We all know self care is so important, but sometimes it’s easy to forget to actually practice it. With work, life and social gatherings filling our calendars, the week can sometimes fly by before we even realise it.
Regular self care gives us the time to inhale, restore and balance our energy. It helps us reduce anxiety and stress, and a safe place to retreat from the sometimes very loud chatter of our mind.
Feel free to enjoy these self care tips as spontaneous activities or schedule reminders in your diary. We hope you enjoy these rituals of intentional self care on your journey of inner well being.
1 – Start (or Maintain) a Free At Home Yoga Practice
Regular yoga practice is the ultimate act of self care. It’s a great way to get out of your head and reconnect with your body. Deep stretching helps to reduce tension in the muscles and releases endorphins that help ease the effects that negative emotions can build up in the body.
Just 15 minutes of yoga a day is actually better for you than one intense session per week. When building up a new healthy habit such as yoga, it helps to find a time that works best for you. That might be in the mornings, or in the evenings just before bed to wind down after a busy day. For me, rising early and pouring myself a glass of lemon water before jumping on my yoga mat is the perfect way to start my day.
Styles of Yoga
There are many different styles of yoga, and exploring them all to find what works best for best is one of the most satisfying parts of the process. I’ve had the most fun exploring the following styles of yoga, which all have benefits in their own way:
- Hatha – Hatha yoga focuses on postures (asana) and breath-work (pranayama). Classes are often gentle, a great way to get to know each posture and how to move your body safely in and out of each pose. The goal is to align both sides of the body and quiet mind, so it’s also a great way to prepare your body for meditation.
- Vinyasa – This style involves flowing transitions from one pose to another. Suitable for more intermediate yogis, vinyasa is a great way to tone the muscles and work up a sweat.
- Yin – Yin yoga involves a much slower pace than most other styles. Each pose in Yin yoga is usually held from 2-5 minutes, allowing plenty of time to sink deep into each stretch. This style is amazing for promoting healthy functioning of joints and greatly improving flexibility.
At Home Yoga Practice
If you’re looking for a few free at-home yoga practices to get you started, here are my favourite recommendations:
- Dedicate Series – A 30 Day Introduction to Yoga – (Yoga with Adriene) Watch the intro and the first couple of introductory lessons and see what it sparks for you.
- Yoga For Strength – 40 Minute Vinyasa Sequence (Yoga with Adriene)
- Yin Yoga for Stress & Anxiety Relief – Yoga for Beginners (Yoga with Kassandra)
What styles of yoga have you tried? Do you prefer to practice at home, at a gym, or a dedicated yoga studio?
2 – Practice Self Care Through Meditation
Meditation helps us disconnect from the outside world and focus our attention inwards, helping to reduce anxiety, calm our minds and gain a clearer perspective. It also helps to increase our happiness levels and leaves us with a greater sense of wellbeing.
Meditation is definitely a ‘practice’ – there is no end goal and no correct / perfect way to ‘do’ meditation – but it does become easier to sink into over time.
Simply sit comfortably upright on a chair, or cross-legged on the floor. Close your eyes, and start to breathe. Focus on the cooling sensation of your in-breath, the small pause at the very top, and the long slow warming out-breath. Repeat for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, half an hour or beyond as your meditation practice grows.
When first starting out with meditation you may notice an ‘inner voice’ starts vocalising thoughts such as ‘I don’t have time for this’ or ‘Am I doing this right?‘. Your goal is simply to sit with these thoughts and allow them to come and go without getting attached to them. Sometimes it’s helpful to think of these thoughts as clouds floating across your inner mental landscape. They are not ‘you’. You are the one simply noticing these thoughts.
Music can help to draw your focus inwards. Apps such as Insight Timer or Headspace are great free tools for this. You can use them to listen to a free meditation class or course, or create your own meditation timer with ambient background music and bells to start and finish.
If you’re looking for inspiration to start your meditation practice, here are a few helpful links:
- Insight Timer / Headspace – Free meditation apps for iOS or Android
- 7 Days of Mindfulness Meditation (Melli O’Brien)
- Meditation For Inner Peace (Yoga With Adriene)
3 – Keep a Gratitude Journal
As humans, we can often get stuck in a negative-bias mindset where everything feels annoying, wrong, or nothing is going as we want it to. Gratitude journalling is a great way to reframe your perspective, especially during times of stress, helping us appreciate the good things that happen in daily life. They don’t have to be big things either – small, everyday occurrences that bring a smile to your face are just as important (if not more so).
