Selfcare, we know you’ve heard of it, and there’s a good chance when you have it has evoked images of bubble baths, candles, and perhaps a face full of green slime masquerading as a green tea face mask.
Perhaps what is less likely to come to mind, is getting back into an old hobby, smiling at a stranger, preparing a home cooked meal, or sitting up straight in a clean workspace…
Selfcare doesn’t need to be all about relaxing in a calm environment with a cup of tea in hand, although it totally can be! Selfcare is less about what you do and more about making time to do things that give you a feeling of happiness, calm, or that make your life more fulfilling in some way. Selfcare comes in all shapes, and fits all of us differently depending on what you like and how you can incorporate it into your day.
If you’ve somehow decided that selfcare is not for you or are in need of some new inspiration to fill your cup, we strongly recommend you take a look at these 21 acts of selfcare (in no particular order) and see what works for you.
1. Give back
Volunteering or doing something for others without expecting anything in return, can strengthen your sense of purpose and expand your understanding and compassion for yourself and for others.
2. Have a new or unique experience
New experiences not only feed your sense of adventure and curiosity, but they also increase your adaptability and support the growth of new neural pathways.
3. Clear your spaces
Cleaning and clearing out spaces around your home and work helps to declutter your mind and your surroundings, giving you more space for what is important to you.
4. Get outside of your comfort zone
Challenging yourself builds confidence, and skills, and will often leave you pleasantly surprised about what you’re capable of.
5. Set goals
Set little goals that you can work towards and give yourself the satisfaction of achieving them. You are creating your own challenge and reward system, which will benefit you (and your loved ones) 100%.
1 minute, 2 minutes or 20! – every little bit helps to create a calmer state in your mind and body. Try an app for a short meditation when you first wake up or before you go to bed for an improved sense of wellbeing.
7. Be mindful
Mindfulness can be done when you’re walking around the block, or washing up the dishes, or incorporated into most activities throughout your day. It’s all about slowing down and paying attention to whatever is happening in the moment – simple as that!
8. Listen to music
Listening to music is great for helping your mind to wind down, get motivated, or help you stay focused with work or study. Whatever your reason, music can help boost you into the zone.
9. Stay hydrated
It may not sound like selfcare, but when our body is properly hydrated it functions better! Getting enough water in a day can improve your sleep, mood, and cognition.
10. Sit up straight
Before you skip past this one, take moment to sit up straight and then slump down in your chair – notice a difference? Good posture has a positive impact on your mood, and confidence, as well as improves energy and productivity.
11. Spend time with animals
Whether they’re your pets or a friends’, a little time with our furry friends can lower blood pressure and boost your mood.
12. Take time for yourself
This one is a must! Find 15 minutes (minimum) where you can switch off to the needs of others, and switch onto your own needs, and remember to thank yourself for it!
13. Eat a balanced diet
It sounds simple but getting enough of the right nutrition can take some planning and prepping to make sure it’s there when you need it. Making the time to do this will have great results for your energy levels, concentration, and mood!
14. Get creative
Creativity is not to be underestimated when it comes to relieving feelings of stress and anxiety. It fuels the imagination and can improve your capacity for problem-solving. Plus, it’s fun and can be included in most activities.
Parents (and non-parents), this one should not be missed. Play has far-reaching benefits for your emotional and cognitive wellbeing, plus it helps to build resilience and social skills. Play is for everyone, not just for children!
16. Take a break from technology
Switch off and disconnect from the tech! There’s no shortage of reasons to use them but having a dedicated time when you have no TV, phone, or other devices, will increase your connectivity with yourself and the people around you.
17. Get out in nature
Whether it’s walking, running, riding, gardening, sitting in the sun, or having your morning coffee. Time in nature has incredible benefits for your stress levels, mood, and overall sense of wellbeing.
18. Prioritise your needs
Always doing for others, and not addressing your own needs can lead to burn out, anxiety, and low feelings of self-worth. For many, considering other people’s needs is a must, but it doesn’t mean your own feelings are irrelevant. It’s important to spend the time to understand your needs and to find a way to meet these. If you struggle with prioritising yourself and your needs, a mental health professional can support you with this.
Journalling is a great tool for helping you to identify your needs (no.18 say hello to no.19), as well as being useful for letting go of unhelpful thoughts and feelings. If you’re feeling a bit stuck and not sure what to do – journalling is a great place to start.
20. Speak to yourself kindly
This one can have a big impact on how you feel about yourself, and how you approach every aspect of your life. If you’re constantly criticising yourself and putting yourself down, then you are making it very difficult for yourself to enjoy life. Make a habit of noticing when you are giving yourself negative feedback and ask yourself – what would be a more compassionate and understanding way of acknowledging what has happened.
21. Do nothing!
No, it’s not a trick tip! Giving yourself the space without any to-do lists, or places to be, or things to achieve, gives your brain a chance to relax and rest. This can have an extremely positive effect on your nervous system and can leave you feeling more rejuvenated than a little power nap. Put it in your diary now (7pm – 8pm, do nothing!).