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Self-Care Practices Beyond Beauty: My Definitive List

Ain’t no bathing recommendations today.

A month or so ago I asked for some reader-recommended blog post topics and one of you brainy bunch asked for the above. Self-care ideas are so often packaged up as a beauty-related offshoot. Now sometimes it is and unless you’re an avid bathing hater, there’s not many people who would argue that having a bath doesn’t make you feel absolutely grand. The same goes for a face mask. Or doing your nails. Or spending the time shaving off the second skin that your heel has conveniently grown. All these things things involve you cutting time out of your schedule to do something for yourself. However self-care doesn’t necessarily need to involve partaking in an activity that concerns itself with aesthetics. Screw your cracked heels! Self-care means dedicating time for yourself to anything that replenishes and revives you. Something that ups your energy levels, decreases stress and tends to both your physical and mental needs. So thanks to that commenter, I’ve got thinking about the self-care practices that I’ve incorporated more and more over the past couple of weeks as the pressure dial has increased, that aren’t just the usual ‘Run yourself a nice bath‘ suggestions…

Find your crowd. There are certain people that whenever you are around they have such a calming and uplifting effect on you that just leaves you feeling fab. For me that’s Mark, my parents, my sister and my grandparents. Thankfully they all live within about 100 yards of each other and we’re a short journey away so it’s easy to get them all in one room and even just being in their presence begins to top up my self care tank. I never look at my phone, we laugh, we tell stories and we eat. It’s heaven. Identify the people you have in your life that make you feel this way and organise your schedule so that you get to spend as much time as possible with their company.

Exercise. I know it’s such a classic cliche, but there really is something special that happens when you find a method of exercise that you actually enjoy. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you again, but personally I ADORE Reformer Pilates. It never feels like a workout in the groan-y ‘DO I HAVE TO DO THIS?‘ sense, but it feels like a workout in the burning sense. Whatever you decide it’s a time for you, phone-free, where you’re taking the time to exclusively care for yourself both internally and externally. Find your thing and participate in it as regularly as you can.

Outdoors. Growing up we ventured out on camping holidays each time school broke up, so I spent a large amount of my childhood making dens in the woods and eating camp stew for dinner (an interesting concoction of tinned meatballs, tinned mixed vegetables, minestrone soup and tinned baby potatoes). Even when I go away with my family now a big part of the holiday is taken up with going on walks. There’s such simplicity in following a trail, eating a packed lunch whilst getting a damp bum on the grass and not seeing anyone else for hours at a stretch and it’s something that takes me back; so mixes nostalgia with enjoyment from being completely off the grid. I mean if that’s not the ultimate in self care then I don’t know what is…

Dancing. If there’s one thing I miss about going out three times a week like we did back in our Uni days, it’s not the raging hangovers that I naively thought that I was immune to when I began studying, it’s the DANCING. Whenever we went on a night out I’d spend approximately 90% of the evening on the dance floor cutting shapes as though I was in a low-budget music video and the rest of the time in the toilets having deep and meaningful chats with girls I’d met just two minutes earlier. These days I never get the chance to dance so have taken to holding dance parties in our front room, which I’m sure our neighbours Β absolutely LOVE.

Music. My Dad has always been a fan of sticking on an album, moving the chair to the best part of the room for the acoustics and listening to it, with barely even a tap of the finger. He’s a listener, not a mover and reportedly stands entirely still for any concert that he attends. When we were younger, he’d put on some tunes in the morning and my sister and I would snuggle up next to him and listen along. So it’s something that I’ve been trying to do more; making playlists on Spotify and downloading albums I enjoy and then just putting them on and listening. Although unlike my father I find it very difficult to remain silent, which brings us to…

Singing. Here’s a thing – I love to sing. I must preface this by saying that I’m not a good singer and you won’t be catching me uploading an Ariana Grande ‘God is a Women’ cover to YouTube anytime soon, but I do enjoy it and deep down feel like my teenage dream of becoming a pop star is still possible. Sometimes when you just need a take a moment, I’d recommend putting on Natalie Imbruglia ‘Torn’ and belting it out, like you did back in 1997 (!!!!!!!).

Organisation. Now this is SUPER LAME I know, but a re-organise or just a little tidy-up is really up there with my most chill-inducing tasks. Now I’m talking about putting everything back in it’s place when I’ve just filmed a video in my office and it’s like a Crystal Maze task to get in and out of it, I’m talking about a re-jig of a small area like my desk or a kitchen cupboard. I actually quite like to rotate in and out my makeup from my bedroom vanity stash on a weekly basis and I find that process so soothing. VIRGOS UNITE.

Photos by Emma Croman

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