What Self-Care Looks Like To Me

Well, it’s been a while!

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…

Preventative Self-Care

barbell on the floor
Photo by Leon Martinez on Pexels.com

I’ve been trying to put more of my time this year into preventative self-careThat 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

white bed comforter
Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com

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:

  • Climbing into bed early.
  • Curling up with a good book. (Have you read my post on The Best Book Genres for a Cosy Night In?)
  • Watching Netflix. (I might write a Netflix recommendations post soon, if you’d be interested in reading that then please let me know in the comments!)
  • Cuddling my cat.
  • Cooking up some delicious comfort food.
  • Taking a bath with lots of Dead Sea salts.
  • Stretching/attempting some funny-looking yoga.

 

I have found that doing some more pro-active and preventative self-care has lessened the frequency of those ‘first aid’ days, but sometimes you just have to spend a few hours recovering.

What does self-care look like to you?

 

If you want to read more about my self-care habits, I have written posts before on winter self-care ideas and low energy self-care activities.

 

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5 Winter Self-Care Ideas

There are lots of things to moan about in the winter – who really likes the dark evenings and stepping in a huge puddle? However, there are also lots of things to love about the winter too. Like the lighter mornings, the crisp, clean feel to the air, and the atmosphere of celebration around the holidays.

The cold weather and the dark can take their toll on your mood if you’re not careful – as can the holidays, which are often difficult times for people, for all sorts of reasons. For these reasons, it is really important to take care of yourself in the colder months. Self-care can be a solution to a bad day or, even better, a preventative measure, carried out little and often to help keep those low days at bay.

Here are 5 simple self-care ideas for you to try out this winter:

  1. Put on clean bed sheets. (Bonus points if they have a wintery pattern, are fleecy, or accompany your change to the ‘winter duvet’.)
    There’s nothing quite like climbing into your bed at the end of the day when the sheets are brand new and super comfortable. If you’re having trouble sleeping, make sure your room is at the right temperature for you and perhaps try a sleep spray or a hot milky drink as well.

    white bed comforter
    Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com
  2. Bake a treat for someone.
    Baking on its own is often therapeutic, but why not add on the additional joy of taking what you’ve made and sharing it with someone. Maybe your co-workers would like a Monday pick-me-up, or an elderly neighbour would really appreciate the gesture? If you’re not a confident baker and want to start off with something more simple, the packet mixes you can get from supermarkets that just involve adding water or eggs are brilliant. They are also great for baking with young children!
  3. Wrap up warm and go for a walk.

    a thick scarf and a hand holding a hot drink
    I love to grab my collapsible coffee cup, put on a thick scarf, and go for a long walk.

    This is one of my favourite activities, despite the cold weather. When it’s a dry but cold day, I love to wrap up in my cosiest jumper, a thick scarf and a woolly hat, and head out for a walk. If I’m going by myself, I’ll often take a book to stop off somewhere and have a read, or I’ll listen to a podcast whilst I walk. If it’s me and my fiance walking, we’ll often play Pokemon Go on our route, or just enjoy the time to talk with no distractions. My reusable cup filled with coffee often joins us on the walk too! This activity is great for your mind, as well as getting your legs moving and incorporating a little bit of exercise into your self-care routine.

  4. Read a book in bed.
    Simple, classic, and a perfect activity for a wet and rainy day. Grab a hot drink, curl up in your duvet and appreciate having the time to do nothing except read your favourite book. For winter reads I particularly love horrors, thrillers, historical fiction and crime novels.
  5. Have a totally indulgent hot bath or shower.
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    I know that I’ve said before that self-care is about more than just hot bubble baths, however sometimes that is exactly what you need. Treat yourself to a warming and relaxing bath to escape the cold weather and relax. If baths aren’t your thing, just allow yourself the indulgence of not worrying too much about the hot water bill for a few minutes and whack the heat up on your shower. Choose a luxuriously scented shower gel, sing as loud as you like and feel the tension melt away.

 

What do you love most about the colder months?

Hopefully, if the cold weather has got you feeling blue, there are a couple of ideas here that can help you take care of yourself. (If you think you’re low feelings are more serious, or that you may be suffering from SAD or similar, I urge you to seek advice from a professional.)

Happy winter!

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Buddy Box Lite and contents

Buddy Box Review

Last month, when I was feeling down, I ordered myself a Buddy Box from The Blurt Foundation as a pick-me-up. I totally forgot about it and had a lovely surprise when I picked up this mystery parcel from the delivery office. If you saw my ‘How I’m Dealing With Stress’ post, you’ll know I had been having a bit of a rough time, and my Buddy Box just made my day.

