Self-care’s a major buzzword that’s been thrown around a lot, especially in recent times. But self-care can mean very different things for each individual; it can be in the little everyday things, be it fostering healthy eating and fitness habits, taking time for yourself and indulging in a pampering routine, or practicing mindful awareness.
Below, we share our ways of practicing self-care to help make the stressors of everyday life more manageable. What’s yours?
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When I have the luxury of time, reading a good book is definitely the best way to unwind. I also listen to podcasts on-the-go as I find that it really helps to centre my thoughts and challenges me to think of situations in a different way.
I’m a firm believer in a good skincare routine – it’s one of the first things I do when I wake up, and the last thing I do before bed. I also try to spend at least one night a week doing a sheet mask and using the SkinInc Optimizer Voyage Tri-light device.
This is a bit of an indulgence but massages are definitely a big stress-buster, not to mention a great relief for sore muscles. I try to schedule a session when I can. And then, of course, there’s travelling, which helps with tackling stress levels, too.
If I want to clear my head and not think about anything, a good workout session really helps. Barre or boxing classes are great because I usually spend most of these classes trying to concentrate on my form (or not trying to pass out from exhaustion lol) that there really is no space for any other thoughts. The post-exercise endorphins that I get after are also a real mood booster.
However, if I’m looking to just relax or decompress, I love to either be in the pool or in my bedroom surrounded by tons of fluffy pillows and throws with great music on. I have a particular playlist called “Easy Like Sunday Morning” that’s filled with jazz, soul, dream pop, blues and folk music that’s super calming and always puts me in a very relaxed mood.
I don’t really have any set routines, but I always carve out an hour or two before bedtime to really relax and listen to music. Music is such a great way to calm any anxiety I’ve been feeling and allows me to just zone out. I’ll also make sure that I have a breakfast drink of choice that I can sip slowly when I go through my emails at the beginning of the week.
A friend of mine told me that instead of concentrating on all the things that I don’t have in life, I should be grateful for the things I do have. That was a huge game-changer for me. So when I’m feeling critical of myself or having self-esteem issues, I take stock of all the amazing things and people I have in my life. Another tip that I learnt is to write down any negative thoughts or problems I’m facing. Apparently, when you write stuff down or put a problem out there, it helps your brain to process it better, and in turn, helps you to release it.
I spend a lot of time watching shows. It depends on what I’m in the mood for but it’s either crime or comedy, and rarely anything in between. And that’s usually how I like to wind down.
But last December, in a bout of ambitious self-improvement that always comes right before the new year, I decided to challenge myself to cook (or bake) something new every month. With the Circuit Breaker, it fast-tracked to the point where I was making something new almost every couple of days. I spent a lot more time in the kitchen as a means of destressing and menial routines like chopping vegetables or kneading dough became very therapeutic to me.
Now, I like to set aside at least one day on the weekend where I really go all out to make something. I enjoy the ritual of finding recipes, making them my own, and eating it (whether shared or alone). It might sound inane but I really feel like I am taking the best care of myself when I am cooking.
When I’m not at work or spending time with my loved ones, you’ll likely find me at my regular boxing gym. As Elle Woods so succinctly put it, “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins makes you happy.” When the going gets tough, there’s nothing quite like a heart-pumping session to put me in a better mood. It’s not just a place for a smashing workout, there’s a great sense of community, too — a sense of belonging and encouragement that keeps me going.
Fitness aside, I usually start my day with a cocktail of supplements and vitamins, so that’s been super helpful with keeping illnesses at bay. I have a bad habit of not drinking water, so that also helps ensure I keep *somewhat* hydrated.
I also love visiting nature parks and reserves. Call me an amateur wildlife photographer, if you will. Disconnecting from my phone (mostly) and hitting a forest trail help put the brakes on any negativity in my head.
I have a pretty short attention span, and I’m the type who has 2764638 tabs opened on my browser – it’ll then stress me out when I get nothing fully done. Forcing myself to focus on completing each task has helped, though I tend to slip back into old habits. But for now, baby steps.
Note: The above photograph was taken prior to Covid-19 restrictions.