Self-care can mean something different to everyone, but the basic concept is still the same. We all know that looking after yourself is beneficial in so many ways, especially to maintain good mental and physical health. It's only something we've been mindfully doing for the past few years. I used to just get up and go in the morning and never spent much time thinking about how I could better look after myself. The older I got, the more I realised I couldn't carry on this way. A huge shift happened for both of us when we went vegan over 4 years ago. It forced us to really look at not only how we had been treating animals and the environment, but also our own bodies. We now try to incorporate some form of self-care into every day, which has become even more important now as we all try to get through this weird time.Here are just a few of the ways we like to practice self-care. I'm sure a lot of you do some of these things already, but if not, we hope this list inspires you to incorporate more self-care into your daily lives.
Yoga has so many amazing benefits, and it's something we try to do every morning before we start our day. Sometimes we follow a YouTube video and sometimes we do our own practice. From a physical point of view, it's a great way to improve flexibility and balance, strengthen your core, and tone your muscles. We also find it really calming, whether you spend 10 minutes or an hour, it's a great way to focus your breath and calm your mind. It always leaves us feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Taking this time out for yourself to forget about all your worries and just focus on movement and breathing is a great form a self-care, and probably my personal favourite.
2. WORKING OUT
I'm not gonna lie to you, I'm not massively into working out, and I'm definitely not the kind of person who goes to the gym five times a week. However, I do try and do some form of physical exercise a few times a week. I always notice how much it improves my mood, and makes me feel energised for the rest of the day. We switch it up between pilates, running, dancing and HIIT. Moving your body in any way is always going to be good for you, even if it's just going for a walk.
3. HAVING A BATH
I absolutely love baths. The whole ritual of running a bath, lighting some candles, and pouring in my favourite bath soak or bath bomb is just such a relaxing experience. Sunday's are my favourite day to do this. I really like to go to town and create the most boujee bath set up possible. I have one of those bamboo trays that sits across the bath which is perfect for placing some candles on, a face mask, my book and a G&T. For me, having a bath is the ultimate form of relaxation and a perfect way to reset before starting a new week.
4. GETTING A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP
There's more to getting a good nights sleep than just clocking in your 8 hours. We try to avoid working in bed to keep the space as calm and relaxing as possible. It's also really important for me to have a bedtime routine. If I just get straight into bed I won't be able to sleep for hours. A few of the things I do to help me get the best night's sleep possible is firstly having a really comfy bed. Finding the right mattress and pillows for you is so important, after all, we do spend about a third of our lives asleep! I also try to avoid looking at screens for about an hour before I want to sleep. Instead, I read, do my skincare routine, do some light stretching and write in my gratitude book. Of course, we're not super strict about these things. Like everyone else, I sometimes fall asleep with my laptop on my bed after having watched the millionth episode of Gilmore Girls, and that's also absolutely fine! However, I know if I prioritise winding down before bed, I sleep better, and we all know how important getting enough sleep is to stay healthy.
5. BEING OUTSIDE
Although we live in a city, we both absolutely love being outdoors. Whether that's sitting in the garden playing cards and listening to the birds sing, or going for long walks in the countryside. Nothing lifts our mood or clears our heads more than being in nature. Before we were in lockdown, we used to spend lots of weekends at the local National Trust parks (yes we do have a membership, and no we're not 80-year-olds). We don't know all the science behind it, but we do know that there's something about breathing in fresh air and being surrounded by plants that work wonders for us.
6. LOOKING AFTER MY SKIN
A few weeks ago I talked about my skincare routine and some of the products I'm enjoying at the moment. My skincare routine is something that I do twice a day, morning & night, and it's a really important part of my day. In the morning it helps me feel ready for the day, and at night it's part of my routine in winding down for sleep. It's a very easy way to both physically and mentally take care of yourself. With every product I use, it's an act of kindness to myself. It sounds cheesy but it's true.
7. COOKING & BAKING
One of my favourite places to be is in the kitchen, cooking something up. I love experimenting with food and flavours, being creative and trying new recipes. There's something so rewarding about making yourself a delicious nourishing meal, or a decadent chocolate cake that's good for your soul! We've gotten really into cooking up big themed feasts recently in place of going out for dinner. We put on some music and spend time together creating something delicious for us to eat.
8. SPENDING TIME WITH FRIENDS & FAMILY
At the moment this is obviously something that we're only doing virtually, but a chat with our friends and family always helps us feel better. Whether it's being able to share your concerns with someone you love or forgetting about everything with a boozy virtual quiz, spending time with people we care about is vital to our wellbeing.
9. LOOKING AFTER OUR PLANTS
We have a lot of different plants in our home and I love them all! We've been collecting them slowly over the years, we have all sorts of different spikey ones, leafy ones, tall ones and short ones. I find watering them can be quite a mindful task, visiting each plant one by one and tending to them. It's a moment of real calm. Over the years we've watched them grow and become part of the spaces in our flat. It feels good to be able to look after something and nurture it. We get a lot of satisfaction from seeing our plant babies grow...time for us to get a dog I think!
10. PRACTISING GRATITUDE
I started practising gratitude a couple of years ago, and it's honestly been one of the most positive changes I've made to my daily life. Practising gratitude isn't just about being grateful, as I'm sure we all feel grateful for many things in our lives, especially now. It's a more mindful way of being grateful, actively thinking or writing specific things every day that you're grateful for. I like to write a list just before I go to sleep, but you could say them out loud or just think them to yourself. It's especially important to do this on the bad days where you're feeling least grateful. It always helps to give me perspective and keeps my mind from drifting off into the land of negativity. Some days it's easier than others to think of things to be grateful for. I always like to start off just by being grateful that I'm alive and healthy. It's simple but powerful and has really helped me to be a more positive person.
11. BUYING FLOWERS FOR THE HOUSE
Buying yourself gifts can definitely be considered a form of self-care. I love buying lots of beautiful fresh flowers to go around the house. They really brighten up the room and always bring a smile to my face. It's such a simple act, but to me, it always feels like such a treat. At the moment we're loving all the spring flowers, especially stocks. They always look amazing and they're very reasonably priced too which is a bonus, who doesn't love a bargain!
12. REDUCING SCREEN-TIME
As bloggers, we spend quite a lot of time on social media, so it can be hard to switch off from that. We spend a lot of time on our phones and laptops, and as I'm sure you can all relate to, it can definitely be addictive. We have to actively try and put our phones away whilst we're eating and try to be in the moment more. We love Instagram and think it can be a really inspiring positive place, but we all know the downsides to social media, so we try to avoid looking at too many peoples seemingly 'perfect' lives for too long.
13. WATCHING OUR FAVOURITE TV SHOWS
It might sound counterproductive to suggest watching TV as a form of self-care after suggesting reducing screen time. But it's all about balance, right?! As much as we're really enjoying Money Heist on Netflix right now, it isn't necessarily the best show for my state of mind, saying it's tense would be an understatement! If I watch it before bed I find it really hard to switch off and end up having creepy heist related dreams, it sounds exciting, but it's not! My go-to programme to watch when I need to just chill out is Gilmore Girls. I've seen every episode a million times, but it's like seeing an old familiar friend. There's something so comforting and nostalgic about it, it always makes me feel good and is a great form of distraction.
The key to self-care is that it can be whatever you want it to be. It's all about doing things that make you feel good, but not to the detriment of your physical and mental health. We'll eat a chocolate cookie if we want to, or binge watch that new Netflix show, but we'll also maybe add in some yoga and a face mask. Like I said before, for us, it's all about finding a good balance.
What are some of your favourite forms of self-care? We'd love to know! Let us know in the comments below, or on any of our social media channels.