Hey there! Would you describe yourself as stressed? Anxious? Overwhelmed? I know I do! I’ve seen so many posts on Instagram and twitter about being stressed, so I wanted to address it on the blog. No matter who you are or what you’re going through, self care is an essential component of living a balanced life. I’ve come a long way in what my understanding of what self care is, and in this post I’ll be talking about what self care means to me, how you can make time for it, and give you a list of unique ideas for fitting self care into your everyday life! I hope this post can be helpful to you in your self care journey.
What does self care mean to me?
It has taken me a while to really understand self care and what it means to me. At first, I believed that self care was doing anything that I enjoyed. This led to me buying myself too many Starbucks drinks, binge-watching too many TV shows, and using self care and a “treat yo self” mentality to actually avoid taking care of myself. Eat one more slice of pizza? Why not! Avoid homework and watch gilmore girls? It’s all self care! None of these things are inherently bad, but I did notice within myself a pattern of taking this idea too far. I totally still do these things, and I think to a degree they are still self care. I am trying to shift my focus, however, to a new idea of self care.
Now, my focus is doing things that take care of my body. In full honesty, I don’t really work out, and I don’t eat super healthy meals all the time. I wish I loved to do that, and it is something I am working on. When I say take care of my body, I simply mean choosing options that are better for me. That is what I think is the best kind of self care. Going to bed at 10 instead of staying up and stressing over a test. Drinking a glass of water rather than having another iced coffee. Making myself a balanced meal instead of ordering in. This isn’t to say that you have to practice self care the same way I do, I just wanted to share the way I have come to see self care in my own life.
Ok cool, so how do I actually make time to do all this?
I am fully aware of how time consuming it is to be a college student, or a twenty something working away at your goals. Balancing school and work and a social life can sometimes seem impossible. Even imagining fitting in ONE more thing sounds crazy. I’m here to tell you that it is possible!
Try to find small moments in your daily life where there is time for mindfulness and self care. Self care does NOT have to be some big hours long event. It doesn’t even have to be 30 minutes. Thinking about self care in this way helps me find small ways to fit self love into my day.
Make a list of things you want to cut back on in your life. Maybe that is scrolling mindlessly on instagram, watching netflix, or even overthinking. Then, when you catch yourself doing those things, make a conscious decision to stop, and do some form of self care instead. For ideas on things you can do to practice self-care, check out the list at the bottom of the post!
What if I don’t know where to start?
If you have no idea how to practice self care and you are looking for somewhere to start, I recommend a self care subscription box. Stephanie, the self care coach behind the I Care Crate, was kind enough to send me the summer lovin’ self care box that she created, and I have loved getting to try the box and share my honest opinions with you. For subscribers, the box comes once every 3 months with amazing self care products inside!
The box includes a couple happiness products and a couple confidence boosting activities. My box came with tea, a face mask, a candle, a coconut bath bomb, and a journal to write in. The second I opened the box I felt like summer had come at last. The box smelled just like the beach – warm and coconuty (is that a word?).
The best part about a service like this is that you don’t have to think about it. You just receive your box full of well thought out and wonderful products for you to use whenever you have the time. Today I used my box by drawing a bath, putting on the face mask, lighting a candle, and using the bath bomb. Having the products in this box really inspired me to take a short while and really just focus on me for a minute. I didn’t even have to think about buying or finding things, I had everything I needed sent right to my door.
If you struggle to find time to fit self care into your life, or you struggle finding ways to practice self care, I really think you should give this self care subscription box a try. To check it out, you can go to the I Care Crate website, or check her out on instagram! If you want to try the box out, I am going to be hosting a giveaway over on the gram this week, so make sure you head to instagram and enter to win a free box!
So what are some other ways to practice self care?
In case you’re still wondering about how you can practice self care in your day to day life, I’ve created this list with a ton of ways you can fit self care into your day.
- Keep a gratitude log. Whether you do this in your head, on your phone, or on a piece of paper, try being mindful of the things you are grateful for that day. This is something I have started implementing in my life the past few weeks, and it really helps me see the bright side of each day.
