Self-care isn’t about expensive luxuries, but small things to help day-to-day wellbeing. Katy Beskow looks at 10 ways to self-care.
1. Waking up
Wake up a few minutes earlier than you need to, and before you turn on your phone or reply to any emails, fill this ‘extra’ time with something that makes you feel good. It could be a cup of coffee in bed, perhaps a few stretches, or simply just a few minutes to think clearly about what you need to achieve in the day ahead.
Some mornings you may be motivated by listening to some music, while other mornings you may prefer a quiet environment, so be flexible and do what feels right at the time.
2. Have a good breakfast
Start the day right with a balanced and nutritious breakfast. It feels great to nourish your body in the morning with a healthy breakfast to set you up for the day ahead, and know that you’ve started the day with the self-care that comes from eating well.
If you’re short on time, blitz together a smoothie, or a bowl of berries, dairy-free yoghurt and flaked almonds, or prepare a jar of overnight oats for breakfast on the go the following day.
3. Take a walk
Have a walk outdoors on your lunch break. As tempting as it is to eat lunch at your desk while you scroll through social media (we’ve all done it), combining a change of environment and functional exercise will help you relax, refresh and be alert for the afternoon.
If you feel like company, encourage a colleague to go along for a walk too, which is a great way to chat and socialise outside of the workplace environment, but if you feel like spending some time alone, that’s OK too.
4. Compliment yourself
Give yourself a compliment. It’s likely that you’ve already told a colleague that they’re doing a great job, or told a friend that they’re absolutely wonderful, but have you applied kindness to yourself yet today? Perhaps you finished a piece of work ahead of schedule – well done you, or maybe you handled a difficult situation in your stride – you did fantastic!
Treat yourself as you would treat others, compliment and give yourself a (metaphorical) pat on the back. It’s also good to reflect on situations that didn’t go so well, but always finish the reflection on a positive – you got through it, and you will next time too.
5. Cook to relax
Cook yourself a delicious dinner. Spending a little time cooking in the kitchen is perfect to practice mindfulness, concentrating solely on the task at hand. It is also excellent self-care to cook up something that you just fancy, and remember that food is important for the mind and soul, not just the nourishment of the body.
Vegan recipes can also be quick and easy to prepare, so if cooking isn’t your favourite way to spend your evening, you can still whip up something tasty, with minimal effort and maximum satisfaction.
6. Make ‘me’ time
Schedule some ‘me’ time. We’re all busy, but it’s important to take some time out of schedules to focus on doing something for yourself. Perhaps this is binge-watching a few episodes of your favourite show, starting that book you’ve always wanted to read, going to a new exercise class, or simply snuggling up with a cup of tea in the 15 minutes that you have to spare.
Just as you would make time in your day to attend a meeting, or cook dinner for the family, block out some time to do something that makes you happy. You will thank yourself later.
7. Talk to someone
Communicate with a loved one. It’s so much fun to catch up with a friend or family member who is positive to talk to. It’s easy to lose contact, but it’s also easy to keep in touch via telephone, FaceTime, or even text message.
Let communication with a friend or loved one be part of your self-care routine, as talking about problems, sharing stories and gaining (as well as giving) encouragement and reassurance is priceless. Many of us don’t have time to meet with friends regularly, but you probably have time in the evening to send texts to someone special.
8. Wash cares away
Most of us shower or take a bath daily, so use this opportunity to pamper your body, relax your mind, and turn an everyday hygiene task into a purposeful few moments. Whether you’re showering or bathing, really notice the sensation of the water over your body; mindfully notice the temperature of the water, and just be in the moment.
Treat yourself to a vegan-friendly shower cream with essential oils, and breathe deeply as you notice the aroma. If you have the time and inclination, light a few soy-based candles for self-care that feels luxurious, without too much effort.
9. Prepare for tomorrow
Relieve some of tomorrow’s stress by choosing and laying out your clothes, preparing your packed lunch, and gathering everything that you need to take with you in the morning the night before.
You’ll be surprised by how little time this really takes in the evening, but how much time it will save tomorrow morning! You may also find it useful to write your to-do list for the following day, so you can start fresh and reach your goals.
10. Sleep well
Get an early night. We all know that a good night’s sleep is good for our holistic health, but sometimes we don’t prioritise it.
Ensuring a regular, good quality sleep is an important step in everyday self-care, as you’re not only looking after your immediate needs, but creating the best version of yourself for tomorrow. Reduce your screen time in the evening, and, where possible, keep bedtime at the same time every night, to ensure you get good quality sleep.
This article first appeared in Vegan Food & Living magazine in the October 2019 issue.
About the author
Katy Beskow is a cook, food writer and cookery tutor with a passion for good food. You’ll find her creating new recipes for her blog, demonstrating at food festivals, writing for magazines and teaching modern vegan cooking- so if you need her, she’ll be in the kitchen! Food is her number one love and she hopes to change the general perception of vegan food, by showcasing what is possible with seasonal and fresh foods. Katy now lives in Yorkshire and cooks in her tiny, yet fully functional kitchen! Find Katy on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. www.katybeskow.com.