Hello dear friends!
Recently, I was thinking back to last year, when I was invited to be the “artist in residence” at my local library and teach a class on winter wellness and self-care. It was such a great experience (thank you Maria, and everyone at Anythink!!), and I got to work with a great group of people, talking about what self-care means and how we can incorporate it into our lives.
One of the topics I got to address was the pervasive limited portrayal of “self-care” in the media...one of my biggest pet peeves.
Let’s be honest, here. When we search for things related to self-care, what do we see? Largely, we read about, or see images of, people who are: white, female, cisgendered, able bodied, middle to upper class, etc...and I think this narrow depiction (whether intentional or not) has created a rift when it comes to self-care. Too many people think of self-care as expensive, frivolous, or not accessible to them. They see lists of self-care ideas that are a hassle, things that are outside their budget, and things that they may not be mentally or physically capable of doing. WTF, am I right?
One of the messages I try to put out into the world is: self-care is for EVERYONE. It doesn’t need to be a big production. It doesn’t need to cost a lot. And it definitely doesn’t need to push you beyond your physical, psychological, or financial limits. The real kicker, in my opinion, behind our culture’s incomplete portrayal of self-care practices, is that it leaves out the individuals that arguably need self-care the most! Those of us who are “outside the norm,” or belong to any marginalized population, are especially in need of ways to nourish our bodies, minds, and spirits. Self-care isn’t just for wealthy white ladies; people of color, men and boys, disabled people, LGBTQ people, people of all races/religions/backgrounds need it too.
*steps off soapbox*
This is not to say that special splurges don’t count as self-care at times. If you really want that massage or manicure, go for it! But let’s all stop pretending that those largely inaccessible activities are the pinnacle of self-care. I wanted to give the people in my class some ideas for ways to take good care of themselves that were easy, inexpensive, and hassle-free. So I created a list of 23 easy peasy self-care ideas, and handed them out to everyone. I’ve got them printed out and tacked up on my refrigerator, cuz hey, let’s be honest, even us coaches need reminders sometimes!
I thought I would put that list/handout into a blog format too, so here we are.
Want the printable for free? Keep scrolling!
Without further ado, here are 23 ideas for easy peasy self-care:
1. Do 1 minute of mindful breathing
Count a few cycles of breath, paying attention to the sensation of the air passing in and out of your lungs. Do this in the car, in your office bathroom, in line at the store...wherever you can!
2. Snuggle or play with a pet
Our animals are incredibly therapeutic, so if you have a cuddle buddy, take advantage of them! Even just 5 minutes of fetch with River, and I’m in a much better mood.
3. Watch a funny or inspirational video
There are countless awesome videos online, and there’s no shame in watching them. Check out some epic rap battles, SNL skits, cute animals...whatever strikes your fancy.
4. Wash your hair
Sometimes, just getting clean can make a world of difference, especially for our mental health. Grab some non-toxic shampoo and take extra time to massage your scalp.
5. Turn off your phone for 1 hour
The digital world can be quite stressful and draining, so why not remove the access for a little time-out? Turn off your phone, hide it in a drawer, and practice some radical presence!
6. Take a hot bubble bath
There’s nothing quite like soaking in some warm, soapy water to set your mood right again. If you have access to a bathtub, use it! If you don’t, fill up a bucket and do a foot soak instead.
7. Meditate for 5-10 minutes
8. Apply a facial mask
One way to get some “luxury” pampering at home is with a face mask! You can make these yourself with just a few ingredients, or pick up a safe, natural brand at the store.
9. Take a silent walk in nature
The wilderness can soothe and refresh your spirit like nothing else. Leave your phone and music behind, and stroll through your local park or outdoor recreation area.
10. Say “no” to an invitation
We’re collectively overburdened and overscheduled, and it’s hurting our health. Saying “no” can be one of the best ways to care for yourself.
You control the influences you allow into your life, so take stock of all the people/pages you follow online. Opt out of the negativity with a few simple clicks.
12. Make a healthy smoothie
Eating healthy is hard sometimes, so why not just throw a bunch of stuff in a blender? Grab some fruit, coconut milk or water, maybe a little superfood, and done. No cooking, and minimal mess.
13. Declutter a drawer or shelf
Our physical environment greatly affects our wellbeing, for better or for worse. Set a timer for 20-25 minutes, and tackle a cluttered shelf or drawer.
14. Moisturize your skin
15. Take a power nap
Sometimes, we just need some rest, and that’s nothing to feel guilty about. Snuggle up in your blankets, close your shades, and doze off for a while. Bonus points for nature sounds or other calming music in the background.
16. Write in your gratitude journal
It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you realize all the things that are going well in your life. Take five minutes to jot down everything you’re grateful for, or things that made you smile today.
17. Light your favorite candle
Self-care can be that simple. Light up a pretty candle, or one that smells really nice, and bask in the soothing glow for a while. Or maybe do a candle flame meditation!
18. Make a fresh cup of tea or coffee
A steaming cup of fragrant herbal tea is such a nice pick-me-up any time of the day or evening. Or if you haven’t given up coffee yet, put down the stale stuff and brew a fresh cup.
19. Go to bed an hour earlier
Most of us are chronically sleep-deprived, so why not bump up your bedtime tonight? You’ll still be able to wake up on time tomorrow, but your body and mind will savor the extra rest.
20. Clean off your computer desktop
Visual clutter can make you feel anxious, even if you don’t realize it. Take 10 minutes to organize the files on your desktop- delete old junk, and put everything else in folders.
21. Call or text a loved one
Reaching out to someone you care about can lift your mood, even if it’s only a few minutes of exchange. Send a friend a funny gif, call your grandma, or text a hello to a loved one.
22. Do 10 minutes of easy yoga
The combination of mindful movement and breathing is stellar for self-care. Find poses you can do from your home or office, or follow a free online video. Yoga With Adriene is my personal fave.
23. Get a little fresh air/sunshine
We spend WAY too much time inside, breathing recycled air, under artificial lights. Take a few minutes to sit, stand, stretch, or walk around outdoors, and get the blood pumping again.
Obviously, these self-care ideas are just the beginning, but I wanted to share them with you!
So, tell me, friends...what does your self-care look like? What are some of your easy, affordable, and accessible self-care ideas? Tell me in the comments!
Lots of hugs to you all, and as always…
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~
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