I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for around six months now, and treat it as a small daily ritual of positivity. It helps me take stock of all the things I have to be grateful for in my life, and is a great reference to look back through when I need a little self pep talk. Here are a couple of examples from my own journal. “I am grateful for…”
- A delicious slice of raisin toast slathered with butter, a hot cup of coffee and reading fiction on the couch.
- A walk outside to chat with Sarah and savour the warm spring weather.
- Going with the flow of the day.
I love the layout of my current gratitude journal at the moment – as well as gratitude, it also includes sections for “I will let go of” and “I will focus on”, which I use to acknowledge areas I want to do better and ways I can improve my life and happiness levels going forward.
Do you love journalling? Have you ever kept a gratitude journal? What are you most grateful for today?
4 – Take Time Out For Skin Care
This is a personal favourite ritual of mine. I love taking time out once a week to deeply cleanse and massage my face with my favourite harmonising face oil. I love its calming aroma of sandalwood, chamomile and lavender which brings a sense of calm and relaxation. For me it’s not about the results, it’s about the process – mindfully spending some time just for myself, with the added benefit of improved circulation and glowing skin.
Face steams are also a great way to unwind. there’s something so relaxing about feeling the warm steam on your skin, breathing deeply and inhaling the beautiful scents, and just allowing yourself to ‘be’ for 5 or 10 minutes.
How do you like to take care of your body or pamper yourself?
5 – Use Essential Oils For Relaxation and Aroma Therapy
Essential oils are a beautiful way to bring an extra level of relaxation to your self care rituals. Depending on the oil, you might like to use them topically to sooth the skin, or inhale the aroma for a deeper sense of wellbeing.
As well as having their own unique aroma and use, each oil has different properties and benefits, so you may find yourself drawn to one special oil or blend. Lavender is one of my favourites, as it can be used to soften the skin, promote relaxation and better sleep. But I also love creating new scent combinations in our diffuser and enjoying the refreshing energy they bring to our space.
So far we’ve made our own homemade yoga sprays, sleep sprays and air fresheners for the bathroom. Next, we want to try making a natural organic deodorant and hand lotion.
Here’s my favourite calming essential oil blend, perfect for a room diffuser:
- 4 lavender
- 3 sandalwood
- 2 sweet orange
- 2 peppermint
Quick note: essential oils are potent, and some are not suitable to use directly on the skin. Do some research and make sure you always use essential oils safely.
What are your favourite essential oils and how do you like to use them?
6 – Take a Walk Outside
Whether you decide to simply go for a walk in your neighbourhood or venture out on a hike, spending time outdoors in the sun and fresh air is a great way to boost your happiness levels. Getting outside for a healthy dose of Vitamin D is not only enjoyable, it also helps reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
Bringing mindfulness to your daily walk helps to increase the benefits. Try to quiet the mind by focusing on the sensation of the sun and breeze on your skin. Notice the surface you are walking on, whether that’s the footpath, grass or a rocky trail. Pay attention to the colours of the world around you, the sound of the breeze or birds singing in the trees.
We work from home, so it’s important to take time to outside of the house and clear our heads. (If you’re interested, find out more about us and our frugal journey here) We love breaking up our work days with a walk around our neighbourhood just before lunch. It’s a great way to release any tension that’s built up from a busy morning and reset for a productive afternoon. Sometimes instead of going for a walk, we’ll potter around in our backyard weeding or enjoying some relaxing time outdoors.
Quick note: Always remember to use sun protection if going outside for extended periods.
Where do you spend the most time outdoors? Do you prefer to keep it close to home or venture away for a walk in nature?
7 – Listen to Music for Self Care
It’s amazing how much music can affect your mood and energy levels. Whether you’re listening to music while commuting, exercising or working, music can be a powerful way to improve your mood.
To turn music into a ritual of self care, choose an album/playlist that helps take you deeper into the moment. Perhaps choose something you used to listen to when you were younger, that you haven’t listened to in a while. Sit in a comfy chair or lay down in bed, pop your headphones in and close your eyes. Mindfully listen and allow the music to wash through your body. Visualise whatever images the music brings to your mind. Listen for as long as you can, from 15 minutes through to a full album. Take this time to disconnect from the day, your thoughts, and the world around you.
I love instrumentals for my own self care music ritual. But anything with deep intriguing bass lines or complex layers of sound works too. I love thinking about the music and getting curious about how it was made.
What is your favourite music to listen to? How does it make you feel?
Hope you enjoyed these frugal tips for self care and wellbeing. If you’re keen for more, check out our 25 Frugal No Tech Date Night Ideas for Couples. It’s full of ideas to keep you entertained without any screens, interruptions or breaking your wallet!