How do you engage in offbeat self-care?

January 23 2015 | offbeatbride
art fingers #1
By: Victoria – CC BY 2.0
I've been investigating the concept of "self-care." But sometimes the tips I find don't really work for me, even though they work for other people. For example, some people find buying a new nail polish and then taking the time to paint their nails is relaxing and boosts their mood.

So I thought that the Offbeat Homies would be a great way to come up with some novel ideas for self care.
-justanothersciencenerd

I'll start! Every morning I do a nice "self-care" thing for myself that may not seem like a big deal, but it really makes me happy.

After waking up and checking my phone to make sure there's been no Empire urgencies (Empire-gencies?), I do all my morning chores — brush teeth, put on pants, walk dogs, discard poop, and feed all the beasts. Then I make myself my favorite coffee, and four pieces of toast with salt. Then I sit down to eat quietly and watch one of my favorite TV shows (whatever the DVR recorded the night before usually). I could get straight to work, but I take that time to center myself, indulge in yummies, and relax before diving in.

Then, of course, there's always wine at the end of the day.

But during REALLY bad times… PUZZLES.

Your turn: How do YOU engage in self-care?

  1. My self care includes an internet binge at a cafe (I don't have home internet yet) with hot tea. It let's me be out in the world, getting sunlight and fresh air, and keeping my headphones in means I am left alone.
    I also paint, listen to music while walking, and play Sudoku. When my boyfriend is in town, a good snuggle helps.

    Also, Know Thyself. Acknowledging and following your limits is like following the fuel gauge. When it's empty, you gas up your car. Likewise, keep an eye on yourself, and engage in self care before you run out of gas.

    • Spoon theory works for this too. Make sure you know how many spoons you have left each day…some of those spoons should be for self care.

      • I honestly started to think about the spoons in my drawer O.o
        And then about this one pretty spoon i have in the craft room i use for beads.
        WUT lol

      • I use spoon theory a lot. It also help to break the day into 3 chunks. AM, PM & Eve. During a 7 day week I can usually only manage 15 out of 31 ish chunks of time of involved activity; whether that's work, hobby or social time. It's a really good way to set limits.

  2. I like to take time to create something. At work, I do a chalkboard drawing about whatever crazy observance day or holiday it may be. at home I draw or sew or plan some craft project. I made fleece hats for everybody this year for gifts as and it really got my day off to a great start. I would set the timer for 20 minutes, turn on the radio, finish my coffee, and stitch away. I need these "tuning fork" moments as my life functions better when I can think creatively.

    • Self care for me includes sleeping in on days off, coffee, netflix/TV, starting a beauty regime (cleansing, toner, serum, moisturizer & cold cream before bed), experimenting with drug store make up products, thrifting, internet surfing/fashion related.

  3. I make sure to go out to my favorite coffee place once a week with a good book just to chill, it's nice to be somewhere where I don't have any chores or work in the vicinity. I even make a point of leaving my laptop and sometimes even my phone at home. Another thing I love is having my hair washed, most of the time at a beauty parlor but usually not accompanying a haircut. I have an awesome shampoo girl that only charges six bucks (including the two dollar tip) to just lather up my hair and it seriously feels about as relaxing as a massage or spa day for me but at a fraction of the cost.

    • I have a favorite coffee shop that's an hour's drive away in the mountains. The drive there (and back) is part of the escape and self-care time. I'll listen to podcasts, or sing loudly to music, or ride in silence — whatever feels best. When I reach the shop I buy a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream, and settle in to read or journal or watch the tourists walk by on the streets below. My phone gets barely any signal and there's no wifi, so I can escape technology. I love it and go at least fortnightly.

  4. My self care is yoga. Some days that means practicing long and hard at poses that need improvement, other days its ten minutes doing some simple movement. Just taking some time to be and enjoy what my body can do (not what it can't) really grounds me and reminds me to be aware of myself.

  5. I don't do mornings but I get up before I actually have to so I can hang out with my dog on the couch for a while and listen to the radio (usually news, sometimes music). I do have a second alarm set up so that if we both doze off again (which happens frequently) I'll still be on time for work.

    • I do this too! My kitten and I have snuggle time in the morning. I also have 3 alarms too (Wake up, Start getting ready, and leave the house) Knowing that I have time alone with my kitten to curl up in bed together is one of the highlights of my day!

