The Ultimate Guide to a Self Care Day

I don’t think I’m alone in often feeling overwhelmed by the online world, in feeling harassed by hashtags and fed up with feeling an urgent need to reply to messages. I like the internet, I like being busy and I love messages from my family and friends, but sometimes – well, quite often – I just need to hit the OFF button and hide. I don’t know if it’s an introvert thing, or if it’s because I struggle with anxiety, but I’m guessing it’s a human thing, and that modern life is a big fat overload for all of us at times.

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Self Care Days, or Mental Health Days, are something I now take regularly and feel no need to justify to myself or anyone else. I’ve finally learnt that my head health, nervous system and energy reserves are more important than almost anything else I have control over, and ya know what, I cherish these days. Want one too? Here’s my guide to a day off from modern life….

  1. Stay off Social Media – this one is a biggie as social media can be your biggest enemy when you’ve got the fed-ups, stay away from these feeds that forever fuel your insecurities of not being busy enough, exciting enough, pretty enough, popular enough, it’s all smoke and mirrors and its not a competition you have to win, or even participate in every damn day.
  2. Cook Good Food – food is your fuel, I learnt that during my long recovery from an eating disorder and I sometimes forget just how important it is to properly nourish myself, take time to lovingly prepare a wholesome meal for your body, it’s an essential act of self love.
  3. Rest – sit and stay put, don’t feel guilty about what you’re not getting done, it can wait, learn to sit with yourself and allow calmness for a while.
  4. Bathe – I love a bath, I take them often, but I kinda think I enjoy the ritual, the running of it, the idea of it, and then once it’s run, I’m in and out in 5 minutes so I can get on and google that thing or check that message, but on days like these, you need to bathe, and I mean B A T H E, like really do it, immerse entirely.
  5. Ignore – if you really need to, tell that finger tappin’ friend (that one who’s a bit overly keen on message tennis and gives you a ‘Hellooooo????’ if you don’t reply within 5 minutes) beforehand that you’re gonna be out of action for the day, but take this one day to let emails wait and messages go unanswered, feeling the need to be phone-in-hand-available 24 hours a day is bloody exhausting. Nope, not today.
  6. Get Out in Nature – on many of my self care days I don’t leave the house, but I do sometimes go into my small garden and look at the bugs and sky, getting out into nature is a perfect remedy for overwhelm, nothing calms the system like listening to trees in the breeze or watching a lil’ bug begin its day, Mother Nature is always there for you when the rest of the world is gettin’ on your nerves.
  7. Spend Time With Your Pets – nothing, genuinely nothing, soothes me more than cuddling up to my cat and shoving my face into his warm furry belly, the world disappears in that moment and I swear, his soft tummy fluff smells like a freshly cooked cupcake. Animals are ace and if you don’t have a pet, ask a friend to drop their dog off for a bit, animals will take you out of any bad head-space as you watch them do nothing but live in the present. And, did I mention the F L U F F I N E S S?!
  8. Read – get lost in a book, turn all other things off, and really read.
  9. Breathe – our breath is our speedometer and when we’re busy we so often breathe fast and shallow and everything we do is on high; high anxiety, high speed, high stress, and our system acts accordingly putting us in a constant ‘fight or flight’ state, concentrate on slow deep breaths and see what it does. Alternate nostril breathing is part of my yoga practice and it’s something I return to over and over because every time, I’m stunned by how much it soothes me. *that’s not an ad in any way, I just genuinely recommend it.
  10. Sleep – I sleep a lot, and when I’m taking lots of naps I know it’s a sign that I’m feeling engulfed so I pay attention and deal with it by taking a self care day, but, self care days themselves are a great time to nap, a short snooze in a duvet cocoon whilst the rest of the world works can be a sumptuous slice of seclusion for just you, and make sure you go to bed early on these days too, to let your body become properly rested.

So my prescription for when you feel flattened by the weight of it all, is to take this list, once monthly, with a large glass of water, and repeat as often as needed to prevent burn-out. What’s your self care plan, and how do you know when it’s due?

