Self care is such a hot topic right now... EVERYONE is talking about it! Or rather... who isn't talking about it?! Last year, I really focused on getting back on the self care wagon. I think I had been struggling to get back on since finishing college in 2014, as sad as that is. For most of my life, I've put school / career first.. but as the years go by, I'm finding that prioritizing that above all else really doesn't work and may not be the best for me personally. tbh, is it really the best for anyone??! I feel like if you don't make self care a priority... eventually, you will be forced to. And it's a not-so-pretty rude awakening when that time comes.
I by no means have "mastered" self care. I work hard at checking in with myself regularly to "see how I'm doing" and make adjustments accordingly, lol -- but here are 15 things that I've found work well for me:
1. I make my bed every single day.
I used to never make my bed. Ever. Can you believe that? I always thought.. what's the point? I'm going to make a mess of it when I go to sleep again, lol. It wasn't until after graduating.. did I really actively decide to make a change. Now, it's second nature. And it makes climbing into bed at night so much more rewarding. Crisp, clean sheets are the BEEEEEST!
2. I choose water as my drink of choice most days.
Instead of coffee or juice or soda or even alcohol... I opt for water. I actually have never really had a taste for coffee or alcohol... (I know, I am super weird). But in a way, I think this has been a blessing. Water is the purest form of hydration for the body because your body doesn't have to process the sugars out of it - so I try my best to stick with it. Plus, it's *free* and doesn't cost extra when eating out!
3. I get outside and go for a walk every single day.
Last year around March after a long, cold, dreary east coast winter... I found myself super depressive and generally unhappy. I couldn't pinpoint why at first... but I'm pretty sure my lack of exercise / general lack of activity had something to do with it. I started getting outside and walking every day when the weather started getting warmer, and now nearly a year later... it has become a daily practice / habit. Good weather or bad weather - I go outside and get a bare minimum 30 minute walk in. On the rare, painfully cold, unbearable days - I try to still do something active indoors (i.e. jumping jacks, running in place, solo dance party).
4. I treat myself to both unhealthy AND healthy indulgences.
#treatyoself doesn't have to solely mean eating pizza and ice cream and cookies and ALL.THE.THINGS. In a way, I've reinvented what "treat yoself" means to me. I try to eat healthy (primarily veggie based) meals during the week - whereas weekends and holidays are meant for indulging in a thing or two that is "unhealthy" (but totally worth it). Dark chocolate is my dessert savior during the week. ;)
5. I play music out loud.
I love playing music out loud vs. with headphones. There's something about it that makes it so much more enjoyable! Maybe it's how the sound fills the space? Some of my favorite places to play music out loud (and of course - sing along) are: while driving in the car, while I work in my home studio, while I cook in the kitchen, and even while I shower! I'm pretty tone deaf, so singing along with songs (vs. solo) makes it better, haha.
6. I go to my happy place (the beach) to reset.
Whether it's the need for a hard reset (after a really long week where all the things feel overwhelming and / or everything under the sun goes horribly wrong and / or it ALL feels impossible) OR whether it's the need for a soft reset (after a minor bump in the road) -- the beach is where I go to clear my head before tackling whatever it is I need to tackle. When the beach isn't an option - getting outside in general seems to do the trick. But there's something about the sights and sounds of the beach specifically that reinvigorate me.
7. I listen to podcasts. (to turn my brain on)
I usually throw on a podcast when I go for my daily walk. Without listening to something to keep my brain active, walking can sometimes feel monotonous. Podcasts are like school for grown ups but better. It's a great way to kill two birds with one stone! (Exercise while learning something new). On the days I don't feel like turning my brain on during my walk, I'll just throw on some music. "Walking On Sunshine" Pandora is my go-to!
8. I watch mindless TV or movies. (to turn my brain off)
Other times, I'm not in the mood at all to learn something new. There are times when my brain just can't take in anymore... and for that... I often resort to TV. Reality TV in the form of The Bachelor/ette, that is... haha! I feel like a lot of people who know me well are surprised to learn that I watch the Bachelor/ette. I started watching it several years ago... I don't remember what season. I used to coin it as a "guilty pleasure" - kinda embarrassed to be a viewer. But I think it appeals to me because of how dumb (unrealistic) it is, haha. I also love anything and everything on Food Network... This Is Us ... and going to see what's playing in theaters... but I feel something can be learned from all of those... (so they aren't the ultimate brain turn off.. and therefore fall somewhere in between).
9. I read a book or a magazine.
For years, there's been a debate that "print is dying" - but I really hope that isn't the case. I love holding tangible things, and find that I go crazy if I'm in front of a screen (computer, phone, etc) for too long. Books and magazines are a great way to get away from one!
10. I journal.
My journaling practice dates back to elementary school. What started as a mandatory practice in school - became a form of therapy in ways for me later in life. It's the place I go to sort through my thoughts with me, myself, and I. I keep a long form journal, a short form "happy moments" / gratitude journal, a dream journal, two planners (which function like bullet journals), and multiple sketch books (which are like creative / idea journals).
11. I schedule a fun friend date.
It's so easy these days to get swept up in our busy lives and constantly put off "hanging out." Sure, there's Instagram and texting and facetime and email and all of that which makes us feel like we are "keeping in touch" - but there's nothing like a day spent in physical good company! Friend dates with me also almost always involve good food of some sort. ;)
12. I send snail mail.
One of my favorite parts about the holidays and birthdays is sending out cards and / or packages in the mail. I love surprising my friends / family with something fun and unexpected! I usually go a bit overboard - decking the card / package out with colored marker, stickers, confetti - and the like. ;) It's like an extended way for me to be creative (that doesn't have to do with career pursuits).
13. I water my plants.
It might initially seem weird to say that caring for something (or someone) other than yourself could no way be filed under "self care" -- but I really do think that caring for something (or someone) other than yourself can be a humble reminder that YOU are just one living being in this universe. The world doesn't revolve around you. ;) Plus, plants generate oxygen! Which means cleaner air! Yay!
14. I paint my nails.
Generally, I'm a pretty low maintenance girl (lol). At 26, I still don't know how to apply a full face of makeup - nor do I really particularly care to learn? Pampering, for the most part, is foreign to me! The one form of makeup I have experimented with is nail polish. (Does that even qualify as "makeup"? haha) Anyways, cutting your nails is mandatory. But painting them makes me feel extra fancy (but not too fancy). Plus, it makes taking photos of holding stuff way prettier!
15. I try to get 6-8 hours of sleep every night.
I admit, I definitely still struggle with this one. Sometimes I go to sleep stressed out over something or I can't stop thinking about a great new creative project that I can't wait to get started on - and can't fall asleep right away. Sometimes I stay up late and actually work on said creative project - and therefore go to sleep way later than I should. 2 AM is usually my "absolute bedtime" - but sometimes that doesn't work out. And sometimes, that's ok. For the most part though - when I get this much sleep.. I am happier, less irritable... and more productive!
These are just some of the things I do for myself. Everyone has their own thing(s)! So I'm curious.. what form(s) of self care work for YOU? I'd love to hear down in the comments below! :)