I haven’t written a post in quite a few months, which I’m sure not many people have noticed, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things and start blogging more frequently again.
So, this #SelfCareSunday, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what self-care looks like to me…
I’ve been trying to put more of my time this year into preventative self-care. That is, taking care of myself to keep my body and mind healthy, to avoid any down-turns in my mental health, rather than waiting until I feel the need to use self-care to recover.
One of the main ways I’ve been doing this (hint the picture above…) is heading to the gym. I have a real love-hate relationship with exercise on the whole, but I do know that if I drag myself out the house and go for a jog, or sweat my way through a gym class, I do feel better. This works if I’m in a bad mood, but I have also noticed that on the weeks that I put the effort in to work out more often, I feel better on the whole.
I also like to make sure that I am always getting enough sleep. I am someone who needs plenty of sleep to function properly! I know this fact about myself, so why starve myself of sleep? For me to feel calm and prepared for the day ahead, I need to have had a good night’s sleep.
Self-Care First Aid
Sometimes (frequently) you have a bad (awful) day, filled with stress and panic, and you need some serious self-care time that evening to recover.
On those days (and there are plenty of them, believe me!) I like to take time to myself to calm down, relax and repair. This will look different all the time, but it usually involves some of the following:
I love reading about other people’s monthly favourites, or watching favourites videos on YouTube, so this month I thought I would share my own.
As I’m not a niche fashion blogger, or strictly a book blogger, any favourites post from me will contain a real assortment of things! From TV shows I’ve loved, to products I’m using, hopefully there will be something in here that catches your eye. If you have any questions, or something here is your favourite too, then drop me a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!
Now, without any further ado, my favourites for August 2018:
My Favorite Murder (podcast)
This podcast has been a firm favourite of mine for the last few months. I learnt of it through Youtuber Katie Snooks and I’ve been a little bit obsessed ever since! MFM is a true crime podcast that covers some quite horrible murders or crimes, but the presenters (Karen and Georgia) are absolutely hilarious and honestly it can be quite a comforting listen. True crime podcasts might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I would recommend My Favourite Murder to almost anyone. Karen and Georgia talk crime, comedy, mental health and much more, and they are a joy to listen to. They release episodes on Mondays and Thursdays and all through August I’ve been impatiently opening my podcast app every half hour on those days waiting for the next episode – I love it!
For my 26th birthday earlier this month, I was lucky enough to receive a shiny new Nutribullet from my in-laws-to-be. I had been eyeing up Nutribullets for years and I was instantly hooked! I love having a smoothie for breakfast, particularly during my recent health kick and weight-loss journey. (If you’d like to hear more about that journey in a blog post, let me know in the comments.) I love experimenting with different flavours, having sneaky chocolate shakes for breakfast and sneaking plenty of greens and lots of protein into my breakfast. The Nutribullet is so powerful, it easily blends ingredients like frozen banana without trouble, and chops spinach so small you can’t tell it’s in the smoothie at all. If you like a smoothie or smoothie bowl for breakfast, I would 100% recommend getting yourself a Nutribullet over some of the bigger, more traditional blenders on the market. Mine also came with two cup sizes and a mixture handy lids for travel.
Regal Rose rings
One of my lovely friends is always wearing gorgeous jewelry and every time I ask her where it’s from, she says Regal Rose. I finally got round to looking at the website and found a very long list of beautiful silver rings that I told everyone I wanted for my birthday! I was very luckily given both this silver chevron ring and thin knuckle ring, both of which I love. I want to wear more rings, and I love thin silver rings, of which Regal Rose have a really wide range. There are loads of quirky accessories on there, so if you’re on the hunt for some new jewelry, definitely give their website a look!
At the start of the month, I bought this mustard rucksack/backpack from Clarks. I’m not 100% sure if it has a brand other than just being Clarks, and I can’t find it online, so I’m really sorry that I can’t link it for you! I’m sure there are loads around though, mustard is always big in the Autumn. I love mustard clothes and this bag was just too pretty to resist. It’s big enough to fit an A4 folder, so perfect for work or school, and it’s really roomy so great if you have loads of daily must-haves. (Which I do!) This is definitely a staple of my wardrobe now, both casual and for work.
If you’re a regular UK Netflix viewer, I’m sure you’ve seen the trailer for ‘Disenchantment’. This is the new show by Matt Groening, creator of ‘The Simpsons’. If you like ‘The Simpsons’ or particularly ‘Futurama’, then you will probably appreciate the humour of this show. It follow Princess Bean, her new friend Elfo, and her personal demon Luci, and it’s totally bizarre and random, but good fun. It’s a little slow-paced, but an easy watch and it’s been a firm favourite for cosy, relaxed viewing this month.
Hello Happy foundation by Benefit
If there is one topic I didn’t think I’d ever be blogging about, it’s beauty! I actively avoid wearing make-up because I’m honestly just too lazy to learn how to do it all properly! However, being a teacher means that I am standing up in front of a full classroom all day, every day. Although I’m 99% certain that my pupils don’t notice if I have pimples or big pores showing, it does help my confidence to wear a little bit of make-up and make myself look presentable. ‘Hello Happy’ by Benefit is exactly the foundation I’ve been looking for for years. It is really lightweight, gives a nice even coverage, and can be built up on areas that you feel you want to cover up a bit more. It’s really breathable, I don’t feel like I’m wearing foundation when I wear it, but I know that my skin is looking more even and my blemishes are concealed. It gives a nice glowy finish, but without looking shiny. Personally, I prefer a matte finish, but this is a nice glow doesn’t leave me feeling oily. Also, shoutout to the friendly Benefit lady who did my make-up for me and helped me understand what to do with primer and bronzer.