- Move your body. I’m still working on this one, but when I do manage to complete a work out, I always feel much better about myself. If you aren’t into working out try stretching, practicing yoga, having a dance party, or just going for a short walk!
- Cook something. Even if it isn’t healthy, cooking can be a stress reliever in and of itself. Cooking up a new fun dish is my favorite form of self care. I love using pinterest recipes to try and up my game!
- Build a skin care routine. Or just use a face mask. I think the repetition of my nightly skin care routine is very calming, and it feels like I’m doing good things for my skin. If that is too much for you, just try using a face mask every once in a while! Something about face masks (my fav are the freeman’s brand) really makes me feel calm.
- Connect with someone. Have you been neglecting a friendship? Missing someone in particular? Take a moment out of your day to send them a message, a text, a postcard, or a letter. It can make you (and someone else) feel much better when you take a moment to reconnect.
- Practice something you love. For me, that is cooking. For others, this might be painting, knitting, lettering, writing, playing an instrument, or any other skill! We often neglect things we don’t see as absolutely essential, and taking some time to practice those things we love can bring clarity and happiness.
- Speak kindly to yourself. It may sound silly, but this is one of the fastest ways to practice self care. Pay your self a compliment. Say it out loud, and take a moment to know that it is true. After you compliment yourself, you may even want to compliment someone else! Spread that self love!
- Try something new. Sometimes taking a step out of your comfort zone and trying something new can shake you out of a funk. I like to try new restaurants or paint my nails. Sometimes when I feel really out of it, I will dye my hair!
- Eat something healthy. Sometimes it’s noticeable when I haven’t been fueling my body right at all. When I first got back from study abroad, I was eating out every single day (I missed American food okay?). After a week or so of that, not only was my wallet a lot lighter, but I was having headaches, my skin was crazy messed up, and I was lethargic. I have been making an effort ever since to make healthier choices and eat out much less.
- Laugh. Call a friend, watch a comedy special, listen to a podcast, read a comic, the list goes on. Do something to make you giggle. Or even better, a full body laugh. Laughing is a sure fire way to make you feel better, so try to laugh a little today.
- Read a book. If you prefer, just re-read an old favorite. I find that getting lost in the pages of a good book can really cure any ill.
- Take yourself out on a date. Who needs a significant other? Plan yourself the date of a lifetime. Make a picnic, see a movie you’ve been dying to see, go to the zoo, or find another date activity! Have fun on your self love adventure!
- Take a bath. I’m not a big bath person, but sometimes I do love to just relax in the hot water. A bath is always a great way to unwind.
- Chug some water! Self care can sometimes mean just literally taking care of yourself. So many people (including me) can often go way too long without drinking water. Water does so many great things for our bodies, so stay hydrated!
- Take a break. Step away from social media, electronics, and everything else for a little while today. Even if only for 5 minutes, unplugging can help you recenter and find clarity.
- Treat yourself! Although I talked about how I have tried to cut back a little on the treat yourself mindset, you can still do it to a certain degree! Buying yourself a coffee or just letting yourself have something you usually avoid can help with self care.
- Write down everything you’ve accomplished. From little to big, remind yourself of all the amazing things you have done so far. Maybe you’ve had an off day, or an off year, but you have still done so many great things in life. Don’t forget about those!
- Create a safe, comfortable space. Light a candle, find some blankets, and get comfortable. Even if you’re having a bad day, you will have somewhere pleasant to come home to.
- Pet an animal. There is something about hanging out with a pet that just makes me happy. If you don’t have your own pets (or your cats are antisocial like mine), maybe volunteer at an animal shelter, or visit someone with pets! Animals don’t judge or make mean comments. Animals just love.
- Get outdoors. Try stepping out of your home, office, car, wherever you are, and just breathe in the clean air. If you’re in a city, try to find a park or some green space. Reconnect with nature and remember that there is beauty in the world.
How are you practicing self care?
I would love to know how you are practicing self care this week! Drop me a line in the comments about what you’re going to be trying from the above list! If you want to read more about my mental health journey during college, read my college real talk post about dealing with loneliness and anxiety!