I used to think "Self Care" was synonymous to "Spa Day." Somehow, I thought self care was supposed to be expensive, pampering and elaborate. I pictured "self care" to look like an affluent lady with a face mask, wearing a white fluffy bathrobe with her hair up in a towel, getting a pedicure.
Yes, having a Spa Day is a great form of self care, but who really has the time or money or energy to dedicate half your day to going to the spa? Making a big ordeal out of self-care puts it on the bottom of pretty much every person's priority list, (especially if you're struggling with mental illness). When people view self care as some elaborate affair, it becomes less accessible, and in most cases, impossible. To be honest, I've never even been to the spa.
Thankfully, there's this new hashtag trending on Instagram called #boringselfcare. I adore this hashtag because it highlights the small things you can do to take care of yourself like napping, doing laundry, asking for help, picking up meds, getting an eye exam, etc. According to the Huffington Post, The instagram feed that started the #boringselfcare trend (@makedaisychains) "celebrates the everyday mental health victories." To me, a lot of #boringselfcare is just adulting when it's tough.
When you're truly in need of quality self care, the smallest accomplishment can provide the greatest relief.
In honor of #boringselfcare, I'm listing a few things in my #boringselfcare toolkit.
1) Walking around bookstores- I like walking around bookstores for items that bring me joy. I might thumb through a photography book or look at some witty trinkets. If you're in the Boston area, I recommend Brookline Booksmith. This place has a thoughtful collection of books to browse through and even small gift items like socks, mugs, artsy pottery, etc. More often that not I just go there to look, not to buy! Spending money does not equal self care, either!
2) Listening to stand-up comedy - Download the Laughly app! This especially helps if you're stuck in a negativity rut and need a gleeful distraction. I initially downloaded it for free, but now it costs $3.99 per month. Honestly, it is worth every penny, especially if you love to listen to things. You could also listen to the stand up comedy station on Pandora, which is free. In my opinion, laughing IS a spiritual practice, so get to it.
3) Lighting candles - This is a good way to feel indulgent and pampered without doing anything, really. It awakens the senses and can bring peace and brightness into any room. Also, talk about instant ambiance!
4) Hanging up my clothes in rainbow order- Hanging up clothes is a super boring version of self care and I will be the first to tell you that I am NOT the most tidy person in the world. I almost always have a few clothes on the floor. One of my previous roommates recommended I try hanging up my clothes in rainbow order, and it became a habit that surprisingly stuck around. When I hang them up in color order I feel like SUCH A BOSS for doing something so small, and that's really what #boringselfcare is all about.
5) Wearing a warm hat in the winter- I walk about a mile to work every day rain or shine, so wearing a snugly winter hat that covers my ears is a simple thing that immediately makes the commute more pleasant.
6) Getting more sleep- I know a few people who feel guilty grabbing extra zzz's. Don't be that person! Extra sleep should be celebrated. Arianna Huffington literally preaches about the importance of sleep and I whole-heartedly agree. However, I do NOT believe is snoozing the alarm. What you should do is accept that you would like more sleep, and plan for it. Go to bed earlier or set the alarm at the time you will actually get out of bed. Because there are so many sleep benefits, Sometimes, sleeping might be your most productive option.
7) Watching drag queens on Youtube- OK i admit, this is NOT boring self care. It's actually hilarious. If you like raunchy humor and are OK with profanity, I recommend UNhhhh. Trixie and Katya are so outrageous that watching their channel feels like some alternate-reality-escapism-vortex.
There it is! What do you do for #boringselfcare?