The year 2020 was beyond what I could have ever imagined and has inspired me to share this simple list of Self Care Tips for 2021. I really leaned into my self care practice over the last few months and it’s one of the few things I’d like to bring with me into the new year. See around the new year time, there’s a lot of emphasis on New Year, New Me rhetoric and talk about weight loss (e.g. working off holiday food). I’m not really one for resolutions and I’ve come to learn that sustainable and realistic habits are much more worthwhile to focus on.
My hope is that this quick list of 5 ways to integrate affordable and practical self care into your lifestyle will help you identify some ways to sustain a self care practice going into the year. Self care doesn’t need to be expensive, involve the latest and greatest technology or tool and doesn’t need to take more than 5 minutes of your day. The basis of self care is taking time to care for yourself, and sometimes that’s as simple as taking a breather in the middle of a hectic day.
I’ve partnered today with Walmart to share my best easy tips with you. Walmart wants to make it easier for you to practice self care in the New Year with all the items you need at accessible prices. They offer pickup, delivery and shipping options so you can safely browse their wide selection of wellness items like Yogi Tea, Pukka Herbs products and more, from home.
TIP 1: SCHEDULE SELF CARE TIME INTO YOUR DAY
I am the type of person to put everything, and I mean everything, into my calendar. If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t happen. Last year, I started scheduling in time for self care, which meant I started to value my self care time just as I did my meetings and errands. It’s as easy as giving yourself a 15 minute block in between tasks or zoom calls, or actually taking a lunch break hour (which can be hard to remember to do when working from home).
Other free ideas include taking walks, making the time for a bath instead of a shower, committing to a chill stretch at the end of the day or calling a friend just because. All of these things are simple but in the past I would often end up feeling like I didn’t have the time. To combat that, I block it out on my calendar. Instead of just scheduling a grocery run, I’ll schedule in the 20-30 extra minutes I’ll need to walk to and from. I’ve also started to block out a lunch hour or half hour on my calendar in advance so that I can mindfully enjoy nourishing food, and have the time to prepare something.
While I understand that some of us are much busier than others, I think the key part of this practice is just the physical act of putting yourself on your calendar. When you put yourself on the calendar, it’s a message to yourself that you are worthy and deserving of your own time. You know how the saying goes–you can’t pour from an empty cup, so take note of how much energy and time is being given away to others versus yourself.
TIP 2: TURN YOUR FAVOURITE SPA EXPERIENCE INTO AN AT-HOME EXPERIENCE
2020 was the year of DIY-ing. I learned to give myself a pedicure, considered an at home gel nailpolish kit, invested in skincare tools that my esthetician would use during our sessions, and took more baths than ever. At-home self care is not only safe, but generally a lot more affordable too. Investing in a few tools is often worth it because it will pay for itself over time if it’s something you’ll use regularly.
Skincare tools are a great example of this. A facial session can cost anywhere from $75+, but if you were to invest in the products or tools used, after a few uses, the money you save from skipping the sessions will pay for the investment. Of course, not everything can be DIY-ed at home, but simple facial gua sha tools, jade rollers and even mini exfoliators can be a great way to upgrade your at home skincare routine.
Whenever you’re making a lifestyle change, my opinion is that a slow and steady transition is the best way to go. I often talk about this in relation to taking on a vegan or plant based diet, but the same thing applies to curating a wellness or self care practice. If there are 5-10 new habits you’d like to build and you try to adopt them all on day 1, chances are you’ll feel more overwhelmed than inspired to keep it going. It has been suggested that new habits take anywhere from 10 days to a month to settle in, so my suggestion is to add new things every few weeks. Prioritize, start with 1 or 2 habits and build as you go.
One of the habits I was able to successfully integrate into my daily routine is drybrushing. I drybrush my body every morning, and it has become something I feel like I do on autopilot now. Slow and steady wins the race!
TIP 4: DISCONNECT
My favourite free way to practice self care is to disconnect. All of the work I do involves screen time (whether laptop, phone or iPad), and now that many more people are working from home, chances are your screen time has skyrocketed. Something I noticed is that my eyes started to get really red after long screen days, and my theory is that it’s a combination of eye strain, screen exposure and the fact that I blink less. I know, it sounds really weird but I really became conscious of the fact that I barely blink when I’m using my laptop.
So, every once in a while, close your eyes, turn off your phone and take a breath. A helpful plug-in I use on Chrome is called eyeCare, which reminds you to take an eye break throughout the day. You can also choose to follow their recommended eye exercises. Listen, you only have 2 eyes so take care of them!
TIP 5: PRIORITIZE GOOD SLEEP
As you may know, sleep became a huge focus of mine towards the end of last year. So much of what our body does for us happens when we’re asleep, so when we slack on sleep, we’re denying the body the time it needs to do its magic. A few quick tips for better sleep that have really helped me include being on my bed exclusively when I’m ready to sleep (not while working or reading), taking baths before bed and ending the night with a hot tea.
Separating your work (from home) environment from your bedroom is essential because you want to send a signal to your body that the bedroom = time to sleep. Working in that environment can be confusing for the body as it no longer becomes associated with just sleep. Taking a hot bath a few hours before bed time can help you fall asleep more quickly. When you raise your body temperature with a hot bath, it naturally starts to fall in temperature and that drop in temperature signals to the body to begin melatonin production. Finally, a hot cup of tea can have a similar effect in terms of warming the body, but it can also soothe your digestive system. Peppermint tea or a relaxation blend are my go-tos for this reason, and it’s a nice nighttime ritual to implement.