Things have been a little on the stressful side recently, and those who follow the blog regularly may notice that I haven’t posted much of my own content. With wedding planning, a biopsy followed by stitches (everything is fine and all-clear thank goodness, but it was a little worrying at the time), a truly horrific day of supply teaching (without being melodramatic, I think it was the worst day in over eleven years of working in schools that I’ve ever had) and the general daily tasks that needed completing there has been more than a few occasions where I have found myself a little overwhelmed.
In an attempt to try and overcome the anxiety and general cloudiness that fills me whenever I reach certain panic levels, I have actively indulged in self care – any voluntary activity that helps to maintain my mental, physical and emotional health. This isn’t just ‘hygge’ – they have involved numerous things that I enjoy simply because they make me feel better and I have taken the time to be mindful of them as I am doing it.
Here’s a list of self care ideas that can help when things get tough (or you just want to boost your spirits and motivation):
1. Commit some time, however small, to ‘me time.’
2. Drink lots of water.
3. Get creative. For me, it has been producing flat lay photographs, one of which you can see as the image for this post. I had lots of fun planning out and buying inexpensive props, designing different themes and layouts and then trying out different angles and lightning to see what was effective. However, it doesn’t have to be photography – draw, paint, doodle, sew, knit, create a mood board, colour in an adult colouring book – anything that fills your creative soul…
4. Start the day with positive affirmations.
5. Have a long hot soak in the bath. Use bubble bath, face mask, hair mask, relaxing music.
6. Read a book. I have a list of go-to books that I’ve read so many times that the spines are falling apart, and I read them again because I enjoy them. Some make me smile, some are motivational and some are just beautifully written.
7. Exercise. My stitches prevented me from moving as much as I would have liked, but now I can move again I am going to get back to The Fitness Marshall’s exercise videos on YouTube. The Bloke and I went for a walk the other evening, and did a lengthy walk round town last weekend. Run, walk, hike, cycle, swim, go to the gym, do some yoga – anything to get the heart pumping.
8. Write. Write a blog post, send a card or letter. Create a bullet journal.
9. Take a nap. An hour’s sleep has been instrumental at times for my motivation later in the day.
10. Ring someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
11. Meet a friend for a drink/lunch/chat. I did all three, and it was nice to catch up.
12. Watch an uplifting film or TV show.
13. Go to a cafe with your favourite book or magazine. Order your favourite beverage and relax.
14. Spend some time playing with your pet – good for them and good for you too!
15. Create a playlist of your favourite music.
16. Plan and cook a healthy meal.
18. Do some gardening. Plant a tree. Start a vegetable patch or grow some window boxes. Create a spot for local wildlife.
19. Focus on your spirituality. Meditate. Relax and focus on your breathing. Pray. Go to church.
20. On a beautiful day get some fresh air. Go to the park, take a blanket and just sit. People watch. Take a small picnic.
22. Indulge in some beauty pampering. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure. Try out some new make-up techniques by watching some fabulous YouTube tutorials: Nikkie Tutorials is my favourite.
23. Create a bucket list.
24. Stay in your PJ’s… all day!
25. Be a tourist in your own town or nearest city. Visit an art gallery, museum, explore the shops that you’ve never been to before.
26. Go to your local library (if you’re lucky enough to still have one).
27. Sing and/or dance. Go to karaoke or attend dance lessons. Or, just do it when you’re on your own at home.
28. Tidy up a safe space, grab a comfortable blanket, light a scented candle and put on some fluffy socks.
29. Put away the technology (including your phone), even if it is just for an hour.
30. Create a collection of your favourite inspirational quotes.
31. Treat yourself to a luxury chocolate bar – dark chocolate is usually better for your health.
32. Cry. A good cry always makes me feel better.
33. Travel. Visit the beach, or go camping. Research the best deals on a small city break.
34. Do something good for someone else. Donate things to charity shops or give food to a food bank. Volunteer your time at an animal shelter.
35. Create care packages for the homeless.
36. Invite your favourite people round for the evening. Host a barbecue or informal dinner party. Play board or card games.
37. Call a therapist. I have. It helps.
38. Actively be nice to everyone you meet, even if they don’t reciprocate. Smile, even when you don’t feel like it.
39. Watch your favourite YouTube videos. I often find myself watching inspiring videos from Ellen, or proposal or pregnancy announcement videos. Of course, that always leads to funny cat videos too.
40. Organise. Organise your finances, or create a meal plan. Organise your paperwork, or delete your emails. I often find therapy in organising my digital photographs into folders.
41. Indulge in some Hygge. It’s one of my favourite ways to spend the day.
42. Learn something new.
43. Bake. Make a beautiful cake, loaf of bread, brownies or cupcakes. My favourite recipe is the one I use for Nutella Brownie Cake. Yum.
44. Buy a beautiful bunch of flowers for your favourite room.
45. Make a list of things to do and tick them off when you have completed them.
What about you guys? What are your favourite ways to practice self care when you’re feeling low?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to follow my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks