The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
In reality, self-care is a pretty broad concept. But the most obvious understanding, is that this practise benefits the wellbeing of the recipient. It’s a good thing to improve your mental, emotional, and physical health. And something I like to keep up with often. In my own experience, the simpler the task the better. When I’m in need of a day away from life, the last thing I want is a super complex project. I look for something enjoyable, effortless and affordable. Daily life can be rushed and stressful, then you add the unpredictable days in post-lockdown life, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I definitely do from time to time. So, here at 7 super easy self-care practises that I like to instil into my daily routine – and maybe some you can add to yours.
Give yourself a good start
I rarely have the opportunity to take an entire day to dedicate to myself. I think that’s common for most people. I have an office job alongside blogging and freelance work, which means most my days are in front of a screen. Days off to spend indulging are rare, even working from home. As a result, getting trapped in a busy routine seems inevitable. In that case, I try to get the bad days off to a good start. I find a lot of comfort in routines, but forcing myself to believe the day will be a good one can be done through a little self-care.
And it’s always something simple. Instead of porridge or bananas on toast for breakfast, I’ll have a bowl of my favourite cereal. Curiously Cinnamon isn’t known for being the healthiest of meals but you can’t deny it’s delicious. And sometimes I need a sugary boost to feel awake.
If you read my post on my cosy morning essentials, you’ll know a day can’t start without a cup of Yorkshire Tea. Even taking a moment in the morning to really wake up and appreciate the magic that is Yorkshire Tea can give a day a better start. Additionally, I try to read a few pages of the book on my “currently reading” list. It’s something that will upgrade the day before it’s even begun.
Write it out in a journal
I have always had a love for journaling and scrapbooking. There’s something about putting together creative pages that is really relaxing for me. I bought the Stationery Island A5 dotted notebook, journal stencils and journal pens from Amazon to start my bullet journal journey. Also, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to bullet journal spreads and designs. I’m nowhere near that level of creative when it comes to my spreads, but it’s great to have some motivation. The more I practise and get used to using the dots, the more fun it is.
I don’t always feel like creating a spread from scratch, so prompts are a lifesaver. Calm by Michael Acton Smith is a book I’d recommend to everyone! It’s based on the Calm app and full of beautiful imagery and writing prompts. Likewise, 99 Things that Bring Me Joy by Abrams Noterie is another amazing guided journal. Before my obsession with bullet journals, I kept dairies to get my thoughts out of my head and onto a page. And I still do. One of my notebooks is dedicated to writing down anything and everything. Good or bad, if I’m feeling it, I write it down. Similarly, the Notes app on my phone is basically my on-the-go-therapist. It’s one of the best ways to alleviate the mind.
Reread old favourites to create joy
I love books about love. And they’re usually my go-to on a self-care day. The softer and fluffier, the better. And rereading is an ideal method of self-care. I don’t have to worry about not finishing or accidentally reading spoilers! Here’s a quick rundown of my favourite “cheer me up” books:
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne – Perfect for enemies-to-lovers fans. The two protagonists loathe one another. More than any two characters I’ve seen in a contemporary romance. They work in the same office, but they are polar opposites. The dynamic is hilarious and perfectly written. This book is tense and fiery in the best way possible.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory – Two people find themselves faking a relationship at a wedding in San Francisco. They’re both hustling professionals living in California, and suddenly realise their simple ploy isn’t so simple. But then again, true love isn’t example simple either. This is a super romantic debut with an interracial relationship.
The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker – See a full review here. Another win for the enemies-to-lovers club. This book is set in rural Alaska, and features an endearing “sky cowboy” spending a few weeks with a privileged city girl. It’s the most emotional of the stack, but heart-warming and very sweet too. The sequel, Wild at Heart, is just as lovely.
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – A slow burner, but so worth the wait. Two strangers share not just a flat, but a bed. Oh, and they’ve never met. Not once. They communicate through text and post-it notes. The back-and-forth is adorable to say the least. It’s hard not to read this book with a big smile on your face. I recommend The Switch by Beth O’Leary too.
