Self-care can feel unattainable, expensive, and like a fad that you just don’t have enough time for.
Yet all of us need to look after ourselves, and despite what the glossy ads and Instagram posts would have us believe, self-care includes the most basic of tasks. And the best thing is, many of them are free and can be implemented into even the busiest of days.
Here are five ways you can get your daily dose of self-care (with not a scented candle or face mask in sight):
No phone zone
It’s all too tempting to begin the morning scrolling through social media, checking emails and getting your brain racing before your feet have even touched the floor. I’m as attached to my phone as the next person, but starting some mornings away from the screen, delaying the influx of information and having a more mindful start can leave you less frantic and more relaxed for the rest of the day.
I’m a self-confessed people pleaser so I know that this one can take a bit of practice! It’s all too easy to take on too much in an effort to keep everyone happy. But then the to-do list spirals out of control, you get run down, and before you know it, there’s no room for looking after yourself.
It might feel as though you’re letting people down, but it’s vital to make sure you value your time and health.
Go for a stroll in the park, have a cup of coffee sitting in the garden, walk or ride your bike instead of driving to work. There are lots of opportunities to get moving a little more and to enjoy some fresh air, all of which can improve your mood and add a bit more “me” time into our overloaded lives.
Ask for help
Hands up if you hate admitting you need help! Something in me fights hard against asking for assistance. There’s the loss of control, the panic at looking like I don’t have it together, the stress at articulating my need for a helping hand. Yet, what’s actually worse than all of these things is struggling on without help, feeling swamped, and continually running on empty.
Ask for what you need, let people in, and allow them to support you. Sometimes self-care means accepting we can’t do it all, and that is totally 100% okay.
It’s so tempting to stay up watching just one more episode on Netflix, or to quickly check your notifications before bed—and then still be wide awake an hour later. Of course, technology isn’t the only sleep-stealer—children have a knack for becoming nocturnal as soon as they sense you’ve got your pajamas on. But sleep is so important for physical and mental wellbeing. It’s a great way to look after yourself a little more. Note the things that are in your control and create a good bedtime routine to give you the very best chance of getting a good night’s rest. No screens before bed, reading to relax before you settle down for the night, using aromatherapy balms or pillow sprays, and aiming for an early bedtime can all help.
Self-care isn’t just for other people, or selfish, or a trendy hashtag. It’s making sure to acknowledge that our mental health matters. It’s lots of little things we can all try and do to implement positive changes, whatever our resources—one small win at a time.
Stacie Swift is an illustrator, coffee drinker and mum. Focusing on positivity, self-care, and mental wellbeing, Stacie’s illustrations are a colorful combination of hand-drawn images and type. You can learn more about her work here.