Hey guys, I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA. I’ve been writing dozens and dozens of blog posts for other websites and it’s really been taking a lot out of me. I’ve also been working freelance on top of my full-time job, so that gives me about 55 hours a week of sweat and tears. But I love it and am making good money, so I’m not complaining. I do wish I’d have the energy to write for Slow Boat Library more.
Although I’m grateful for these opportunities, I definitely have been stressed. I know a lot of other people are too. I have a lot of friends in school who are crunching for finals and others picking up slack at work while waiting for their companies to hire more staff.
Besides working 55 hours a week, I have a social life to maintain. Even though that is technically optional, I really prioritize it because I love my friends and genuinely want to spend time with them. They make me happy.
One thing I’ve had to really remind myself to do is to self-care. Everyone should do this at least once a week; do something just for you, take time for yourself. You can do this in different ways, based on your interests and what calms you down. The most important thing to remember is this isn’t a one-time thing. In order for self-care to do its job, it needs to be on-going; something you dedicate time, effort, and commitment to.
As my return to regular posting here, I thought I’d list of my favorite self-care practices and tips to get the gears turning and hopefully inspire some of you to do this as well. Here are what I’ve found to be some of the best ways to self-care!
Join Class Pass
Class Pass is a program that you pay for monthly and gives you access to a ton of studios and classes all over the country. Me, I go to spin class with my mom, and do yoga, boxing, and dance at least once a week. I even had cupping therapy last week, which made my back look like an Italian deli.
It doesn’t seem like much, but the membership forces you to get your money’s worth. Getting your heart rate up as often as possible is great for both your mental and your physical health.
Make a Happy Memories Jar
My friend, Jessie, showed me this. Basically, you decorate a cute little mason jar and pre-cut little strips of colorful paper. Then when something nice happens to you, you write it down on a paper with the date and put it in the jar. It can be stuff like, “[Insert name] gifted me a book because they thought I’d like it,” or “I played with my little cousin all day and we planted flowers.” It’s up to you what you put in there! Then, when you’re feeling sad or after a set amount of time (like the end of the year) you empty it, read the slips, and remember all the nice, happy things that happened to you.
I, personally, am not as active with my Happy Memories Jar as Jessie is, but I do write in a notebook version of it. Every night, I write a short blurb of something nice that happened to me that day and I like to leaf through it when I need a pick-me-up.
Write a To-Do List
This is a good one because it holds you accountable for something. The goal is to make a list of all the cool things that you’ve been wanting to do and make a genuine effort to do them when the opportunity arises and to prioritize it. Some of the things on my list include going roller-skating at a rink downtown with friends, sky-diving, getting a specific tattoo, spending a weekend in Mexico, and going to Disneyland with my little sister.
But it’s also good to have a to-do list of errands to run because feeling productive is good for your heart and mind as well. No one likes the feeling of knowing we’re procrastinating on picking up a prescription or the dry cleaning. Being able to see that you’re actually getting things done makes you feel good about yourself. Also, if you struggle with justifying treating yourself with self-care, it can be a good way to feel like you’ve earned the reward.
Make Cleaning a Habit
A clean room is a clean mind. When you have clothes strewn all over your floor, plates and cups on your dresser, and dirty sheets, it nags at you. Every Sunday, I do all my laundry, vacuum, pick up my room, and clean/disinfect my bathroom. I’ll even open the windows to let so fresh air in and light a candle. It’s so refreshing and sets the scene for the whole week.
Whether it be a novel, poetry, articles, or a satirical news story, try to read for at least 30 minutes a day. Right now I’m reading the book Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay and I regularly read articles on history and space. It’s a good way to take a break from your screens and just get lost in your thoughts.
Stretch in the Morning or Before Bed
Spend ten minutes in the morning or night just stretching out your muscles and focusing on your breathing. It relaxes your body and soul and it’s like hitting a reset button. Try not to think of anything, just go about the motions of stretching and give your mind a break.
Get Some Sleep
This ties into the one above. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get enough sleep. Eight hours is the recommended average but some people are totally fine with a solid six and other’s (like myself) need at least ten hours to feel truly refreshed. If you end up only getting six hours of sleep on a Tuesday, due to a Netflix binge-sesh or a bit too much wine at your best friend’s house, don’t beat yourself up. Let it happen. Everything is good in moderation and we’re allowed to stray a little off-track sometimes.
Cut Out Unhealthy Foods
This is a good one! Cut out anything that makes you feel crappy or sluggish and switch to healthier alternatives. Obviously, you don’t want to torture yourself, so if you genuinely do not like broccoli, don’t eat it just because it’s healthy. Also, remember to indulge every once in a while, in the same way you would let yourself stay up late on a week night. Whether your comfort food be a burger or an entire pint of rocky road ice cream, treat yourself when you need a little extra love.
Do Some Retail Therapy
This has been my thing lately. I definitely went through a bout of depression and I found that heading over to Madewell, Urban Outfitters, or Barnes and Nobel and splurging really makes me feel better. Wearing my cute new top or rocking my shiny boots the next day adds quite the boost of confidence. I have, however, had to keep myself in check because in the past it’s become compulsive, so I leave retail therapy for when I’m especially stressed.
Enjoy Your Breakfast
A lot of us (myself included) tend to rush past breakfast or skip it entirely. Most mornings I only have a yogurt, a piece of toast, or a banana. But everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That’s why I try to wake up thirty minutes early at least three times a week and make a nice breakfast. I usually go for a nice big omelet with spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, chicken, and a ton of spices and it is truly a great way to start your day.
It’s also super fun to get brunch on the weekends. My mom and I like to go to this local organic restaurant, GoodOnYa. It’s a nice time to catch up and spend some quality time together over a breakfast burrito and a CBD kombucha. My friends and I do this pretty often too! Life get’s pretty busy, especially during the work week, so this is a big necessity for me, personally.
Plan A Family Dinner
This branches off from the one above and, of course, some people aren’t close with their family or don’t particularly enjoy spending time with them. If this is you, make it a dinner with friends. Either way, try to make plans to have a family or friend dinner every once in a while. My family tries to do this at least once a month, but this includes about fifteen of us.
Smaller Self-Care Tips
- Write in your journal as often as possible. It helps to organize your thoughts and acknowledge your feelings.
- At-home spa day. My whole thing is taking an epsom salt bath with some lavender essentially oil and playing some smooth jazz on my speaker.
- Take a nap.
- Call an old friend.
- Buy plants for your home and keep them alive.
- Play with your pet (if you have one.)
- Stay off your phone and computer for at least an hour.
- Take a leisurely stroll.
- Go dancing.
- Do the whole face routine. Cleanse, tone, face mask, moisturize, etc.
Above all, just recognize that you deserve to have some fun!
Again, there’s no right way to self-care. Everybody does it differently and it’s okay if you have to trial and error to find what really brings you joy. Either way, make time for yourself and try to enjoy life.