How do you engage in offbeat self-care?

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art fingers #1
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?

Comments on How do you engage in offbeat self-care?

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. 🙂

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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/

  22. 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.

  23. 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).

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

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