The Stupid Truth Reviews: Top Tips for Self-Care

Since the beginning of lockdown, and the evolution of this blog, developing a self-care routine has become one of my top priorities. Like so many of you, I have realised that - for far too long - I have neglected myself of physical and emotional self-care. This way of thinking has since stopped.

Although I'm still young, it has taken me twelve years to truly work on my own perceptions of my body. Since the age of fourteen, outside influences and external factors have made me feel self-conscious and undeserving of self-care. It's almost fascinating how impressionable our minds are within our adolescence, and this is definitely a process that has been dragged out for too long. Sincerely, I hope that this is more of a generational thing and that the next generations of children will not have to experience the feelings we did. However, only time will tell whether they will become exempt from this philosophy.

One of the best ways to reinforce a positive outlook on those around us is to exhibit one ourselves. If we maintain a routine and actively voice the benefits we get from each snippet of self-care, sub-consciously others might take influence - and rebel against their negative perceptions - on this too. Also, if we stop treating self-care as something to be earned and start showing that it is a huge requirement to keep us happy and healthy, then our attitudes around it will change.

Repeat after me:

I am worthy of self-care
I don't need validation for my self-care routines
Self-care is essential and not earned

Repeating these mantras to yourself - no matter how silly they sound - solidify the fact that self-care is actually something we are all deserving of. As we discover which self-care routines work for us, we also need to develop the mindset that allows us to see it as important. In reality, if our ideas on self-care are cemented with the ideals of a token economy, then just changing routine overnight won't automatically adjust our mindset.

For anyone stuck with developing a positive mindset about self-care, check out ideas in my previous blog post, The Stupid Truth Suggests: Self-care. You can also see some suggestions on cruelty-free products to use as part of your routine care, The Stupid Truth Reviews: Cruelty-free skin care. Alternately, follow my Self-care Community group on Facebook for further support and suggestions on how to treat yourself right.

#1 Allocate yourself some me time

Self-care can only work when you pencil some time in for yourself. As we all lead busy lifestyles and have so many activities that make our days chaotic, finding the time can be relatively difficult. A great trick is to start by incorporating a routine as an extension of something you already do.

Start by adding an extra five minutes onto your showering/bathing time. Get yourself a nourishing face wash that you can massage into your skin as you shower. Follow it up with a cleanser to reduce impurities and remove additional dirt from your pores. A good toner will then clear any excess wash, cleanser and dirt left behind. The finale ends with a touch of moisturising cream that allows your face to feel smooth and well-looked after.

Alternatively, massaging body butter or body yoghurt into your skin after a shower or bath is another great way to give yourself some time. Not only will you smell delicious, but your skin will feel hydrated too. Physically massaging and moisturising your body allows you to feel a lot more content as well. These caring gestures will release chemicals within your brain that will start to make you feel relaxed and calm after the events of the day. Your body understands when it is being looked-after and will communicate this with your brain. making you feel fantastic after doing so.

#2 Realise you're worthy of time

Once you have found the time to take for yourself you need to understand that you are worthy of every second of that time. If you honestly feel like you're not worthy, ask yourself why and make yourself say it out loud. Why should you say it aloud? Because you may realise that the way you have disciplined yourself is completely ridiculous. Alternately, you may start a conversation with yourself about why you feel you aren't worthy. However, I can guarantee that you are worthy; and my aim is to help you realise that!

In all honesty, we often afford others the time they need to relax before we allow it for ourselves. So, if you are struggling to reason with yourself on the time you deserve, ask yourself whether someone close to you deserves the time. If you allow them the opportunity for self-care without hesitation, there is no reason to deny it for yourself.

I want you to look in the mirror and say these words out loud:

I love everything about myself at this moment in time. I am worthy of time. I am worthy of self-care.

I'm about to tell you a home truth and you need to listen. You don't need to validate the opportunity for self-care. If you are a generally busy person, and are on your feet all day, and try to combat all the jobs in your household, you have no reason to punish yourself for not doing everything. Likewise, if you have had a day of being unable to move, and feel as though you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, you deserve time to recuperate and honour your body and mind.

It doesn't matter how small the gesture is, the idea is that you turn up for yourself.

#3 Find your self-care routine

The best thing about self-care is that it is a complete trial and error process. Before you find the right routine to suit your life, you'll need to try a ton of other methods on for size. And this is a far from frustrating task. This is actually one of the most self-indulgent exercises you can do and you don't need to feel guilty for doing it.