      • I definitely just finished my morning kitteh snuggle time. It was even better today because my boyfriend woke up before he had to get out of bed so we had a few minutes to snuggle the baby together before he had to leave for work. And then I got the cuddles alllllll to myself for another hour 🙂

  6. Self-Care for me is making a point in taking a lunch-break and taking my mind off work completely for a while. This includes going outside, taking a walk down the block to the store and grab some food, then I get back to our breakroom, eat my lunch and read whatever book I'm currently at.
    We don't really have the opportunity to sit outside or taking a nice walk, but I do make it a priority to at least get a couple of minutes outside and then reading in a book – even if it's just for 15 Minutes – ensures I'm not dwelling on work-related issues but actually do what a lunch-break was meant to be: Relax for a bit and get back to work refreshed.

    • Totally this. If i eat in our lunch room people will come find me, and I'll inevitably get pulled out of lunch early or for something that could wait. When i started eating lunch in the garden at work, my day got ten times better. So i guess my offbeat self- care idea is to hide at work? Lol

    • Lunchtime breaks are totally part of my self-care. I work at a computer, and I get a huge mood lift from leaving my desk at lunch, finding somewhere to eat where I can see the sky (eating outside is the best, but a window seat suffices in winter), and knit for a few minutes.

      I also try to remember to take breaks that don't require DOING anything. Usually my work breaks are to find office supplies, check personal email, eat a quick snack…but those aren't *really* breaks. My mind doesn't disengage. Once a day, I try to find 5 minutes to leave my desk and got somewhere quiet where I can just sit. I need the quiet, alone time to recenter my thoughts.

  7. I couldn't agree more, Keira. I am always telling hubs that he wouldn't drive a car with an empty fuel tank, so he needs to fuel himself up accordingly!
    As for my self care…it always seems to happen by accident. I tend to get so busy that I only go into town if I need to do something(or things) so on the odd occasion that I find myself with an hour or two to kill between appointments, I wander slooooowwwwly around and go to the pretty boutique-y places I wouldn't normally have the time to go to and maybe linger over some coffee in a particular Parisian style cafe that I like. I consciously avoid going to town where possible on my time off, but actually, it's funny how different the place looks and feels when one can take their time and only visit indulgent places-it makes me feel truly rested. I need to do more of this! Thanks for the reminder.

  8. I do cross stitch. I'm doing an intense Christmas stocking right now. It takes enough mental focus, that I can't think about other things in life, but not so much that it exhausts me. And then at the end, I have a completed project.

    Also, I love to get my hair cut (even if it's just a trim). I love how it feels when they massage my head during the shampoo and conditioning process, and I love how my hair feels so soft and light afterwards.

    I also like to plan trips. My husband and I try to take a week long trip to somewhere every year. I set myself a budget and do research on the places to go, and eat, and stay. I put it all into a spreadsheet of information and then I reorganize the spreadsheet into different tabs with all of the info.

    I have a touch of OCD and I think the cross stitch and trip planning both comfort that side of me.

  9. Next week, my husband and I are moving to the opposite corner of the US. The logistics are quite stressful so when I had my last day of work, I scheduled a hair appointment because nothing relaxes me like having someone else massage my scalp. When I got in the chair, we decided to take my natural hair color to purple. Best. Decision. Ever. That gave me 2 scalp massages plus blow drying and nothing says pampered like regal purple hair crowning your head. Any time I've felt stressed since then I just play with it…

    In less extreme fashion, my husband and I are really into shibari work and he is quite a competent knotter. If I'm stressed he will tie me up in various harnesses. The tying releases endorphins similar to finishing a run, so it relaxes me quite well. And it offers great couple bonding and sometimes leads to fun and interesting nooky. 🙂

  10. Every day stuff: When I get up in the morning, I light some lavender-scented incense and practice my fencing while the kettle boils. At work, I have a pretty teapot I use to make tea, so every couple hours is like a tiny tea party at my desk. I also make sure I take plenty of snacks so I don't get hangry. When I get home, I take 5 minutes to aggressively snuggle my cat before diving into chores or hard-core relaxation.

    For more occasional stuff, I:
    – make delicious cocktails and share them with my husband
    – take long walks
    – spend long weekend mornings playing World of Warcraft and not feeling guilty about it
    – go on "market dates" where we go shopping at the farmers market and then have tamales for lunch
    – cook ambitious meals that take all day and make a mess

  11. Reading is a big one for me. Escaping into someone else's world for a little bit really helps. I read at least 45 minutes a day during my commute (NYC subway) and it makes a huge difference.

    I also find cooking can be a really important part of self care for me. Making something nourishing ahead for the week gives me piece of mind, and spurs my creativity really nicely.

    Less often, but equally important-dancing crazy to live music. I love going to psychobilly shows (often even alone) and just dancing. I don't have the energy for it as often as I'd like, but I always leave feeling super happy and calm!