 

 

Your Body is Always Beach Ready

There’s always talk at this sunny time of year concerning getting beach ready and obtaining that ‘perfect’ beach body. But the concept of ‘perfect’ is finally changing. It has traditionally only involved women looking slim, toned, tanned, and perfectly proportioned, but is that really the dream for us all? Sure, there is nothing wrong with being slim and toned, but some of us have curves, and some of us have different shapes, *big bum and teeny boobs anyone? Yup* and in truth we should embrace the body we have, however it looks. So if you find yourself feeling a little angsty or pressured about the whole beach body thang, you don’t need to change a thing or cover anything up, your body is yours and it looks damn fine just as it is.

What you think is what you feel – What you think about in your thoughts becomes what you believe and ultimately it undoubtedly has an impact on your behaviour and how you feel? Trust me, I spent years being way too self conscious and hating on myself, negative feelings about ourselves can be very loud, to the point where you only see what you perceive to be flaws, and that is a waste of precious time. If you turn this around and build a positive outlook on yourself then you’ll start to notice the amazing things about you, and that makes a huge impact on how you feel; partly because you start to see yourself in a more loving way and partly because you start giving less of a fuff about what others think. People are mostly too pre-occupied with their own stuff to be judging you anyway, so please don’t go judging yourself!

What lies beneath can dramatically change your look – Yes, a focus on what you wear can really help to boost your confidence and make you feel great about your look, but, could you be doing more to enhance the clothes that you wear? The undies you choose to wear each day can change the way a top or dress fits and it all ties in with your confidence. Brands like ultimo can make a big difference to your body shape with bras that fit and underwear that enhances your figure, whether you want vpl free knickers or ones to enhance ya peachy bum. 

Dressing to your body shape and skin tone – If you are happy in your own skin and don’t feel the pressure to conform to society *phew for you* then you may want to focus on dressing for the body shape you have. Sometimes we might love a particular top or dress but, if the cut won’t suit our body shape then it can do the opposite of making us feel good; something which clings on the hips is a nope for me! A quick look online will help identify your body shape and the type of clothing that’ll suit you, once you know what cuts are the best for your body, you have a timeless recipe for successful style! 

A bright lip can give you all the confidence – Sometimes, if you do just one thing then make sure you do something that can instantly boost your confidence. For some that can be a slick of a bold lip colour as you leave the door. It might be different for you, I like a pop of blush on my cheeks to make me look rosy, but find what gives you that boost and use it Sista!

Mostly, be brave and own your beach body, because, with a smacking of true confidence, you will look absolutely A W E S O M E.

 

Get Me to Guernsey!

Holidays, they make us happy right? Holidays for me are an adventure, a chance to explore a newness and to take a break from hard working days. So as we enter the sunny season I find myself sat at my desk permanently procrastinating, thinkin’ about what paradise I could try and pop off to next. The page tabs at the top of my screen are a line-up of holiday sites, travel blogs and maps, most just earmarked as ideas for when I feel I can afford it. Some tabs, showing more affordable short city breaks or short haul destinations are the ones I linger on longer, and feel could be a real possibility within a breathable budget. I like far-flung places, I like to feel I’m reaaallly getting away from it but I’ve recently been looking closer to home and it’s hit me that there’s so much worth exploring, within easy reach. I grew up travelling a lot with my family, I was a lucky gal, my Dad holds a real wanderlust and instilled in me that travel is the best way to invest your time and money, as a result, I’m always dreaming of new places to discover. Chatting with Dad on the phone the other night we agreed that getting to and from the airport is often the most frustrating and faff-some element of a trip – he has always adored a ferry crossing for its ease and elegant sail – so it got me gettin’ onto the idea of a ferry trip somewhere, as an affordable getaway this summer.

