My Top Tips for Self-Care

Self-care is a concept which has come on to my radar in a very big way over the last few months as I’ve journeyed through a mental health minefield.

Following a series of stressful events, I found myself burned out and completely depleted. I felt permanently exhausted, continuously anxious, regularly ill with a variety of cold and flu viruses and like I just couldn’t cope with ‘normal’ day-to-day activities anymore.

 

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People kept telling me ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’. And I knew they were right.

So I decided to find out how to refill my cup. Right to the brim. And how to keep it that way moving forward.

I had just started working with a wonderfully inspiring, kick-ass life-coach and burnout mentor at the time, and it was her who first introduced me to the idea of self-care.

I quickly realised that I had been putting very little effort in to caring for myself.

I was a perpetual people pleaser, always wanting to be seen by others as ‘the good girl’, I was a round-the-clock perfectionist who would never feel ‘enough’. I was my own worst enemy.

During one of my 1:1 sessions with my mentor, she pushed me to analyse why I hadn’t been caring for myself. Cue life changing revelation…

It all boiled down to the fact that I just didn’t think I was important enough to dedicate time to.

‘WELL, THIS HAS GOT TO CHANGE ONCE AND FOR ALL!’ screamed a voice inside. And I knew it was right.

It’s taken me some time to get to grips with my own self-care; learning what soothes me, what energises me, what inspires me. It’s an evolving project, one that will be a life’s work. But I can tell you now: it’s really worth dedicating time to.

YOU ARE WORTH DEDICATING TIME TO.

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So, in homage to ‘Self-Care Sunday’ (a day duly renamed by Kick-ass Mentor in order to remind the ladies in her community to put themselves first for once), here is my own list of self-care activities. This is a list that I’ve added to over time, and that I’ve subsequently divided into four categories for my own easy-reference guide to giving myself what I need to feel good.

Quick-fix Self-Care:

  • Enjoy a good cup of tea.
  • Get comfy. For me, this usually involves a cosy blanket and slouchy clothes.
  • Deep breathing exercises. This can help to relieve tension and can provide a ‘pause’ during chaotic moments. 
  • Time alone. It’s okay to give yourself a break from other people!
  • Enjoy a cuddle. A good hug releases oxytocin (the connection hormone) and dopamine (the feel-good hormone) as well as lowering cortisol (the stress hormone).
  • Fresh air and daylight. We all need daylight to help us with Vitamin D production. 
  • Listening to music. I choose music according to what I need in the moment- upbeat for energy and something soft for relaxation. 
  • Food. I make sure that I eat regular, nourishing food that is pleasurable for me. Take care to avoid comfort eating which only serves as a way to ‘stuff down’ our emotions. 
  • Positive thinking & affirmations. When things get tough, when you find yourself in a bit of a negative spiral, taking a step back and listing the positives can really help. I like to use affirmations too, for example ‘I release all restrictions and I’m free to be me.’

Easy-peasy Self-Care:

  • Reading. For me, there’s nothing more soothing than getting lost in a good book.
  • Creative activities. This is a BIG thing for me. Being creative helps relaxation, and lets you see progress and results in a  relatively short space of time. My personal choices for getting creative include- cooking/ drawing/ colouring/ cleaning (yes, you have read this right, I said cleaning!)
  • Enjoy a bath. I mean the truly indulgent kind, with lots of bubbles, candles, soft music, perhaps a face mask and maybe even a glass of wine!
  • Exercise. What better way to get the feel-good hormones flowing? Personally, I love walking, running and yoga. Choose something that you enjoy and that leaves you feeling energised.
  • Watching TV. Go on, treat yourself to your guilty-pleasure-trashy-TV, if that’s what makes you feel good.
  • Meditation. Find your inner bliss. You can find endless lists of guided meditations online to get you started. 
  • Self-development. Get to know yourself, learn something new, gain new skills. Whatever it is, feed your inner drive for self-actualisation. 
  • Pampering. Our bodies deserve some TLC too you know. Easy-peasy pampering at home, for me, includes: painting my nails, moisturising, plucking my eyebrows, spending time on my hair and make-up, face masks, hair masks etc.  
  • Journalling. This is something that has become second nature for me now. Before bed is a great time to write and to clear your head of all of your thoughts, ready for a peaceful night’s sleep. 

Self-Care with a Little More Time & Planning:

  • Phone a friend. Whether it’s catching up with that friend that lives at the other end of the country, or calling your best friend for a vent about something stressful, having a real conversation with another human can make you feel connected again. 
  • Go out for a coffee. With a friend, or alone, get out of the house and spend some time just ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’. 
  • Creative activities. Some creative activities take a little more time, planning or equipment. I enjoy getting into a project like baking, sewing, photography, decorating and gardening.
  • A trip to the cinema. With treats like ice cream or popcorn. Obviously. 
  • Pampering. Some pampering is just better when it’s done by someone else. Go for a massage, a spa day, get a manicure, a hair cut. Remember, you deserve  it. 

Self-Care for the Diary:

  • Time with friends and family. Schedule in some regular fun! Keep connected to those who are most precious to you. Make memories. 
  • Live music & theatre. For me, there’s something so inspiring about watching other people show off their talents.
  • Travel. Whether it’s near or far, plan it, get out and explore the world. It’s food for the soul. 
  • Take a class. As I said earlier, we all have a natural, innate drive to develop and reach our full potential. So why not develop your skills as part of your self-care? 

 

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I dare you… choose to do something to care for yourself today. It doesn’t matter whether it’s big or small, just keep topping up your cup!

 

 

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25 thoughts on “My Top Tips for Self-Care

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read it- I hope it helps! I’m a total self-care convert (as you may be able to tell!!!) and would completely encourage anyone to get on board with the idea, a little bit of live goes a long way! X

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