    • YES COOKING!! I know, a lot of people don't want to bother after having had a stressful day and would rather order pizza, but for me it's quite the opposite. Performing mindless tasks like chopping vegetables helps me unwind from my intellectually challenging everyday life whilst still being able to get creative with different styles and recipes, it's like meditation … I love good food and a glass of wine, so I find making and having a nice dinner rather relaxing.

    • Yes! I started pleasure reading more often lately and I'm convinced it makes me a happier and more inspired person.

  12. For me it's making myself breakfast and eating it before I go to work, even if it makes me late I will still stop to eat my breakfast. It's taking my 15 minute break at work when though my boss probably doesn't like it. It's going out for a hike in my favorite park during nicer weather and planning time for a swim at the indoor pool in the winter. While painting is restorative in many ways for me it's also my second job so usually my self care revolves around making and eating good food and physical activity.

  13. I have come up with a variety of things over the years, mostly learned during my PhD attempt. I used to make it a point to take one day off a week. Period. Like totally off. More an issue when my job was school and that could suddenly take over every waking moment, whether in actual work or in guilt. But I still try to take an afternoon or something to just do whatever I want, no guilt. No mandatory errands, no cleaning (unless you like cleaning), no work or school.

    I also stress-bake. I am not a fan of cooking but I love baking. I found cookies are the easiest because i can then take a bunch to work (or to school or a friend's house) and share! Baking itself relaxes me, I get some sweet treats, and I get to share them with other people. Kinda the same with crafts although I do crafts for me a little more often. But it's something I enjoy and can show off or share.

    Bubble baths are another fave. Bath, book, music, candles. It's time just for me that's a bit indulgent because I splurge on bubble and bath stuff for those times. You can't get distracted by the messy kitchen or think maybe you should put away your clothes.

    Exercise in my routine is also something I have been working on. It helps burn off a ton of stress so when I realize I'm not sleeping well, I think about whether I've done anything active. Yet another time I take for just me and a podcast or an audio book. Nothing else I can do when I'm on a walk or working out so I just focus on that and not on worrying about things.

    • Thanks for the "baskets" moment! I am so going to use your idea of taking time completely off every week. I don't think I could manage a whole day, but I bet I could pull off an afternoon. I have several jobs that all happen from home, and so I'm basically "on duty" unless I'm asleep, and generally only end up taking time that's really "off" when I'm really stressed out.

    • Little Red Lupine – I smiled a lot reading this. As a fellow academic, this is embarassingly the first year of my life in which I am insisting on a day off, all for me (which may include social time). Self care is a lot about stepping away from work for me. I also am insisting on one midweek date night, even if it is just a quick dinner, so that we make sure to check in without any computers or mobile devices getting in the way.

      I love reading in the bathtub, and I'm working on daily walk or yoga time. And cooking, which I've gotten away from in the last few years!

  14. Not really that offbeat, but knitting! I started knitting about a year ago and am completely addicted. It's a great balance of relaxing and challenging. Plus the knitting community is made up of some of the friendliest people I've ever met, and I never have to buy hats/scarves/mittens/cozy socks again.

    • also a knitter. I have multiple projects going at once. some very complicated and drawn out, others just simple mindless things. that way I can pick and choose what my brain needs. I love starting projects and figuring out new techniques. I also love that it keeps my hands busy, because I'm prone to destructive behaviors like skin picking, hair pulling, or nail biting if I get antsy, anxious, or fidgety. I don't have as much of a problem with that when I've kept up with my knitting.

  15. My morning routine is a cup of coffee and a half an hour on the couch watching the news, before I do anything like get a shower or start my day. If I don't do this, my day just does not feel right.
    When I am feeling off or need to recharge, I get myself outside. Fresh air and some exercise always works for me. A few quiet moments at the beach watching the furbabies chase seagulls, a two hour hike in the woods at a local nature preserve, stomping around in the snow throwing snowballs to the furbabies is just what I need to reset my brain.

  16. When I have time at lunch, I go to my top-secret introvert spot and either do some journaling, pin all the things on Pinterest, or bring play a game on my tablet. I cherish my solitude.

  17. I agree with everyone who has said cooking/baking. For some reason making soup has always been my go-to when I'm angry or stressed. I also agree with the reading.

    As far as bodily care, I just let myself take really long showers every now and then. Self-head massage when I shampoo, exfoliate with my body brush and yummy smelling bath products, shave if I feel like it. Not the best environmentally but hopefully it's offset by the fact that my showers are usually much shorter and by not showering daily anymore.

