I reached out to some bloggers and online creators recently to ask them for their top tip for self-care.
You see, much like my mission with my podcast The Good Life Unravelled, I am interested in how different people think about self-care. I believe that regular and meaningful self-care is vital for us to be healthy, happy, functioning human beings. Yet it is so easy to neglect our own needs as we fill our lives with work, family, social life, and other commitments. As much as we might like doing all those other things, many of us have probably experienced burnout at one time or another. Often it’s the case that we just need to make time and space for self-care.
And so, I’ve pulled together a list of 36 self-care tips to help inspire and empower you to embrace your own wellbeing and make some small steps to a better self-care routine.
The Blogger's Guide To Self-Care
36 bloggers and creators share their self-care tips to help inspire and empower you to take better care of yourself in a way that is thoughtful, nourishing and kind.
Add downtime to your calendar, just like you would add appointments. Time to rest and relax is just as important as meetings and social events, if not more important. I regularly block out a day or weekend. It helps to avoid the temptation to over fill my calendar. This is especially important if I have a busy few weeks on trips.
As a Certified Happiness Trainer, I am always looking for new ways for people to unleash their inner happiness and it always starts with your mind. My number one self-care tip is about shifting your mindset or thoughts on problems. Sometimes things can really stress me out as I start to panic about 'all the things' but when I consciously stop and take a moment to think about the reality of the situation it is generally not that bad. Taking 5 or 10 minutes to stop, regroup and rationalise what's going on in my head can really help. Whether it's meditation, going for a walk or just stopping, breathing and thinking rationally it can completely shift my mindset and put me back on track to positive work. As my grandpa used to say ' 99% of the things you worry about never happen and the 1% of things that do you can't do anything about anyway, so why worry?' 🙂
As someone with a million ideas racing around her brain and a never-ending to-do list, the biggest self-care tip I implement for myself – and would advise others to do – is to spend time journaling every single day. Whether that’s when you first wake up and you start to script how you’d love to see your ideal day pan out, or perhaps it’s when you climb into bed and before your head hits the pillow you take some time to write a gratitude list of things you appreciate from the day, or a to-do list for the following day – using time to journal and get your thoughts out of your head on to paper can be one of the easiest ways to decompress and free up thinking space. Plus, I’m not sure we ever really need an excuse for a new notebook but if you’re looking for permission to buy yet another when seven stand half full, then let this be it.
Choose one night a week that you do something for your body or your mind. Make it a fixed day every week so that your friends/family can help you to have this free time. After becoming a new Mum, my self-care rituals went completely out of the window. I neglected myself both physically and mentally until I decided Monday nights were going to be my nights, to return to my yoga studio and do a class. Now I look forward to it every week.
Definitely make sure you take time for yourself! In my case, I try (and mostly succeed) to do 10,000 steps a day. That often means a 30-40min walk around lunchtime. It is great for running errands or just to go and clear your mind or meet up with a friend for a chat and walk. Staying healthy is so important!
For me, a magnesium bath with a fictional book really helps to switch off my brain. I make sure I create this space and time for myself often, even more often if I’m going through something or I’m sick or stressed. I also make sure I’m getting enough sleep, early nights post-bath really work for me, I wake up the next morning feeling recharged and ready to get on with life.
For me, it is most definitely running. I try and run a little most days, but at the moment I'm training for a half marathon so I'm out for a bit longer. If I can run for at least an hour a day then I feel so much better about the world. I come up with some of my best ideas mid-way through a run too!
For me, self-care is about doing something that brings you joy, and meaning. It should take away from your day to day routine, and give something back to yourself — a bit like a reward. For me it is spending time on a Sunday evening, doing a full end-to-end facial, because having great skin and feeling good is something I give back to myself. Or, it will be doing something that makes me happy to be alive, like writing, booking a trip, or doing horse riding.
For me, self-care can look like anything from tea and cake with a friend, to finding an inspiring book and a secluded corner of the library. The things I’m drawn to may look different on different days and during different seasons of my life. So, my self-care tip is to openly ask yourself what it is you need at this moment? What is missing, what area of your life needs some care and attention? Being open to possibilities can help you to pinpoint what it is you need to rest, ground and nurture yourself.
