I’ll start by telling you that I’m the kind of person that moves quickly nearly all of the time. I’m always buzzing around finding freelance work, exciting things to do at work, or creating something new at home. This can be energizing, until the build-up begins to chip away at my capacity and I find myself beginning to burn out.
In these seasons, I find it even more important than usual to make the time for self-care. A friend and I were chatting the other day about what self-care looks like. She mentioned that she’s not good at it, because she finds it hard to slow down. I thought about it for a moment. Thought about what self-care looks like to me. And then I answered: “I think you can be good at it. I don’t think it has to be about doing nothing.”
That was a big realization: that self-care can be just as much about what you do as what you allow yourself to not do.
A day of self-care to me looks like this:
Waking up slow
On days devoted to me, I give myself licence to wake up late—but still put on an alarm so I can wake up at a time that allows me to enjoy the most of the day. Witnessing the early sun and watching it crawl through the house throughout the day is one of my biggest joys, and the happy medium of waking up slow, but early enough, is the secret formula for the most satisfying day.
A morning walk to the greenhouse
I’ve read about many a legendary writer, painter, or creative who went on daily strolls as a habit to prompt creativity. Going on walks re-sets my brain. Allows me to gaze at the architecture. Appreciate the leaves and trees. Feel the ground beneath my feet. Walking is a kind of hypnosis that carries me towards the solutions to problems I didn’t know I could solve. I’m so lucky to have a tropical greenhouse near me (living in Canada gets quite chilly and dark in the winters). A visit to this greenhouse is an instant injection of happiness.
Spending the afternoon at the coffee shop
I have a favourite coffee shop, and on my self-care days, I allow myself to buy a coffee and brunch, sitting for hours noodling away at my keyboard or editing photos. Simply being in a fresh space can work wonders on productivity, and that’s what this does for me. Plus, they make a delicious turmeric latte.
Spinning some records
I always head back home before dark so I can appreciate the sun setting through the front window of the house in an orange and purple glow. I don’t own a TV, so I put on a record and this is the rare time when I can pick up a book and read. If it’s been a busy week, I’ll take the time to tidy the house instead! I believe tidying and cooking can be a form of self-care, especially if it’s fallen to the wayside and is weighing on you. There’s nothing like putting on some good music, pouring a glass of wine, and having fun while tidying.
A slow bath with candles burning
Well, of course this is my favourite time of the day. I’ve been planning a reno of my bathroom, and debated removing the bathtub to just have a shower—but couldn’t do it! I love the retreat of a bath too much. I find having a bath before bed completely soothes my mind and body until I’m ready to cocoon into bed and snooze until morning. The ABLE leather + lavender bath salts and candle have been my companions on mini self-care days for the past week, and their scent is a beautiful mix of earthy, delicate and calming. Now I’m about ready to go to bed!
When I look back at my day, I realize it’s true: self-care is so much about what you do—and how you actively choose to spend your time. It can be cutting the grass. It can be dusting the baseboards. It can be spending all day watching Netflix, walking through the falling leaves, dancing around the house like no-one is watching—it’s about celebrating, shamelessly—the things you love beyond all else. And learning that allowing yourself to love these things, is allowing you to love yourself, too.