Since this blog is about really growing myself as an individual both in mind and body, I figured it would be nice to highlight some of the things I am currently doing to keep myself mentally healthy. I know there are a ton of these lists out there, some a lot longer than ten items, but I still wanted to share this with my readers. Hopefully it will inspire some self-care practices in others, and remind me to keep these practices up for myself.
I’m also hoping to add to this list this year as I find more things to do to keep me in a positive mood but for now here are the top 10 things I do for self-care.
1. At Home Spa Days – I have had my fair share of mani-pedis and I’ve been lucky enough to experience the Rainforests at Disney’s Senses Spa on one of their cruises but for the most part spa days are a little bit out of my price range right now. There are some beautiful beauty bars and day spas in Toronto that are on my bucket list but these are definitely ‘treat yo self’ items and not things I could consider routine.
That being said, I do feel like the relaxing atmosphere of a spa is just the kind of thing that promotes self-care so I often try to replicate that at home. Whether it’s just cleaning up my nails or having a bubble bath with candles and a book, I find that little at home spa days are a great way to relax and unwind without the hassle and cost of going to an actual spa.
(Bubbles brought to you by my Santasaurus bubble bar featured in my Christmas post)2. Reading
– I am someone who has always loved to read but reading really fell wayside while I was in university. I was so consumed in reading for my courses that I found it hard to pick up a book for pleasure. I read a couple books after I graduated but it was really only this past summer that I fully got back into reading. This year I’ve decided to take the Goodreads Reading Challenge
and I have challenged myself to reading 30 books. I’m already way ahead of schedule and I’m hoping to keep it up. Reading is a great way to have down time and to just let your mind escape to another world, especially if you’re into fantasy books like I am.
3. Journalling – This past December I started hearing more and more about Bullet Journalling and after looking into it a bit more I decided to try my hand at it. I started off just trying to do some basic weekly spreads in a little notebook that I already had. After a few weeks I became more serious about it and while I definitely don’t have the most beautiful spreads they have certainly improved.
After Christmas I bought myself a new journal (the red one) to do my journalling in while I transformed my old journal into a planner for my writing. I have a goal this year to get the first draft of my novel finished so I’m using my old planner to keep me on track while the new one has everything else.
Bullet Journalling can take as little or as much time as you want it to. Some days I spend hours writing in the pages of my journal while other days I just quickly check things off. It’s been great for helping me track my goals and to set new ones as well. It’s half a planner half a diary so it’s a great way to keep organized and to reflect on yourself.
4. Lengthy phone calls – My friends can all pretty much attest to this: sometimes I suck at texting. I will either text you non-stop, answering right away or I’ll take days to reply. But I’m much better at phone calls. There are very few days where I don’t have at least one phone call home to my mom just to talk about our days or whatever else is going on in the world. While it’s important to have self-care things to do on your own so you can take care of yourself without relying on anyone else, it’s also important to remember that talking things out is a great way to relieve some pressure off of yourself. So if you haven’t picked up the phone and actually talked to anyone lately, I strongly suggest giving it a try.
5. Exercise – Despite the fact that I really fell off the exercise train last year and I am just getting back to it, I already know from previous experience that exercising is a great way for me to keep myself busy and to steer myself away from negative thoughts. It will also help me transform my body, which in turn will be good for my self-confidence so this one kills two birds with one stone.
6. Cooking – When I am living healthy, as I am now, most of my meals are home-cooked. There will always be the occasional night out because I’m such a foodie and there’s just too many great restaurants in Toronto to always eat at home but for the most part you’ll find me cooking away in my kitchen, prepping meals for both Matt and I to make sure we stay healthy, and because cooking helps me clear my head.
I am the type of person who likes to cook everything all at once because I like the busy nature of working on a bunch of different dishes, and I like only having to do one big cleanup at the end of it instead of cleaning up after every meal. I’ve come to substitute cooking in for baking because it provides the same stress relieving process without leaving me with a tub of cupcakes at the end to eat all by myself.
7. Buzzfeed quizzes
– Yes, they’re incredibly silly and most of the time they are very arbitrary but I see tag lines like “What Cliche Holiday Movie Trope Are You?”
(Fake a relationship to save face, but end up falling in love) and “We Know Who You Want To Take To The Hogwarts Yule Ball”
(Luna Lovegood) and I just find myself wanting to know. My friends and I often send these to each other when we’re chatting just to get a laugh in and it always gives us something interesting to talk about.
8. Adventure days – The best part about this one is that it is about to become my job! I like spending days wandering around the city, exploring the old and the new. It’s something I’ve done since I was a kid and now that I actually live in Toronto it’s ten times easier. I have just accepted a position with a hostel downtown to coordinate and lead activities for them which means I’m going to be taking tourists on adventure days as part of my job. This is great because it means my work will be part of my self-care routine as well!
My most recent adventure was a trip to the nearly empty St. Lawrence Market one early morning after I had a job interview. I expect there will be plenty more trips to the market now that I am working just up the road!
– There are two types of sing-alongs in my house and they generally happen at very different times. The first type involves your regular music-playing in the background, singing out of tune and screwing up the lyrics (unless you’re my friend Jess who legitimately knows every lyric to everything). This type of sing-along happens in the car or just at home while I’m making dinner or cleaning.
The second type of sing-along generally happens sometime after midnight when I can’t sleep and I am apparently determined to keep everyone in my general vicinity up by belting out lyrics to the best of my ability with absolutely no musical accompaniment. And it’s not just one song, it’s usually a Disney soundtrack (my 3AM Frozen karaoke is legendary) or anything I can remember from the Hamilton soundtrack.
Regardless of what type of sing-along I choose, I find that music is a good way to relax and belting out the lyrics, no matter how horrible your voice is, releases a lot of tension in a positive way.
10. Photography – Last but certainly not least is a hobby I picked up from my dad. I always liked taking pictures but it was after he got himself a professional camera that I decided I wanted one too. I absolutely hate carrying my camera around but I really do love using it so for the most part I suck it up. I’ve captured so many memories and often find myself going back through my old pictures when I’ve got nothing to do. Honestly, I don’t even think you really need a fancy camera to enjoy the benefits of photography, a fun photo shoot with your phone’s camera can be just as good!
The pictures above are just three of the thousands I took while Matt and I were in Europe in 2015 (I’m sure I’ll show off more of these as time goes on). I love taking pictures of architecture and still life but even more so I love doing portraits and just capturing my friends in the moment. Oh, and sometimes I’m lucky and capture our Prime Minister instead!
(Disney Prince Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Toronto’s Pride Parade)
So there are my ten things. This was definitely meant to just be a list post but I got a little charged up talking about the things I do to promote positivity in my life. I’m always looking to add to the ways I can pull myself out of a bad mood or even just to get myself out of bed in the morning so I’d love to hear about any of your self-care routines if you feel like sharing!