Isle of Wight, Jersey, Holland, France, there’s lots of coasts which I’m curious to explore but I’ve yet to visit the gorgeous Guernsey and, I’m tellin’ ya, the idea has kinda got me hooked. This cute, calm and cultured Channel Island is pretty simple to get to, and it’s affordable too, whooop! With its crackin’ coastal cliffs and blissy beach resorts like Cobo Bay, I’m wondering why I haven’t stepped my feet onto its ground before now. Ferries can be ace because they’re open for all; families with cars, couples on foot, or a solo traveler with a bike, and, you get to relax, eat, stare at the sea, and start your holiday from the moment you get on board.

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Getting away, be it on your own *fist pump to my fellow solo travelers out there* or with loved ones, is sooo important for your headspace and your health, but I’m realizing it doesn’t always have to be real far away. Guernsey holidays are a great option if you want to get away but don’t want the hassle of a very long journey. Guernsey is a gem, you can camp, do a luxury stay, keep it at an easy budget or go on walking tours and stay in a new place every night, this little land mass has a whole heap on offer. Whether you love local food, wildlife, beaches or water-sports, it kinda has something for everyone, plus you can easily island hop to Sark to do some kayaking or, hey, there’s a sheep racing weekend in July ya know? Just imagine all the sheep and sheepdogs you could stroke! You can also hop to the tranquil car-free island of Herm, or pop to St Malo for some French fun. On Guernsey itself there is so much to see you won’t be bored. Castle Cornet is an 18th century harbour fort with military museums showing this island’s wealth of history. Hauteville House is the bloomin’ beautiful former home of Writer, Victor Hugo. I personally adore looking round old homes, they make for magical imaginings. I loooove animals, those and travel are my favourite things in the world, and in Guernsey you can watch dolphins and sea birds if you opt for a marine life day trip….yay, sunny day trippin’ with new things for my eyes to see? Yass! I’m in. Get me to Guernsey.

Conscious Brands Helping Boobs and Bums Everywhere

If you’re kinda like me and care about people and the planet, but still enjoy buying cool products, then it’s been hard in the past to find brands which genuinely hit the right note when it comes to being both conscious and covetable. I like pretty things. I like nice things. But I also like to buy from ethical companies. The days when buying with morals in mind meant you had to only wear hemp dungarees and wash your hair with home-brew are gone; there are cool new ways to be a conscious consumer. Cool stuff that cares, that’s what I wanna be opening up my purse for – my recycled vintage purse, obviously – and there’s some brilliant new brands on the block which offer exactly that. I get real excited when I find a brand I wanna buy from but I often pause to purchase if I consider that the production of it creates more waste and pollution, that it was possibly made using unfair labour, or that my money will simply help a fat cat get fatter. So when I discover a brand I love, and then learn that it has true integrity, I’m clickin’ that *checkout* button knowing I’m buying something nice, and doing something nice too. Ping! Checkout complete. I wanna share the love for these brands I find, keeping them to myself would just be selfish, and this post is all about the sharing so lemme tell you about two brands which are not only gorgeous, but give back to charity too.

Undies. We all wear them all of the time, well, most days anyway, so we gotta buy some somewhere. I personally don’t wanna be spending my days wearing scratchy lacy frilly things which are uncomfortable, sweaty and supposedly sexy, because, sexy, it sure as heck aint. Also, probably like many of you, I don’t wanna see the undies I buy shown to me on a 5’9 tall, 20 year old woman who doesn’t represent what it’ll look like on me. So it’s really refreshing to see that Knix – a cool Canadian underwear brand – use real women with real bodies in their product pictures. Pores, lines, cellulite and scars are unashamedly represented, and boy, does that feel and look great! A shift is happening where we’re no longer laden with impossible standards in the media – a slow shift – but a brilliant one nonetheless. Knix was born when its owner wanted good leak proof undies after her pregnancy; she couldn’t find any so the brand began. ‘Reinventing Intimates for Real Life’ is their slogan and they superbly specialize in underwear which looks and feels great. Seamless, underwire free, quick dry, odour resistant, and with a 4 way stretch, this is the kind of underwear I wanna have on my skin. They take into account what we really need for comfort and convenience, which helps us feel a heap more confident too. I don’t wanna feel pinched or squeezed by my pants or bra. I want them to feel like a second skin and Knix has a good range of sizes too so every gal will find their fit. This brand feels like a community whereby they listen to and collaborate with their customers to constantly find what’s needed. Made from beautiful soft fabrics in Italy, these are affordable too, and I for one adore them. The other thing I LOVE about Knix is that you get 30 days to try your bra, and if you feel it’s not as perfect as you want it to be, you can return it. Then, they only go and blimmin’ donate all their returned bras to women’s charities! Absolutely awesome.

