Not everyone shares my enthusiasm for Sundays (possibly down to the impending doom of the early morning alarm after a weekend of lie-ins and bingeing on carbs. I feel ya.) But, Self Care Sunday is really just an ode to the old fashioned day of rest. Call it what you will: Self Care Saturday, Wellness Wednesday, Find Yourself Friday…. What really matters is the sentiment behind regularly taking some time out for yourself to relax, reset and evaluate, regardless of the day you decide to do it on.
Self care is not a one-and-done process. Self care also consists of small, incremental wins on a daily basis. But, In this case, I personally set aside most of my self care days on a Sunday, and I’ll also be sharing most of my self care posts with you on Sundays, too. So for the sake of this new blog series, Self Care Sunday seems a pretty apt name, don’t you think?
So, What Is Self Care?
‘Self care’ seems to have become a buzzword within the wellness community as of late and, simply put, is the ability to keep your own wellbeing in check. Self care is being able to look inward, identify the parts of us that need nurturing the most, and doing it. Self care can manifest in so many different ways but, to put it bluntly, whatever you need to do in support of your emotional, physical, or spiritual wellbeing, are all forms of self care.
Self care days, on the other hand, are days – or a few hours out of your day, at the very least – spent avoiding anything that doesn’t make you feel good, while cramming it full to the brim of things you absolutely love.
The 6 Types of Self Care
- Emotional self care – Anything that supports your ability to process and deal with your emotions, including seeing a therapist or noting your feelings in a journal.
- Practical self care – Often those mandatory, mundane life tasks such as budgeting or cleaning your home.
- Physical self care – Anything that supports your bodies ability to function most efficiently, including eating a healthy diet and exercising.
- Mental self care – Anything that stimulates your mind, including being creative, painting, reading a book or playing a game.
- Social self care – Nurturing interpersonal relationships, including catching up with friends, calling a family member.
- Spiritual self care – Anything that nurtures your spirituality. This doesn’t necessarily need to be religion, however for many it is. These could including prayer, yoga or meditation.
The Importance of Self Care Days
Hands up if you’re guilty of becoming bogged down and stressed out, and forget to set aside time for yourself (my hand is also firmly up in the air). In the current day and age, becoming burned out and exhausted is seen as a marker of success, but many of us are left feeling overworked and under-appreciated.
Even if your day job isn’t particularly stressful (or even if you don’t work at all), life is life, and there are a whole plethora of factors that cause us to become worn down and weary. No one in this world is completely immune to the stresses that, sometimes, simply existing can often impose on us.
And to the parents amongst us – now this is one that has cut me deep since becoming a mother – you know that feeling of PURE GUILT for taking just a little time out for yourself? As beautiful and wonderful as having children is, God knows that becoming a parent consumes everything you are and, with those tiny patters of feet in tow (that eventually end up running rings around us), it’s super important to check in with yourself from time to time.
I know, I know… parenting and self care probably aren’t words you hear in the same sentence all too often. After all, parenting is all about caring for someone else. But, being a parent is the most important job in the world and, in order to do it to the best of your ability, self alignment is a must. (I’ll be posting more about self care for parents, especially self care for busy moms, very soon, so make sure you check back for some of my top tips and advice.)
No matter your lifestyle or circumstances, self care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Don’t feel ashamed of your need to fill that baby back up again.
The Perfect Self Care Sunday
For me, taking a self care day right at the end of the week (hence Self Care Sunday), is usually exactly what I need to get my ass in gear in preparation for the new one ahead, and try to clear my mind of any stressors that have been affecting me. As someone that also experiences the turbulence of anxiety and depression, I have learned to prioritise my mental health in the form of emotional self care. The one thing I truly depend on to live my life as efficiently and as happily as possible, is my mental stability. That means using my self care days to pamper myself (we all need a confidence boost from time to time), reflect (aka, give myself a good pep talk), and get organised and motivated, which often includes saying no to things that don’t benefit me in the long run.
My Self Care Sundays usually start by ensuring I’m well-rested. Sometimes that means saying no to that bottle of wine the night before and getting enough zzz’s in by sleeping late into the morning. There is nothing more satisfying than the feeling of freshness – and maybe a little smug pride – from waking up on a Sunday morning, sans hangover (she says while popping an ibuprofen and typing ‘hangover cures’ into Google. Oops!).
