This month on instagram, @sallyobermeder has been posting about “Self Care September”, which involves her doing something for herself each day. For those who don’t know Sally, she is a business owner, TV presenter, mum of 2, wife, sister and daughter, to name a few things. So we can safely assume she is busy, and not taking out time for herself on a daily basis.
We hear about self-care and self-love a lot, and it is definitely a buzz word as of late, but are we actually doing it? What are you doing for yourself? We can get really caught up in the rat race of everyday, and quickly forget to fill our tank with some self-love and self-care, and instead just focus on some far away event that may offer some relief. I am a big believer in self-care; like everyone reading this, I hold a number of different titles and want to make the most of my time. Everyone needs some time to recharge and reset, wherever they are in life – whether you are a busy Mum, at the start of a business, an under-pressure uni student, or even a combination of all of those things – take some time out to love yourself.
I’ve listed 7 things that I have personally found helpful – these are not meant to be a prescription for someone else, or even a suggestion that this is the ideal combination; rather, these are things that work for me.
1. At Home Yoga
This has been such an amazing discovery this year, despite being told about this over a year ago. Yoga with Adriene (find her here) has a YouTube channel with loads of yoga practice. I am definitely not a yogi, having been to maybe 20 classes in my life (and I’m probably being very generous in saying 20). This practice has worked for me because it can be done at any time (no travel time to the gym required and no rush to make it to a class time), it’s done totally solo (great when I need time away from others), and there are a huge range of videos to choose from (meaning I can choose one to aid sleep if I’m practising at 11pm). This has also helped me work towards my goal of daily movement, particularly on days where I finish work late, or just don’t feel very inspired to attend a gym class.
Now, for all the book purists who are ready to shun me, just hear me out. For those of us who are not sitting on a train to commute to work, and not reaching for a book each night before bed (I personally can do about 5 pages before my eyes grow heavy), it can be really difficult to get through a book. I still love a real book, I also have a Kobo (a type of e-reader), and have jumped on the Audible bandwagon about a year ago. For those who are in the car a lot, or busy in the home, running after little kids, Audible is a fantastic way of engaging in a book. The range of books available is huge and many of the narrators actually create an additional experience for the listener. You can sign up to a membership, where you receive 1 credit every month for $14.95, which you can use on any book. If you hate the radio (I admit, this is me), and are in the car a lot, give it a try. It’s much better than listening to garbage talk back radio – you’ll be smarter for it.
For regular readers, you will recall that I recently posted about my love for podcasts. I think I can safely say that I just really hate listening to the radio, and spend a lot of time in my car. It feels like there is a podcast for everything; pick a topic of interest, hunt around for a podcast and hit play. I personally set myself a goal to listen to a full episode before I make a judgement about the podcast and whether I will continue to listen to it.
Long-time readers of this blog will know that it’s history is my love for makeup and beauty. In 2018, I am confident in saying MAKEUP IS OUT, SKINCARE IS IN. Being a cake-face is no longer the trend, and instead spending time on the foundations of beauty is key. Just like makeup can make you feel good, great skincare will make you feel fabulous. If you aren’t sure where to begin, I recommend the following: a cleanser, a decent moisturiser, a face oil and a face mask – and then actually use them. It is the easiest form of self-care – pop these items next to your toothbrush and you won’t forget them (and there aren’t that many, so they won’t create too much clutter). Use the cleanser and moisturiser every morning and night, the face oil most nights of the week and the face mask once a week – your skin will love you, and you will love it. This is also a great form of self-care if you aren’t in a position to carve out true “me time”, but need something to fill your cup.
5. Meal Planning
I am still trying to get a handle on this part of my life – admittedly, I have no kids to feed, so I just have to worry about myself. I am not really into the idea of meal prep – the concept of eating the same salad everyday for the whole week is not my idea of me living my best life (but if it works for you: you do you). Instead, I am just trying to embrace the idea of having a plan for Monday to Friday: 5 lunches and 5 dinners. I don’t need to worry about the weekend, because there are either cafes to visit, or there is time to wake up and consider what will be on the menu that day. I am a long-time lover of Donna Hay and her mid-week recipes, and I have recently started watching Emmy Lou Loves on Instagram for some cooking inspiration, and am following some recipes from Super Green Simple and Lean by Sally Obermeder & Maha Koraiem.
6. Social Media Strategy
This sounds like I’m going to talk about planning your content and your posts, but it is really not that. As a lover of social media, I am acutely aware of the time-suck that Instagram can be. Add to that, the effects on our mental health, our feelings of self-worth, our ideas of what makes a good life, how we should spend our weekends, just to name a few. Everyone who uses social media can identify issues with it, yet very few of us have guidelines around how we use it. If I asked you what is the best way to utilise 5 minutes of quiet time, there are probably a number of things that jump to mind before saying “scroll Instagram”.
So instead, a way of practising some self-care with social media is having a strategy around how we use it – things like, turning off notifications; not having specific apps on our phones; using the “do not disturb” function; using “flight mode”; whatever works for you. I have personally turned off all notifications – I get the “ding” of WhatsApp, no banners, no lighting up, and no bubbles for things to check on Instagram or Facebook – and this has been liberating for me. Our phones are designed to distract us, and pull us away from what we are doing, and then social media will suck us in further – everyone always looks like they are living a better life than you. Don’t let your phone control you; think about how you can disconnect a little bit.
I’ve saved the toughest one until last – relationships. As the well-known quote says “people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime”. Not everyone is designed to be in our lives forever, yet we often let people stay for longer than they should. Whether it’s a fear of losing too many friends, the fear that we are overreacting or our expectations are too high, or just maintaining relationships for convenience; we sometimes let relationships that no longer serve us, hang around. Even worse, sometimes we will let poisonous relationships hang on, despite the obvious red flags. If you have a friend who you don’t feel excited to see, are seeing out of obligation, or even someone you kind of resent – end it. Your time is too precious to have relationships that don’t serve any purpose, and they just become another time-suck.
I don’t always engage in these activities or thought processes, but I find that when I do, I go to work with more patience, I enjoy my time with others more, and generally feel my time is better spent. Things like ending friendships are really tough. They are a big deal, and need some thought and planning, and then some level of grieving and acceptance of change. Things like moving your body on a daily basis can be adapted pretty easily, and will pay off pretty quickly.
Whatever it is that feeds you, stick with it, and carve out some time for your precious self.
If you have any extra ideas or comments about what works for you, please pop it in the comments below.