Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care and of late, I’ve realised how important it is. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very good at taking care of myself (I’m sure there are others in the same boat as me!). On my list of priorities in life, I’m quite far down. I’ve had issues with my self-worth, with being worthy and deserving of help and somewhere down the line, I just stopped caring about myself.
I’m passionate about helping people in any way I can and if I’m able to, I’ll be there for them day or night (except sometimes I fall asleep, sorry). I learnt the hard way that it’s something that isn’t necessarily healthy to be doing. I got emotionally attached to certain people and put their needs above mine, to a point where it was detrimental to my health. Whilst I don’t really regret doing that, it definitely messed with my head and part of me wishes I had the foresight to realise that unless I looked after myself, I wouldn’t be much good to anyone else.
I realise that this post is likely to be similar to the other self-care posts out there but here are four of my favourite ways to try and take care of myself! 🙂 (I have loads more favourites like music, reading, baking, photography but it would be an uber long post [all your posts are long, I hear you say] so I’ll save them for another!)
1. Netflix and Literal Chill
The featured image on this post is often how I spend a Sunday afternoon – wrapped up in my favourite teddy bear blanket (thanks Dunelm Mill) watching something on Netflix. Lately, I’ve taken to watching more standup comedy; I’m a huge fan of it with Peter Kay, Michael McIntyre and Lee Mack being a few of my favourites. I’ve been watching Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow the past few weekends and it has properly made me laugh, something I don’t do very often at the minute! Other things I’m currently watching on Netflix: Gilmore Girls (binging so I can catch up by 25 November), Stranger Things (again) and I am forever watching episodes of Community (#troyandabedinthemorning).
I think we underestimate how much watching a film or TV show can help when it comes to mental health. So often I find myself being totally absorbed by whatever it is I’m watching, so much so that whatever my mind was focusing on before has gone for a while and I feel more content. It’s a time to just completely chill out – give your brain a rest and let it focus on something else for a while. If you add in a blanket, some of your favourite snacks and fit in time for a nap, you’ve a pretty sweet day/night ahead of you!
Never underestimate the power of a bath to leave you at your most relaxed. I never used to be one for taking baths, mainly because I never have time and showers are more efficient but I’ve recently fallen in love with all things Lush. Now my idea of a good night involves a bath, candles, a series and some cider if it’s going! I will use any excuse to try out bath bombs from Lush but honestly, I’ve found it so relaxing. The only noise comes from you moving about in the water or a programme if you’re watching it, you can darken your bathroom and have lots of pretty candles (make it hyggeligt) and just chill.
(bath bomb photos taken from https://uk.lush.com/ as mine are at home ha)
I’ve tried a few now; Lava Lamp, which has the most amazing cocoa butter in it, Intergalactic and The Experimenter which have so many colour variations and the Ickle Baby Bot which is just perfect right before you go to bed! On Saturday past, I bought the above two; Northern Lights and the Monsters’ Ball! I haven’t used either yet so watch out for a post in the near future about them!
Lush is now one of my favourite places. My sister actually commented the other day on the sheer delight on my face whenever we walked in. I think it’s just a combination of all the different fragrances, the friendliness of the staff and how much they have to offer. Baths are a good opportunity to spend some quality time with yourself, to mull over things that have happened during the day, think about things that make you happy and put the world to rights. If you’re not much of a bath person, treat yourself to a bath bomb! It might change your opinion when you see watch the colours glistening in the water and get out with your skin feeling the softest you’ve ever felt it!
3. Activity Books
With the rise of adult colouring in books, more or less every shop will sell some kind of activity book for adults; mindfulness colouring in, mandala books, themed colouring in and my personal favourite, dot-to-dot books. I do love colouring in but I get bored of it pretty quickly (especially if it’s a big piece and has lots of fiddly bits to colour) so when I was in Lidl a few weeks ago, I came across a dot-to-dot book. It was in a plastic wrap so I didn’t get to look inside it but I decided to give it a go anyway!
Man alive, it’s difficult! They’re dot-to-dots of wonders of the world, some of which have over 900 dots! The most recent one I completed was of the Roman Colosseum and I think it’s one of the better ones I’ve finished (the others look nothing like what they should haha).
I know, I know, it looks a bit crap but it was really fun to do! Frustrating at times, especially whenever you can’t find the next number, spend 15 minutes looking for it and realise it’s right beside the last one! I have found this to be one of the most helpful de-stressing activities to do. I am completely absorbed in it – I can’t even watch anything at the same time – and because they’re so big, they can take an hour or so to complete, depending how focused you are on it! I really enjoy doing this – it takes me back to when I was a kid (#childhoodmems) when the biggest decision you had to make was which game you were going to play with your friends in the playground and the saddest thing to happen to you was your Tamagotchi dying.
Some might be cynical towards the whole notion of colouring in and activity books but honestly, just try it. They’re cheap enough to buy and you don’t need to spend a lot of money on pencils or felt-tips. Some books have designs that take as little as 10 minutes to colour in, which is perfect if you just need a little distraction for a bit!
4. Exercise//The Great Outdoors
To look at me, you probably wouldn’t think it, but I love love love exercise. The old me would definitely be looking at me now and going ‘what the flip?!’ because when I was younger there was nothing I loved more than eating my weight in junk food and never doing exercise. I’ve never been happy with how I look and at uni, I just ballooned even more because I was having too much fun to think about my health. I needed to make a big lifestyle change! When I started my old job, I joined the gym right beside my office. At this stage, I had already lost about a stone in weight just through my diet and I wanted to keep it up! I did HIIT sessions, took classes and started running.
Now that my mental health has taken a decline, exercise and the outdoors means more to me than it ever has. It’s a release for me. I’m not keen on cardio (is anyone?!) but I love weightlifting. Of course, exercise releases all the endorphins you need to give you a buzz for a while, but that buzz lasts for me because I’m starting to build confidence in myself again. So far now, I’ve lost over two stone and I’m at my physically fittest! I’m nowhere near where I want to be but, little steps!
If I’m too busy with work to go to the gym, I always try and fit a walk in. The benefit of having my best friend live beside a forest is all the walking we can do! It’s a beautiful forest with loads of different paths to take and nooks to explore.
There’s nothing I love more than sticking my earphones in, putting on a good playlist (my playlists are great, my good friend Mike can testify to this) and going for a walk or a run. I love being able to appreciate my surroundings and taking pictures of where I am to share on my Insta. I love to take pictures, I love having a reminder of the places I’ve been or the things I’ve done! Music is a great distraction for me (I have pretty sweet dance moves) and walking in the fresh air can totally tire you out so when you get home, all you want to do is put your feet up or go to sleep, which is good if you need a rest from your brain!
So there you have it, four of my favourite ways to ‘self-care’ and ones I hope to keep on doing! What are some ways you look after yourself?
PS I’m doing a Lush//Tiger giveaway on Twitter! Check out http://www.twitter.com/lauracloughley to enter 🙂