I have followed and loved The Blurt Foundation for a few years and I think they do a great job. Their aim is to increase awareness and understanding of depression, as well as providing support and resources to those suffering from depression. It’s a fantastic cause, and one very close to my heart, and I would really recommend giving them a follow on Twitter or checking out their website.

buddy box

Their Buddy Boxes are subscription boxes that you can order for yourself or someone else as a sort of care package. As Blurt explain:

Packed full of thoughtful, mood-lifting treats, the BuddyBox comforts, delights and gives you that warm, ‘I’ve been cared for’ feeling inside. In other words – it’s a hug in a box.”

And who doesn’t want a hug in a box?

You can subscribe to the boxes or buy a one-off box. Personally, I bought this box as a one-ff. I bought the Buddy Box Lite, which contains 3 items. The original Buddy Box contains 5. The theme of my box was ‘Become a Rhino-Snore-Us’. Sleep is something I think is really important and one of many things that make me happy! – and it contained some lovely sleep-themed items that I’ll briefly talk about below…

  1. This very cute postcard, that says ‘But first, sleep.’

    I think this is really cute and I might put it up somewhere in my bedroom.
    postcard that reads 'but first, sleep'

  2. The Blurt zine.

Blurt produce this zine that goes in every BuddyBox. It’s full of sleep tips and information.  A really helpful, quick read. This gives the BuddyBox some really beneficial substance that perhaps the products on their own would lack. I think this is a great addition to the box.

Blurt Foundation zine and cat post-it notes

3. To-Do Post-It Notes

Although I do think these have a bit of a tenuous link to the ‘sleep’ theme, I do like them. They’re very cute and I always love a new piece of stationery. Particularly novelty post-its. These are by Gemma Correll and I will definitely be checking out the rest of her stuff if I can.

4. Scentered De-Stress Balm.

This Scentered de-stress balm is a stick of lovely aromatherapy scented balm, which you rub on your pulse points (Your wrists, temples or neck.) to help you feel calmer and hopefully get some sleep. I really like the scent of this and it is really calming to smell when you’re feeling worked up or stressed.

5. Fluffy socks

I’ve saved the best until last in my opinion. Look at these socks! They are fluffy, soft and very, very comfortable. They’re also really long, reaching nearly up to my knees, which I love. These are great for the chilly evenings that are creeping in at the moment and they are my favourite thing from the Buddy Box.

 

So what did I think?

All in all, I really liked the products sent in this box. It really perked up my day receiving the box in the post and the items in it are comforting and great for self-care. My most used item so far has been the gorgeously cosy socks and I have used the de-stressing balm on occasion. Although I liked the post-it notes a lot, I do think there could have been something more relevant to the theme.

Overall, I’d say that if you’re going through a tough time, or you know someone who is, and can afford to splash out a little bit of money (it really isn’t that much actually) to get a Buddy Box sent to your door, it is definitely worth doing. And you know your money is going to a really worthwhile organisation.

Self-care all the way!

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50 Things That Make Me Happy

50 Things That Make Me Happy

Two tag posts in a row? I know, lazy blogger! But I couldn’t resist jumping straight into this wonderful post, listing 50 things that make me happy. I was very kindly tagged by Colourful Hope, whose post is here.

I think the idea of listing 50 things that make you happy is brilliant. It’s a list, so it sounds simple – but 50 is a pretty big number! (The most I’ve dared so far is 26!) Having to think of 50 individual things that make me feel happy can only be a good thing for my wellbeing. So, here goes!

50 Things That Make Happy

  1. Spending time with my cat
  2. Autumn walks with my fiance
  3. Wedding planning
  4. Reading a good book
  5. Smashing a workout
  6. Finding an outfit that looks really good
  7. Chocolate
  8. Catching up with old friends
  9. Going to the cinema
  10. Big bowls of pasta
  11. A clean and cosy house
  12. A clean car
  13. My hamster
  14. Seeing my family
  15. Having a cup of tea with my mum
  16. My job
  17. Running with my best friend
  18. Music
  19. (more specifically) Neil Diamond’s music
  20. Watching comedies (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Friends, OITNB…)
  21. Libraries
  22. A good cup of coffee
  23. Comfy blankets
  24. Learning something new
  25. Being brave and it turning out well
  26. Giving people gifts
  27. Coffee shops
  28. Looking at homeware
  29. Theatre
  30. Watching stand-up comedy
  31. Singing along to musicals
  32. Falling asleep watching a film with my fiance
  33. Setting goals and planning
  34. Listening to My Favourite Murder
  35. Long, lazy mornings with breakfast in bed
  36. A really tasty cocktail
  37. Playing board games
  38. Pizza
  39. When there are amazing vegetarian options at a restaurant
  40. Pretty book covers
  41. Recommending books to people
  42. Comfy jumpers
  43. Playing Skyrim
  44. Hot chocolate
  45. Museums
  46. Disney films
  47. Ticking off my to-do list
  48. Roald Dahl books
  49. Stationery
  50. Spending time with my friends

 

Well, that was great! It pushed me to think about everything that makes me happy and now I feel really good. I’d like to pass that good feeling on, and I tag:

Kelly at Paperback Adventures
Pigletish
Nic’s Healthy Life

#SelfCareTogether – A Self-Care Challenge for October

It should come as no surprise that someone with blog title ‘Self-Care Sloth’ thinks that self-care is important.

