How I self-care
Updated: Jan 18
Self-care is a practise which I think is a little misunderstood. Most people think that self-care is all about those bubble baths, face masks and getting a little more sleep than usual. Don't get me wrong, it is all of these things but it is also so much more.
For me, self-care is keeping myself balanced. I do this by keeping my physical, mental and emotional health in check.
Here are the things I do on a regular basis to care for myself and make sure I am as balanced as I can be.
Physical health means different things to different people. For some, it is training at the gym to get a desired physique, for others, it is eating their 5 a day. For me though, it is about simply enjoying my body and giving my body what it needs. I honestly don't think I have really ever stepped into a gym and I probably don't have 5 a day but I love the way I am, I love my body and I honour it by giving it what it wants and what it needs.
As I said, I don't go to the gym. However, I love walking and I love Yoga. Nothing too taxing mind - I don't walk for endurance, to push my body, I walk to enjoy it, so I'll maybe do around 1.5 miles a day during my lunch break and 3-5 miles on a weekend hike somewhere. This keeps me in good shape, it keeps me fresh and it gives me a chance to move.
In terms of Yoga, I'll do a short session before I go to bed. Again, nothing too much, just enough to feel like I have stretched myself out and feel good. I actually do yoga on my bedroom floor with a little mat and some candles along with YouTube - https://bit.ly/38M8JAz is one of my favourite routines.
Spending time in nature
One of the reasons why I love walking so much is that I love to be surrounded by nature. Being in nature has a good effect on my health, in all areas - it keeps me physically fit, it helps me to stay grounded and it sets off those feel good emotions. Not to mention, it also helps me to feel adventurous, to find new and beautiful places and things to see which adds to the joy I create in my life.
Sleep is very important for me. If I don't sleep - I don't function. I cannot think, I cannot move and I will be in the most horrendous mood...So I make sure that I understand how I like to sleep and when I like to sleep to ensure I get the optimum amount. To give you an insight, I am a side sleeper so I have my own side sleeper pillows, I love comfort so I splashed out on Supima Cotton sheets, an electric blanket (best thing ever) and a velvety thick, heavy, blanket for those nights where I need a little extra. To give myself the amount of sleep I need, I look at when my energy peaks, which is the morning, which means I am an early riser. On average I wake up between 5-6am which means I will need to hit the pillows around 9-10pm to get a proper good night's sleep.
Yes, of course I have a whole sleep routine! Here goes: around 7:30pm I do my Yoga. After this - usually around 8/8:15pm I will give myself a 5 minute rest before I head to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash, cleanse and moisturise my face. I pour myself a glass of water which I put beside my bed and give my chinchillas a little treat for the night. I put on my night sky projector and salt lamp, I sit in bed, get comfortable and warm, and I read or listen to a podcast until I feel sufficiently tired (also reduce screen time at this time too). Then I drift off nicely...
Well, yes, I have one of these too! I take the time to rise as naturally as I can. I then sit up in bed and do a 10 minute meditation with Headspace (www.headspace.com). I check the weather forecast, my horoscope (just out of curiosity) and listen to some uplifting music - depending on my energy levels. If I feel a little groggy then softer music is played. I get up, I do a little tidying, if I need to, and make my bed - so my space is clear - and make myself a honey and water with lemon (www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/honey-and-lemon-tea) whilst also drinking around a pint of water to start my day. Whilst my honey and water is cooling down, I take a nice, short, refreshing shower and get ready. I take my honey and water (now a nice temperature) to my desk to begin working with a nice clear head.
One thing that I make sure I do is moisturise - not just my hands and face but my whole body. It just feels nice, my skin feels soft to the touch and glows. It's just a nice little treat for myself.
My weekly bath
Or sometimes twice a week...
My time is Sunday evening, where I light candles around my bath, add in salts, foam and apply my facemask. And just soak for around half an hour. I maybe put on some music or an audiobook to allow myself to drift a little or maybe a glass of wine for a little indulgence. This is my quiet time, my rest to close the week and begin the next.
