I’ve been thinking a lot about self care lately–obviously because of all the books and blog posts and articles devoted to it, but also because it’s just so darn important (and doesn’t need to be done “for the ‘gram”). In fact, most of these tips involve unplugging entirely and just focusing on what’s around you and your goals (though trust me, Netflix IS key!).
1) Open a new book or start a new TV show and immerse yourself in it. Ah, the power of binge-watching to distract yourself. But seriously, whenever I start a new book or show that I totally love, I find myself thinking about it during the day (is anyone else like this?) and it helps me escape a bit from whatever is bothering me. Shows I’m loving lately are Hart of Dixie (which I’ve mentioned on here before), Emily Owens, MD, and of course my regulars like The Middle and Modern Family (please don’t tell me I’m the only one still watching!). Pick something lighthearted like one of these or pick up a dark thriller; either way, you’re guaranteed a bit of an escape, even if it’s only for 30 minutes.
2) Simplify one aspect of your daily routine. If you never like your outfits in the morning and run late because of this, pick them out ahead of time–or better yet, devote a weekend to a closet cleanout/shopping trip to end this problem once and for all! If you’re trying to be better about bringing lunch to work but can’t fathom waking up early to pack it, schedule a weekly Sunday evening meal prep session–or just grab cheap, healthy frozen meals from the grocery store and stock your freezer with them for an easy grab and go option. Think about what’s bothering you and try to fix it–for me, I recently did this by picking a gym near my apartment so that I wouldn’t have to worry about shuttling myself across town to work out.
3) Pick one area within a specific category to improve upon and focus on that for the month. You don’t necessarily need to overhaul your entire budget or diet or fitness routine or whatever you’re targeting (I think we’re all always focusing on all three of these things to some degree!) at one time. Start simple–for example, at the end of February, I added up how much money I’d spent on Ubers/Lyfts/public transit for the month and was astonished at the total–especially because I always, always opt for the cheapest ride (Uber Pool express, y’all!)–but $3 here and there can really add up. I made a goal of how much I would spend maximum for transportation each week during the month of March, and I’m proud to say I’ve achieved it (and if the weather hadn’t been so awful for a week followed by me being sick for a week, I would’ve been in an even better position). I now look forward to my walks to and home from work (extra steps, woohoo!) both for the health benefit and the financial benefit and am excited to do an even better job managing this in April (warmer weather will definitely help!).
4) Do something alone. I’m not saying you have to cancel your plans for the next three weekends, but make time for yourself once in awhile (even if you live with your BFF/significant other/family and find yourself with a constant companion). I may be biased because I genuinely love doing things by myself, but treating yourself to a (free) museum, wandering around a new neighborhood, grabbing coffee at that place you think looks cool but your friends haven’t been free to try, etc, can actually be fun and relaxing in its own way.
5) Stop trying to count on other people to improve your mood. This is a hard one, but it’s true. Other people often won’t give you the response you’re looking for, are too caught up with their own issues, or are just plain busy. Learning how to fight your own battles yourself is definitely difficult but is part of growing up. Being in touch with your own emotions and letting yourself just be sad or think or grieve is just as important as having cheerleaders and support systems in your life–those are great, but other people can’t be there for you 24/7 and will get sick of listening to the same thing over and over. This is something I’m still working on myself, but I’ve definitely tried to implement it a little more into my own life over the past few months!
What’s on your list of self care habits? Obviously I’ve left out the fun beauty/pampering-related ones, but those are important, too–my biggest guilty pleasure is treating myself to a massage!
Photography by Heather Bien