If you’re struggling with your body image, feeling a little low right now or just want to maintain your mood, a little self-care can go a long way. And everybody’s got different ways of making themselves feel good. But every now and then it’s good to check – are the things you’re doing actually making things worse?
Over the years I’ve found swapping some of my self-care activities has made me a lot happier. Here’s a few of ’em:
Swap magazines for flowers
When I was in treatment I was so weirded-out that every time I was sat in reception a table full of fashion mags greeted me.
Fashion magazines. In a treatment centre for people with eating disorders. Really?
I’ve always loved them and got the greatest thrill from reading them. But at some point you realise that you very rarely get to the end of one and think, wow I’m feeling great about myself now. I still read them if they’re around, but I never buy them anymore. Instead, I indulge in my other passion and buy a (cheap) bunch of flowers once or twice a month. Try it, your heart and your home will be happier for it.
Swap running for walking
A good cardio workout is definitely a way to vent your frustrations at the end of a bad day, but there’s also a point when you start using that kind of exercise to punish yourself and your body, and that’s not OK. So try going for a walk instead – ideally outdoors. Not only is it gentler on your knees, it’s also a time to think things through. Whenever I’m not sure what to do, or need some time to think, a decent walk by the beach always seems to help.
Swap messaging for phone calls
Every other millennial I know is kinda like, uhh no thanks on this one. But I promise it’s not as ick as it sounds. We’re all guilty of messaging constantly because it’s easier and hey, emojis are fun. But once in a while an hour-long phone call to a friend or family member will make you feel better than a whole day of online chatting. Old fashioned I know, but after you do it once you quickly find yourself wondering why you don’t do it all the time.
Swap fitspo influencers for body positive ones
I’m personally guilty of being on Instagram way too much because I love it. To me, beautiful images are everything. But again, we’ve all got to remind ourselves that our feeds are not factual. A few minutes on there and you can quickly feel like you’re not good enough and you’re doing nothing exciting with your life – especially if you’re following a tonne of people with ‘perfect’ bodies. And if you’re trying to recover, a scrolling sesh filled with abs and clean eating will do you no favours at all. My advice when you’re struggling is to stay away completely, and when you’re feeling better do a bit of a cull. Unfollow anyone who makes yourself feel bad about yourself (toxic friends included) and replace with people who you can relate to and empower you to be exactly who you are.
Swap waxing for massages
Body hair is totally a personal choice and if waxing is something that makes you feel good after it’s done, then absolutely go for it. But it makes me sad that there are some people out there who put themselves through the pain of it when they don’t even like the results because of the pressure to look a certain way – especially ‘down there’. You do you, and if someone loves you they’ll respect your choice. Because it’s your body, no one else’s.
So if you do want to do a different treatment, try massage. It’s an amazing way to remind yourself that you do deserve nice things and that your body is something to be cherished, not tortured. It also helps get rid of some of the tension you carry when you’re feeling stressed or anxious. A little too pricey? Try using coconut oil on yourself at home. I’ve done it once a week over the summer and it’s such a simple thing, but I’ve found it really helps you love yourself a bit more as well as nourishing your skin with a natural moisturiser – it’s win-win.
Self-care is so necessary at every point of your life, but it’s especially important to remember to be kind to yourself when you’re not feeling so great. They might not work for you, but these swaps are just a few things that I think have made me feel better. The important thing to ask yourself is what can I do for myself today to make myself feel happier than I did yesterday?