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A Guide to Self Care

Complete with thoughtful tips and recommendations

Self care, a couple of buzzy words that you’ve inevitably heard someone preaching about in the last few years. It’s becoming harder to visualize what self care is when everyone has their two cents about best practices. Is it waking up early to do yoga with your tv and drink lots of water? Yep. Is it making yourself cinnamon toast and watching Boy Meets World? Yes. But the one girl I follow on Instagram says it’s buying yourself flowers and not staring at TVs? Well, sure, it’s that too. The reason self care is so hard to pinpoint is because it’s different for everyone. We see a lot of posts on social media that puts self care in a box – when taking care of yourself is promoted as eating carrot sticks as you stare in the mirror and whisper ‘I love you,’ count me out, too. 

If you’re anything like me, a laundry list of self care tips isn’t very helpful at all. Like that store Forever 21, it’s overwhelming, and I often leave empty handed or with something that won’t last more than a week. Instead, this article is broken down into generalized scenarios where you might be needing extra care. Each scenario includes a handful of eclectic self care suggestions, brainstormed by all sorts of personalities on the F’G crew. I realize that many of us still have troubles with taking our personal needs seriously, prioritizing our jobs and putting literally any living being before our own, but a little self care can go a long way. Before you dive in, take a moment to reflect on how you’re feeling. Taking time to check in with yourself will lead you to better answers on what your needs are – like right now, I could use a Zebra Cake.

But I’m too busy for self care.

When your world is already spinning out of control, self care seems like just another to-do. If you find yourself in this scenario, consumed by your to-do list, we’re going to think about self care a little differently. Assuming you don’t have the time to spend a day in the bathtub with a bottle of Rosé , you’re probably left with the mundane, everyday moments to tend to yourself: a shower, lunch break, or maybe your daily commute. The secret is taking control of the time you have and making it count. As someone with a seasonal day job that requires 70+ hour work weeks during the winter months, I feel you. My self care looks like 10-min yoga videos in the am, drinking green tea throughout the day and taking extra long showers + doing laundry on Sundays (my one day off). It’s not much and it’s not ‘grammable, but it keeps me sane during a hectic time of year.

Ok, so maybe I have 15 minutes: 

  • Spice up your grooming routine with a new product. May we suggest adding a few droplets of Olbas Oil to a hot shower or bath for an @ home spa experience? 
  • Listen to a podcast on your daily commute. Aleisha suggests her favorite love(ly) podcasts in this issue’s Hidden Gems
  • Go on a walk during your lunch break, weather permitting
  • Sign up for a subscription of your choosing to bring a little excitement to your front steps. Angels’ Cup is a coffee subscription that sends you different samples, every month 
  • Treat yourself to a cup of coffee or tea
  • @ home yoga in the am or pm. I like SarahBethYoga’s channel – she has many 10/15 minute videos to fit any schedule
  • Take a little time everyday to stay on top of laundry, dishes or other household chores. For one, it’s hard to relax in a pigsty. But also, is there anything better than clean bed sheets?

Spreading yourself too thin? Pump the breaks.

It doesn’t take long for your body to tell you to slow down, especially if you’re putting your needs last, time and time again. Feeling under the weather or just plain exhausted? You probably need to book some quality alone time with yourself. For many of us, it’s hard to fully recharge during a night’s rest, when we’re around coworkers, friends and/or family most of the day. If you have roommate/s, it can also be difficult to get a full few hours to yourself – try to coordinate a time (at least weekly), where you each can count on having the shared space to yourself. When I have a full evening to myself, I don’t waste any time: First, I treat myself to a manicure which is a rare event. On my way home, I pick up a take-out order of Chinese to accompany a movie viewing of MY choice. An early(ish) bed-time is the cherry on top, so I feel refreshed the next day. Treat your me-dates just like any other date! If a friend asks if you’re busy, yes you are – blame it on a work thing, if need be! < This lie works best when you have a job.

‘Leave me alone’ and:

  • Get a full night’s rest. If anything is going to restore us back to our best selves, it’s sleep. Need help sleeping? CBD droplets have a relaxing effect on most
  • Stop multitasking, even if just for a moment. My one-task appreciation of choice: sit down with a bowl of your favorite cereal, toss your phone in a drawer, and savor the senses at hand
  • @ home spa night for one: face mask, bubble bath, essential oils … Yes, beverages taste better when you’re submerged in a bathtub
  • Get a manicure/pedicure or haircut, aka forcing yourself to sit and relax for an hour 
  • Grab your favorite movie treats, stay-in and watch a movie. As someone who repeatedly watches movies, nothing is more soothing than watching a movie I know and love – but if you’re looking for something new, check out the movies recommended in this volume’s article featuring Juliette Binoche films!

Couch locked? Let’s get physical.

