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10 Self Care Ideas

Photo of woman on yoga mat by KoolShooters

We all need to be kind to ourselves, ideally regularly. Yet, many of us have lost sight of how to do so. Are you looking for inspiration for how to be good to yourself? Here are 10 suggestions:

Physical contact is an important part of a healthy life. Much of the contact we have with other people involves talking, but touch is non-verbal and speaks to a deeper part of ourselves. Ask for a hug or hold hands with a loved one, or consider getting a massage.

Not everybody is comfortable being by themselves so this may be a challenge to you rather than an act of self-care (although, what are your thoughts on challenges to your comfort zone being self-care? Perhaps you'd like to journal your thoughts on that!), but if you can, taking time to be by yourself can be a great way to check in with yourself. It removes other people from the equasion so if you feel that you constantly have to be aware of others in your vicinity, solitude can give you a well-deserved break. Consider a hike in the countryside, a hermit day at home, or a solo shopping trip.

Meditation and Stillness
Whether this works for you or not may depend on your baseline for intensity in your life. Some people like a feeling of busyness or pressure. If the idea of being still and benefitting from that appeals to you, try meditating. Describing the process of meditation falls outside of the remit for this article, but Bristol is full of meditation leaders. Try a sound bath, either in person (prices tend to be around £20 for a 45 minute session as of 2023) or find one on Youtube and take time to listen to that while doing resting in a comfortable position.

Taking some time to groom yourself makes for an ideal act of self-care. It combines non-verbal, physical care with the concept of ritual; a ritual is a routine that takes time and follows a process to perform, and in a grooming session, that's time dedicated to you. People with longer hair might take the time to brush it out carefully. Others may tend to their nails. Have you moisteurised all over, lately, or used a face mask? Find an act of grooming that works for you, and have the materials ready at home for it.

Green Space
Human brains are built to find the colour green relaxing; it's why lush foliage looks so appealing to us. Consider taking yourself for a walk in your nearest leafy, grassy park. Alternatively, bring the green indoors by buying yourself a few house plants. If neither of those are an option (perhaps you're reading this in the depths of winter?), try spending a while searching social media for pictures of trees, leaves, moss, and anything else planty. Instagram and Pinterest are ideal for this. As a secondary positive effect, social media platforms are algorithms so will continue to show you that sort of imagery, at least for a while.

This is one to be mindful of. Feeding yourself well - lots of vegetables, not too much sugar or carbs, plenty of water, eating 3 times a day - are well-documented elsewhere, as is the practice of intuitive eating and just plain having a little of what you fancy. When was the last time you took pleasure in what you were eating? Do you give yourself something cold on hot days, or hot on cold days? Would trying something new feel like an act of self-care for you personally? What will be the setting for you eating? One of my most enjoyable meals was a box of chips on a concrete wall on Weston-Super-Mare beach while people-watching dog-walkers on a sunny day. I still get a glow from that memory several years later. The chips were worth their weight in gold, too. You may also want to explore palate-cleansers as a form of mindful eating!

I've said this under a few of the above headlines already, but the benefits of exercise are already well-documented elsewhere and fall beyond this article's brief. Check with your doctor that any given exercise is suitable for you. With those disclaimers out of the way, think about what you would like from exercise. Would you enjoy something gruelling, or gentle? Still, fast, or somewhere in between? Perhaps you'd benefit more from a run, or a walk with the dog around the park. Perhaps you'd prefer yoga over a round of squash. Does incorporating water make exercise a better fit for you, and how important is your environment to you? No matter what exercise you do, it will give you a feeling of structure to your day, and so long as you do not injure yourself, you will be doing your body good.

Investing in yourself is a fantastic way of caring for yourself. How much of it you do is very much up to you, but there are all sorts of ways to educate yourself. Reading a book or listening to an audiobook can dovetail well with having alone time, described above. A one-hour course of making sushi or paddleboarding dedicates time to you and leaves you feeling engaged and alive. Perhaps you have been considering going back to school, which is a more long-term act of self-care. What appeals to you?

Bonding Time
As a counterpoint to alone time, we all need some contact from time to time, and some of us need more than others. Catching up with friends or trusted family members can be wonderfully restorative. Time spent with strangers can be good bonding time too (see the above suggestion for short courses in Education).

Animal Contact
Depending on how animal-orientated you are, this may cross over somewhat with bonding time. The pet-owners among you are already getting routine animal contact, but what about something outside of the ordinary? Have you considered taking your dog for an unusual walk - when did they last visit the beach? How does your pet respond to you just holding them or being in their company without fulfilling the chores involved in caring for them? How do you feel after doing so?

I hope these give you some ideas. Enjoy your self-care and remember that the need for self-care is cyclical: it'll arise again, and soon. So try to make a habit of it!

Photo by KoolShooters from Pexels