So those were my favourites for the month of August 2018! This month I had my first Summer holidays, I pet-sat a cat and a tortoise, and I turned 26. And this selection of items helped me kept me feeling happy along the way. Here’s to a fantastic September, I hope you’re all doing well, and do comment below if you liked this post.
The Self-Care Sloth
Disclaimer: All of these opinions are my own, none of this post is sponsored or part of a promotion, and any links provided are not affiliate links.
In one of my recent posts, I discussed how I think that ‘traditional’ or ‘mainstream’ self-care suggestions aren’t always accessible. A long evening that starts with a bubble bath, moves on to a manicure and ends with a big nourishing salad eaten in peace sounds idyllic, but also isn’t something I have the energy or resources to do on a day when my depression or anxiety is biting me in the backside.
So what can we do to take care of ourselves when we’re having a bad mental health day, we’re low on time, or we just don’t want to go down the traditional pampering route?
Here are 8 ideas for simple activities or tasks that are 100% examples of self-care, should help you feel better, and don’t require you to have a ton of energy, time, or money:
Get out of bed. Just roll out from under the duvet, slide your feet into a comfy pair of slippers if you have them, and stand up. That’s all you need to do to start a day where you feel better. Bonus points for making your bed, so you’re less tempted to climb back in.
Wash your face. Whether it’s a splash of cold water, the old reliable face wipe, or a full five-step skincare routine, this will make you feel more awake and just a bit more human. And on that note…
Have a shower. Even if you all you can manage is to stand (or sit) underneath the water for 5 minutes, that’s okay. Again, human feelings will commence shortly.
Put on comfy (but ‘outside acceptable’) clothes. You know the ones I mean. Not pyjamas, but in many ways, even better. You could pop to the shops if you needed to, but you’re just as comfy as you need to be for a day at home.
Make yourself a drink. Hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows, your favourite cup of coffee, a fancy mocktail, a green juice, or simply a tall, cold, glass of water. Get yourself a drink that will hydrate you, calm you, comfort you and refresh you. My only advice? Stick to non-alcoholic if you’re trying to look after yourself.
Talk to someone. Pick up the phone and call your mum. Text a friend. Talk to your cat. Do whatever you can to just share your brain with someone. You don’t have to tell them what’s bothering you, just ask them about their day and get out of your own mind for a little while.
Watch something comforting. For me, it’s usually The Simpsons, Friends or QI. You can always see what I’m currently watching here.
Eat something colourful. Whether you take colourful to mean a big bowl of fruit or a handful of jellybeans, do what makes your soul feel good. You could even try baking something yourself, if you have the energy.
Hopefully these are simple enough that they can help you on a low-mood, low-energy day. What are your go-to activities to make you feel better?
And if it is a bubble bath and a manicure – go for it!
I think that there is a misconception about self-care, that it is all about indulgence, pampering sessions and long, hot bubble baths. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a bubble bath as much as the next lifestyle blogger, but that isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to self-care.
Let’s take a quick look at the term ‘self-care’. All it means is to take care of yourself.
That’s it – no compulsory bath bombs, no minimum time allocated to it, no deadlines – just look after yourself.
The new push towards self-care in popular culture is amazing. Books, magazines and bloggers everywhere are encouraging people to take time out of their day to have some self-care time. (Me being one of them!) However, I think that the way it is described or ‘marketed’ on the whole, can be quite alienating to some people. That sounds a bit extreme, but let me explain:
The stereotypical ‘self-care evening’ starts with a bubble bath and ends with nail polish and face masks. That doesn’t suit everyone and I don’t believe that is the self-care that everyone needs. For example, I’d imagine there are a lot of men out there who aren’t totally comfortable with this picture. A busy mum who can only carve out 20 minutes to herself might find a long relaxing evening quite inaccessible. And as someone who suffers with bouts of depression and anxiety, I know that sometimes that perfect, relaxing evening is actually too much effort. What I need is a basic level of self-care; something accessible and easy that will actually help me, rather than just fulfilling a cliche of what I think self-care should look like.
So if you’re ideal night of time to yourself is filled with Lush products and skincare, Netflix and ice cream, go ahead! But if you need to take care of yourself in a much more basic or simple kind of way, then just know that’s great too. Small acts like getting out of bed, splashing water on your face and having a bowl of porridge can be just as much acts of self-care as any hot bubble bath. (Again – I don’t hate bubble baths, it’s just the cliche image that keeps coming to mind!)
I’ll be posting next week a few ideas for simple self-care activities or tasks that can help you to look after yourself, when perhaps you are depressed, anxious, or just really short on time. In the mean time, let me know in the comments what you consider to be self-care that perhaps the mainstream magazines or vlogs just aren’t covering.