Nowadays it’s impossible to scroll through your social media timeline or flick through a magazine without seeing the phrase self care several times.
On the one hand, it’s great because it acts as a constant reminder to take care of yourself.
However, on the other hand, there is a danger that self care may be dismissed as a passing fad.
Additionally, self care is often associated with lavish spa days which can make it seem inaccessible to many due to the cost or lack of free time.
But self care doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming.
In fact, self care is most effective when it becomes part of your daily life.
So here are 7 simple self care ideas you can do every day that will cost you very little time or money:
How often do you stop to do absolutely nothing for at least a few moments each day?
I don’t mean sitting scrolling through social media or slumped in front of the TV.
I mean actively and consciously doing nothing.
If you’re like most people, your answer will be not very often, if ever at all.
There are lots of reasons why we don’t actively pause to do nothing.
Firstly, we live in a society that doesn’t stop.
For many of us, most things are available 24/7. The internet and smart devices have given us constant access to people, goods and services.
As a result, we have been subconsciously programmed to believe that we have to be forever on the go or doing something.
Secondly, when we stop to do nothing, with zero distractions, we are left with ourselves, our mind and our inner voice. This makes many of us feel extremely uncomfortable.
Actively pausing for at least a few moments each day forces us to be alone with our thoughts, fears and emotions.
It gives us no choice but to face how we’re genuinely feeling about ourselves and our lives.
Initially, taking time to stop, pause and check in with yourself can feel intense but over time it will lead to a greater sense of peace and clarity.
Take a few moments each day to pause, without distractions and ask yourself how you’re feeling and what you need.
Breathing is something we all take for granted because it happens without us having to think about it.
However, not all breaths are equal.
For most of us, our breaths are shallow and we do not use the full capacity of our lungs.
Becoming conscious of your breathing and taking time to breathe mindfully each day can relieve stress and tension and help you to feel calm and relaxed.
If you are ever feeling overwhelmed or are prone to overthinking, focusing on your breath is a great way to take you out of your head.
Deep, mindful breathing can also help you to become present and grounded enabling you to regain perspective during difficult or stressful times.
Breathing is always available to you, anytime and anyplace so it is an ideal act of self care you can do every day.
Additionally, guided meditation can be a helpful way to practice more mindful breathing.
3. Make yourself unavailable
Depending on your personal circumstances, this may be a bit challenging but it is possible to do for just a few moments each day.
More often than not, women try to be all things to everyone and now with smartphones, we are always available.
Phone calls, Whatsapp, SMS, email, social media DMs – we are always in contact with people.
This exposes us to excessive external “noise” and does not give us a chance to check in with ourselves or our own thoughts, feelings and emotions.
When you are taking time to pause, it is also important to disconnect completely from the outside world.
Consider trying one or more of the following:
- Switch off your phone completely or put it on silent or flight mode.
- Turn off the notifications on your phone.
- Limit the time of day or night when you can use your phone and keep it out of your bedroom.
- Have a “no tech” day or weekend.
4. Eat well
With the popularity of healthy eating, it can sometimes feel like you have to be eating kale and avocado every day to be considered a healthy eater.
I’m not a nutritionist and there are so many diets available now that it can be difficult to know what a healthy meal consists of.
While both kale and avocado are good for you, simply aiming to have 3 balanced meals each day is a good place to start.
Then it’s about how the food you eat makes you feel.
Do your meals energise you and make you feel good? Or do you feel lethargic once you’ve eaten?
You also need to consider the quality and quantity of the food you consume.
Are the meals you eat freshly prepared?
What are the salt, sugar and saturated fat content of your meals?
Takeaways and ready-made meals are notorious for containing crap ingredients that provide little or no nourishment and can also cause long-term health issues.
We have to eat to live and by making a few positive changes, eating well is a simple self care idea you can do every day.
5. Get enough sleep
No doubt you’ve heard several times that we need an average of 8 hours of sleep each night to function properly yet surviving on as little as 5 hours is often cited as a key to success by many people.
Granted, sleeping less gives you more hours in the day but at what cost?
Thankfully, there are a number of hugely successful people who prove that getting enough sleep will not stop you from achieving your goals.
Halle Berry once said that she is at her best when she is rested.
One of the world’s richest and most successful businessmen, Bill Gates said: “I like to get seven hours of sleep a night because that’s what I need to stay sharp and creative and upbeat”.
Getting enough sleep is vital as it allows your body to repair itself.
It also relieves stress, reduces inflammation, helps to control your blood sugar and supports a healthy immune system.
If it’s difficult for you to get 7-8 hours sleep most nights, then recharge your batteries by using the weekends or any days off to have a lie-in and wake without an alarm.
Alternatively (or additionally) have a “duvet day” and spend your time having a box-set binge, reading, drawing, journaling or just sleeping.
Of course, if you have young children this may be more difficult but it is still important to get adequate sleep whenever you can.
So when you have a chance to nap or have an early night, do so instead of squandering precious time scrolling mindlessly through social media or collapsing in front of the television.
Sleep is something too many of us take for granted and yet it is a simple self care idea you can do every day.
Apparently, not everyone moisturises daily.
So if you don’t, the first thing to do is to introduce it into your daily routine.
Your skin will thank you for it.
If like me, however, moisturising is as normal as brushing your teeth, it is likely that you pay little, if any, attention as you do it.
But you’re missing a trick.
Becoming more mindful as you moisturise is a great way to slow down, be more present and connect intimately with your body.
As women, too many of us have negative or unhealthy relationships with our bodies.
Mindful moisturising forces you to take in every part of your body and develop a healthy appreciation of it over time.
That being said, be very careful of what you put on your skin.
Many products are full of chemical ingredients that your skin, the body’s biggest organ, often absorbs.
Simply making changes to the products you use on your skin and hair (which includes make-up, dyes and cleaning products) is an act of self care.
Feeling good about yourself, inside and out is an important part of self care.
During the autumn and winter months, carry hand cream and lip balm with you. This can limit the damaging effects of the harsh weather.
How often do you check in with yourself and how you’re feeling?
I don’t mean on the surface, I mean deep down inside.
Journaling is a simple self care idea you can do when you take a few moments to pause or make yourself unavailable each day.
It has a number of benefits and is a great tool for maintaining your mental and emotional wellbeing.
You can use journaling as a way to express any pent-up emotions or frustrations from the day in a healthy way.
Additionally, many of us are hard on ourselves when we’re are not achieving our goals at the rate we want or expect.
Journaling can also be used as a tool to acknowledge and record any accomplishments and remind yourself of how far you’ve come.
All you need is a notebook and something to write with.
If you are short on time, simply write down your responses to the following questions:
How do I feel?
What do I need?
When you have more time, you can delve deeper using journaling prompts.
So as you can see, self care does not have to be expensive or time-consuming.
It can absolutely be integrated into your daily life at no extra cost.
Journal prompt: How can I make self care part of my daily life?
Affirmation: My self care is worth making time for.