There are 21.1M posts with the hashtag #selfcare on Instagram and most of them are merely deep quotes about existence and brands trying to sell products to you on the notion that skin care is equivalent to your inner wellbeing. But what does self-care mean to you?
This year, self-care week dates from November 18th to 24th and its purpose is to raise awareness about taking care of yourself and making sure that the people closest to you also feel happy with themselves. According to Self Care Forum, in 2018, over 600 organisations participated in promoting healthy wellbeing and Twitter was the most popular platform where people shared their self-care routines.
Often, we forget how important it is to take care of ourselves and try to focus on just yourself for at least 15 minutes a day. It doesn’t seem a lot, but when you have to keep up with deadlines, cook your dinner and do your laundry, it’s definitely enough time to take a deep breath and have a quick break from your everyday life. I’ll show you my three strategies to achieve inner peace and hopefully you too can come up with your daily routine to take care of your body and mind.
My top priority when I feel like I need time for myself, is reading a book. I know that when you’ve been to lectures, written essays and done the readings, probably the last thing you want to do is force yourself to stay focused another half an hour just to read a story. I understand how easier it must be to just ‘disconnect’ by looking at either Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter and see what popular new memes are trending. However, I admit that being surrounded by technology everyday it’s not healthy, especially when I use it relax, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this is wrong.
I bring my laptop to lectures, do my readings on my tablet, read tweets: I forget that being surrounded by a system which can tell you what is happening 24/7 can be overwhelming. It’s useful to keep up with the world’s events, but at the same time it’s unhealthy to always depend on these devices. As a result, I started reading more. Before falling asleep, I would place my phone out of my hands’ reach and pick up a book so I can distract myself and be immersed in a story even for just 10 minutes. According to The National Sleep Foundation, technological devices suppress melatonin and thus make it difficult to fall asleep. Plus, reading helps keeping the brain active and slow cognitive decline when becoming older: it’s a win-win!
One of my other favourite ways to relax is as simple as meeting up with my friends and watching a film together. I also love taking care of my skin, so I really enjoy it when we put on some face masks, listen to music, have a pizza and watch a funny film under a cosy blanket. I had one of those nights last week, after a few busy days, and it’s surprising how spending time with others and talking about the silliest stuff can make you forget the stress and anxiety of university’s assignments. As Cecilia Tran said, “Self-care means giving yourself permission to pause”.
My third tip is to do some physical activity. Whether you like walking around the city, going to the Christmas market, strolling through Hyde Park or going to Trinity to pick up Christmasy decorations, fresh air helps you destress and makes you feel more energetic. After a while of being in bed and watching Netflix, just pick up your headphones and walk it off. When you’re focused on a single assignment for a few hours, you can become easily distractible and the thought of not having finished it yet can get frustrating; so my tip would be just to go outside and forget about it for a bit, maybe get a coffee somewhere. You’ll return to your desk with a fresh mindset and it will be easier to focus and finally complete the assignment.
My last suggestion is to always listen to your body and your needs. If you’re feeling exhausted, tired and just lacking in energy, take as much time as you need to recharge and get yourself back on track. Consider these several different activities outlined in this image that will allow you to take of yourself:
Yasmine Moro Virion