Get outside. I work from home and really enjoy it, so sometimes it's hard for me to actually leave the computer. I force myself. It always makes me feel better, and I'm much more productive when I return. I'm a member of a gym and sign up to classes to force me to leave the house. I schedule it into my day when I'm planning in the morning and I'll either walk (30 minutes) or cycle (10 minutes) to get there. Just having that breathing space and mind space to rest my eyes and brain means a lot. On days where I don't manage to get out, I really notice it in my wellbeing and sleep patterns.
Get up and get dressed! When I'm in a funk, the "trick" that always works is to take a shower, wash my hair, blow-dry it, get dressed in a nice outfit, and put a tiny bit of makeup on. It makes me feel more ready to tackle whatever's making me feel rubbish.
I have been keeping a gratitude journal since the start of the year. I try to remember to write in it every day but I always make sure I take the time to note three things that I'm grateful for every day. It's a reminder during periods of anxiety that although things can feel really overwhelming, there's always some good to be found in every day - even if it's just that you had a really nice lunch!
I have come to realise that I need time on my own to pursue my own hobbies and learn new skills. I love crafting, particularly things like sewing, cooking, cake decoration, and having time to lose myself in a project each week really helps me to relax.
I have recently started taking some time each morning, before I do anything work-related, to drink coffee, stare out my window and reflect. I try to write down three things I'm grateful for, and something I like about myself. And then I write a poem - I only give myself a few minutes (in a small notebook) to write it, so it's often more of a thought or quick string of consciousness, but it kick-starts my creativity and means I begin my day grateful and in a positive mindset. It's helped me so much!
I've been trying to fit in at least two morning runs a week. I love the freedom of running - both in body and mind. I usually listen to music as I run, and enjoy 30 mins of taking in my surroundings. I allow my mind to wander and find it a great way to relieve some tensions. Sometimes I dread going (especially when it's grey, cold or rainy!) but I always feel the benefits after. If anyone struggles with running. I'd recommend the Couch To 5K app. It helped me run for longer without stopping, and the element of the challenge made me more excited for my next run!
I've just had my final therapy session post-op (my 25th) today and everything in life, I've realised, thanks to this course, comes down to self-love and making a conscious decision to treat yourself kindly. I've learnt to absorb a compliment/kind words for a minimum of 30 seconds-1 minute repeating the words with my hand on my heart as my therapist advised so I fully take it on board to boost self-worth, confidence and also build armour to help with the inevitable adversities we experience in life. Getting therapy is my top tip and after that exercise, getting sweaty 4-5 times a week!
In the past year, I've been making some big changes to my work-life balance. This mostly revolves around how and when I use my mobile phone. I've retrained myself to stop needing my phone to be in arms reach at all times. In fact, over the weekend I do my best to keep my phone put away in another room as much as possible. This really helps me switch off from work and spend time with my family without mindless scrolling or reminding myself how many emails I need to reply to! It gives me a couple of days a week away from comparison and makes me more present with my son.
It’s not very sexy, but the self-care tip I keep coming back to this year is to prioritise. To drop the ball on things I don’t need to do. And letting go isn’t easy, especially when our brains make us think that certain tasks (like showing up consistently on social media) fall into the “need to do” category. They don’t, not when we really need to take care of ourselves. The question that really helps me tell the difference between the essentials and everything else is: "how can I make this easier?” And my gut usually gives me the answer I need.
Make time for checking in with yourself - whether that's daily using a journal or weekly, monthly or seasonally buy creating a planning and organisation ritual to help you set realistic intentions and anchor everything together. It doesn't have to be elaborate, just sitting down with a coffee once a month to really ask yourself what you need in your life can be helpful.
Music! Always make a bit of time for music in your day. Especially if you’re having a bad day, put your favourite song on and have a sing and dance (if you can). I also love taking a moment to listen to new releases. Finding a new favourite song to add to the list is always exciting and a sure-fire way to release some much-needed endorphins. Music can be so life-enhancing and can quickly boost your mood.