  18. The best self-care is always based on individuality. My therapist taught me to think of times when I was happy, then consider what was different about my life at the time, or what I was doing at the time, and work at putting more of that back into my life. I am often happier when I've been cooking, for example. So I make sure that I get the chance to cook on a regular basis, and follow my food cravings most of the time (because it's more fun to cook something that you've really been craving). But if someone else hates cooking, it sure wouldn't work for them as self-care.

    So I would actually start by asking myself what DOES make me happy? Reading for a little? You could squeeze a reading break into your morning. A nice hot shower? A cup of tea that's a little indulgent because it's a special brand? Find what speaks to you, and then find a way to squeeze it in on the regular.

    • That is a great way to think about what makes you happy and go backwards from there! Sometimes when I watch tv, it is supposed to be a break, but it just doesn't work, so I think I need to go backwards 🙂

  19. As far as everyday care goes my schedule has been so much more manageable since I've given up trying to exercise in the morning and instead moved it to the evening after work. I'm an artist and I work from home so my schedule tends to get a little screwy but I've found that I'll get up early every day if all I have to worry about is coffee, oatmeal, and the Daily Show for an hour. Also reading a book during lunch, and getting regular exercise.

    For the times when I'm feeling crappy a pretty new nail polish or lipstick helps. So does taking a walk while listening to music, reading a book, knitting, working in my sketchbook, playing Final Fantasy, taking an Epsom salt bath while listening to podcasts, and watching those comfort shows you've seen a million times like Doctor Who and Firefly. Also wine.

  20. I recently-ish (3 months) started taking time to meditate every morning. I use a platform/app called headspace, because I'm new to this. I usually sit down to meditate just after my first cup of coffee. It does mean waking up 15 mins earlier to work it into my morning schedule (a huge hurdle for me initially) but I've learned that taking this time for me is so beneficial. I've never really tried to work something like this for me into my schedule before but I really can't express how much I love it now that I've started taking that time.

  21. I’ve got a big commute every day and I made the choice to stop driving and start taking transit, so that I wasn’t “wasting” the time. Now, each journey takes about 20 minutes more, but I can relax and read or cross stitch – depending on seat availability 🙂

    Just having that wee spot of “me time” means that I can switch off from work and, when I get home, I’m ready to give my full attention to my husband (and puppy!).

    • In a former job, I actually had to make the choice to switch from transit to driving when fares went up too much, so I won back some self-care-type time by getting really into books on tape. I actually found that I was better at getting through books while driving rather than riding the train because I couldn't get distracted by just clicking around on my phone. It helped me look forward to my commute and really boosted my attitude during an otherwise stressful time!

    • I am able to use my commute for exercise by riding my bike, but that doesn't work for winter where I am. I mean, it's possible, but I am too much of a wimp, haha.

  22. When I first started to engage in self-care I was pretty good about finding ways for chilling out and feeding the parts of me that didn't get fed taking care of others or pursuing my degree. After a while though, I was still feeling haggard and burned out. "But I'm taking a Quiet Time every morning!" I said (my quiet time consists of tea, journal and materials from my spiritual path and just contemplating and journaling about bits from it), "I listen to podcasts during my commute, I experiment with sewing and and craft projects, I have a beer after dinner and just watch my favorite show, I read fun stuff at bedtime". Then it was pointed out to me that that stuff is great but self-care is also a lot like child-care: it's regulating your behavior and habits in a way that is healthy for you. Like, come bed time my kid is convinced she wants to stay up until Forever, but I know she'll be healthier and happier if she has lights out by 9 am (and there's no point any earlier because she won't settle down earlier than that and will work herself up to where she can't sleep worrying about random things and then we're both up late). I often think I can stay up "just a little longer" too, to finish something for work or to read one more chapter. But I KNOW I will be cranky and groggy the next day if I do, and that sleep is a huge piece of health and I will probably get sick more if I don't stick to my personal bedtime. Rats. I never WANT to eat breakfast, but I know if I don't I'll have a little crash around 10 am when I'm at work and it wouldn't be good for my health to skip it all the time. So I eat at least one fried egg. Also, sometimes self care is not an activity. Sometimes it's doing nothing. Or napping.

    • "Then it was pointed out to me that that stuff is great but self-care is also a lot like child-care: it's regulating your behavior and habits in a way that is healthy for you. "

      This sentence just changed my life. Seriously, I've been struggling with putting too much pressure on myself and then feeling guilty when I can't get it all done. I also have a hard time being forgiving of myself. This perspective of self-care being like child-care totally reframed the way I think about myself and the things I need to do to take care of myself. I've been feeling better and getting more of the stuff I want/need to do done ever since I read this. Thanks!

