Between the ongoing (still!) coronavirus pandemic, the staggeringly high levels of unemployment, and the string of high-profile celebrity deaths (RIP, Chad Bostwick), 2020 has given us plenty of reasons to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious. In terrifyingly equal measures, no less. Thus… Highlighting the increasing importance of taking time out for some much-needed self-care. But there’s a problem. Your idea of self-care may look something like this: go shopping, indulge in fine-dining, and wind down with a spa session; it’s an expensive affair. That means you likely view self-care as a luxury–instead of the priority that it is.
Guess what? It’s entirely possible to show yourself some love without spending a ton of money (if any at all). Here’s how.
Get out in the great outdoors
During the lockdown period, you've probably become way too familiar with the growing patch of mould on your bedroom wall than you'd like. Now that restrictions are easing, it's time to ditch the comfort of your home–and head into the great outdoors! Research consistently shows that spending time in nature can help relieve anxiety and stress, improve moods, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
And don’t think that you need to dedicate 3 full hours to scale a mountain, either. It appears that you’d be able to experience these positive effects by spending as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting! No excuses now.
Set aside time to meditate
Cost: Ranges from nothing to the price of your chosen app
This simple practice has been widely-revered for its ability to reduce stress, increase calmness and clarity, and promote happiness. But here’s the truth: if you’ve never meditated before, the process of starting can be quite intimidating. Sitting down and facing your thoughts in complete silence can be a scary prospect for many, especially if you aren’t sure of what you’re doing.
Fortunately, though, there are plenty of apps (e.g. Headspace and Calm) that can guide you through exactly how to meditate in a step-by-step manner. These apps can help remind you to come back to the present moment, let go of distracting thoughts, and not be so hard on yourself. Ultimately, remember that meditation is a skill. The more you practice, the better you get. So–start practising and reap the benefits!
Write in a journal
Cost: The price of your journal
One of the best, most straightforward ways of practising self-care, is something you learned back in school: journaling. The simple act of putting your thoughts onto paper can help you feel less anxious and, thus, happier. Better still, studies also show that writing can improve your immune function, sleep, and general physical health. So–the next time you feel like you have a lot of feelings to deal with, take a journal out and start writing. Focus on the stressful event and try to understand why you feel the way you do. Keep at it for 15-20 minutes, and you’ll often come away from the session with a clearer mind and understanding of yourself.
Don’t have a suitable journal yet? Well… Here’s one for you. The Daily Routine Journal not only helps you plan your day but also prompts you to make time for mindful meditation and self-reflection (amongst others!) Check out what others say about it here.