We often attribute self-care to being a weekend thing. We hear buzzwords like #selfcaresunday all the time. Self-care should be integrated into our schedules whenever possible, especially when we're the busiest. Of course, some days it'll take a backseat. Life - it happens. However, it's important to take self-care seriously and practice it as often as possible. Self-care isn't selfish. It also doesn't have to be hard. There are so many little things we can do to take care of ourselves. Below, you can find some simple ways to add self-care right into your everyday life!
TAP INTO YOUR INNER CREATIVE
For some this might be in the form of journal writing. For other’s it might be a bullet journal. Find what works for you, and spend a few minutes creating. It can be for as little as 5 minutes. If you enjoy doing something specific but don't make much time for it, set a reminder in your phone. As a teacher, it’s upsetting when adults have stopped creating altogether because they think they're "bad at art". Art comes in many forms, not just pen and paper. Go take photos, doodle on the sheet in front of you. Search up a free calligraphy class in your hometown. Sing. Do something creative that brings YOU happiness. It doesn't have to be something you share with others. It can be kept completely private. Taking my DSLR for a spin, and snapping some style related photos is something I really enjoy. Unfortunately, it's not something I do enough of. Mapping out dates on my ban.do agenda, and asking some friends to join me on the fun, has kept me more accountable! You know that thing you hardly ever do but when you get around to doing it, you realize how happy it makes you? Yeah, taking my DSLR out is totally one of those things for me.
PAMPER YOURSELF - WHEN YOU LOOK GOOD YOU'LL FEEL GOOD
This can be freshly painting your nails, trying out a new lush bomb, or putting on your favourite lipstick for that extra bit of motivation. When you look good you feel good, which will trickle into the rest of your day! When you feel like a bad ass, you’ll want to go out and kick some serious ass. I remember during exam season, I would periodically put together a cute outfit so I could give myself a break from all the grey-on-grey I’d usually live in. You don't even need to do something nice for yourself and go out afterwards. Simply taking a shower, and changing into a new set of pyjamas can be enough.
DECLUTTER YOUR WORK SPACE, LIVING SPACE, OR SLEEP SPACE
My online work space gets real cluttered. I'm a total hoarder when it comes to files on my laptop. Taking the time to organize my documents and changing up my wallpaper is a habit I'm trying really hard to work on. Simply cleaning my laptop screen after months of neglecting it makes me more productive. It's not something I like doing per se, but it's something that needs to be done. Sometimes self-care isn't just about the pretty things. It's about doing the things we sometimes neglect.
I definitely look up to my parents with this one. Everyday Sunday, they work together to clean the house. They vacuum the carpet (soooo much dog fur, thanks a lot Oden!), mop the floors, do loads and loads of laundry, and fold clothes after dinner. I wouldn't say they particularly enjoy doing any of this, but it's something they recognize as being a necessary part for a stress-free home . Self-care can be as simple as putting down the dry shampoo you always turn to and actually washing your hair.
COOK YOUR OWN MEAL
I don't cook, cause my mom spoils me. But, I know how therapeutic cooking can be when you do it for yourself. If you haven't cooked your own meal, or have been losing motivation to do so, pick up a recipe book! Make it a goal to try something new or even cook an old favourite. Put it in your calendar. Pre-plan a recipe and make sure you schedule in some time to grocery shop! During undergrad, I use to eat out way more than I should have because I never made time for the grocery store.
SETUP A DATE WITH SOMEONE YOU'VE BEEN MEANING TO SEE
We all throw out empty invites from time to time. So, sit down with your iCal or agenda, and really figure out a date that works for a catch up session you've been meaning to put together. Dinner at your house or maybe a quick coffee date? All it takes is an extra 5 minutes to put a plan into action. Instead of a "let me know when you're free, we should do something!" message, go through your own schedule and throw out some real concrete days that work for you. I know this is something I've been actively working on, and it has made going out a lot less stressful.
DO YOU HAVE A BUSY DAY/WEEK AHEAD? PUT TOGETHER A TO-DO LIST
Some people may not find a to-do list helpful, but I find it quite soothing to write out my goals whether it be for my personal or professional life. During a busy work/ school week, it can be overwhelming thinking about at all the work that needs to get done. When my brother use to drop me off at my teaching practicums, he’d tell me how visibly anxious I looked. I knew exactly what he meant because my morning drives consisted of me obsessively worrying about all the things I needed to do before my students came in for the day. Writing out a to-do list of all the prep that needed to be done (along with the specific steps I needed to take), helped me gather my thoughts. Having a list I could refer to made things a lot less overwhelming. I knew exactly what had to be done, and what I needed to do in order to to get there. I've been using my ban.dō agenda to stay organized! A total life saver when juggling school, work, and a blogging schedule.
SPEND TIME OUTDOORS
You don’t have to do an extravagant hike or road trip in order to spend a few minutes outdoors. It can be something as simple as drinking your morning coffee in your backyard or setting up a cute reading nook in your balcony. If you don’t have a spot to hangout outdoors, walk to the closest park! Don’t have much time in your day? Pack your dinner in a tupperware and make a spontaneous date out of it. Obviously, this doesn't have to be an everyday thing. But, you can definitely give it a try once in a while. Careful of the mosquitos though (those aren't cute)! We can all use some vitamin D in our lives, especially us Canadians!
CATCH UP ON A FAVOURITE TV SHOW OR READING MATERIAL
I go through busy weeks, when I push my favourite TV shows to the back burner and rely solely on Netflix for the convenience of it. I mean, food always tastes better with TV and waiting for 300 pop ups to close is just too much effort lol. Am I right or am I right? If you've stopped watching a favourite show and want to catch up, do just that, and don't feel guilty about it! Reading is another thing that often gets shafted when life gets busy. J got me a year subscription of Cosmo, and I hardly ever find time to read even that.
TAKE TIME OFF
You know yourself better than anyone. If you feel due for a me-day, take one. If you're feeling burnt out and need to take a mental health day from work/ school, take one. Obviously, if you find yourself taking one too many, there might be something else going on. If that's the case, talk to someone. But, if it's just the one odd day after months of performing, just take the day off... you owe that to yourself. Burnout is a very real thing, and taking breaks before you get overly exhausted is so very important.
If you're feeling like you're being spread out too thin, and need some time for yourself, it's okay to say no. Spend an entire weekend indoors. Don't plan a single thing. Play the weekend by ear. It's okay to want time for yourself. Being around people can be exhausting. Saying yes to a lot of things can be exhausting. If you like spending time with yourself, don't feel guilty about not being somewhere. Embrace that. It's okay to say no sometimes. More of us should learn how to.
How do you add self-care into your routine? Let me know in the comments below!
A 24 year old Canadian living (& teaching) in Shenzhen, China.