As a society, we can be pretty quick to write off self care as an unimportant act, something low on the list of priorities, only partaken in by ladies of leisure or those with an over-inflated sense of self-importance.
However, taking care of yourself is quite the opposite, and rather than seeing self care as an indulgence, I’m firmly in the camp of seeing it as a necessity. Feeling good in mind and body is key to everything, health, happiness, even performing well at work. It’s key to preventing burnout, it can improve your relationships, reduce the effects of stress + helps you stay focused.
The importance of practicing self care seems especially prevalent now with Winter on the way, and a steady rise year on year of people struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Current statistics suggest that one in three of us struggle with the winter blues, and if a little self care could help with that, why wouldn’t you want to take a little time for it?
And that’s just it, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we don’t have time for self care, but it doesn’t need to take all day. Contrary to popular belief, self care doesn’t have to be big! It’s all about the little acts that add to your happiness. Here are 21 ideas for practicing self care, that you can do in half an hour or less.
- Cook yourself a hearty vegetable soup. Not only is the act of cooking soup quite soothing, the end result is a tasty, healthy comfort food. Chop up your favourite veggies, roast for twenty minutes with a drizzle of oil, seasoning and some mixed herbs, before blitzing with a little veg stock. Serve with fresh bread from your local bakery.
- Give yourself a little at home facial. Remove your makeup with a rich oil + a steaming hot facial cloth. Spend 10 minutes listening to a guided meditation while a face mask works it’s magic. Massage in serums + moisturisers + enjoy your soft fresh skin!
- Reread one of your favourite books. I recently pulled out a stack of my favourite books from growing up and am working my way back through them, and it’s so lovely. It’s like revisiting your childhood in little snippets.
- Go on a photo walk. Leave your phone at home (or put it on airplane mode) and take your camera for a little walk around your local area. Use the camera to try and find beautiful things you might otherwise overlook day to day!
- Treat yourself to new pyjamas. I buy a new pair every time I have to go into hospital and it’s such a lovely feeling pulling on freshly washed, brand new pjs!
- Create a bed cocoon! Gather up every blanket, throw, cushion and pillow from around the house and pile them up on the bed. Light candles, string up fairy lights and fling open the windows before burying into your cosy nest to watch an episode of your favourite tv show!
- Write a letter to someone you love.
- Experiment with new coffee or hot chocolate recipes! In your weekly shop pick up your favourite chocolates, whipped cream, marshmallows, and mix coffee, milk and syrups to create a decadent hot drink. Top with all your favourite toppings! (Top tip, melt your favourite chocolate in a pan, stir in milk + voila, your perfect hot chocolate!)
- Do a ten minute yoga routine! Have a look on YouTube – I love Yoga With Adrienne’s videos, and you’ll find tonnes of short and sweet yoga practices to try. I like to do a couple of rounds of sun salutations, a strength pose like Warrior, a few minutes in Tree, and then an inversion. It doesn’t take long and it helps me feel really grounded and at ease.
- Eat your breakfast outside. Throw on a coat and even take a blanket outside, but start your day with a hot drink + a little sustenance out in the fresh air. That way no matter how your day goes you’ll have spent time outside!
- Go to bed by ten.
- Do some journaling. Pinterest is a mind of wonderful journaling prompts for every mood, occasion and season. Taking ten minutes to put pen to paper and let go of some thoughts can be so soothing!
- Try to bring some hygge into your home. Light candles, pull out the blankets, invite friends over for a meal + good conversation. There’s a reason the Danes are the happiest nation on earth!
- Wash your bed linen, and time your tumble dryer to finish at bedtime! Enjoy the utter bliss of climbing into freshly washed, warm from the dryer sheets.
- Take a dog for a walk. Okay so you might not have a dog, but chances are you know someone who does! See if you can borrow their pupper (chances are they’ll be thrilled to have a task taken off their hands!) and get outside with them.
- Drink more water.
- Play a board game. When was the last time you dig out Monopoly, Cluedo or Scrabble? There’s something very childlike and satisfying about gathering around the table for a little friendly competition!
- Do a little vitamin research. We could all benefit from a little more health, do some research into vitamins and find out what may help you. Vitamin D is great for helping combat SAD and a good B Complex can work wonders for your general health levels.
- Go somewhere new on your lunch break. Walk ten minutes in a different direction, try a new independent coffee shop, or eat your lunch in a park instead of at your desk. Use your lunch break to refresh + refocus your mind, and you’ll achieve more!
- Listen to a Ted Talk (and do nothing else at the same time). You can search for topics that interest you on their website, find one and allow yourself to focus on a discussion. When you’re done, spend five minutes with a pen and paper and make note of anything new you learnt from it.
- Have a Skype date with a friend. So often we get caught up in meeting friends to ‘do’ rather than just be. Organise a Skype or FaceTime date with a friend and engage in good, connecting conversation.
You can’t pour from an empty glass, so the saying goes, so take a little time to replenish yours + I promise you’ll feel better for it.
How do you plan on practicing self care this week?