There is no better way to show self-love than through self-care. One of the best self-care examples is making time for yourself and taking the time to relax and pamper yourself.
Mental health experts Resources to Recover acknowledge the positive impacts self-love can have on our mental health. They have found that "practising self-love is associated with an increase in happiness, greater satisfaction with life, and greater resiliency".
Whether self-care for you is a long soak in the bath with a face mask and hair mask threw in, or just managing 10 minutes away from your children to shower in peace, here we look at some self-care Sunday ideas to help ensure you make your mental and physical health a priority.
What are the 8 areas of self-care?
According to Modern Therapy, there are 8 different areas of self-care that we should be conscious to attend to. These are: "physical, psychological, emotional, social, professional, environmental, spiritual, and financial".
- Physical - It is important that we look after our bodies. As we age, our bodies start to fail us more and more. Taking good care of our physical selves includes exercising regularly, eating well, and making sure we get enough rest. The average adult is advised to aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
- Psychological - Looking after and expanding our minds is just as important as taking care of our bodies. Recharge your batteries by reading or practising meditation, or consider cutting yourself off from social media for a while.
- Emotional - Being able to cope and manage our stress levels is essential. Learn to set your boundaries with others and forgive yourself when you make mistakes.
- Social - Humans are social beings. Spending too long away from family and friends can seriously impact our health. If you live alone in particular, make sure to set time in your day for others, even if it's just a quick phone call.
- Professional - Investing in yourself on a professional level will give you purpose and earn yourself pride and self-respect.
- Environmental - Being in a calm, clean, well-ordered environment can work wonders for our mental health. Be sure to declutter your desk both at work and at home, take the time to do your dishes after every meal and set up a self-care routine such as making your bed every morning as soon as you get out of it.
- Spiritual - Spending time away from urban areas, taking walks in the hills and the woods, tending to your garden or pot plants, or taking part in spiritual practices such as meditation and yoga can all help. If you are religious, spending time exploring your faith is also a way to look after your spiritual health.
- Financial self-care - knowing that we have enough money coming in to pay the bills is not just a good idea, but it also relieves a lot of stress. File your taxes on time, save a regular amount each month and try not to overspend. If you have problems with overspending and debt, seek financial assistance.
What are some risks associated with not practising self-care?
Our modern lives are busy and stressful. Not making enough time for self-care is easily done, but unfortunately, it can have a significantly negative impact on our overall well-being.
In Psychology Today, Doctor Shainna Ali writes about ways that some self-care practices might not be helping you. She notes that when we fail to look after ourselves properly, this is when we start to see the symptoms of "anxiety, distractibility, anger and fatigue". She also says we can start to notice "decreases in sleep, relationship satisfaction, self-esteem, empathy, and compassion" and that this can ultimately lead to severe health risks such as heart disease and depression.
What are examples of self-care?
According to Everyday Health, self-care is "something that brings you more sustained joy in the long run". One way to achieve this is to set up routines that help you seamlessly build self-care activities into your everyday life, that will ultimately help maintain your overall physical health and mental health.
One such way to help you construct a routine like this is to turn the last day of every week into self-care Sunday. Below we have listed some of the best self-care Sunday ideas. Read on for 5 self-care Sunday routines that we love.
1. Eat Well
By eating well, we don't necessarily mean that you must eat healthily either. You could make Sunday your "cheat" day, indulge in a takeaway to save yourself the time on meal prep and cleaning up, or maybe just turn eating into an event. Treat yourself to breakfast out with your family or brunch out with your friends and make an occasion of it. If cooking is something you love, you could also consider trying a new recipe from one of your favourite cookbooks as a way to unwind.
2. Take time for yourself
Even if that means no more than a few minutes, taking some time to be on your own is a great way to enjoy Self Care Sundays. Head out for a stroll with the dog around your local park, book yourself in for a relaxing massage, find a quiet spot to do some reading or meditate, or even lock yourself in the bathroom while you take a hot bath with essential oils. Spending some time away from your loved ones is a great way to give yourselves a short break from one another and help keep those relationships strong.
3. Enjoy time with your family or friends
We all need a certain level of social interaction and going without it can have drastic consequences. According to Justice in Motion, "feeling lonely can lead to depression, anxiety disrupted sleep and stress. It can also be a factor in heart disease, increased blood pressure and degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s." On rainy days, try binge-watching a series you all love, playing board games together, or getting out in the great outdoors to do some hiking, cycling, swimming or other fun group activity.
Not everybody enjoys exercising, but nobody can deny the lift they get from getting out and getting active. There are lots of different ways you can get involved in activities around you. If you live rurally, you will likely have miles of surrounding countryside to enjoy walking around. For those of us living in urban areas, local gyms are often open 24 hours a day, and there are loads of different classes you could get involved with, or you could try finding a new hobby.
Looking after ourselves is crucial, and there is more to be gained from small beauty rituals than we might expect. Start by taking a bath or shower and exfoliate and moisturise your skin. Give yourself a manicure and pedicure, or if you have the time maybe even head out to get this professionally done. If you don't like to appear too pale you could consider applying a layer of fake tan. You could also experiment with dyeing your hair or eyebrows, or go out and get these professionally done as a special treat.
Self-care Sunday can be as short a routine as lighting your favourite smelling candle before watching TV with your partner. Adapt your routine to best fit your lifestyle, and stick to it. The benefits will leave you feeling fantastic without even realising.