  23. Children's Lit, Teen Lit, Young Adult lit…whatever you call it, I de-stress by reading it. From the excellent stuff that I can't wait to read my daughter, to the truly trashy stuff (I'm looking at you, "The Selection").

    A trip to the thrift store is one of my forms of self care, not just to buy, but to go somewhere where I can just look at things without being pestered by someone trying to help me.

    Choir practice.

    Dancing to pop music like "Toxic" by Britney Spears or "Bye Bye Bye" by N*Sync.

    Working on my prayer journal: part poetry, part scrapbook, part meditation.

  24. Self-care is really a broad category, but I feel like it translates closely to "do whatever you have to do to make sure you're okay", particularly if you're experiencing a stressful situation. I feel like it's going to be very different for everyone. What one person finds relaxing and soul-nourishing is a source of anxiety for someone else.
    • Showers: I take really warm showers at night. This is my time to take silent inventory of how my body is feeling and what I should do to take care of anything that is out of whack. I also stretch in there, which feels amazing if you haven't tried it–just be careful, because slippy.
    • Silly Communication: I use Snapchat primarily to doodle butts and look at friends' hot selfies. I can stay connected with my friends but through a platform that is only content I want to interact with.
    • Cats: I pick up my cat, Saturn, and give her a tour of our apartment. She's totally effing fascinated with everything, from smudges on the wall to that towel I left in the corner for days.
    • Driving: I just drive places. Alone, silent, aimless. It lets me focus completely on one thing that's not work or personal while seeing some sights.

    • I live in an apartment with entry through an enclosed hallway. Sometimes I take my cat on "adventures" in the hallway that he doesn't get exposed to regularly. And because it's enclosed I don't worry about him getting lost. It's great to watch my cat experience new things!

  25. So much of what I do has been mentioned (reading, journaling, baking, bubble baths, taking one day entirely off, tea) but so far no one's mentioned masturbation! So yeah if you're a sexual person that one can help. Not even necessarily to orgasm, just as a form of love and comfort for your own body.

    I also started seeing a (good) therapist, which has helped a lot in giving me tools to deal with stuff and in recognizing my own less than helpful thoughts and behaviors.

    I also admit to retail therapy, but only at thrift stores. I find the treasure hunt immensely satisfying. Also I organize my book collection, or my clothes, or my art supplies. Reminding myself that my life is full of beautiful things I love, and bringing them back into order out of chaos is very relaxing.

  26. I think one important part of self-care is doing things that make you feel good, with no guilt or apologies. (assuming a basic level of reasonable decisions).

    I also only count activities that are being done with intent: for example, I don't count sitting in front of the TV zoning out as self care unless I have made the intentional decision that I am going to rest my brain this way.

    Another way I utilize self care is by getting my hair professionally coloured (I'm pretty confident there is not a colour out there I haven't had it). Its expensive, but it makes me feel like "outer me" is reflecting "inner me".

    I also think things like staying out too late on a work night or declining invitations to go out so you can spend a day in pjs can be self care. Its all about carving out time to do what makes you feel good!

    I think we can all benefit by spending more time in nature: whether that is a hike or just sitting under a tree and ready a book, a chance to disconnect from technology for a while can do wonders!

    Other possibilities:
    burlesque classes, learning a new skill, checking out a museum/art gallery, buying or making an item of clothing that makes you feel fantastic, getting a pet (or volunteering with animals), reading, impromptu dance parties, naps

  27. it feels both a little weird but also super obvious to also suggest
    masturbation / general sexy times
    It can be really effective self care/self love/stress relief!

  28. timing! I have a post on self-care scheduled on my blog. I'll make sure to link this post as I suspect it's much more useful than my few things. I'm trying to get back into self care stuff as I let things slide as my health, both mentally and physically declined. I also had them intertwined with my lover who is now not my lover so that makes them redundant (although lesson learned).

    I love watching Midsomer murder when things are really
    Bad.

    • I spent so much time watching Midsomer Murders while I was breastfeeding, it's still one of my go-to shows. Same with New Tricks and A Touch of Frost.

  29. I prioritize getting a massage once a month in our budget. I'm also a fan of a good hot tub soak (which I have access to both at my gym and in my sister's condo complex). Short naps when needed. Cuddles with my kitties or husband.

    When I'm particularly stressed out, I clean. Sometimes large re-organizing projects, sometimes as simple as filling/replacing empty toiletries, or wiping down the table. I find I do this at work too… it's not uncommon to find me randomly get up from my desk and walk to the mini-kitchen and wipe down the counters, then go sit back down. It makes me feel at ease (and forces me to break from computers).

