Self-care activities are supposed to make you feel happier, right?! If you, “Soak in a rose-petal-filled bath completely surrounded by candles,” or “Book into a hotel with the husband for the night,” or, “Spend an afternoon re-organising the wardrobe, throwing out things that no longer fit,” you’re supposed to feel lighter and happier and re-energised.
Don’t get us wrong. These lists are very-necessary reminders of how important it is to look after yourself. And on the whole, the activities sound great… I mean who wouldn’t want a night off from the kids?
It’s just that quite often the activities suggested are things you can’t do right away. They require planning, a whole chunk of time and aren’t generally things you can do regularly. So you read the list and think, ‘yes, that would be nice,‘ then do nothing about it.
And so you keep running on caffeine fumes. You flop into bed each night, yet again hoping that tomorrow will be the day you manage to do something you love – even if only for a few minutes – to add some sparkle to your life.
So… we’ve come up with a list of activities to help you do just that. Things that can help you find your happy place, fill your cup, put the spring back in your step.
The more complicated something is, the less likely you’ll keep going with it. Which is why we believe the best self-care activities are quick and easy and should make you feel better from the inside out, rather than the other way around.
1. Have a dance party for one. Turn up the tunes and dance your little heart out, Bey. Bonus points if you create your own dancefloor and sing along too.
2. Set a timer for 10 mins and simply lie down – no phone, no tv, no books. Just lie there. Some days this is not as simple as it seems. Can you last 10 minutes?
3. Decline some invitations. Say ‘no’ to those things you don’t want attend but felt compelled to say “yes to” anyway. Coffee with that old friend who only ever complains about things. The birthday party for that long-lost relative you’re not close to, which happens to be scheduled for the exact time your little one normally naps. Nike didn’t always get it right. DON’T DO IT… start saying no to things.
4. Send out some love bombs. Think some happy thoughts and ‘send them’ to people through the air. You don’t even have to ‘love bomb’ people you know. You could send a “have a good day” love bomb to the lady who’s crankily served your coffee this morning.
You may dismiss this idea thinking it’s not actually doing anything. Just try it. Send out 5 love bombs a day for a whole week and see if you feel any different. Let us know how you go! (Tim Ferris suggests this in his book, ‘Tools of Titans’ although we’re not sure he called them ‘love bombs’.)
5. Spend time with people who make your heart sing. Yep, you know the ones. The people who you are completely yourself around. The ones who cheer you on when things are great and the ones who are there to support you when times are tough. The people who make you happy, as soon as you’re around them. Give them a call or send them a message. Go hang out with those amazing people.
6. Feed yourself something your body wants to eat – with no guilt. A treat shouldn’t come with a hangover about how much sugar you just consumed. Eat mindfully, but for pleasure.
7. Do something your future-self will thank you for. It could be as important as booking in that overdue visit to your GP for a check-up, or as simple as making yourself a nutritious smoothie bowl.
Self care is not always about the here and now. Current self may want to spend your Friday night up late, just scrollin’ in your homey. Future-self may regret that decision come tomorrow, when you’re struggling to get yourself out of bed.
8. Don’t apologise for things you don’t need to. Replying to an email a day later, in most cases does not require an apology. Neither does not immediately replying to a text. Stop apologising for simply going about your day. There’s nothing to be sorry for, lady!
9. Appreciate the beauty all around you. Go sit near the flowers in your garden, or bring some inside. If flowers make you smile, just having them around you more is an easy way to create little spaces of happiness.
10. Have a picnic or eat your lunch in a different spot, near the sunny window. Make a point of actually preparing yourself lunch, rather than just eating left overs from the kid’s sandwiches. And whilst we’re on that, you prepare your kid’s lunches so why don’t you prepare your own lunch to take to work? Not stopping for lunch because you’re “too busy,” or eating things that don’t nourish just because, “it’s easy and quick” are easy habits to fall into. Let’s start looking after yourself the way you look after everyone else.
11. Indulge in some star gazing therapy – Simply stare up at the stars for 5 mins and think about how many people across the world are doing the same. It’s amazingly relaxing. It also has a weird way of making you feel really small yet important at the same time. Try it! (This is another Tim Ferris tip)
12. Move – walk, run, skip, ride – just move! It helps to arrange to do this with a friend though – as it increases the chances you won’t back out. Plus, it’s more fun to move if you can exchange tips on which Netflix series to watch next.
13. Treat yourself to a ‘PJ’ day. Put on some clean PJ’s and commit to spending a good portion of the day pottering around at home, resting (or at least NOT doing chores). And if you can’t manage a whole day or a few hours just, get dressed a little later and start the day off slowly. It feels AH-HA-mazing!
14. Spend 10 mins reading a book. It might be one you loved as a kid, or one you never quite find the time to dive into. A good book can take you to faraway places and help expand your imagination. It can be a great way to ‘get out of your own head’, without actually leaving it.
15. Write down the things you love about yourself. It might be things you’re good at or things you’ve achieved that you’re most proud of. We tend to look back and think about the things we could’ve done better, but instead let’s look back and celebrate who we are. It’s way more fun!
16. Spend time journaling or writing in a gratitude diary. When you’re actively looking for the good, suddenly more of it appears.
Yes, we know this sounds woo-woo and at first, we avoided it – thinking it was only something that worked for Oprah. Turns out she was on to something! Coming from a place of gratitude changes your entire world. It’s such a cliché, but it’s so G-damn true.
17. Create a vision board. Cut up some magazines, let your imagination run wild and create a collage of all the amazing things you’d like to have more of in your life. Kids LOVE this activity, so maybe suggest it as an option instead of having to play Power Rangers yet again #gogogluestick
Warning: Be prepared for new toys to suddenly appear in your home. The powers of manifestation are strong in the littlies (haha!)
18. Listen to a podcast – one that fires you up and gets you excited about something.
19. Get your creative on. Chances are there is something you loved to do as a kid that you just stopped doing because “you don’t have time,” “you weren’t ever going to become a pro,” “insert some other excuse here.” Sure, you might not ever win in an Archibald, but if painting makes your heart sing, that should be the only reason you need to get out those brushes. (Liz Gilbert talks about the power of being free to create in her book, “Big Magic.”)
20. Yep, and of course the last one is stretching your body with Yoga or Pilates. It’s something many of us put off in favour of a good old couch slouch. We guarantee you’ll feel so much better after a good stretch. Especially if you’ve got That Mat to cheer you. You got this, lady!
Let us know which ones help you find your happy place.
We’d love to know!