It seems like over the past 5-10 years "self-care" has become a trending buzzword. If you're anything like me, the idea of self-care seems overwhelming and like one more thing to add to the never-ending to-do list. But self-care doesn't have to be a big production. In fact, you may already be practicing self-care without even realizing.
So what is self-care, and why is it so important?
Self-care is the practice of taking time to focus on your physical, mental and emotional health. It involves understanding your needs, making conscious choices to meet those needs, and taking action to ensure that you are meeting them. Self-care is important because it helps us maintain our mental health and wellbeing by providing us with a sense of control and balance in our lives. It can also help reduce stress levels, improve our relationships with others, and increase our overall happiness. By practicing self-care regularly, we can ensure that we are living a life that is fulfilling and meaningful.
Not sure how to incorporate self-care into your daily life? We've got ten simple ideas just for you.
1. Work on a puzzle.
Not only are puzzles really good for your brain, they can be super relaxing and a great way to take your mind off of what's causing stress and anxiety in the moment. We've got a puzzle board that spends 90% of its time on the dining room table with a puzzle in progress. Sometimes we work on it as a family, and sometimes I fill in pieces on my own. I especially enjoy working on puzzles with my kids when they are just wild and need something to help calm and focus their energy. We also get into some really thoughtful conversations during puzzle time.
2. Read a good book.
I love reading but fell out of the habit as I started having kids and growing my business. Last year I joined Book of the Month Club to get myself back into the habit of reading. Now I try to take time every day to curl up under a blanket and read. Some days I get 5 minutes and others I get an hour or more, but I am grateful for whatever time I get just to myself to read.
A few of my latest favorites are:
- Weyward by Emilia Hart
- The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner
- Someone Else's Shoes by Jojo Moyes
- They Never Learn by Layne Fargo
Bonus, light one of our soy blend candles to make your reading time just a bit more special!
And if you're interested in a BOTM membership, here's a referral link: https://www.mybotm.com/di8qqr57ik?show_box=true
3. Practice mindfulness with yoga + meditation.
I really love using guided meditations on YouTube to help me practice mindfulness. Just search "guided meditation", and you'll find so many great resources to help with your practice, some as quick as 5 minutes.
This 5 Minute Morning Guided Meditation is a great place to start.
Incorporating scents such as lavender and peppermint into your practice can enhance your meditation. Our Lavender Lemonade and Agua Fresca soy blend candles are great additions to your mindfulness practices.
4. Sit with a friend.
Connection is essential to our human experience. Sometimes just sitting with a friend can heal a lot of what is wounded or worn out within us.
The Mayo Clinic reports that friends can:
- Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
- Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
- Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
- Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
- Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise
5. Make yourself a fancy coffee.
Be inspired by our Morning Brew soy blend candle and take the extra time to make yourself a fancy coffee. Pour it in a special glass. Add the syrups and sauces you like best, maybe even a little extra whipped cream.
My favorite (easy) drink to make at home is an iced caramel macchiato.
- Put 3 pumps (1 oz) of vanilla syrup into a glass.
- Add 3/4 cup of milk.
- Fill glass 2/3 of the glass with ice.
- Pour two shots of brewed espresso over.
- Drizzle with caramel sauce.
BOOM! Best iced caramel macchiato ever.
6. Take a long, hot shower.
Some days this is all the self-care I get, and it's usually after I get the kids to bed. To take this process from a daily hygienic task to an act of self-care, simply allow yourself time to slow down. Don't rush through just to finish the other tasks waiting for you. The dishes will be fine - they can get washed in the morning. Just let the warm water wash over you and allow yourself to be.
You can step it up another notch by adding a relaxing shower steamer, putting on music, or lighting a candle. Whatever you do, take this time for yourself.
7. Spend time outdoors.
Spending time out in nature can improve our physical and mental health, even so much as positively changing our brains! On average, only 18% of Americans report going outdoors at least once per week. No wonder we are all so stressed out all the time!
Allowing yourself the time to be outside, whether it's going on a walk, gardening, or watching your kids play, is you putting your physical and mental health first. This a such an act of self-care.
Here are five tips to get more outdoors time in your life:
- Block out intentional time in your schedule. Life gets busy, so when we intentionally schedule time to go to the park or go for a walk, it's more likely to happen.
- Explore! For most of us, life has a regular rhythm and routine, so it's rare that we venture off onto unknown paths right in our very own cities and towns. Go check out those woods, drive down to the lake, or hike that nature trail. See something new!
- Take your workout outside. Grab your yoga mat and practice some sun salutations... in the sun!
- Backyard campout. Set up a tent in your backyard, make some s'mores, and play flashlight tag. The kids will have such a fun time, and you will feel refreshed breathing in that fresh air all night.
- Go on a nature focused vacation. Maybe it's a road trip to explore some of our national parks or renting a lake house to spend time boating and fishing.
8. Dance it out.
Just like Meredith and Cristina from Grey's Anatomy, turning up the music and dancing it out helps to relieve stress and tension. We often have impromptu dance parties in our home that always end in lots of smiles and laughter.
Dancing is a form of exercise, and some studies have shown that 25 minutes of dancing can reduce symptoms of depression by 47%! So find your favorite Spotify playlist, grab your person, and dance it out!
9. Make your bed.
It's a task that I find irrelevant most days, so I have to push myself to do it, but getting into a made bed every night feels so much cozier than when the bed's not made. And feeling cozy right before bed definitely helps improve sleep.
10. Get enough sleep.
Trust me, I know! This one feels like a pipe dream. With three young kids, it feels like I haven't slept in decades, and I know I'm not getting enough sleep myself. But getting a sufficient amount of restful sleep is essential for our health and overall quality of life.
So while it may not be possible for you to get more hours of sleep right now, setting yourself up for quality sleep is possible and a great way to show yourself some love.
Ditch the screens.
Scrolling TikTok is one of my favorite ways to decompress at the end of the day, but it's definitely not conducive to helping our brains shut down and prepare for sleep. Instead, pick up a good book (I strongly recommend Weyward by Emilia Hart) and read until you peacefully drift off.
Prepare for sleep interruptions.
My 4-year-old has always struggled to sleep through the night. Almost every night around 1:30 am he wakes up and struggles to fall back asleep. For a while he was crawling in bed with my husband and me, and if you've ever shared a bed with a little one, you know how that ends up (feet in the ribs all night).
I knew that routine couldn't continue, so I made a special sleep space in our room for any child who needed it. I used an extra crib mattress we had, put a sheet on it, added a pillow and cozy blanket, and set up a "little bed" near my bed. Sometimes he still wakes me up for cuddles, but most nights my 4 year old goes straight for the little bed, and I get to sleep through the night.
Bring on the lavender.
Studies show that using lavender is effective in improving sleep quality. You can diffuse lavender essential oil, use a lavender linen spray, or lather up with a lavender infused lotion before bed.