Looking after yourself isn’t a novel concept.
But the revival of ‘self-care’ in the wake of tumultuous times (hello, 2017′s news cycle) is testament to how much we’re craving the space to tend to our mental and physical wellbeing.
Originally a phrase used by members of the medical profession in the US, with doctors coining the term to refer to a way in which people who needed long-term care could look after their own wellness, it became political when it was used by people active in the civil and women’s rights movements in the US. Here, it became a way to exercise autonomy and take control of one’s own health, when using a lot of energy to fight oppression.
It’s can also be a useful tool to to help us cultivate a routine of taking some time out from frantic modern life.
Here’s a few tips on how to do it right.
Indulge in an aromatherapy bath
Pour a glass of wine, play music by Ludovico Einaudi and run a hot bath infused with essential oils from Aromatherapy Associates. Scientists have discovered that aromatherapy oils work with the deepest parts of the brain, promoting relaxation and relieving stress.
Just a touch of chamomile, sandalwood and vetivert can alter your mood and help tackle depression and insomnia. Run a bath and make sure you massage your torso with high-quality aromatherapy oils before sinking into the warm water.
Write a list
When you’ve got a million thoughts whizzing around your brain, writing a list can be incredibly therapeutic. Note down everything you need to remember, from next week’s appointments and meetings to meal plans and birthday lists. Guaranteed it will immediately ease your anxious mind.
Take a restorative yoga class
Not all yoga classes involve intense warrior poses and endless sun salutations. Restorative yoga is a gentle practice mainly based on the ground, where you hold postures for longer and use plenty of props (think soft blankets, lavender eye pillows and deep breathing.)
Often restorative yoga classes include yoga nidra (basically a really long savasana). Afterwards you’ll feel like you’ve just awoken from an amazing ten-hour sleep. Try an online restorative class, like this one.
Whip up a homemade hair mask
Who needs to go to the hairdressers for an expensive hair treatment when you can make your own at home? Coconut oil makes a great DIY hair mask. It’s packed full of vitamins and essential fatty acids which help nourish dry scalps and prevent split ends.
We recommend trying this coconut oil and honey hair mask, or this avocado and olive oil alternative at home. It’s so easy and you can make most of this recipe with ingredients found in the kitchen cupboard.
Go on a digital detox
Our lives are dominated by buzzing phones and flashing social media notifications. Take a leaf out of Ed Sheeran’s book and switch off your phone – even if it’s just for one day per week.
The average British adult spends 8 hours and 41 minutes looking at a screen each day, while the average smartphone user touches their device over 2,000 times in 24 hours. Give yourself a well-deserved break from the digital world – you’ll finish the weekend feeling fresh and revived.
Make that recipe
Remember those delicious-looking recipes you bookmarked but never have time to make? Whether it’s a complicated Middle Eastern delicacy or just a loaf of bread, use your #SelfCareSaturday to make that meal a reality.
We recommend a good browse through Anna Jones’ website for healthy vegetarian meals, or Smitten Kitchen for something more decadent.
We all have a tendency to say ‘yes’ to things we don’t actually want to do. Whether it’s lunch with an old colleague you never really liked or an outrageously expensive hen-do, be brave and say ‘no’.
It can seem hard, but you’ll feel much happier without that unwanted arrangement looming over your weekend. There will always be some things you have to attend (families don’t take ‘no’ for an answer) but aim to keep these arrangements for another day.