Of course I think self-care is important! Taking care of ourselves is one of the most crucial things that we can do to keep ourselves healthy and happy. If we don’t take care of ourselves, then who will?

Thankfully, there are hundreds of other bloggers and wonderful people out there who also take self-care seriously and one of those is the lovely Anneli at Pigletish.com, who has created the #SelfCareTogether October Self-Care Challenge.

There are loads of different ways to practice self-care, be they indulgent and only for the odd occasion, or low-energy and everyday activities. What Anneli has done is collect 31 of these activities together and created a plan for October that encompasses four different aspects of self-care. Isn’t that such a great idea?

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I am definitely going to be taking part in this challenge and I will share most of my thoughts over on my Twitter @ASelfCareSloth, but today I thought I’d start off with some thoughts here on my blog.

My Self-Care Plan for Week One: Self-Care Basics.

01: Go outside.

On day one, I will make an effort to get outside, for more than just the walk to my car in the morning! This was one of the only benefits of my old office job, actually. Every lunch time, I used to go out for a walk and get some fresh air. Now that I’m at a school, it is expected that I’ll be on-site for most of lunchtime, so I don’t get this same opportunity. I am glad that this challenge will give me a push to get outside on Monday after work, even just for a walk round the block. My aim is 20 minutes of fresh air.

autumnal leaves

02: Eat Something Nutritious.

A big one for me at the moment. My relationship with food isn’t great and I often make the wrong choices, even though I know that healthy and nutritious food makes me feel much better. On Tuesday, I am going to make a nutritious and healthy dinner, including lots of colourful veg!

03: Venture Further Out

I’ll admit, I’m not totally sure I know what this one means. But I’m going to take it to mean venturing out of my comfort zone – because that is always a good thing to do, and I don’t necessarily need to venture further out of the house. There’s always a way to push my comfort zone a bit further when I’m teaching, and my comfort zone is pretty small, so I’m sure I’ll find a way to venture a bit further on day three.

04: Shower/Bath

This is such a key self-care topic, I’m really glad that it’s been included in this list. Sometimes, just having a shower or a long soak is what both your body and mind need. I’ll have been to the gym on the fourth, so a long hot shower will be needed! But I’ll level it up a bit this week by using a hair mask, properly cleansing my face, and really putting the effort into this regime.

relaxing shower head with water

05: Life Admin

How often do we all get behind on this?! If you’re anything like me, this is an ongoing to-do list that always gets forgotten – so day five will be my life admin day. My priorities will be finally filing some very important paperwork and going through my finances.

06: Social Media Cleanse

My aim is to cleanse my social media by unfollowing anyone who I don’t actively want to follow or who doesn’t bring positivity to my feeds. We’re all guilty of following someone on Twitter once and then never really reading their tweets again, or following that Victoria’s Secrete model lookalike on Instagram whose account really only serves to make you feel bad. Day six – cleanse my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds of all those people! This is a great idea and one that will hopefully have long-term benefits to my mental health when I’m online.

And last but not least…

07: Focus on Drinking Enough Water

Every day, I carry round with me a large, 1 litre water bottle. My aim was always to drink at least two of these bottles a day, meaning I drink at least 2 litres of water a day. Sometimes this happens, but honestly it is a habit that has really slipped in recent weeks. I’m really disappointed with myself that I’ve let this habit drop and I need to get back on top of it! So, on day seven I will be aiming to drink at least 2 litres of water and I will make sure that I document it on my Twitter!

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Thanks again to Anneli for putting this challenge together. I think this will really give me and lots of other people a push to prioritise self-care in October.

Are you taking part? Let me know below if you are, and leave your social media handles so I can follow your progress. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SelfCareTogether as well!

Happy October…

The Self-Care Sloth

August Favourites

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)

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Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered.

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!

My Nutribullet

Nutribullet with ingredients
Nutribullet – photo credit http://www.yourbestdigs.com

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

A silver chevron ring and a silver knuckle ring.

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! 

Mustard rucksack

mustard rucksack on dark background

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.

Disenchantment

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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

hand holding Benefit's Hello Happy foundation on striped background
hello happy – shade 2

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.

hugs

The Self-Care Sloth
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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.

8 Low Energy Self-Care Ideas

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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…shower-1502736_1280.jpg
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.mobile-phone-791644_1280
  7. Watch something comforting. For me, it’s usually The Simpsons, Friends or QI. You can always see what I’m currently watching here.
  8. 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.

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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!

 

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Why Self-Care Isn’t All About Bubble Baths.

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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:

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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.

hugs

The Self-Care Sloth
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