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International Self-care Day 24th July

Sunday 24th July is International Self Care Day. But what does that actually mean?

International Self-Care Day lands on 24 July each year and provides a focus and opportunity to raise the profile of healthy lifestyle self-care programmes around the world. 

The International Self-Care Day, 24 July, symbolises that the benefits of self-care are experienced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In other words, the benefits of self-care are life-long and do not just relate to a single day

Self-care is talked about often, we’re always encouraged to look after our well-being, but is it just another buzzword or do we actually take the time to take care of ourselves? I’m the first to admit that I’m not the best at taking time out to recharge my batteries, although I have got better in recent months.

Self-care can be broken down into 4 categories – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual; the physical is what we probably recognise first and foremost, e.g. taking a yoga class, relaxing in a hot bubble bath, going for a walk. Mental self-care focuses on the mind, allowing you to explore your thoughts on a deeper level, perhaps you journal regularly, or go to therapy. Emotional self-care is similar to mental self-care but checks in on your emotions and feelings, allowing you to feel and be more open with yourself. Spiritual self-care includes activities that nurture your spirit and allows you to think bigger than yourself. It does not have to be religious although for some it is.

We have put together a list of 25 things to do on your day of self-care – pick out a few that fit in with you and your lifestyle and those which you would really love to do and implement them, not just on 24th July, but every day.

25 ways to practice self-care

  1. Go for a walk, it’s great for the mind and body, explore somewhere new.
  2. Play with a pet or snuggle down and just enjoy their company – pet therapy works!
  3. Read a book – that book that’s been calling you for months? Make time to sit down in a quiet space and start reading.
  4. Spend time with loved ones – sometimes it’s just the company of our nearest and dearest that we crave.
  5. Get up early, see the sunrise before anyone else and soak up that quiet time.
  6. Switch off your phone. Personally, I think this one should be a necessary requirement EVERY day for a minimum of 1 hour. There’s too much noise in the world, available at the touch of a button – say no.
  7. Have a facial, a massage, a bubble bath, pamper yourself – it’s cliché but the physical elements of self-care are as important as any other and you do feel great afterwards.
  8. Light a scented (or unscented) candle and be mesmerised by the gentle flicker of the flame, whilst the beautiful fragrance takes you on a trip down memory lane (research has shown that nostalgia can ease our anxiety and loneliness, especially during moments of transition. Researchers have also found that nostalgia can power empathy and a sense of connectedness amongst people).
  9. Listen to a podcast or music or watch a movie and let your mind switch off.
  10. Do some gardening or get out into nature, there’s nothing better for you than being in touch with Mother Earth – reconnect with her and be amazed at just how beautiful she is.
  11. Have a difficult conversation and/or set boundaries. Sometimes we don’t realise how much a situation can bring us down and once you face it, the weight is instantly lifted.
  12. Meditate – in whatever form works best for YOU. Meditation is not about sitting in a particular pose, it’s about being present and just taking the time to BE. Find a quiet space to breathe, to notice your body and mind and to filter out some of the noise. Try it, even for 10 minutes, it will do you the world of good.
  13. Swim in the sea / loch and feel connected again with nature as well as reaping many health benefits. The cold water helps your body rest and repair itself and reduces stress levels. This is one of my favourite activities, I love it.
  14. Laugh! Loud, uncontrollable, tear jerking moments of pure joy – release those endorphins and turn that frown upside down.
  15. Practice gratitude – think of just 3 things in life that you are thankful for (note, these do not have to be high achieving or world breaking, the simpler the better) and do this on a daily basis.
  16. Be authentic, sometimes it’s too easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves to others, trying to be a ‘better’ person or worse, the same as everyone else. Be you, your honest, unapologetic, true-to-yourself version of you and LOVE you.
  17. Learn to say no. It’s only a 2-letter word but sometimes it’s the hardest one to say. Try it – I promise you, it feels good.
  18. DO NOTHING! Yes, have some time where you actually do nothing. And enjoy it, don’t feel guilty for doing nothing.
  19. Exercise, whether it is a session at the gym, yoga, pilates, going for a run, anything. Just give your body a little shake up and feel the benefits for it afterwards.
  20. De-clutter – if your day-to-day life is a bit chaotic or disorganised (e.g. an untidy work station, unsettled bills, housework building up) then your mind will be in the same state. Tidy environment, tidy mind.
  21. Do something creative. Learn a new skill. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be the best, just enjoy the process. We are ALL creative.
  22. Go to bed early, never underestimate the power of sleep. To make this activity even better, change the bed sheets – fresh linen anyone?
  23. Eat healthy meals / snacks and drink plenty water. Eat meals that are nutritious and colourful and you will feel the same inside and out.
  24. Look through old photographs and remember good times and beautiful people.
  25. Get dressed up for no reason. Get your glam on, look even more gorgeous than you normally do and feel your confidence soar.

How many of these do you practice already? Do you take time out for YOU? Let me know in the comments below what your favourite self-care routine involves.

Take care of you, love Janis x