    • As someone who is currently in school for massage therapy (and gets regular massages during class), I'm a fan of this suggestion. Massage is awesome.

      I'm also someone who cleans to de-stress. I find that I feel much more relaxed if surfaces are clutter-free. I'm currently trying out the KonMari method of decluttering and having a lot of fun with it: http://www.rootsimple.com/2015/01/tidying-up-at-the-root-simple-compound/
      It feels so nice when you've cleared out all the clothes you don't wear or the books you'll never read or all those boxes of junk in storage.

  30. I recently moved from a mountain college town to a desert retirement town, and am slowly making community here. Self-care for me is connecting with friends and family 'back home' via text, phone calls, chat, email, or skype. It is so easy for me to be isolated here that finding someone that I can talk to in a best friend/sister way is the most comforting thing.

  31. I like to do your more typical self care things like taking a bath or reading, but I also feel more relaxed after doing kind of simple repetitive tasks like my chores. Or even refilling things at work, filing paperwork, etc. Tasks that I've done so many times that I can zone out but still do correctly.

  32. for me its a balanced diet of running every other day and playing MMOs. 🙂 all things in moderation! The running particularly makes me feel great and it helps me sleep at night…a win/win. I can't recommend couch to 5k enough!

  33. The most important things for me are to make sure I get enough sleep and to spend some time doing something calm but that feels productive. Too often I sit down in the evening and start browsing the Internet, then get into that stupid state where I'm really tired and know I need to go to sleep, but can't be bothered to actually get up off the sofa and do my before-bed routine so just keep browsing through pointless stuff and staying up far too late.

    To get into the habit of looking after myself better, I've found it really useful to have a 'go to sleep' alarm. When I get home from work I decide what time I want to go to sleep and then set my alarm for one hour before. When the alarm goes off I stop whatever I'm doing to get ready for bed and do any small chores I would otherwise end up having to do in a rush before work the next morning (make my lunch, iron a shirt to wear, whatever). Then I settle down in my pyjamas and spend the rest of my hour knitting, reading a book or listening to a podcast or some music. I also try to make this the one part of my day where I'm not looking at a screen.

    I usually only manage to set this alarm a few nights a week, but when I do I sleep a lot better. And if I've had a bad, unproductive day at work, then I do at least feel like I've accomplished something in the last hour of the day, even if it is a small achievement like making the scarf I'm knitting an inch longer or learning a new fact.

  34. I somtimes find it helpful to dress up a little on my days off–wear "that" sexy dress and shoes that I wouldn't want to wear anywhere else except a wedding or a serious-business-dressy-date. This helps keep me in self-loving, self-investing mindset, but is a little cheaper than other options like massage, dinner out or a show. I mainly use this one if I'll be home all day, but if you want to rock that dress at the grocery store, go you!

    Also, cat cuddles, naps in the sun, special drinks (even if not boozy)–sparkling pomegranate/apple blend is one of my favorites at the moment.

  35. Actually, painting my nails is part of my self-care! I realized one day that I was somewhat envious of all those women who had pretty, smooth nail polish in pretty colors, so I began practicing. And now, people ask me which salon I go to! But when I have the time and the weather's nice, I like to take long walks/hikes in whatever nature is closeby… Unfortunately, I live in a quite urban neighborhood right now, but ideally, my next move will bring me to the threshold between human-society and non-civilization. I find that days begun with a walk outside and no interaction with other humans are my most peaceful and calm.

  36. My job had a lot of potential for secondary trauma to cause me issues. When a particular case starts to bother my psyche I take a 2 minute break to check out LOLcats or CuteOverload.com . The cuteness is enough to help my brain get out of my work and focus on something positive. It's easier to move on to another task then without dwelling on something traumatic.