Do you stare at a screen for hours, during the day? What about all night, streaming the latest TV series? I’m guilty of both. We may not have a choice whether or not we stare at a screen at work, but we do have control over how we use our evenings. Plopping ourselves on the couch first thing when we get home is the natural thing to do – I especially find myself more acquainted with my sofa in the winter. And it’s easy to play the victim card, when my commute from work is driven in absolute darkness! But surrendering to a sedentary lifestyle, every night of the week, is not very loving to our bodies and minds. Find activities that are tactile in nature or will get you up and moving – make sure these activities are enjoyable to you, or you’ll never do them! As a TV junkie, I think it’s just fine to have a date with your TV. Just don’t let it last the whole night!

No screens for you:

  • Get a small group to meet semi-regularly and get out of the house together – Bowling league, book club, or board game night? Options are endless
  • Embrace the winter, location permitting, with sledding, skating or skiing 
  • Hard pass on the cooler temps? Find indoor locations, where you can move your body. Hang with the teens and go to the mall! A night of dancing is a great weekend choice
  • You don’t need to leave the house. Puzzles or board games are both tactile activities that will keep you feeling lively. Have you read our board game recommendations yet
  • Channel your inner artist and make something! We have a bright idea for you here
  • Tackle your cleaning to-do list. Not only are you keeping yourself active, but the satisfaction from having a clean home is priceless!
  • Cook a meal from scratch. This volume’s Cast Iron 101 article has plenty of savory recipes to offer… I guess we have sweet, too!

Need some inspiration? Stimulate your senses.

If your outdoor surroundings are currently cold and dark, your inspiration might be on its way out the door to somewhere more lively. There’s nothing worse than being in a rut of perpetual boredom, so do your best to fight it! When you only have so much control over your surroundings, you can try one of two options to achieve an inspiration boost. The first is to embrace your current environment with an activity that will wake up your senses – I like mixing things up with a new cocktail recipe. Or you can temporarily visit an environment to rejuvenate your creativity – my go-to spot is a local garden center that I can usually find deserted in the winter months; their indoor greenhouse has plenty of room to wander, warm temperatures, green n’ lush surroundings and even a coffee shop! I leave a new person (with a new plant). God bless you Bachman’s

My creativity is gone. Give me ideas:

  • Rearrange or organize a room that you spend the majority of your time in – a transformed setting can do wonders to the brain!
  • Cook/bake/mix-up a new recipe. You can learn how to make a Dirty Martini, Negroni and classic marg’ in this volume’s Bar Cart article 
  • Go find a colorful setting to hang out in (zoo, garden center, conservatory) or bring a new green friend (or flowers) into your home
  • Learn or read something new, be it a book or a creative hobby like playing guitar 
  • Visit nature and get out in the the sun, even if this still requires many, many layers
  • Support your small music venues and comedy clubs – a night of music or laughing is some of the best medicine
  • If time and money permits, treat yourself to a long weekend getaway. Got sunshine on the mind? We have a central Florida itinerary waiting for you, right here

Lucky you. Your love tank is full.

Consider yourself lucky, if your mind and body are thriving on all cylinders. Many of us will never reach this peaceful place. Why? Because humans are notorious for fixating on one aspect of self care at a time, not realizing that major improvement in one area will often lead to neglect in other areas of our lives. Yep, let that sink in for a second. This statement isn’t to make you panic, but rather make you realize that self care is a layered and complicated monster. Remember that scene in Shrek where ogres are compared to onions? Well, throw self care into the mix, too, because self care has layers. This is why I commend you, if you find yourself in a state of balance. Furthermore, I challenge you to share your love because doing so will only lead to good things for yourself and others! And if you’re not here yet, don’t worry! You can still indulge in the following activities and reap the benefits. 

Sharing is caring:

  • Surprise a friend/family member/co-worker with an unexpected gift. It doesn’t have to be large – think coffee, flowers, favorite sweet treat, a bag of Doritos etc. 
  • Find a charity with a cause that speaks to you and volunteer your precious time
  • Mail a letter or postcard to someone you ❤ – in this day and age, there’s nothing more special than receiving a handwritten note
  • Speaking of handwritten, homemade gifts are the bee’s knees (especially, these
  • Offer to babysit or pet sit, free of charge 
  • Send a care package of nostalgic goodies to a long distance loved one
  • Take care of dinner by fronting the bill or cooking a meal

Whew.

By now, you have a handful of activities to add to your self care regime, right? Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying everything at once! Engaging in one new activity at a time will allow you to get a read on what self care best tends to your needs. Self care is by no means a one size fits all type of medicine. Listen to yourself and do your research + try new things. With time, you’ll get a better understanding of what will put you into a state of -balance- and where you want to spend your energy.

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