Self-care is super important and, as you might have guessed, I am a huge advocate of finding moments in the day to perform acts of self-care. Below is a list of free or very low-cost self-care activities compiled by me, with input from my wonderful friends and family! Enjoy!
1. Take a bubble bath - pretty self-explanatory and the mainstay on any self-care list!
2. Sit outdoors; feel the warmth and breeze on your skin. Take a moment to just be.
3. Make your bed in the morning. This sounds simple but making your bed is a great way to start the day; it lifts your whole bedroom, and getting into a made bed at the end of the day is so much nicer than getting into a tangled mess of sheets!
4. Tidy your room/clean your desk. Same as above! It doesn't have to be spotless, but even putting clutter into tidy piles rather than spread all over the place, will give you the space to think more clearly.
5. Face scrub or mask! Look after your skin and feel the products clean the day away!
6. Drink more water! I am a terrible one for drinking enough water, it is something that so often slips my mind! I have started to use a water infusion bottle to encourage myself to hydrate more! My favourite combos are strawberry & mint, lemon, or cucumber & lime!
7. Do some yoga! There are plenty of free yoga videos on youtube that you can follow along!
8. Do a guided meditation! Again, there are plenty of free apps that have guided meditations on them, or you could find some on youtube. Better yet, there might be a local temple that provides meditation classes.
9. Colouring! Mindfulness colouring has been popular for the last few years and high street shops are full of various mindfulness colouring books! However, it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg! You can find colouring in sheets online and print them of as and when you need them.
10. Paint your nails! This can have a few benefits! Painting your nails might give you a small self-esteem boost, it is also a calming and repetitive action, and it forces you to sit and do nothing for a few minutes while they dry!
11. Moisturise! I love to use beautiful smelling moisturisers and body butters! They don't have to be expensive at all! Some are as cheap as a few pounds!
12. Apply lip balm! Our lips go through a lot during the day, so it's only fair that we show them some love too!
13. Turn your phone off! It doesn't have to be for long, half an hour or so in the evening ... If you can't face turning it off completely, try turning off your notifications for unessential apps. I have turned off all notifications apart from iMessage, emails, and phone calls. It is so liberating!
I would also recommend trying not to look at your phone for the first half-hour or so of the day, allow yourself to wake up and get ready for the day without being interrupted by Facebook or Instagram! This is something that I am not so great at doing, but I am working on it!
14. Light a candle! Candles are both pretty and fill the room with a beautiful aroma!
15. Have a nap! If you are tired, take a nap! There is no harm in that! Just don't let it interfere with a good night's sleep later! For more information about the connection between sleep and mental health, click here!
16. Call a relative/friend! A problem shared is a problem halved. Although the problem might not be solved, part of the burden is lifted. If you don't have a problem to share, just talking to someone is a great way to feel connected to the world around you! It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives nowadays! It is great to stop and connect with loved ones!
17. Read a book! Go 'old school' and avoid the screens for a while! Get lost in a work of fiction or educate yourself by reading something you are interested in or even something that you know nothing about! For some book suggestions, click here!
18. Write a journal! When thoughts are circling around and around in your head it can feel relentless! Give them an exit and write them down, they may just stay on the paper and stop flying through your mind. When I suggest this to people, they worry about writing certain things down for a fear that someone might find it and read it. You don't have to keep a proper journal. Sometimes you can write down your thought and throw them away, burn them, or shred them. They don't have to necessarily go into a traditional journal.
19. Say yes to things! Go out with friends, try a new class, enjoy that slice of cake! Experiencing new things or indulging yourself every now and then is a beautiful way of caring for yourself!
20. Say no to things! You don't always have to go out when your friends go out. Sometimes you just need some time to rest. You don't always have to say yes to that extra shift at work. Make sure you listen to your body and your needs. After all, self-care is about identifying your own needs and taking the steps to meet them.
21. Go for a run/walk/workout. We all know that exercise produces endorphins, which are credited for creating a euphoric feeling!
22. Brush your hair - it's a simple act but can make you feel ready to face the day!
23. Notice the little things! Notice the flowers in the park or in the local market, notice the sun peeking through the trees, the innocence of children playing, the smiles of people walking by...
24. Start a gratitude journal - find a notebook and keep it by your bed. At the end of each day write down three to five things that you are grateful for that day. It could be anything from the sun shining that day to getting a promotion at work. Nothing is too big or too small! For more information on gratitude journaling, click here!
25. Unfollow negative social media accounts - We are undoubtedly effected by what we surround ourselves with. Surround yourself by positive people and media!
26. Unsubscribe from mailing lists - this is a time-consuming process, but you will benefit from being bombarded less by emails that do not serve you. There are even apps out there that will do this for you!
27. Change your clothes - When you wake up in the morning, change into fresh clothes. Even if you change into a fresh set of pyjamas!
28. Go to bed early! There is no law that states that just because you are a grown up, you have to stay awake until its dark out! If you are tired, go to sleep early or get into bed and read some of your book, or follow a guided meditation.
29. Look through photos or memories - whether it's scrolling through photos online, or sitting with a physical photo album! Looking through old photos can be fun and bring friends and family together! You might also just notice how far you have come!
30. Eat without distractions - During meals times, put your phone down, turn off the TV, even put down that book. Simply eat, and notice the different flavours in the food, the temperature, the texture. Enjoy the meal as fully as possible, and interact with those that you are eating with rather than with a screen!
31. Take a more scenic route to work - I am lucky in that I have the option of walking through a beautifully maintained park on my way to work.
32. Make the most of your lunch break - take every minute of your allotted lunch break, eat something nutritious, use the time to meditate or have a quiet moment to yourself, and prepare you for the afternoon ahead.
33. De-clutter - Go through your clothes and possessions, and figure out what no longer serves you. Give items away to friends and family, to charity shops, or throw them away. Give yourself some space to breathe.
34. Positive Affirmations - Print or write out some positive quotes and affirmations, and stick them around your house in convenient places, such as around your mirror, on your fridge, or above your desk!
35. Take your prescribed medications - they have been prescribed for a reason whether it is physical or psychological. You may feel like it is time to stop taking them, but that is probably because they are working. If you really want to stop taking medication, please talk to your doctor first!
36. Make and keep medical appointments - look after yourself, and that means making doctors appointments, going for check ups, going to the dentist, going to see your therapist, going to group sessions, and so on.
37. Animals - if you are an animal lover, this will be a no-brainer! Play with your pets, cuddle up on the sofa with them! If you don't own a pet, but know someone who does, try to join them when they walk their dog, or look after their pets when they go away! Hanging with pets can instantly lift your mood!
38. Watch a movie - Most of us have a movie that we know will cheer us up or motivate us! Some of mine include Coach Carter; Eat, Pray, Love; and Breakfast at Tiffany's. Get comfy and settle in while you watch your favourite film!
39. Plan a trip - whether its a quick trip to visit family or friends or a long trip involving months of travelling, planning for the future and having something to look forward to can immediately lift our spirits!
40. Write to-do lists and tick off the items - this can make us feel/be more productive. The items don't have to be big, they can include things like "eat breakfast", "take pills", "water plant" or they can include things like "proof-read dissertation", or "create a website". However big or small the tasks are, ticking them off will provide you with a sense of pride. Furthermore, writing out your to-do list will clear your head, allowing you to focus on one thing at a time.
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