Looking to Practise Self-Care? Or maybe you are not sure what it is?

It’s the 21st century and the world is moving at a million miles an hour. As soon as our alarm goes off we’re already checking our emails. We’re at work before we’re even at work. We barely have a moment to ourselves during the working week and when it comes to the weekend the household chores are piled up so high you can barely see Monday.  If you’re a parent you probably barely have time to brush your hair or make sure you’ve put on the right socks.

Self-care is becoming more of a dream than a reality and this needs to change. Taking some time for yourself to reboot the engine is critical for your mental, emotional and physical health. Here are 15 cheap and easy ways to practise self-care

1. Set your alarm an hour earlier

This may be difficult for you if you’re not a morning person, but setting your alarm just an hour earlier can change your morning. If you’re a parent this is a great time to embrace the quiet in your house. Put on a cup of tea or coffee, make yourself a nice breakfast, read the paper or put on the TV. Try not to check your emails or do anything for anyone else. That is your time.

Set Your Alarm Clock
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Photo By Sonja Langford https://unsplash.com/sonjalangford

2. Take yourself to a coffee shop

There’s nothing better than a fresh, warm coffee to start the day. Instead of hastily grabbing a take-away take a seat instead. Take a book or a newspaper with you to read whilst you’re sipping on a hot brew.

 

Girl In Coffee Shop
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Photo By Benjamin Child
https://unsplash.com/bchild311

3. Cancel Plans

Do you ever wake up on the weekend dreading an event or social occasion you promised to go to? I have good news for you. You can cancel. Your health and happiness are more important than soldiering through an unpleasant night. The best way to side-step awkwardness, later on, is to avoid lies. Be honest. If you explain that you’ve overcommitted and just need some time to reboot and rest, the people that matter in your life will understand.

Girl Practicing Self-Care
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Photo By Léa Dubedout https://unsplash.com/leadbt

4. Ask for assistance

One of the best ways to make more time for yourself is to ask for assistance. If you are spending your days hiding under the blanket on your bed it might be time to reach out. There’s no shame in asking for a little help. Taking on more than you can handle is a sure way to increase your stress levels and ultimately this will impact all aspects of your help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed ask you partner, friends or family for help.

Girl Hiding Under Blankets
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Photo By Elizabeth Lies https://unsplash.com/elizabethlies

5. Run a bath

There’s nothing like the warm suds of a bath after a long day. Invest in some bath bombs and take the time to forget about your to-do lists and responsibilities. They can wait. If you’re a parent, ask your partner to look after the baby for half an hour whilst you take some time to unwind. Put on some music and pour a glass of wine to enhance the experience.

Boy Having A Bath
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Photo By Hieu Le https://unsplash.com/lehieu

6. Make your favourite meal

When I’m feeling down or stressed there is nothing like cooking and eating my favourite meal to perk me up. There’s something about the aroma and taste of a home cooked meal that automatically changes your mood. My go-to meal is an old fashioned, wholesome spaghetti bol. Sometimes the simplest things can benefit your day’s trajectory.

7. Go for a walk

Apart from the obvious benefits of moving your body, going for a walk is a perfect way to score some alone time and be with your thoughts. If you’re into podcasts or love music, take some headphones with you.

8. Do some stretching

If you’re time poor and don’t have time to do yoga a great way to relax and take care of your body is to stretch. Doing some basic yoga poses combined with some static stretches is a great way to loosen up your body. It doesn’t require much time and it’s free of charge.

9. Meditate. For real.

I know, I know. You’ve heard this one before. Maybe you’ve tried it once and gave up because it got boring or you were distracted. I’m going, to be honest with you; sometimes meditation can be deadly boring. Sometimes your brain will be so full of thoughts you can’t sit still. Meditation, or “mindfulness” as it’s more commonly referred to, takes time. It requires commitment and patience but it is absolutely worth it. Give yourself a minimum of five minutes a day to sit in a quiet place and release your anxieties. Whenever thoughts try to muscle their way into my head when I meditate I picture a bath full of water. I pull the plug. I imagine the water is the thoughts occupying my mind. As the water level lowers my thoughts travel with them. When the bath is empty there are no thoughts left. Just quiet.

10. Make Some You Time

Get out your diary or your calendar and pencil in some “you” time. Organising time for yourself is the first step. Really make an effort to keep that time free.

11. Buy your favourite food

It continues to amaze me how much food and mood are linked. Food is a simple pleasure yet it has so much power. Practice self-care by purchasing your favourite food. Really take the time to savour it’s flavour and indulge in the experience. Tap into what your body wants and embrace that craving.

12. Tackle your to-do list

We all have those pesky chores that we’ve been putting off. The washing’s piling up and the bills haven’t been paid. To make some time for yourself, prioritise the chores on your to-do list and smash through them. Tick each job off the list when you’ve completed them to enhance the satisfaction.

13. Smell the roses (literally and figuratively)

Appreciating nature around you is a great way to practise self-care for a variety of reasons. Exposing myself to the natural world, particularly the ocean provides me with the perspective I need and reminds me how lucky I am to be alive. If you’re finding that you’re spending most of your time in the bustling city, rediscovering nature could be exactly what you need.

14. Reach out to your friends

Friends truly are the best medicine. A great way to care for yourself is to surround yourself with people who inspire you to be better and who are generally interested in your life. One hour with a close friend can make an astronomical difference to your day.

15. Pat an animal

This one relies on the assumption that you like animals. If you’re an animal lover, patting or cuddling an animal can improve your mood instantaneously. There are few things I love more than coming home to a cuddle from my blue heeler. If you don’t own a pet but you’re in need of some animal love, contact a friend and offer to walk their dog or babysit their pet.

16. Put on some your favourite music

Get the positive vibes going by listening to some of your all-time favourite tunes. Turn it up and sing like nobody’s listening.

17. Smile at a stranger

If you’re on the way to work on the train or you’re passing someone in the street and your eyes meet, give them a smile. Smiling will automatically release positive endorphins within you and who knows, you may make the other person day.

18. Have a laugh

Laughter is a perfect mood booster. Search for some of your favourite comedians on youtube and have a good, hearty laugh.

19. Give someone you love a hug

An apple a day keeps the doctor away but a hug a day keeps the stress at bay. Hugging, like smiling, releases positive endorphins which can boost your mood. A hug also acts as a physical reminder that you are loved and appreciated.

Make self-care a reality rather than a distant fantasy by incorporating these suggestions into your everyday life. Over to you, how do you practice self-care?

 

 

Posted by Sophia Hatzis

Sophia is a Law and Communications student at UTS and has been a passionate writer her whole life. She runs a blog called The Beauty Breakdown which aims to educate young people about the importance of positive body image. Sophia writes openly about her struggles with mental health problems having battled with an eating disorder and anxiety for most of her adolescence. Sophia is a strong advocate for a holistic approach to health and wellness which is drawn from her own experiences.