Still Me by Jojo Moyes – The third and final book in the Me Before You series, and my favourite. The whimsical Louisa Clark finds herself facing big challenges working in New York City. In my opinion, Lou is at her best in this book. We see more heart than we’ve ever seen before, and her admirable personality makes this story a joy to read. I absolutely adore anything Jojo Moyes writes!
Enjoy an at-home paper session
I love having a pamper routine. And I try to keep it relatively simple, often returning to products that my skin seems to like. My favourite of the bunch is without a doubt the Cocoa and Coconut Superfood Reviving Hydrating Mask by Dr Botanicals. As soon as I apply a face mask, I feel like I have entered a true home-spa mood. Along with a glass of wine, I can relax and let the coconut do its magic on my skin.
A quick skincare routine is a really easy way for me to add self-care to my day. I have to take my makeup off anyway, so I may as well wrap up in my best dressing gown and glam it out. And that will totally boost my mood. There’s also something really satisfying about removing makeup and then using the skinChemists Advanced Brightening Toner to get the last bits of dirt from my skin. It’s one of the only toners that doesn’t turn my skin into the Sahara Desert after use.
Binge-watch the best of Netflix
My Netflix to-watch list is way too long. It has been since I started my subscription. Then Disney+ launched and time disappeared yet again. But I do find myself gravitating towards old favourites when I’m in need of a bit of comfort. I saw a tweet saying people with anxiety rewatch shows they’ve seen before because they already know what the end result is. And it totally makes sense.
While there are some programmes I like to start from scratch for entertainment, on a down day I really like to have a familiar set of characters on the screen. Even shows I’ve seen millions of times like Friends still make me laugh when I’m on the edge of crying. So, watching something comfortable and entertaining, especially a comedy, is a great form of self-care. Make yourself laugh! Some of my old favourites are: Community (best show ever), The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Gilmore Girls.
Relax and unwind with an audiobook
Audiobooks are an amazing way to read more. And reading in itself is self-care. They’re handy for people who don’t have time to sit down with a physical copy or like to listen while they’re on the go. My preference is to listen to an audiobook when I’m cleaning, editing photos or travelling. All I need are a pair of Bluetooth headphones, a cup of tea, and my Kindle, and I’m happy for the next few hours.
If you don’t have a subscription to a service, there are audiobooks available for free on Spotify. I listened to Animal Farm last week! I first read this book was I was a teenager and it opened up the world of literature to me. It’s not light or romantic, but there’s still something about this powerful story that makes me happy. The same applies to podcasts and good playlists. In addition to Spotify, some local libraries also offer audiobook services. In my case, I can borrow (or rent) them, listen and return them within a certain time – it works great!
Get outside and appreciate the environment
Whether it’s spending a day in the woods, going for a drive, or discovering somewhere new – I’m happy to be outside. I have never considered myself to be the most outdoorsy of people. I’ll still scream if a bee comes anywhere near me. But being outdoors and getting fresh air brings an unbeatable sense of calm for me. There are a lot of moorlands and open spaces across the Yorkshire, and being out in the open is so refreshing. The vast views put a lot in perspective and calm a noisy brain.
On the most stressful days, I crave being at the top of the moors or just hopping in the car and floating across the hills. When I was in school and started to suffer with anxiety, the first thing I would do at the beginning of an attack was flee to the nearby canal locks. Still today, whenever I need space, rather than stick to my room, I’m out the front door. Not everyone has the same type of setting to escape to, but even a change of environment can make a difference to your mindset.
Overall, my methods of self-care are pretty straightforward. But daily life is hectic enough, sometimes all you need is straightforward. I don’t get chance to exercise these habits every single day, but every once in a while I like a little kindness to myself in the simplest of ways.
What self-care practises do you add to your daily routine?