2018 started with quite a busy schedule and long to-do lists. Not that we mind, because it means that there are a lot of new projects in the works. Apart from work related to-do's and agenda, there's been something I've been trying to work out, have a deeper understanding of and apply in every day life on a more personal level - the idea of self-care. What it really is and what it means to me. I'm fully aware of the "basic" self-care ideas that are widely discussed - taking a relaxing bath, lighting candles, taking an evening off, etc. While those examples are all great and helpful, I wanted to have a better understanding of how I can implement it in my daily life, instead of having something that I do once a month.
I'll start with some of the things I've learnt on this self-care discovery journey myself and we have also collaborated with the amazing team from Scentered. They have shared a few very practical and easy-to-implemet self-care actions that will help you feel more calm, motivated, empowered and happy. Make sure to scroll down to the end of this blog post as we might have a little surprise for you in collaboration with Scentered.
WHAT SELF-CARE MEANS TO ME
If our mind is the foundation of our happiness, then why taking care of it is not on the very top of our priority list?
What I've learnt about self-care on my journey so far (there is still a way to go and lots of personal lessons to learn), is that first and foremost you have to understand what caring for yourself means to YOU. We are all wired so differently, we respond to things differently, there are different actions that trigger our happiness, makes us feel calm, inspired and motivated.
I've learnt that self-care is not a thing/action you do once or twice a month. To me, self-care is a lifestyle. It's a way you live your life. It's something you incorporate in your daily life. It's something you don't feel guilty about. And that's an important one. Not feeling guilty for taking time for yourself, for the wellbeing of your mind. For someone who is always thinking "I should do more, that's not enough", it's been quite a hard realisation and I'm still working on self-acceptance and letting go. I used to think "I don't have time to read that book, I need to do something more productive, I don't have to go for a walk, that's a waste of time". Scared to miss out, scared not to meet someone else's expectations, sabotaging my own happiness and freedom. How unhealthy, right?
We convince ourselves that we don't have time for self-care. For these little actions that make us better. These things contribute massively to our mental health and wellbeing. Personally, I think this thinking is dominating because we don't see the result right away. I've now learnt that it's a lifestyle. And once you embrace it, everything becomes easier - the way you handle your relationships with people and most importantly - how you treat the relationship with yourself. You start respecting yourself a lot more. You know what to accept and you know what not to accept. You allow for time to slow down.
The reason we created Dear Diary was because we wanted to change the way we work and how we treat ourselves. We wanted to have more balance between career and personal growth. We don't follow the advice to burn out, that you have to manage absolutely everything, work 18 hours per day, hustle, hustle, hustle (really dislike this word actually). Because if there is no clarity, appreciation, self-discovery and play - are we really sure that we're chasing something we truly want?
There are a few things that I do that help me get to a good place. My good place is feeling motivated, not comparing myself with the rest of the world, having confidence in what I do, owning my story. Disclaimer: they are not revolutionary, but I do explain why each of these things work (for me) and my hope is that in a similar way you can find something that works for you - your own self-care rituals that you need to add to your routine. The most important thing here is to DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. Personally.
GETTING TO THE "GOOD PLACE"
MY MORNING. Early morning is something that's in your control (most of the time). So it's important to treat it as if you own it. Make your own rules, make your own routine that truly helps you start the day the best way possible. For me, it's workout first, dry-brushing my body, shower, 10 minute meditation, journaling and then planning the day. Establish a routine that makes you feel fresh, ready and motivated to start the day.
Planning the day is a huge part of my morning routine, as it helps not to feel overwhelmed. I've learnt not to pack as many tasks as I can, but instead put down most important ones that I realistically can complete. This way I have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, knowing I've done my best and I've not felt overwhelmed and guilty that I've not done my best.
When it comes to journaling, I don't limit myself to just one type of this practice. I use a few journals. In some, I have to just fill in a sentence about what I'm grateful for, in some I create different lists that focuses on happiness and fulfilment, in some I answer a question of the day and I also have a blank notebook where I can write down anything that is on my mind if I'm feeling like brainstorming and putting down more of a personal story and thoughts. They all serve one very important purpose - to make me slow down, take a moment to think about how I feel and most of the time it really motivates and uplifts me and helps me focus on the positive.
Taking care of my body has become a big priority for me. I have put into my Dear Diary weekly tracking to exercise 6 days per week. This doesn't mean I do a proper workout each day. I don't like to limit myself just to one type of exercise, as I know that it can easily fail and I will feel that I have let myself down and not kept a promise to myself. My main goal is that my body moves, I feel strong and healthy. So any exercise is a great exercise. I still complete the daily goal and have moved my body, whether it's going for at least a 30 minute walk, doing a 15-20 minute work out in the morning, swimming or playing squash.
