In order to maintain good mental health and be the best versions of ourselves, we must develop a self care routine to look after both our mental and physical states.
Most of us get so swept up in the busy nature of life, in the constant chase to tick off all of our tasks, that self care drops to the bottom of our priority list. Maybe you fit in the odd gym session and haircut and think that’s sealing the deal on self care, however in its essence, self care is about creating time regularly to nourish yourself, to recharge and make sure you feel good by giving yourself some time to tend to the most important person in your life – you.
Carving out time to create some self care routines helps you to feel less stressed, burnt out and scattered and allows you to put your best foot forward when you step out into the world, turning up as the brightest most radiant versions of yourself. It’s taking the time to not just nourish yourself physically but to nourish your mental and emotional health so as to nurture all elements of your being. Self care looks different for all of us and it’s often the little habits and practices that make all the difference to your levels of energy, self confidence and happiness.
The Attitude of Gratitude: Start a Gratitude Journal
The practice of gratitude has been proven to be the most potent biochemical frequency you can cultivate. Not only does it boost your immune system and calm your production of stress hormones but it helps to wire your brain to continually search for things around you to appreciate and be grateful for.
Try starting a gratitude journal where you note down each day something you are grateful for or find a jar and write things you’re thankful for on little slips of paper. Once the jar is full you can save it for a ‘rainy day’ when you’re feeling low to open up and feel re-inspired.
Join the #SelfLoveClub
The way you speak to yourself becomes the tone for your entire experience. Most of us struggle with being our own harshest critic and it’s not often encouraged in most cultures to highlight what you love or appreciate about yourself. Start to develop more of an awareness around how you speak to yourself and about yourself on a day to day basis. The more you can remember to become aware of this the more power you have to consciously change that inner dialogue and choose instead to be on your own team, to be kinder to yourself and about yourself. You can set yourself ‘love note’ reminders on your phone that remind you throughout the day or week that you are in fact *a w e s o m e* and can achieve anything you set your mind to to boost the self appreciation and motivation.
Deep Clean Your Environment
Self care isn’t just about hair masks and pedicures, its benefits lie in ensuring all elements of you and your life feel nourished. Tending to your environment is just as important as tending to your physical self as it is the space that you reside in and it holds great influence over how you feel mentally and emotionally. So pick a space in your room or apartment that you have been avoiding or needs some attention, maybe you clean out the top drawer filled with junk or you clean out your wardrobe or file your university work leaving you feeling like you have brushed your environment over with love and care as a gift to yourself so you can enjoy being in it more. Read Marie Kondo’s book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ for some inspiration (or watch her feature on Netflix) to help you get onboard.
Move Your Body
Movement is not only good for the body, it’s good for the soul. Exercise gives your endorphins which are the biochemical cocktail that makes you feel happy. Our movement routines or exercise regimes can get a little lacklustre and stagnant when we are doing the same activities all the time so try something new – a dance class, yoga, surfing, water aerobics, or even hula hooping can be a perfect way to nourish yourself while having a little fun and maybe trying something new. You could choose a day to wake up and go for a sunrise walk somewhere. Make it more fun by bringing a friend or flatmate along, with no doubt there will be a few moments to laugh about later.
Spend Time in Nature
One of the fastest ways to help release not only stress and anxiety but also lethargy and dullness is to spend some time in nature and let your body re-calibrate to its natural easeful state. Try and take a little bit of time each week to go for a walk outside, or put your feet in the sand, maybe take a book to a nearby park or go for a trail run. To help the body relax even further try leaving your phone at home so you can be completely released from all distractions.
Self Care Sunday
So of course, it doesn’t need to be Sunday. It could be a midweek evening session or anytime that works in your schedule, but pick a day in your week where you carve out some time just for you and carry out a self care ritual. Maybe it’s a face mask or a body scrub, it could be a bubble bath and a glass of wine or reading to unwind. Your activity could go beyond this and might look like spending some time drawing or doing crafts. Having a weekly practice where you make a point to indulge yourself also gives you something to look forward to and gives you weekly re-fuel of zen to carry you through the busier days.
Self care comes in many different shapes and forms but whatever it looks like, it’s important to remember that we cannot serve from an empty cup. We need to make sure we nurture and sustain ourselves so that we can not only be happier in ourselves, but be kinder and more relaxed with the people around us. To show up in the world as the most vibrant and nourished versions of ourselves.