  37. Hmmmm. Reading. I'm a relative beginner at cooking, believe it or not, so cooking meals at home from scratch is novel for me. I have to start with a recipe usually, but when I can tweak or change it and have it work for me, it's awesome. Preparation is a big thing. Having lunches ready, my outfit for work, my morning coffee – having everything ready in the morning is new to me and I am trying to incorporate this because it makes mornings much less stressful. Getting my hair done. I get it coloured red with purple streaks, and I love it. I don't think I will get tired of this combo anytime soon. Keeping my place clean so I can enjoy it. Retail therapy is good – thrift stores are wonderful for new-to-me clothes and home decor items like curtains or a small rug just to brighten up my place. Spending time with my two best friends. Cuddling and sexy time with my hubby. Cuddling and sexy time with myself. 🙂 I love the scent of roses, and I use rose-scented natural skin-care products as much as I can. I love having a fresh rose in the house and I will occasionally buy one for myself. My hubby also will sometimes buy them for me. I try to make a point of getting out and doing social-night-out kinds of things with friends at least a couple of times per month. Listening to lots and lots of music. When I am feeling particularly down, I make a point of listening to LOTS of stand-up comedy podcasts. My favourite podcast incorporates both music and comedy. It's a CBC radio show/podcast and it's called The Vinyl Cafe. I highly recommend it if you have never heard it. 🙂 My goal is to start taking yoga classes and a belly dance class or two. I think that about covers it. 🙂

  38. I think of self-care as generally being nice to myself, treating myself like I would treat a good friend or loved one. I make my bed, maintain general order and cleanliness, and as a tea lover, keep a little tea station in the kitchen. I used to do those things only when I was expecting company, but now I do it for myself too. A seemingly silly thing that turned out to be a cool ritual for me is that I set my clothes out the night before. I have a hard time making decisions in the morning and would waste time trying to choose. Then I would be late and agitated and my mornings were icky. When I treat myself as though I'm worth the effort, I find that I really do feel better about myself. I'm more confident, less stressed, I have more to give, and the more I can do for myself, the less pressure there is on those closest to me to meet those needs and the more time we can spend being awesome together.

  39. I LOVE this topic! I preach self-care like it's the Gospel. We take care of others but so often push ourselves so much further than we would expect anyone else to go.

    On a regular basis, I have to make sure I get at least two evenings a week by the fire, with music playing and that cat on my lap reading a good book. No internet or buzzfeed or anything that stimulates for no reason. There's something about kitty snuggles + roaring fire. Wonderful.

    I have to pray regularly. I'm a strong Christian, and if I don't keep in touch with God I find myself getting stressed out and depressed. He helps me keep my mind on the bigger things, and reminds me that I'm loved and need to value myself, as well as others.

    And every year I try to make sure I get at least a two day retreat (though I missed 2014, and it was a tough year, so that was a mistake). I take my tent, my Bible, my journal and my music and head off somewhere beautiful. I've just moved to Ireland, so this year hopefully I'll get over to Connemara when the whether is nicer. I can't think of a better expression than a 'brain-wash'! I come back so refreshed and calm and ready to face the world.

  40. I have different kinds of self-care that I enjoy depending on my current mood or needs. My daily self-care involves a pot (or at least a cup) of tea, and at least 30min of "zoning out"…whether that's browsing the internet, or watching some TV. Weekly, I like to take the time to do some sort of "beauty" treatment. Whether it's a long bath with a nice bath bomb, or a face mask, body scrub, painting my nails…some sort of body/beauty treatment to make me feel good inside and out. Monthly, I like to head to my local French patisserie to try their featured macaron flavours, or any new treats they may have.

    Then there are other things I enjoy, and need to do, but I don't do often because I might be lacking time or money. Like getting a professional manicure and pedicure, a massage, playing video games.

    I also have food-related self-care. I will often bake something for no apparent reason, other than it makes me feel good. I also love to cook or bake something complicated and "fancy" (and something I've never made before) for a sense of accomplishment. Every once and a while I love to head to my local cheese shop and make up a nice charcuterie, then pop a bottle of wine.

    Oh, and once every…like…3-5 years, I go out and get poutine. hahaha!

  41. I figured some things out about my essential self care needs when I broke my foot about 6 years ago. I need enough quality sleep, sunshine, fresh air, delicious fresh healthy food,time with my friends, my family, my husband, a good book on the go and most importantly: To MOVE, and better still to DANCE!
    Not being able to dance was the most spirit crushing thing at the time, but not having the ability to dance (even chair dancing hurt) made me realize how important it is to me.
    It also turned me in the direction of my career: Sharing the joyful movement revolution with http://www.dancingintobeing.com Now I teach dance (and hula hoop) classes, perform and work in the school system to share performing arts with kids.

    If I don't move enough, If I don't sweat, stretch and shake my groove thing, I get super cranky.
    Excess energy in my body gets interpreted as stress and tension, so I feel crappy. Any kind of movement, or energy work helps. Reiki, Chi gong, having an orgasm. But dancing is the best!

    I also need cuddle time for optimum happiness.
    Time alone and time with friends.
    Time to chill and just bum around the internet.
    Time to write.
    Time to read.

    Looking at this it's all about carving out enough time to take care of my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. Making it a priority.