Whilst we’re chattin’ about bums, I also wanna flag up an ace brand of toilet paper which I recently discovered and ordered from. Who Gives a Crap is an Australian brand who sell honestly excellent toilet paper, made completely without the use of trees! 27,000 trees a day are cut down for toilet paper. SAY WHUUUUT?! So, Who Gives a Crap are fully forest friendly and make their paper from 100% recycled, un-dyed and unscented paper. That fact alone is enough to make me choose the brand but, the paper packaging is adorable too. You’ll be instagramming your bathroom shelf as soon as your rolls arrive. They say their 3 ply paper is as ‘soft as unicorn kisses and as strong as 1000 ponies’ and, having been using it for a month now, I’d say that’s a pretty accurate claim. They’re softer than the loo roll I usually buy, they look super cute, and, they’re no more expensive than the regular bleached rolls at your local supermarket. They’re good for ya bum, great for the environment and, get this, they donate a whopping 50% of their profits to build toilets in countries where people don’t have them; they’ve donated £650,000 already! Boom, wipe ya bum, save the trees and wipe out poverty at the same time. A most excellent enterprise. These two very lush brands really give back, and I for one wanna get behind them.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Care of Me

I’m one of those gals who believes that taking care of your own well-being should be a pretty high priority. I haven’t always been good at looking after myself but as I get older – and a little bit wiser  – I choose to be nice to myself as if I were my own best friend, and that includes learning to realize when I need a little help. Whether it’s help with something practical, or acknowledging that I need to take some medication when I’m feeling really bad with a headache, I’m getting much better at accepting help. I used to plough on and push through headaches in fear of letting anyone down, or, if I took a break to sleep it off I’d get wracked with guilt over taking time out. I get thunderous migraines, I always have. Ones which render me useless for work, dizzy and despairing. I get lots of milder tension headaches too, and often with those I can tune into my body and notice that I need to breathe deep, do some yoga and H Y D R AT E, which most often moves a tension headache on. But when I’m floored by a migraine, those horrible ones that leave you feeling sick and shying away from bright lights, oh man, those ones are so hard to ignore. It used to be that you had to summon the energy to get down to your doctors to get a prescription for something strong enough, but I’m really pleased that I found the perfect prescription strength migraine medication Sumatriptan, which I buy online at The Independent Pharmacy. It’s the only thing that packs a punch when it comes to my migraines and I make sure I have some in my medicine drawer for when one hits, and dang do they hit hard! It makes sense in its science; it effectively stimulates serotonin receptors in the brain, which cause the muscles surrounding the blood vessels in the brain to contract, and ta-daaah, I feel better in pretty much half an hour, which means I can carry on with work, or play, if it’s a day off! I like to use traditional remedies as often as I can and I have learnt that a lot of physical pains are due to me rushing around being stressed and not taking on enough water, but, migraines are in a different league and Sumatriptan means I don’t have to surrender to the symptoms. Looking after you is so important, and sometimes we all need a little help. Shiatsu, Yoga, a nice clean diet, and listening to my body are what helps me, as well as knowing what medicines can get me back to my best when I really need them. Keep a stash of your favourite relaxing bath salts on standby, keep your yoga mat within easy reach at home, and pay attention to when you need to tend to yourself; it’s not selfish, it’s self care.