I love bath bombs and scented candles as much as the next person. Throw a spa day my way and I’m in my element. Whilst these things totally do count as self-care, they’re very much the cherry-on-the-icing of the looking-after-yourself cake. Easy to forget in our glamourised social media worlds of #selfcare.
In reality, the most mundane, boring, daily activities can be our biggest acts of self-care. The solid foundations that allow us to nurture and appreciate our mental well-being.
Of course some days are easier than others, even when it comes to the most basic tasks.
Depending on our mental and physical health, the things we have going on at home or work, finances, or time constraints, some things on this seemingly simple list may even feel impossible. Other days we could sail through them all (and even have time to post our facemask selfies on Instagram too).
This is a self-care checklist for everyday, something to aim towards to ensure our infrastructure is at its strongest.
Luxuriate in the bath with your fanciest bubbles or grab a wet wipe for a quick freshen up. Taking care of ourselves, investing in our bodies in even this small way, is a super act of self-care. I’m a huge fan of an evening shower to wash away the day’s ups and downs and to take a few minutes to myself once the kids are in bed - clean and calm for the win!
Stretch in your chair. Do a lap of the garden. Try yoga or pilates. Run, swim or head to the gym. Find a way to move that is manageable and that you enjoy. We all know the benefits of exercise, but even a small amount of movement can shake off the cobwebs and improve your mindset. There are some great 5 minute yoga stretches on YouTube if you need a speedy solution (search ‘yoga with adriene’).
We all have to eat but often it gets pushed to the end of the to-do list. Breakfast is skipped as we rush out the door, lunch is whatever we can grab to eat at our desks…
Practice self-care by keeping some healthy snacks at hand, choose mood-boosting foods, plan where you can, and try your best to eat a balanced diet.
Left to my own devices my three main food groups would be chocolate, toast and coffee… but I know how much better I feel when I make the effort to eat proper, nutritional meals. Batch cooking, subscription boxes or sharing the responsibility of meal making could all be great ways to eat a little better if you’re stuck in a rut.
Not coffee. Aim to keep yourself hydrated with lots of water, grab yourself some flavourings or squash if you struggle to get enough H2O. If you’re feeling super fancy, TK Maxx always stock those clever bottles that you can use for fruit infusions. Or my favourite; sparkling water - not because I’m posh, but because my Diet Coke addiction means I find anything more palatable if it has a little fizz! Treat yourself like your favourite houseplant and keep your water levels topped up to keep you bright and blooming.
Rest is so important. I’m so strict with my kids, early bedtimes, routine nap times. I’ve seen the effects of sleep deprivation and how emotional and crabby they become.
Do I always apply this same care to myself? Nope.
But I should.
Sleeping can sometimes be easier said than done, but a good routine ~ no phones in the bedroom, reading a book, no caffeine in the afternoon, putting ourselves to bed at a sensible time ~ is the adult equivalent of being tucked in and read a bedtime story. These acts of self-care give us the best chance at relaxing and grabbing those all important ZZZZs. If you can, take naps too. Recognise when you need to recharge and allow yourself the time to recuperate and for your body to recover.
Disclaimer: I know how kids are pre-programmed to be slightly nocturnal but if you can get some good sleep habits in place you might find yourself a little more rested even faced with the tiny night owls we call children!
Keep this list in mind and tick off what you can, when you can. There’s still room for spa days but the simple self-care matters too.