I drink lots of water throughout my day. I drink a pint in the morning when I awake and I make sure that I have a full pint glass of water (or bottle if I'm out and about) beside me at all times so I can keep myself hydrated.
I am one of those people who does not drink caffeine. I suffer from anxiety so I stay away from stimulants which make my heart race. I don't drink coffee but I do love a nice cup of herbal tea or a cup of homemade decaf chai and of course a nice, luxurious hot chocolate (with biscuits).
I give my body what it craves
I don't like diets. I believe that everything is good in moderation. This allows me to be as healthy as I want to be when it comes to food, and anything else for that matter. If I want a banana, I'll have a banana. If I want a banana with some Nutella on top...Then I'll have a banana with Nutella on top! If I want a slice of cake for desert then I will do. However, I'm also not the kind of person who will binge. I love food, all different kinds, but I will only consume as much as I want and need. It's all about balance for me.
I allow myself rest
With anxiety, comes the need to overdo yourself. You just keep going no matter how much energy you have left or the mental or physical toll taken because your anxiety is fuelling you. This is one thing that I have learned about myself. So I have learned to gage and stop myself when I need to, to be able to sit for 15 minutes and just rest, catch my breath, rebalance and slow down. I can be reading a book, or watching TV or even just doing something completely different, like a walk. Just knowing when to stop and giving myself a break has been life changing in so many ways.
I feel good in what I wear
I wear what I feel good in, on that particular day. Whether that be joggers and a hoodie, jeans and a jumper, formal work wear or a nice pretty dress. I take pride in the way I dress and the way I feel in my skin. It gives me confidence, comfort and a smile for the day.
Every few weeks I schedule in some time to have a little girly time and do my nails. This includes foot and hand masks, scrubbing of the skin and filing of the nails. Then I paint my finger and toe nails, wait for them to dry (maybe eat a couple of cookies) and then massage my hands and feet with some massage oil to finish.
Self-care is more than the usual health advice. It is also respecting your own wishes. I make sure that I create and keep tight boundaries around myself. This includes not doing things I don't want to do, not seeing people I don't want to see and not accepting things that I feel aren't right. It is saying no when I need to, it is distancing myself from people if I need to and it is creating a safe space for myself. It is honouring myself and doing what I believe in and what is best for me.
Self-care also means taking care of your mental health. Enabling myself to be at my best, mentally, having clarity and being able maintain a healthy mental attitude and mindset.
Meditation and mindfulness
As I said above, I meditate in the mornings to begin my day right and to get my head in a good place for the day. I also practise additional mindfulness throughout my day by doing short meditations at various times of the day if I need to - 1-5 mins and bringing myself to the present moment by engaging in my senses. I do this by focussing on what I eat - the tastes and textures, what feet feel like when I walk and sometimes just not doing anything for 2 minutes (www.donothingfor2minutes.com).
Creating space in my mind
When I can, I give my mind space. Not only through mindfulness but also giving myself time to think and to respond to people. I also create space by keeping my surroundings organised ("outer order inner calm" - Gretchen Rubin) and getting the things on my long to do list done one by one.
Setting scenes to allow myself to transition
I have set up little zones in my home for different times of the day and different activities which allow me to settle in nicely within each and help me to transition between periods of the day. My living room is for chilling out so I have a series of blankets and cushions to help get me comfy when watching TV as well as an array of candles, fresh flowers, plants and little ornaments which compliment the relaxation I want to feel. In my bathroom I want to feel fresh and alive as well as relaxed when I have a bath so I have a nice, fresh space with fresh flowers and shower essentials but also candles and bath salts to hand for my weekly bath. In my bedroom, I have created two zones - 1 for Yoga, with space for a mat and candles which are on the floor as well as a cosy and comfortable bed and sleeping area (complete with a night sky projector) for a nice wind down. And my home office includes a nice clear desk with all my favourite things as well as everything I need to work and a nice space to sit when I need a break to keep myself feeling productive but also promoting and accommodating the rest I need too. It also includes a door which I can close when I have finished so I can keep work from my mind when I am doing other things.
