You know, sometimes life is just the worst. The world is on your shoulders, and it’s too heavy, and your knees are giving out. And that’s precisely when you need self-care. You’re entitled to taking care of you, your mind, and your body whenever you need to, and in fact, I recommend making it a ritual and a habit rather than a once-in-a-blue-moon ordeal. You need to carve out little slices of heaven whenever you can to take the edge off and recenter yourself. I’m going to give the micro ways and the macro ways to practice self-care, find serenity, and prioritize yourself when life is flipping you the middle finger.
- Face masks. I love a good face mask to refresh my skin and my mind. It’s weirdly cathartic.
- Long, hot, steamy baths or showers. Nothing does my mind and muscles more good than being swaddled in steam and hot water all by myself.
- Shave. If that’s your thing. For me, shaving just makes me feel groomed and clean.
- Scrub-a-dub-dub. Use a good body scrub to slough off any dead skin and leave you feeling like a baby’s butt. I have a delicious lavender sea salt scrub from Trader Joe’s, but you can easily make your own at home! Just mix equal parts sugar and olive oil in a bowl, and add a few drops of essential oil if it suits your fancy! Also use a pumice stone or foot file if your paws need a little love.
- Paint your nails. Fresh polish will make you feel pretty and put together, a must have combination for those brutal weeks.
- Read a good book. Let your mind wander, either with a favorite series or a new find that caught your eye. It’s extremely relaxing, good mental stimulation, and will take your mind off whatever’s troubling you.
- Watch a good tv show or movie. Watch anything you please, and feel no shame. I’d recommend something that makes you feel good and happy. I prefer to put my crime shows on the back burner and cultivate a happy headspace with comedies (Brooklynn Nine-Nine is my go-to right now) or romance or anything that makes flowers grow in my brain to chase away the stress.
- Light a candle. Aromatherapy candles in particular are known to reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and ease the tension. I live for the Bath and Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint candles. I have the matching body wash, scrub, and lotion to boot!
- Listen or play music. I love to jam to my feel-good playlists in the shower and while I lounge around. It just makes me want to smile and helps pull my focus away from my problems. I also play guitar, and sometimes just strumming along to whatever comes to mind is really soothing.
- Make a cup of tea. Coffee or caffeinated tea will wire you up, which isn’t usually the best way to come down from a rough day. However, if it’s the morning time, then by all means! I really enjoy lemon ginger tea and anything with bergamot in it because they just smell and taste comforting. Mint is another favorite!
- Keep your place clean. Sometimes, my lil apartment spirals out of control, and I end up with piles of dishes, laundry, and mail that are an eye sore and stress me out. I’m starting to try to make a real habit out of daily spot cleaning and deep cleaning few times a month. It just makes my home space so much nicer, and I feel more mentally clear and calm when I’m not surrounded by clutter. Make your home your haven, and no one can take it from you.
- Eat clean. I suck at this sometimes because I’m in college, work full time, work in a lab, and have a hectic schedule, but I do try to keep things lean and clean when I can. Your body will thank you, and it will help you feel healthier inside and out.
- Hit the gym. I’m trying to be better about this too because I feel off the fitness train hardcore about a year ago, and I desperately need to get back on. Exercise is great for your body and mind, and the endorphins released during physical activity help to alleviate stress.
- Organize. Don’t let your life be filled with trash. Not just people and situations, but literal trash. Clear out things you don’t need from your home and closet, empty your backpack or handbag, tackle the mess in your car. Just make it easier for you to navigate the world by having fewer things to worry about.
- Decorate. Find pieces that make you smile and perk up your mood. My place is filled with little succulent plants that I adore (I even have dishware that’s decorated with them!), paintings that lift my mood, and a million little things that spruce it up and make it cozy. Be it candles on the table, a quirky mug collection, or a vase you liked at Target. Decor doesn’t need to be pricy either! I DIY some things and use Ross, Marshall’s, and IKEA as go-to stops before I start looking at more expensive alternatives!
- Find a hobby that takes the edge off. For me, it’s guitar and writing, but it could be anything that calms your nerves.
- Journal. I use a bullet journal on a daily basis to organize my schedule, school, work, and life, which is one of the best decisions I’ve made. But also consider keeping a personal journal. I have one and I don’t use it often, but sometimes I need to brain dump or vent, and it comes in super handy. It’s healthy and cathartic to let out feelings and thoughts that are rattling around in your head and troubling you.
- Spend more time with friends and family. If you feel like the unpleasantries of life are taking you down a peg, spend time with people who make you happy and who can lighten your load. Dinner with a bestie, drinks with the crew, pedicures with your sister. Whatever you need and whoever you need to keep around you to feel balanced.
- Don’t bring work home with you when avoidable. I have actively tried to start using libraries for my heavy duty school work, coffee shops for arduous work projects, and alternatives to sitting at home when I need to be productive. I don’t like feeling like my apartment is a trap for stress and psychological exhaustion. It’s much better for me to endeavor to keep work and home life separate. Also, really try not to take your work to bed. Leave the laptop and the worksheets and the textbook elsewhere, and have your bedroom (or at the very least your bed) be a relaxation zone only. You needn’t associate the place you sleep with being anxious and stressed out.
I hope you found some of these ideas helpful! Leave some of your own self-care tips below for others!