The term “self-care” is thrown around pretty freely nowadays, but I have well and truly jumped on that bandwagon, and I have no regrets.
For the longest time, I felt like my value as a person relied on me being constantly busy, constantly moving, constantly so stressed I was always on the edge of tears. I felt like if I wasn’t imminently about to have a nervous breakdown from working so hard, I wasn’t trying hard enough, and I wasn’t valuable as a person.
Since gaining access to the appropriate therapy, and after many, many hours of appointments with an amazing Community Psychiatric Nurse, I’ve finally started to realise that my worth is not based on my productivity. Yes, it’s great to be productive, and I do enjoy it, but not when it comes at the cost of my mental and physical health.
So I’ve started paying more attention to how I’m doing, and recognising when I need to take a step back and give myself some TLC in the form of self-care. I’ve also been experimenting with different types of self-care based on my specific needs at the time. Do I feel creatively starved? Do I feel exhausted? Do I feel stressed and overwhelmed? I use this information to decide on a self-care plan that meets my needs.
A huge part of self-care for me is about feeling cosy. I won’t go into specific details, but some of my mental health issues come from a place of feeling like the world is very unsafe and scary, so I’ve started trying to use calming, cosy self-care techniques to self-soothe and make me feel safe. This is in stark contrast to the paranoid holing-up/isolating I was doing before, which wasn’t really helping me in the long run. By taking part in this self-soothing self-care, I’m acknowledging my emotions, and being kind to myself about them, without stewing on them and winding myself up even further.
The stigma around taking care of ourselves is slowly starting to shift. However, whilst many of us know that we should be partaking in more self-care, it can often be difficult to think of something to do that isn’t “have a bath”… and there are only so many baths a person can take!
I’ve put together a list of 31 ideas for 31 days of self-care. Items on the list vary from small ideas that you can incorporate into your normal daily life, whereas others require a little bit more attention, but I promise you, they’re worth it!
If you come across an idea that you don’t like, that’s absolutely fine! But make sure you exchange it with another idea (repeat one from elsewhere in the list if necessary) and don’t skip a day. You are making a commitment to love yourself!
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- Sort through your wardrobe. Throw out or donate anything that doesn’t make you feel good when you wear it.
- Read a few pages of that book you’ve been wanting to start for ages.
- Adult colouring. Yes, I know, it’s everywhere, but that’s because it’s super relaxing and makes you feel creative at the same time. Plus, if you get into “sweary colouring“, it can also be a great laugh!
- Look at the stars for two full minutes. Contemplate the vastness of space and how beautiful the universe is.
- Buy yourself some flowers. Display them prominently in your house.
- Have a no-self-criticism day. Any time you catch yourself thinking a negative thought about yourself, counter it with something positive. For example, “I’m too clingy” becomes “I am a passionate and caring friend”.
- Write yourself a poem. Treat yourself like a valentine.
- Create a vision board. Think about your hopes and dreams and create a collage of them. Be extravagant – don’t hold back. Manifest your dream house, your dream job, your dream partner. Don’t restrict anything by saying “I couldn’t do that” or “I don’t deserve that”.
- Watch a cheesy film.
- Deep condition your hair. Leave it for the right amount of time. Hey, even throw on a face mask while you’re waiting. Don’t rush it. Indulge in the relaxation time.
- Buy yourself some cosy pyjamas and have a pyjama day. By pyjama day, I don’t mean stay in the pyjamas in which you slept. I mean get up, have a shower, then change into your new, fresh pyjamas, and have a cosy day in.
- Listen to some ASMR. Whatever your ASMR trigger is, listen to at least one full video. Whether it’s the sound of rain against the window, tapping, whispering, or even latex gloves, allow yourself to be fully absorbed into the sounds.
- Have a mini dance party by yourself. Close the curtains (or don’t, whatever you want!), put on some upbeat music, and dance around your living room.
- Binge-watch a box set.
- Start a bullet journal. Set up a mood-tracker, write down your goals, create a meal plan, record your dreams – include whatever you want.
- Start learning something new. If you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, hop on Duolingo and learn a few phrases. If you want to learn how to bake, choose a simple recipe on Pinterest, and have a go!
- Unplug for one hour. Switch off your phone, close your laptop, and go “off-the-grid” for one hour.
- Do some low-energy decluttering. Physical decluttering can help with mental and emotional decluttering.
- Listen to a guided meditation.
- Write a letter to your younger self. Forgive yourself for past mistakes. Comfort your younger self and tell them how loved they are.
- Sing. Choose a song that will help you express your current emotions. If you’re feeling angry, choose a belter. If you’re feeling happy, sing some cheesy 90s pop.
- Connect with nature. If you’re not in a position to go for a hike in the forest or climb a mountain, then go outside and stand barefoot in the grass, or stop and smell some flowers.
- Write down your worries, then tear them up. Visualise your worries being destroyed by the physical act of tearing up the paper.
- Buy a houseplant. Nurture it.
- Put fresh sheets on your bed. Remember to take a shower and put on fresh pyjamas before you get in – there is honestly no better feeling.
- Cleanse your social media accounts. Unfriend/unfollow people if seeing their updates makes you feel bad about yourself. Keep your social media a safe place for you.
- Cleanse your phone contacts. Same as above, but delete the phone numbers of people who you no longer speak to/no longer have any desire to speak to. Don’t hold onto them. Free yourself.
- Cuddle your pet. Spend some time with them, doing nothing else but giving them fuss. It’s relaxing for them and for you.
- Scribble down all the swear words you can think of. This is a great one for getting rid of tension and stress – it starts off serious, but then turns funny as your swear words get more creative.
- Treat yourself to your favourite drink at a coffee shop/cafe, and people-watch for a while. Watch the world go by.
- Write a list of reasons why you love yourself. What personality traits do you love about yourself? What are you really good at? Keep the list somewhere easily visible (above your desk, next to your bed, in the kitchen – wherever you will see it the most often).
What do you think of these self-care ideas? Have you tried any of them before? If you try my challenge (or part of it), let me know in the comments!