I have set affirmation reminders on my phone so no matter how I am feeling during the day, I can pick up my phone and see or think about something positive, and it helps me to rewire my thinking. I use the "I am" app: (apps.apple.com/us/app/i-am-positive-affirmations/id874656917)
Music is very important to me. I was once asked, what couldn't you live without second to the basic needs and people - my answer was music. Music plays such a big part in my life. It helps to lift my mood, it helps me to escape and gives me a break from life, it helps me to focus and move - I love working and walking to music and it gives me great joy and happiness. I love all different kinds of music - from pop to classical, from bhangra to drum and base and Indi to house. Anything with a good beat and I'm a fan.
It isn't always easy but I do try to create a good work-life balance. I have been lucky enough to be able to select the hours I want to work throughout the working day which allows me to have enough time for ample breaks and also gives me the time and space I need for BlissBox too. The flexibility allows me to get the best out of myself whilst still maintaining my self-care and also having time and energy to enjoy my life outside of work.
Emotional health is keeping my emotions in check. It is to feel and express my emotions freely and it is also creating things and circumstances within life which give me joy and happiness.
Honouring my emotions
I work hard to honour my emotions. It isn't always simple because emotions, like anxiety, are not pleasant and the first thing you want to do is suppress it and escape. However, I have worked at allowing myself to feel the emotions, accept them and to take the time to understand why I feel the way I do - no matter whether I like them or not! I sit with emotions, be present with them and allow them to pass in their own time.
Express my emotions
I also take the time to express my emotions if I need to. This can be talking to a friend or a professional, journaling, crying, or confronting a problem I have with someone - even if it is difficult.
Managing my empathic abilities
I am a strong empath. This means that I feel other people's emotions very strongly, I pick up and carry around other people's energies and I have a need to people please and make them happy. This has previously been my downfall. I would feel too much and pick up toxic energies which would send me into depressions. I would enter into toxic relationships and maintain unhealthy relationships which would destroy me emotionally. However, I have learned now to use my empathic abilities as a strength. I have learned to ground myself, to manage energies and emotions around me and be mindful of who and what I have in my life.
I only include positive people in my life
I only allow positive people who lift me up around me. If I have to work with or be around people who I believe do not have the best intentions for me then I keep my distance or choose not be around them at all. Although this sounds idyllic in some senses and a little harsh in others, I fully believe that if someone does not have the right attitude towards you, does not lift you up or does not have some kind of positive influence on your life, then you shouldn't keep them close. Also, when I am around people who are "no good for me", I feel anxious, defensive and, well, distressed, so I tend to stay away from these people where I can to remain at my happiest.
I actively seek out joy in my life. I speak to loved ones regularly, I do the things I love and I maintain a curious mind to keep experiences new, adventurous and fun. I treat myself to nice clothes, I buy myself fresh flowers every 2 weeks and I give myself the finer things in life because I know I deserve it. I also love to give to others, not only through BlissBox but also in general, I am quite a giving and charitable person. I love to create happiness in my life, it gives my life meaning, it keeps me smiling and allows me to live a life which I am proud of and comfortable in.
All three of these areas - physical, mental and emotional areas are interlinked. When one is off - for example I am in a bad mood, I can use the others to help me bring myself into balance again by walking in nature or listening to some music.
Self-care is about keeping these three elements in balance and doing what is right for you. No self-care routine is the same as different people need different things. However, I hope I have given you some ideas to add to your own self-care routines or inspired you to create one. Self-care doesn't have to be a big major life change, just little, simple tweaks are enough to make things easier, simpler and more beautiful.
Sending you love.