On self-care habits

The internet has made it seem as if self-care has to entail face masks and online shopping. And whilst these things are lovely, there is great value in making self-care a habit that we incorporate into our daily lives, rather than something luxurious and indulgent that only happens once in a blue moon.

I tend to get very absorbed in my work. During stressful periods in my academic life, it is easy for me to slip into a cycle of spending most of my waking hours working, and my sporadic breaks scrolling on my phone instead of taking proper time to rest. I struggle with thought patterns that make me feel as if I’m being lazy if I’m not working all the time. When I have a productive day and finish off earlier than anticipated, I get a little nagging in my brain. “Have I forgotten something? Should I just study some more?”

This is exhausting to deal with and at times, it has been extremely difficult for me to relax and truly switch off. Now that my bedroom is both my resting space and my university, this has been magnified. So I’ve had to be extra diligent about my self-care practice during lockdown. I’m a planner by nature, so I’ve found it helpful to set aside specific time in my schedule just to relax and do something unrelated to university. I’ll put “take a bath” or “work out” on my to-do list, so I know it’s something I need to do. (It may not be perfect, but it works for me). Finding systems that work for your life and schedule is key. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Also, keep in mind that it shouldn’t feel like a chore.

Some self-care habits and rituals I’ve found joy in as of late:

  • Morning and evening skincare. I thoroughly enjoy these few minutes of my day specifically dedicated to looking after my skin.
  • A hot bath. I’m not usually one for baths, but every two weeks or so, I like to take a bath on a Sunday afternoon and catch up on some reading. It helps my body to feel less tense too.
  • Morning reading. I’ve built reading a chapter of a book into my morning routine this semester. I’ve really been enjoying it. (I try to read non-fiction during this time, as I’m awake and able to absorb whatever I’m reading fully).
  • Journaling. This is always something I’ve found value in and it continues to be a habit that serves me well.
  • Series. I enjoy escaping into another world for a while. I tend to enjoy lighthearted shows where I don’t have to focus too hard.

I hope you’re able to find a way to add some tranquility to your every day.

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