If you're stuck on what to do, write yourself a list of everything you enjoy doing. Self-care is so subjective that only you can define what it means. For example, I like to include a few types of self-care throughout the week; the beauty of this is that you can completely tailor it to your needs. These activities can be split into categories and may serve as a good way to help you choose the routine that works best for you. To inspire and guide you, I have produced a short list below on things you can try.

- Sport: football, basketball etc

- Socialising: seeing friends, family etc

- Exercise: running, walking etc

- Creative Arts: painting, writing etc

- Nature: hiking, photography etc

- Food and Drink: restaurant eating, takeaway etc

- Spirituality: yoga, meditation etc

- Leisure: night drives, road trips etc

- Relax: bath, massage etc

- Skin-care: moisturising, facials etc

- Beautifying: manicures, pedicures etc

There are tons of self-care exercises to experience. Your routines may differ from week to week as well; some of these activities you may do every so often whereas others can be done most days of the week. As someone who never allowed myself to really have a self-care routine, I now incorporate more than two of these activities each day. From enhancing this routine, I have developed an increasingly positive attitude towards myself and also find that my mood is brighter. In turn, I have better clarity when I feel frustrated, which makes reasoning with myself a lot easier.

#4 Notice any and all changes

Acknowledging how these routines have affected you is a really great way to reflect on what works best. Keeping a journal, or digital log, of your experiences will highlight your attitudes after each activity. This can be insightful if you are experimenting with different ideas. By creating a visual reference to each self-care encounter you will find that your responses are more raw and specific than using memory recall. Overtime, our memories can become thwarted and muddled meaning that our recollection of each event may not be entirely accurate to our true experience.

What type of changes should you make note of? These will be personal to you. As you venture into your kinder way of living, you will have your own aspirations and desires. You also need to remember that your self-care journey will have been kick-started by a range of circumstances. For example, you may have been influenced by someone else, or you may be using it as a way to calm your temper, your idea of self-care will have its own requirements.

Once you have considered exactly what you want to achieve from your new routine, you'll need to find ways to measure it. When reviewing mood changes, consider documenting your mood at the beginning of the session and then at the end of the session. As I started my run today, I felt lethargic and low on energy. I identified these as being psychological feelings rather than physical ones; it's in these circumstances where my inner-critic will rear her ugly head, so I powered through but I didn't push myself hard. By the end of my session, I felt rejuvenated and awake. In my opinion, it is important to keep track of your mood and attitudes towards these activities. While some of these self-care sessions may be personal activities you have always loved, you will get certain moments that can be the cause of frustration. Even for your favourite tasks, it's vital to keep a note on any successes, as well as obstacles, to help you enhance your experience.

Another way to monitor the effect of the routine is to determine both your body and your mind's response to it. As I mentioned earlier, during my run I felt lethargic and low on energy, but I quickly realised these were psychological feelings rather than physical ones. Being able to distinguish between the two comes as you learn more about what your body can endure and how your mind reacts to it. Your body can never be a saboteur, but your mind can. In layman's terms, if you have ever received a physical injury to your body you will most likely experience pain and soreness around the area that is hurt. Your mind will react slightly differently to the situation. We may receive a dosage of adrenaline that will allow us to stand or try to move when our body is in pain. As we recover, our minds (or inner-critics) may try to make us feel guilty and rubbish for not moving around. Sometimes, our critics can cause our minds to feel demotivated too. This was how I knew my feelings were psychological. During your session, document any thoughts or frustrations you have; if you see the same thought recurring then you may have an inner-critic to combat. Luckily, I have a blog post on this too, The Stupid Truth Suggests: My Inner-critic and Exercise. Similarly, if you continually see positive results then it is likely that this is the exact routine you need. Incorporating them at set times throughout your day can also be something to look forward to, which in turn will continue to boost your mood.

Honesty is really the best policy when it comes to self-care. If it's not working for you then you need to think of something else to try. It's also super easy to lump those everyday activities - that you might find satisfying once done - as self-care. I hate to say it, but these are not. Self-care is about giving yourself some time back and not about folding all the laundry before everyone gets home, or hoovering the whole house. Don't get me wrong, once these are done you can breathe a sigh of relief but these activities aren't about giving time back to yourself.

Self-care is one of the best ways you can show your body that it is loved and appreciated.

Morals of the self-care story:

  • Experiment with different routines before you settle

  • Allow yourself time to indulge and unwind

  • Know that you are worth every moment of self-care you need

  • Time for yourself is vital to enhancing your mood and lifestyle