the groceries, I then turn off my phone, sit down either at my desk, on the couch or outside in the yard, put on some music (or sit in complete silence, depending on my mood that day) and give myself 15 minutes to just eat and relax. Sometimes, I’m literally sitting on the floor, eating, and browsing through a book or a magazine. While I’m still working on finishing my coffee, I’m already on my way downstairs to do some laundry.
Of course, I’d love to be able to take the rest of the day off, put my feet up and do nothing else but write in my journal or take a bath or paint my nails. Most of the time, that just isn’t realistic- and that’s fine. After a tough/stressful week, 15 minutes of simple self-care, spent alone, just by doing nothing or doing some breathing exercises can be enough to recharge the batteries for the day.
Truth is, self-care looks different to us all and there is no wrong way of doing it. If it’s not already a part of your routine, schedule it in. Especially if you don’t do it too often; you need to find that time just for yourself when you can relax a little and take a break- even if it’s just for 10 minutes. You can take a nap, have a bath, prepare an epic meal for one, read a book- whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Don’t think of it as being unproductive, selfish or lazy- think of it as a necessity.