When you think of self care – what comes to mind? In the past, self care to me meant going for a pricey massage; getting even more pricier facial or buying top of the range body products – lotions, masks and serums. I couldn’t be more wrong. I mean, this could be my self care if I had the funds to do so on a regular basis, but realistically who has hundreds of dollars to spend each month on self care, when you’ve got bills to pay and the world to see?
Today, I wanted to share some things with you, I found to be of comfort to me, some free, some at a fraction of a cost of what I used to imagine self care to be.
Firstly, let’s clarify something – Self care isn’t just pamper and relax, its also nutrition, knowledge and time out.
What comes to mind when you hear – Nutritious Breakfast? Do you see private chefs (like in Gossip Girl Brunch at the Plaza Hotel) or hours in the kitchen? Certainly, that’d be lovely, however your version of beautiful breakfast doesn’t have to take chunks out of your day to make.
Some of my favorites to go to are natural/Greek yogurt with seasonal berries sprinkled with some chia seeds or honey drizzle. This sort of breakfast will cost you roughly $13 in stores in Vancouver: Large cup of yogurt and pack of berries will last approximately 3-4 meals. Almost a full week of breakfasts for $13.00. Another great breakfast idea is overnight oats. Let me share my favorite recipe with you, in case you wish to change up your morning routine:
In addition, often discounted is drinking warm water with lemon first thing in the morning. It helps digestion and cleansing your skin from within removing bacteria and spots.
Taking time out of the day to focus on yourself is a self care technique in itself. Having clear boundaries and being assertive – knowing when to say “NO” – to your family, partner, children or extra hours at work is protecting yourself from burnout and respecting your own body. This is a huge factor in mental health stability, that’s often overlooked, especially by women.
Let me share something with you: Aside from writing my blog, which takes time – researching blog post topics, fact checking, newsletter & content creation, running Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest and LikeToKnowIt Apps, I also work full time in finance Monday to Friday, Manage private Social Media Clients as a Freelancer after hours and I am a Wife. I run a house and spend time with my husband and I am managing our current visa situation. Its safe to say my hands are full and on occasion I feel overwhelmed. When something doesn’t go the way its supposed to – I don’t feel like my brain can handle it. Think of it like adding groceries into an already overflowing cart and something is bound to end up on the floor. I manage this stress both physically and mentally by creating mental capacity to my day, by meditating. Meditation helps me ground myself and encourages me to be open to challenges and allows me to think I have the capacity and strength to deal with whatever is going to be thrown my way.
I used to think – How is meditating going to help me? It’s only going to take another 5 or 10 minutes out of my day which I could spend on doing something else. For the longest time I didn’t do it, simply because of these thoughts. I encourage you to try and prove me right. For me, it helps my thoughts to be more organized and new challenges don’t send me spiraling into panic. There are variety of free resources available out there: Headspace has (although limited) resources that are free. Their paid library which (few years back) was about $12 a month, is an extensive resource for guided meditations and helps with burnout. YouTube also has variety of 5 or 10 minute morning or evening meditations which are truly beautiful and inspiring. My favorite ones are Lavendaire and Great Meditation.
For some, meditation means stillness, for others its an excellent time to combine two activities into one. I often listen to my morning meditation and stretch. Working at a desk for over 10 hours daily, requires some muscle stretching and posture correction. Its the perfect time to “kill two birds with one stone”.
While I am on the subject of moving your body, quite obvious self care technique is yoga. I underestimated its power for a long time and didn’t understand what people got out of it. It wasn’t until I truly paid attention, blocked all external factors out and listened to my body throughout the practices that I felt the benefits it was providing my nervous system. As with everything else, there are multiple yoga practices available online. My go-to is Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube; Adrienne uses beautiful, soft language which adds to the experience and it feels very loving.
Another great way for time out or self care is to get outside and be with nature. We are truly spoilt in British Columbia for choice of hikes in and round lower mainland. Hiking in the wilderness has quickly become my favorite to-do on the weekend. If you are not an avid hiker, simply getting out daily for a walk and popping on a podcast episode can do the trick. Depending on your interests or mood of course, I am happy to recommend some podcasts to brighten up your day:
- Soul Sisters: Podcast by Irish Health Coach ran with her friend. It’s very lighthearted girl to girl talk about self care, day to day struggles and weekly challenges. If you like having a giggle to yourself, I strongly encourage this podcast.
- Where Should We Begin? Podcast by Esther Perel. Esther is a couples therapist in New York City and each episode is a real-life therapy session with her clients; all of their identity has been scrubbed for privacy reasons. This podcast is helpful, we all think – only we have relationship issues! and then you listen to the podcast and it is somewhat uplifting to see others go through struggles too. In addition Esther’s words of wisdom can be applied in your own relationships too. Think of it as free relationship therapy.
- You’re Wrong About: Podcast by Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall. This podcast goes through pop culture, books, music and things that are currently happening in the media. Sarah and Michael are hilarious in a way they dissect everything and have very insightful comments. My top episodes were about the OJ Simpson Case and Jessica Simpson’s Biography Book.
If walking is your thing but don’t want to do it alone, I encourage you to take a peek at your local guided tours. Each city usually has guided tours – they can be long or short, they are usually quite affordable (sometimes even free, just tip the guide) and you learn something new in the process. I always think Knowledge is Power. Added bonus might be finding someone new to hang out with. In Vancouver there are free guided walking tours via Vancouver De Tours. You simply tip the guide, and can do a walking tour of downtown, gastown or mount pleasant neighborhoods. They resume on June 10th for the summer, you can find more information here.
If you are more of an introvert, then reading would definitely be your thing. As of January 1st 2022, I have already read 16 books this year therefore I’d like to think of myself as proficient in being able to recommend some books. If you are looking for a community to join, you can always join our Monthly Book Club Meetings. I created Vancouver Book Club during the first month of pandemic and our group has over 600 readers two years on. You can join our Facebook or Instagram, alternatively if you’re simply interested in reading but not participating, join our Good Reads Group where I upload new reads on the bookshelf.
Lastly some affordable body stimulating techniques I use to relax. I recently purchased an in-shower head massager. This is partially as I am trying to go on a “hair growth” journey. Since moving to Canada my hair is falling out like crazy and its super thin. I have read up about scalp massagers which not only stimulate blood flow but also cleanse your scalp from product buildup and give you a nice massage too.
I am linking my exact massager here, and its less than $10.00.
Secondly, few years ago I bought an electric hand held massager with removable heads which can also work as anti-cellulite device. Not only its pleasant, but also helpful for your body! I am linking my exact one here, however there are variety of options on the market and I encourage you to do your research, based on your budget & your needs.
If you thought this post was going to give you 101 on Self Care, it didn’t. Its not about spending the most, being the best. What I learned by practicing yoga is that while you do the moves, you forget to breathe. How?? I simply don’t understand, but that is so simple. This post was to help you remember those free, simple everyday things you can do that we often forget or overlook, to care for yourself. If you care for yourself, you can care for others even better.
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