    I actually spent all of 2013 listening actively to every message I got from my body. It turned into a year of radical self care, but also a year of crazy adventures and new experiences (and a year of sobriety). Listening to what I need moment to moment is my highest form of self care because it can change in an instant, and is never the same. Doing something because I want/need to rather than because I "should".

    PS- I'm taking a day of extreme self care today. Went for a float this morning, bumming around till the afternoon and then starting an epic tattoo I've been dreaming of for ages. Tommorow I'll be ready to get my nose to the grindstone. Sometimes you need to do nothing, to do everything.

  42. I do a lot of things others have mentioned (tea, baking, showers, time alone with my dog), but I also really like small craft projects. The most relaxing things for me are projects that don't take long and that you can improve at. I went through a period when I did a lot of origami. These days I'm learning calligraphy and just generally how to write with an ink-dip pen. I practice by copying poems or quotes I like or by writing letters to friends and family who live out of town. I also love jigsaw puzzles!

  43. The best investment in self care I've ever done was to learn the Alexander Technique. Really helps me identify how to do almost anything more efficiently – you start with physical things (and continue) but you also start to apply the principles to just about everything you do. Its great fun and these teachers are the ones I can whole heartedly recommend. http://www.alexandertechnique-itm.org/

  44. My idea of self care revolves around not having to be concerned with anyone or anything except my own needs. (No family, friends, kids, dogs, work, laundry, etc.)

    I schedule my self care. One day per month, I force myself to get out of the house to do something by myself, for myself. I mark it on my calendar as "self day", but even as life happens, I make sure to squeeze it in, even if only for a couple of hours. Sometimes it's as simple as treating myself to a haircut or a massage. Other times it's a full day at the spa, getting work done on my tattoo sleeve, or going on a hike. Sometimes it's just allowing myself to binge watch Glee on netflix.

  45. I listen to NPR in the mornings.

    I keep a stash of super nice dark chocolate bars at all times. I have just a piece or two a day, and it feels so wonderfully indulgent and satisfying.

    I go for ten minute runs. It's hard to say that I don't even have ten minutes (well, okay, 15 for the getting changed and finding my shoes).

  46. Given that a lot of self care things like meditation, yoga, pampering, and reading tend to agitate me more than anything, my self care tends to veer toward more intense activities. Going to the gym used to be enough, but after 5 years I find I need something in addition to going four times a week. I've been looking at gymnastic, ballet, and a few different forms of martial arts. I took karate in a summer enrichment program when I was 13, and I'm leaning toward that. It's a good way for me to work out aggression (which tends to pop up a lot in my life) while also (re)developing my sorry excuses for reflexes. Once my job situation stabilizes, I'll probably get back into karate.

  47. I engage in self care by tuning in throughout the week to what I need. In the morning, I often treat shower time as my personal time of inspiration, reflection, motivation and spiritual cleansing. I light incense, turn on some fabulous moody female vocals, light a candle and take it all in. Other times, I realize I need to take time to prep, commit to body care, go to bed early which all sums up to taking care of myself before I get stressed. In addition, I am really in tune to the moon phases and cycles of the year and how to use those to the best of my ability. Setting intention and committing to constant self work leads to astonishing results. Happy self care very one!

  48. I am a depressive with anxiety disorder. So much of my daily routine to toward self care to create balance so that I don't come a part at the seams, I sometimes forget how much fun things can be. The one thing that never changes is the joy my music brings me. As a graduation gift to my self I upgraded the hard drive in my Zune so that I could add more from my collection to take with me. My friends think its nuts that if I start getting upset I calm down just by turning up the industrial Goth music. I spend at least once a day with a favorite play list that I tune in to no matter what I am doing. I also like to once in a while take down the old movies from my child hood and watch them. My friends think they're awful B and C flicks from the 80's but I love them any way.

  49. Video games!!! I especially like open-world single-player games like the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series. I can pause them whenever I want, I can abandon a frustrating questline and come back to it later, and I can design unique characters with unique stories.

  50. I find knitting and crafting to be a really good outlet, seeing something physically progress helps me feel accomplished. When things are especially bad [like right now] I break out the adult coloring books.

  51. I am very crap at self-caring but I always make time to read for at least half an hour per day just for myself. Not for school or work or any duty but for me.

  52. Good coffee, self and salon pedicures, long bubble baths with candlelight, gardening, collecting Holly Hobbie books and porcelain, scrapbooking, walks in Nature, home décor magazines, carving out alone time, listening to music (Rachel Sermanni, James Taylor, Katie Baggs, Kat McLevey) and thrifting. All very simple things that keep my tank full.

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