Self care is important, however when we have other priorities such as family, work, bills, chores and pets it can be difficult to add self care aka ‘me time’ to the list.
Unfortunately it wasn't until I got sick recently that I was reminded of the importance of self care.
Reality is, if I don't look after me (and you look after you) we can be more prone to getting sick or injured and ironically then not be of any use to our family, work or be able to do any chores and have a capacity to pay bills.
The best thing I did, was to shift my perspective and recognise that practicing self care is a form of self respect and awareness. Whilst this sounds great in theory, it is about reality and how to make a real positive difference through not just achieving self care but also achieving a better quality of life in the process.
In this article I'm sharing my 11 ideas for Self Care at Home that I now have as a part of my daily life and how something as simple as 'going to bed an hour earlier’ to ‘taking a walk on my own’ - has helped improve my quality of life.
What is Self Care?
Living a healthy, well balanced lifestyle is more than just what you do at the gym or how many vegetables are on your dinner plate. Genuine, holistic wellness comes from the combination of emotional, social and mental health tied together with those physical benefits we all love to hate.
Why Do We Often Fail At Self Care?
As we said before, practicing self care (especially if for the first time) is not always easy. Most of us can barely find a minute to dedicate to ourselves between the stressful jobs, looking after the kids and weekend chores to the point where ‘time for yourself’ is not often on the top of the list - but it should be.
Feeling guilty? Worse, we can sometimes feel guilty about taking the time required to take care of ourselves.
Types of self care:
Self care is an umbrella term with multiple paths you can take to achieve this. In saying this, there are multiple categories of self care:
- Physical Self Care: such as going for a long sunrise walk, prioritising your sleeping schedule, trying a new gym class, introducing a new ingredient into your meal plan or eating the rainbow daily.
- Emotional Self Care: understanding your boundaries, saying no to things you don't want to do, giving yourself permission to rest or setting up a coffee and walking with a friend.
- Spiritual Self Care: this can be meditating, attending a religious service, journaling, drawing or performing/accepting random acts of kindness in your day.
If you delve further into the ‘types of self care’ you will find you can often label a self care activity as ‘temporary’ or ‘more permanent’. For example, as stated above, going for a coffee and walk with your friend is a form of temporary self care. You will benefit from the social interaction and connection but this won't last for longer than the duration of the activity. However, if you were to introduce stretching into your everyday routine, this practice may help to prevent injury and relax the muscles in the body.
How to start a self care routine
Your self care routine can consist of anything and is personal to each individual. However, there are some tips that we can suggest to get you started.
- Find out which activities you enjoy, restore balance in your mind and re energise you.
- Start small. Choosing one change or behaviour you'd like to add into your routine for the following week.
- Work on practicing that behaviour/change everyday for a week.
- Reflect on how you felt before, while and after doing this. Write it down. Speak it aloud or just be self aware.
- Continue to add in additional practices when you are ready to move forward.
- Get support from others who motivate, encourage and love you
Using this step by step guide simplifies that idea of dedicating time for yourself and enjoying self care without the feeling of guilt.
We’ve all heard the saying ‘fill your own cup before filling others’ but practicing self care doesn't have to be a complete 180 change straight away so what are some small ways to ease you into your self care journey:
11 Ways To Begin Self Care At Home:
- Say NO to ‘one more episode’: Controversial I know… Netflix is hard to say no to, however, I have found that giving myself that extra 45 minutes and dedicating it to reading, stretching or meditating before bed really helps calm the mind and improve sleep.
- Schedule those appointments for your well-being. This is something so simple, but if it's in my diary I'm more likely to stick with it. Whether it is all at once or one by one, often checking the small tedious things off my list helps. I like to think of it as a gift to my future self.
- Give yourself an at home mani pedi. This is a classic ‘self care’ go to… but it works (also saves money too!). Soak your hands and feet, bring out the nail polish and give yourself some pampering. I don't always get to the nail polish bit, the soak in itself is bliss.
- Journal. Putting your thoughts, ideas, drawings onto a physical piece of paper and out of your mind is an opportunity to reflect upon your thoughts. This activity also does wonders for winding down of an evening and being able to have a better night's sleep.
- Eat breakfast. I know this one sounds obvious but often people (me) are too rushed in the mornings to eat a proper well nourished meal for breakfast. Whether this means you need to prep your food the night before, giving yourself a nice first meal is a great, positive start to the day. Sharing this tip is as much for you as it is a reminder for me to stick with this one. Every time I do it, the day is simply better for everyone.
- A movie night. A throwback to childhood days! Choose your favourite streaming service and re-discover one of your favourite movies. Have a hot shower, get into some pyjamas, bring your favourite snack and press play.
- Get a massage ball. Whether this be an at home job or booking in to get a professional massage, giving yourself time to roll out any knots in your body is an essential activity for yourself. It's not always possible or easy to book in a professional remedial massage, a remedial massage ball can be used easily at home.
- Stretch & Heat Therapy I'll keep repeating this until it sticks! Stretching has so many benefits! Plus I'm loving a nice warm Therapy Bag of an evening soothes and relaxes muscles too. (As always though do check in with your health professionals and make sure the stretching and heat therapy you do, does support any care and body maintenance programs you have going with them.)
- Go to the farmers market. This is one of my favourite things to do, when I can. I take time looking at all the fresh produce and flowers and choosing some to bring home.
- Try baking something new. I'm not really a baker, but do enjoy trying new things, like occasionally baking some fresh bread. The process itself is almost meditative. Getting to eat fresh cooked bread at the end of it is also AMAZING!
- Go for a walk. Fresh air and a change in routine can do wonders to clear your mind and energise you. Researchers have found that 20 minutes brisk walking can improve your focus as much as a cup of coffee!
Additional Resources - Self Care Help
Self Care Apps
This app literally provides you with a ‘workout for the mind’ and encourages users to take 10 minutes out of their day to clear their mind, re-centre their energy and focus their thoughts.
If you find yourself flustered from your long list of things to do in a day, this app is for you. A simple, yet effective app that allows you to record and check of your list as the day goes on. This allows you to clear your mind of extra stress and feel a sense of achievement when completion.
One for the ladies, the Flo app. Perhaps you’ve got a holiday or special occasion coming up and wish to know when your period may arrive. This app helps you to track your cycle while providing you with insights and tips to help manage it. Bonus tip: If you need natural relief from period pain check out our range of hot & cold therapy bags.
Self Care Books
SET BOUNDARIES, FIND PEACE
The Set Boundaries, Find Peace book discusses ways to establish healthy boundaries in all aspects of your life. It provides you with techniques to identify and express your own needs and recognise the core problems.
HAPPY NOT PERFECT
Happy No Perfect is a book based on breaking the stereotype of needing to be ‘perfect’ all the time and finding peace with yourself in the process.
Deliciously Ella is a recipe book fit for your back pocket, this app brings you over 300 plant based recipes to try yourself at home! Sometimes changing up your meals and trying new things can help get you out of a funk and brighten up your day.
THE PERFECT ‘CHOC CHIP COOKIE’
Who doesn’t love a warm choc-chip cookie on a rainy day… or a sunny day too. The perfect addition to a ‘self care’ routine. This choc-chip cookie recipe is sure to please.