My main self-care tip is to listen to what makes you happy and do more of that! It sounds simple but it's not always that easy. It can be difficult to really acknowledge what makes us happy because we're bombarded by the media about what should make us happy. New clothes, new gadgets, boozy nights out, movie nights, bubble baths, date nights and that expensive brand of coffee should make us happy, so it's easy to get swept up in that and think if we do all of those things we'll be happier. But if you sit back and acknowledge what is really making you happy, you might discover it's something different altogether. Try and become super aware of your feelings and acknowledge them, think about what is really making you happy and do more of that!
My number one self-care tip is to minimise the amount of mindless scrolling you do on your phone. A few years ago I did a digital detox, where I handed over my phone for a whole week. It really opened my eyes to how much time I was wasting on my phone, and what I could be doing instead. The worst times for me are the morning and evening - I find it so easy to spend an hour lying in bed, staring at my phone mindlessly. Looking at a screen right before bed can ruin your sleep, and social media can cause stimulation and stress, neither of which you need when you're trying to shut off for the day. So my rule now is to put my phone in a draw at least thirty minutes before I go to bed and leave it there until thirty minutes after I wake up. I even bought an alarm clock so I don't have to use the one on my phone. It was a simple step but honestly makes such a difference to my mornings, my sleep pattern, and my stress levels!
My self-care tip is a take on an old tip I'm sure many mothers teach their kids: Treat others as you would like to be treated - but make sure you also treat YOURSELF as you would like your loved ones to be treated by others. In other words, never neglect yourself by getting too wrapped up in making sure everyone else is okay. Allow yourself something that you do purely for yourself, no one else. For me, it's going on a detox and fitness retreat in North Devon that I've been to three times now - not only do I up my fitness game and lose weight, but I enjoy the company and camaraderie of other like-minded women, being by the sea and the total relaxation (in between the fitness sessions)! Of course, I miss my husband and my dog terribly for those six days, but I return feeling invigorated, refreshed and ready to face the next challenge more positively. Life is most definitely short, you are worth taking care of!
My top self-care tip for bloggers is to set some boundaries. Whether it’s having a day a week with no social media or being sure to switch off your computer at a certain time, or just remembering that your whole life does not need to be a chance to ‘create content’. This new world of online life can take over your REAL life at times and be sure that you can find times, where it doesn't, is really important for long term sustainability of writing a blog and your own wellbeing.
My top self-care tip is to breathe. I find when I start to feel overwhelmed or bogged down my breathing gets shallow and I almost feel as though I am about to start hyperventilating. So I sit up straight (or even better, stand up straight) and breathe in really deeply, hold it and gently exhale. I don’t worry about counting as many people do as that stresses me out, I just focus on really breathing in a lung full and then breathing out again slowly. I find it really clears my head, calms me down and is one of the best things I can do for some self-care.
Repeatedly asking myself "what is the kindest thing I can do for myself today?". Sometimes the answer looks like exercise or powering through my to-do list, and sometimes it looks like a Netflix binge, but by asking myself that question I tune in with what I really need.
Reserve time to rest - One of the most important lessons I have learned in 2018 was to give myself enough time to rest. Every time I overworked, over-worried or had too much on, I always got ill. It was my body's way of telling me to slow down for sure, and often I didn’t listen to it until it was too late and then I would have two weeks with a stomach bug or an ear infection. Resting is good for you, and your mind and body. Always being on the go has its benefits, but if you are tired or unwell, that’s no good to anyone. I have been ensuring I reserve time to rest, put my feet up and spend a whole evening doing no studying or blogging. It means my brain gets a night off once a week!
Spend time outside every day. Living our lives indoors is very much normal. We rush from the car to the office, drive to the local shop, and do our best to put the rubbish out once a week rather than once a day. Being cooped up indoors, especially as the evenings get darker, is very much our cultural norm.
My top self-care tip is to break that norm and spend a little bit of time outside every single day. It doesn’t sound like too much to ask, and the premise is very easy to understand; get outside, take stock, give yourself some thinking time, breathe in deeply, get some exercise. Some will find it much easier than others, some will have better waterproof coats than others, some will have no choice but to walk the dog or clean out the rabbits, but most people will probably not consider spending time outside is important.
