After nearly a year of living through a pandemic, where we’re all encouraged to stay home and stay safe and our health is at the forefront of our minds, it only makes sense that safe, accessible, at-home forms of self-care have become more of a priority. Our brains, bodies and spirits are bone tired at best and wracked with anxiety at worst — so any little bit of TLC we can offer ourselves is vital.
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Now self-care is often reduced down to prying yourself away from a cell phone, doing a face mask and lighting a candle (or reduced down even further to just things you can buy and consume) — but at its core the practice is about acknowledging that in order to be everything you’re asked to be and do everything you’re asked to do, you need to make sure you’re fending off burn out. The metaphor of the well (cribbed from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way ) is repurposed here — just think less about refilling your creative well and more about refilling your everything well. You can’t fill others up if you’ve got no water in your own dang well.
So, in an effort to support one another in that well-filling work at a time when it feels like there’s few available faucets and hoses (is this metaphor stretching too far for anyone else?), we looped up with our brain-trust of smart, real women in our community to share the at-home self-care practices that are getting them through these complicated, exhausting and (though I cringe to say it after 10 months of this) unprecedented times.
We know self-care doesn’t look the same to everyone (some of us just aren’t 4am joggers, skincare aficionados or chill meditators and we accept that!) but understanding all the different ways you can give time and energy back to yourself and refill your own personal well is a great way to feel a bit more inspired in the self-care department.
Read on for a few of our favorites below.
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The self-care practice I swear by is: Reading tarot!
Why do you love it? I appreciate storytelling for self-reflection and reading tarot really is about the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.
Why might others love it? In addition to getting to learn an ancient tradition that’s steeped in history (and the amount of cool, cute and special decks out there), it’s a great way to add a bit of ritual to the way you take care of yourself (and the ways you talk to and about yourself).
The self-care practice I swear by is: In addition to bite-sized well-being checkins throughout the day (drinking an extra glass of water, prioritizing a good night’s sleep, stepping outside in between zoom meetings, etc), I swear by Yoga Nidra, an ancient but little-known yogic practice as a form of meditation and mind-body support.
Why do you love it? Each night, a 30-minute guided meditation works to calm both my body and mind for a restful night’s sleep. By focusing on relaxing each minor part of the body through breathwork, Yoga Nidra gives my mind a ‘job’ to do rather than just stream through all of the thoughts from the day.
Why might others love it? This works for those with a wandering mind at night! I have tried many tactics and other meditation practices, and this has been my go-to for years. Also available in shorter 10 and 20 minute meditations for when time doesn’t allow.
The self-care practice I swear by is: waking up with conscious affirmations about how I am going to start the day.
Why do you love it? I believe that to a large extent, we create our own reality. Every morning, I wake up very slowly. I try to envision the kind of day I want to have: who I will speak with, what we will discuss, what I want to accomplish today, what I’d like to eat, how I would like to feel, what exercise I will do, if anything. Then I follow through on those visions.
Why might others love it? This is not only a great way to organize the day, but it also empowers you to shape the day to the vision you have for it.
The self-care practice I swear by is: Breathwork — it’s the “new meditation.” Guided breath work is a powerful way to alleviate anxiety, increase energy and get a good night’s sleep.
Why do you love it? It makes me feel more centered and relaxed. Breathwork helps me change my mental state. Let’s say a negative thought is bothering me. As soon as I practice breath work, I can’t even remember why it was bothering me.
Why might others love it? Breath work is for everything. Where you are dealing with stress, anxiety, sleep issues, or low energy. It doesn’t that long. Only a few minutes.
The self-care practice I swear by is: – Make time to be alone with your own thoughts. Meditate or simply enjoy your own company (even if it’s as simple as taking a long bath). A date with yourself can be the best date ever! – Pray to the higher being of your choice. It always makes us feel better when I put my worries and intentions out to the universe. – Establish boundaries and make others respect them. Having boundaries and not allowing people to cross them will give you so much peace. – Try yoga! You’ll be doing a physical activity and connecting with your spiritual self. Talk about #selfcare.
Why do you love it? You can’t be the best version of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually if you don’t incorporate a self-care routine to your life.
