These days, it seems like everyone is talking about self-care. From your friends to your yoga instructor to the celebs on your Insta feed, it feels like everyone is spruiking the benefits of slapping on a facemask and indulging in a Netflix binge. And while there’s nothing wrong with that (you do you), I’d like to make a case for getting to basics when it comes to self-care.
As someone who lives with depression, I’ve come to learn the power of a basic self-care routine. When I’m in a slump, it’s not unusual for me to slouch around the house in the same pair of pj pants for 3 days, let my washing pile up and subsist on toast for dinner. In this state, it takes a little more than a bath bomb or a scented candle to change my mood. Or, more accurately, it takes a little less. When I’m in such a spot, often it’s the most simple, basic acts of self-care that help me face the day. Here is my list of basic self-care techniques that we should all embrace – because self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or out of reach.
Have a shower
There is something extremely refreshing and almost cathartic about the simple act of showering. I’m a firm believer in the power of having a warm shower to ‘wash away the day.’ Bonus points if you put on some music and test out the acoustics of your bathroom while you’re in there!
Drink more water
Ok, I know you’ve heard this one countless times, but seriously, start guzzling some water! It’s such a simple thing, but it can make a real difference to your wellbeing. It can also feel strangely empowering in a, ‘look at me, giving my body this life-sustaining liquid’ kind of way. My personal technique for drinking enough water is to make sure I match every cup of coffee with two glasses of water. Warning though: you may find yourself heading to the bathroom a little more frequently!
Get some vitamin D
This is one of my favourites. Simply getting outside can make a huge difference to your mood. If you’re low on energy, simply try heading to the park with a book and relaxing in the sun. Or, if you’re feeling up to it, head out for a walk. For an extra mood boost, bring a friend!
Do your washing
Doing your washing is one the most basic things you can do to make yourself feel like you have your life together. If you feel like taking it to the next level, wash your sheets. Seriously, there’s nothing that says ‘I love and take care of myself’ like crawling into a freshly made bed at 9:00pm.
Self-care is more than scented candles and silk pillowcases. It’s the basic things, the things you do that say, ‘I’m worth it’, and not just in a L’Oréal Paris commercial kind of way. There is an incredible strength in brushing your teeth or having a shower when all you want to do is curl up in bed. There is power in doing your washing or cooking yourself a healthy meal. These are manageable but effective ways of reclaiming a sense of control over your wellbeing. Such activities may be boring, but sometimes, it’s these very basic and menial things that are the ultimate gifts we can give ourselves.
Sarah is a sociology graduate and freelance writing living in Melbourne. She is fascinated by issues of gender, sexuality and psychology. She can often be found reading, listening to music and watching Broad City.