On the other hand, a good ol’ date night or knees up with the girls may also equate to your idea of self care, so there’s no need to feel bad for getting a little carried away with the bubbles. Just be sure to rest up, pop a a couple of pain killers if needed, and drink plenty of water. And, of course, be sure not to make too much of a habit of it. Remember: too much of a good thing is not always a good thing.
At this point, I’ll usually reach for my first coffee of the day and I’ll enjoy it from my bed while taking some notes. On Sunday’s, I’m usually wound-up about what the rest of the week will bring and I often wake up with my head crammed full of ideas, so I brain-dump onto a mind-map. That way, come Monday, I have a clear idea of the things I need to get done that week. This proactive approach, a.) saves me from getting stressed out and confused about any upcoming work, tasks, or events, b.) gives me a clear roadmap for the week, which allows me to organise my time more efficiently, c.) makes sure my best ideas are down on paper and don’t get forgotten, so I can work as efficiently as possible when the time comes.
Once I’m up, I try to steer clear of anything mildly related to the term ‘adulting’. That’s not a bid to ruin my life, after all there are things that, unfortunately, us adults have no choice but do, but if it can wait til Monday, it will wait til Monday. On Self Care Sundays, I’m living in my pyjamas, eating left over takeaway, and (hopefully) stacking those pennies playing online bingo games, hahaha!
The Self Care Sunday Pamper
My number one way to spend a Self Care Sunday evening is definitely pampering myself. A long, hot bath is an absolute must for me. I’ll usually light a candle, grab a glass (or two) of wine, set up my phone or tablet and watch new videos from my faves, Jamie Genevieve and In the Frow, on Youtube. Or I might head over to Sun Bingo for a few games. I can easily spend hours relaxing in the bath. It’s such a great way to wind down before bed, too, as studies have found that as the body cools down, it also prepares it for sleep.
I’ll usually treat myself to a face and hair mask while I’m in there. I always, without fail, reach for my AHA + BHA Peeling Solution by The Ordinary (I’m obsessed with this stuff! It just makes my skin g l o w and I have noticed a huge improvement in texture since I started using it weekly, about 2 years ago). I’ll follow this with The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm, which I leave on for 10 minutes as a mask, too. It’s so nourishing and smoothing, but also calms my skin after using acids.
I’ll also give my hair a little TLC with my ride or die Bleach London Reincarnation Mask, or, just lately, I’ve been giving the Garnier Hair Food Watermelon mask a go and I’m quite enjoying it.
Onto hair removal, I’ll shave my bits and bobs and legs in the bath. I give my skin a good scrub beforehand to reduce any ingrown hairs. Once I’m out, I opt to epilate my armpits and bikini line and it is longer-lasting and doesn’t cause irritation as it’s growing back. The warmth of the water helps soften the skin and dilate the follicle slightly, making it much less painful.
I don’t tend to tan very often, but when I do, I’ll shave and epilate the day before instead so that the tan doesn’t settle into my pores or irritate my skin. I’ve been loving the Bondi Sands Ultra Dark Self Tanning Foam as it is one of very few that is actually dark and gives a lovely natural-looking glow that isn’t orange.
My final Self Care Sunday pamper step usually involves lounging in front of a film or series with snacks and fresh sheets (is there anything more satisfying than climbing into fresh bed sheets?)
My Self Care Sunday Pamper Picks
Self Care Sunday Ideas
My idea of self care may be completely different to yours and that’s fine. While I’m glowing up in the bath, playing bingo for 3 hours, Alex (my other half) is outside tinkering with motorcycles or reading up on his latest philosophical theory. There really is no right or wrong because self care is all about YOU. But if you’re up for a Self Care Sunday and are not too sure what to do, here are a few ideas
- Take a long, relaxing bath
- Do a face and hair mask
- Paint your nails
- Give yourself a blow dry
- Self tan
- Give yourself a facial with your favourite products
- Read a book
- Watch a film, series or binge your favourite Youtubers
- Play board games or console games such as Xbox or Playstation
- Take a nap
- Bake a cake
- Cook your favourite meal
- Learn to play an instrument
- Listen to your favourite music
- Do some online shopping (treat yo’self, you deserve it.)
- Go for a walk
- Have a glass of wine or your favourite drink
- See friends or family
- Have a long phone call
- Work out (I have been loving the Seven app for quick, snappy workouts that only last 7 minutes and I always feel great afterwards!)