Why might others love it? With everything that’s going on, you might neglect yourself a bit while worrying about the uncertainty, your safety and the safety of others. No matter how crazy life is or how busy you get, you need to find those little (or big) moments to show yourself a little love.
The self-care practice I swear by is: Sticking to my workout routine.
Why do you love it? It gives me a feeling of normalcy, gets my endorphins going, and because I do it first thing in the morning it sets me up mentally and physically for the day while keeping my health, fitness and waistline on track with all of the comfort eating and convenience of the kitchen working from home.
Why might others love it? It will help to create daily workout habits (if you don’t already have them in place) or help maintain those habits while the gyms are shut, make you feel better, fitter, healthier and give you some you time!
The self-care practice I swear by is: Exercise
Why do you love it? It is what brings me calmness, releases any stress I have built up. Its that one hour that I have to be alone with my thoughts. I have always said that exercise is my therapy!
Why might others love it? Because they can also learn a way to get rid of any built up angst, stress, sadness and realize endorphins are the free component we all have, that is our key to happiness!
The self care practice I swear by is: A morning routine.
Why do you love it? I love it because it starts my day right, every single day. I get me time and still have time to actually accomplish things before the day officially starts! My morning routine includes the following: skincare, reading, writing, affirmations, exercise, producing my to-do list, hydrating, my supplement regime and a good healthy breakfast.
Why might others love it? I think people will love it because you get a real sense of accomplishment before the day starts demanding your time.
The self-care practice I swear by is: Summer Fridays Jet Leg Mask
Why do you love it? Summer Fridays Jet Leg Mask is to me what Windex was to the Dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I put it on everything: face mask, primer, dry hands, paper cuts, etc. I also love to put it in the fridge so it gets cool use it in the morning under my eyes to wake me up.
Why might others love it? Being a multi-purpose beauty product is rare but this one is worth every penny.
The self-care practice I swear by is: Not feeling guilty about letting the kids have screen time nearly every day. In this time when we are together all the time, it’s the only way there’s some time to myself.
Why do you love it? While we love being together, we all need time to ourselves to regroup and refresh. Even though my 5 kids have been having more screen time than usual, I try not to feel guilty about it and understand that I’m able to be a better Mom by all of us having a break.
Why might others love it? I would hope that it would give other women and moms the permission to take time for themselves to regroup and relax every day.
The self-care practice I swear by is: My nighttime routine, which begins with turning on my tea kettle. As my tea brews I do the following: wash my face, apply lotion to my legs feet, and then put on cozy socks and PJ’s. At this point my tea is read and I can sink into bed and read a book for a few minutes while I enjoy my tea.
Why do you love it? I love it because after a busy day with my four kids it settles me into a wonderful state of calm. As I go through each step I feel myself getting more and more relaxed and the stress of the day float away.
Why might others love it? The other benefit of establishing a bedtime routine is better sleep! Before I found my routine I was struggling big time with falling asleep at night. Putting this routine in place helped me immensely!
The self-care practice I swear by is: Every morning, I wake up at 5am to do a light workout and yoga routine. It’s something I started in late March and haven’t stopped since! It gives me a couple of hours of quiet time before my husband and kiddo wake up.
Why do you love it? The house is quiet, I’m doing something I love (I used to practice yoga back in college but dropped it when I entered parenthood), and I feel in-shape. It gives me a chance to stay on top of my fitness while getting in some “me time.”
Why might others love it? The quiet time while doing a simple workout is a great way to start the day. I always feel energized and upbeat after my morning workout session.
The self-care practice I swear by is: Making time daily to get outside for a run and/or walk. I am participating in a run streak sponsored by a running magazine and have been running every day since May 1. Also, my husband and I are walking every single night. The time alone on my runs and the time walking with my husband have helped me sort through my anxiety regarding this whole situation.
Why do you love it? The fresh air and sunshine make such a difference in my attitude towards my family and others I encounter.
Why might others love it? Everyone benefits from sunshine and fresh air!
Self-care doesn’t look the same for everyone and you can’t judge your own quiet, special recharging place based on what you see others doing. But if you’re in the market for ways to treat yourself better and give back a bit of energy to yourself, the above self-care tips may be the inspiration you’re looking for.
A version of this story was published July 2020.
Before you go, check out our favorite post-workout recovery essentials: