What Self-Care Really Looks Like

I feel like the idea of self-care is really popular right now; which is good. But I think media outlets and social influencers are using self-care as more of an excuse to preach their doctrines of green juices, $40 cycling classes, and detox diets; which isn’t so good.

Self-care is simply….taking care of yourself.

Being mindful. Asking your body what it needs.

I want to talk to ya’ll today a bit about what self-care can look like because the news flash I want to get at here is that you don’t need a fancy face mask or a getaway to an AirBNB treehouse in Fiji to practice self-care.

Lately, I’ve been turning to self-care every spare minute. At the beginning of the school year, I can be pretty tense. I’m still getting a feel for my classes, still learning how to correctly complete assignments, and just feeling that general anxiety of “what will this year bring”. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of excitement, too. I’m so excited to be a senior, I’m still hoping to make new friends this year, and I’m just excited for fall in general. (Pumpkin everything and college football? Yes please.)

But there are those signs that pop up to show me that I am feeling a bit more anxious than normal. For me, I get stress headaches and have trouble sleeping. It’s really helpful to know your cues. Maybe you lose your appetite or maybe you start chewing your finger nails. Whatever it is, it’s a good sign that you should try to incorporate more self-care into your day.

For me, self-care is simple. And it can look like this:

  • waking up early to work out, but choosing to sleep longer/choosing to use that “work out” time to read a devotional in bed with coffee
  • heading to campus early to get a bagel for breakfast instead of having the protein smoothie I made the night before
  • grabbing a Starbucks latte between classes because I feel like I really need it (can’t wait to have my first pumpkin spice of the season, but I’m trying to wait for fall weather…ha!)
  • changing negative thoughts into positive ones, especially when I catch myself talking to myself in that mean voice in my head that we all know too well
  • coming home from school and taking a shower, putting on new fall-scented lotion, and watching Netflix for an hour before dinner to decompress
  • taking a full day off on the weekends from doing any type of school work/blog work and getting off my electronics

I’ve been trying to live life more intuitive. I try to listen to my body, and really listen to it. It’s really just a matter of checking in with myself multiple times a day to ask “What do I need right now?”

For example:

If I’m hungry –> “What do I want right now?” –> (I eat what I am craving.)

When I wake up and feel like I want to move my body –> “What movement sounds good? A bike ride? Gym? Walk?” –> (Do desired movement.)

When I feel stressed –> “What will make me feel better right now?” –> (DO that!)

I will say, it really helps to have items on hand that you can go to when you need to take a little time for yourself. For me, I have cabinets filled with my art supplies; watercolors, colored pencils, oil pastels, sketch pads, etc. I keep all that up in my room, so I can have nights where I just turn on some music or Netflix and just spend time relaxing and being creative.

Also, if you’ve ever seen pictures of my room on Instagram, I have a bookshelf with tons of different books. Some I’ve read and love, some to-be read. If I feel like I’d like to take some quiet time in the form of reading a book – or better yet, go to a favorite cafe or coffee shop to read – I have tons of options.

Another thing I’ve been loving recently is Caring Crate. They are quite literally self-care in a box!

Caring Crate is a monthly-subscription box company for those dealing with chronic illness, mental illness, or just for those that need a little extra self-care.

They sent me a box to try out and I was pleasantly surprised at the goodies that came inside!

self-care box

Naked Snacks – probably one of the easiest ways to practice self care is just to have some snacks on hand, so you don’t get hangry. I actually have a snack drawer in my room, so that if I’m studying or trying to go to sleep with a rumbly tummy, I can remedy that quick. These are delicious! I love banana chips and these are sweet with some coconut flakes and macadamia nuts.

Bora Bora Hair Mask – if you love face masks, you have to try hair masks! I’ve only tried a couple before, but they are so fun and leave you feeling like you just left the salon! (Self-care can totally be having that just-left-the-salon hair look.)

Whipped Soap – I had never seen something like this before, but I’m all about what I like to call “smell good” things. Whenever I am feeling stressed or like I need to relax, I’ll take a shower or bath and then use really yummy scented soaps and then lotion afterward. I just feel refreshed after, so this really comes in handy for times like those!

Lip Scrub – I love lip scrubs, especially in the fall time because my lips get really chapped and that doesn’t pair well with my fall lipsticks. This one is made with spearmint and SOMETHING, so it’s super refreshing. I do it in the morning as I’m washing my face and it’s just an extra pick me up.

Iced Tea – I’m not really big into wine besides the occasional glass with dinner, so normally when I’ve been running around all day and I need to unwind, I want something more refreshing. This iced tea is the perfect answer! Sometimes water gets a little boring, so I love this for an afternoon pick-me-up. It’s also super great to help me re-hydrate after getting all sweaty and gross trekking all over campus!

Now my Caring Crate sits among my books and watercolors, ready for me when I decide to take some “me” time.

I would highly recommend this for someone who feels like they may be a little too much of a busy bee to really prioritize self care. With you getting a box of self-care goodies each month, it will be so much easier and you’ll be more motivated to put your mental health first and give yourself plenty of love and patience.

Let me know how you like to practice self-care, so we can all get some good ideas for how to love our bodies, nourish our souls, and strengthen our minds in a positive way!