MY EVENING. Reading in the evening has been a big game changer for me. Instead of scrolling on Insta, I get into bed, open my book and get lost in the story. Whether it's a novel or a book with some life advice & lessons, I fully commit to that story. With nothing else on my mind. I accept that I've done my best that day and that it's time for my mind to slow down and just be there in the moment. I find that it's best to choose books for the evening read that are not too intense, that have a beautiful story or something calming about them.
I've tried audio books, they don't really work for me. I like the “reading experience”. I like holding a book in my hands and highlighting all the great thoughts. I like stopping, looking up and thinking about what the words I just read mean to me. I like to read at my own pace, it's almost like a self-care ritual in it.
I truly believe that we ourselves are the biggest source of inspiration and it's important that we treat ourselves that way, instead of constantly seeking outside inspiration from others.
ACTIONABLE TIPS FROM SCENTERED
As mentioned earlier in this post, we teamed up with the very wonderful people from Scentered team. Scentered is a unique range of aromatherapy products to help you stay centred. You can take these balms with you anywhere you go. They will encourage you to stop, take a moment for yourself and bring some calm, focus and a sense of clarity into your busy lifestyle.
I personally use and LOVE Scentered balms. My personal faves are Focus balm, Sleep Well balm and Love balm. Not only they create amazing products, their team shares so much inspiration when it comes to mindfulness, wellbeing, happiness, so be sure to also check their Insta and blog.
Scentered team has shared their best tips on how to practice self care day to day. Actionable steps that you can implement into your everyday life and how their range can truly make a difference in how you feel throughout the day:
- SLEEP, along with exercise and diet, are part of the three “pillars of health”. It is recommended that to be productive the following day and to function both mentally and physically, 8 or more hours of sleep is necessary per night. Scentered team shared that their secret to a long, restful night's sleep is their Sleep Well range. You can apply the therapy balm to your pulse points before curling up, burn your sleep candle half an hour before bed whilst you read your book and use their luxury 100% silk eye mask to block out the disturbance of early morning light.
- MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. Life is busy and fast paced, however, this is what makes it so fulfilling and rewarding. This does mean that finding a moment to yourself is somewhat a challenge. Whether it's being more selective with social plans or amending your work hours, so you start earlier in the morning leaving more time to spend relaxing in the evening. It is the smaller amendments to your lifestyle that will make a big difference in the long run. De-Stress balms and candles are the perfect companion whan enjoying some “me” time, unwinding and releasing tensions from the day.
- EXERCISE. The thought of finding time to exercise is a challenge enough for some but consider using your lunch hour to get away and take yourself for a good walk of perhaps a yoga or spin class. We all know how good it makes you feel for the rest of the day. Before starting your workout, apply the stimulating Focus Balm to your pulse points to allow those endorphins to be released!
- NUTRITION. When we're feeling tired, we want fill up on stodgy, unhealthy carbs. They might feel comforting as we're eating, but the resulting in high sugar - and then crash - will make us feel worse. Opt for some fresh fruit or vegetables with hummus instead. Consider adding chia seeds to your lunch. The ancient Aztecs used chia seeds to keep up the energy and alertness in their warriors during times of war. These tiny seeds are rich in essential fatty acids and can help boost energy. And finally, make yourself a nice cup of turmeric tea. Turmeric has been in ayurvedic medicine for centuries, to raise energy levels in those suffering with fatigue and depression. The taste and smell of it can uplift your senses. You can buy turmeric tea bags from your local health food shop if you don't fancy messing around making your own blend.
- HOBBIES & INTERESTS. Do something you love doing. Take a walk, call a friend for a catch up, go for a bike ride or volunteer for an organisation you love - whatever it is, it needs to be fun and just for you. Make sure you plan your hobbies into your schedule so you always have a bit of time for things that make you happy.
A LITTLE GIFT
Scentered team kindly created a discount code especially for Dear Diary friends. If any of their products catch your eye (and I truly do recommend giving them a try, as they make a very noticeable difference in how I feel every day and they are so easy to use, whether you are working at the desk or are on the go), enter code “deardiary10” at the checkout to receive 10% off your purchase. Code can only be used against full price purchases made on the www.scentered.me website and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Valid until 14th of March.
Thank you so much for being here. We would absolutely love to hear your take on self-care, so please do leave a comment below. Also, a big thank you to Sentered for sharing their tips. We love collaborating with other brands that we believe in, support and whose products make a big positive difference in our everyday lives.
LOVE YO SELF
Zane & the Dear Diary team