The benefits are clear, with study upon study providing all the stats in favour of getting away from the walls and ceilings and fluorescent lights and computer screens and out into the open air. Science tells us the outdoors can relieve stress and help us feel positive, it helps us think, focus and make decisions, and that it helps us fight illness. But normal people, those leading a normal life – with work, family, home, hobbies, friends, life – find it far too difficult to find time for a daily habit that takes them out of the office or the house for every single day.
For those who are helped by challenges or structure, try #OneHourOutside, or give Walk1000 a go. If you work from home you could try commuting anyway – walk around the block before you sit at your computer and again when you clock off for the day. Fuelled by being with others? Join a running or other sports club, or see if there are any walking groups near you.
If you prefer your time outside alone, do an online Yoga course in your back garden or download a podcast and walk a chapter a day. Hate walking? Eat your lunch outside in your local park or in your garden. Whether you can manage just 15 minutes, or a whole hour, or even longer, making the outdoors a habit is one simple step to an improved life.
By spending quality time outside we can calm the mind, strengthen the heart, refresh the soul, and exercise the body. The real challenge for your personal wellbeing is to make that happen each day, not just at the weekend or when you can squeeze it in.
To me, simple acts of self-care are a necessary moment in my daily life. I try to factor in a few minutes of time for myself each day. I’m a real believer in the healing power of nature, of the numerous health benefits of grounding ourselves in the natural world around us, and for that reason, a simple act of self-care for me is taking time outside.
Whether that’s a few moments, sat on the doorstep, hands warming around a cup of hot tea, a blanket around my shoulders. or a few seconds, back against a closed door, eyes closed, being aware of my breathing, the sounds around me, how the air makes me feel - is it a balmy summers evening when the setting sun kisses my cheek or a frigidly cold day, when the wind steals the breath from my throat?
This momentary step away from the daily toil is often all that’s needed to resettle, to allow me a moment to collect my thoughts, to feel more clarity, to reset and start again. Quite often my children will join me, and that’s lovely too. I find it’s a helpful way of teaching them the importance of taking time out when things get overwhelming or they need to soothe themselves.
We all can step outside, it costs nothing, can be done in all weathers (nothing awakens the senses more than a cold, wet wind), and for me, is an essential part of my personal care.
When it comes to self-care I believe the most important thing you can do is build self-awareness and listen to yourself. Try checking in with yourself every day and ask yourself what you need. You could do this by journaling, or simply setting aside a certain time of the day to mentally check in with how you're feeling, what you need and how you can give yourself what you need. My advice would be to do this first thing in the morning, ideally before you interact with the outside world (that includes social media!). This small act of kindness towards yourself can then help you define and shape a self-care practice that's right for you.
With a 2-year-old and a newborn, self-care isn’t something I am particularly great at at the moment. But I am trying. To be honest, my best self-care tip is to get a really great organiser/planner. I can schedule in things like a morning 10-minute meditation, or a post-kids bedtime run and having it planned out makes me more likely to stick to it.
With a newborn baby and a 2-year-old to look after, self-care doesn't make up a particularly big part of my day at the moment - I'm lucky if I get time to shower alone! So my tip is to make every moment count, and to enjoy your alone time guilt-free. When I finally do get a moment to myself, I put some music on so I can get lost in my own thoughts, and don't worry about anyone else. When my brain is racing all day long, sometimes a few minutes of guilt-free downtime is all it takes to feel refreshed!
Work out what self-care means to YOU, rather than relying on the things other people do. In my case, for instance, hot baths, yoga and long walks don't really work, because I just don't have the time for them, so I end up more stressed than I was when I started if I try to fit them in. Instead, I've come to realise that I'm at my best when I'm being productive and getting things done, so, for me, checking things off my To Do list is a form of self-care, and it's way more effective than a hot bath, or any of the things people usually suggest!
My self-care tip is to remove yourself from toxic situations and relationships as much as you possibly can. Many of us feel obligated to put up with bad behaviour and it can have a detrimental effect on our entire wellbeing. You have the right to protect your emotional wellbeing. Sometimes this means walking away from situations that do not serve you.