I’m not going to mince words here: I HATE 2021. Between COVID and interminable lockdowns, navigating this year has taken its toll on the world. Here are 11 self-care practices that keep me sane that I know will help you live out the rest of this year (and longer!) a little more peacefully and happily.
Before I get started, I wanted to give you all a little backstory about me. The last three years of my life have been harder than expected. I have experienced fantastic growth in my personal life and my business keeps getting bigger and better. For that, I am extremely grateful. I managed to turn my passion into a thriving business which makes me smile each time I think about it.
There have also been some deep lows. I lost my beloved grandmother, aunt and father-in-law. My father had a kidney transplant that wasn’t entirely successful. I was also stuck in a job that didn’t serve me at all outside of collecting a paycheque. I was steadily becoming more and more depressed. Alcohol became my favourite way to medicate myself and dull the feelings of loss and sadness.
It all culminated in January 2021, when I was vilified on Instagram for taking an international trip last November. I now know that I should have waited.
People on social media were out for blood when my vacation came to light thanks to the horrible atmosphere COVID has created. I cried for weeks – MONTHS – at the threats of violence, death threats, calls for me to be jailed, loss of “friends”, loss of business – the whole nine yards. Depression doesn’t even begin to describe my mental state. Some days were very dark and I knew I had to do something to improve my mental well-being before it spiralled further.
My husband urged me to seek therapy which was life-changing. My therapist gave me some coping mechanisms that got me through each and every single day a little stronger. I am passing along her tips, along with a few of my own that really got me through to brighter days.
11 Self-Care Practices That Keep Me Sane
If you are spiralling, do not suffer alone. Talk to a trusted friend or your family. There is absolutely no reason to suffer in silence.
For me, I cried on my husband’s shoulder daily. I talked out what happened with my friends and family members, reported the threats of violence to the police and consulted a lawyer regarding two overzealous influencers who kept harassing me and the brands I was working with.
Therapy was my ultimate saviour though. My therapist is someone I like to think of as a friend I can hang out with. Not only is she a female (something that is important to me), she is kind, thoughtful and never asks things like: “Well, what do YOU think you should do?” I don’t know, Bad Therapist! That’s why I’m here!
I researched psychotherapists specializing in trauma and she was the cream of the crop. She works through whatever problems you have from a place of positivity and caring without any judgment whatsoever. She gave me a ton of coping mechanisms that I still employ today.
She also encouraged me to get prescriptions for anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication which meant the difference between never getting out of bed and living each day with purpose.
Don’t suffer alone. And do not be afraid to seek therapy. Thanks to the pandemic, many online therapy services have popped up this year which suit any budget.
Give Thanks Every Single Day
Simple, right? WRONG. It’s amazing how much we take for granted the people who love us, our homes, our pets, our jobs, our big, fancy, four-wheeled machines that get us from point A to point B – you name it.
Arm yourself with a Five Minute Journal. Each page of this immensely popular journal is broken down into five sections:
- I am grateful for…
- What would make today great?
- Daily affirmations. I am…
- 3 Amazing things that happened today…
- How could I have made today even better?
Why show gratitude? Well, I love the Law of Attraction. Showing gratitude puts good vibes out into the Universe which in turns draws good things back to you.
It’s also incredibly transformative. It calms late night rumination, forces you to think about the things that happened during the day and *why* they make you feel a certain way, offers a greater sense of well-being and allows you to better adapt to change.
Give it a try. It really worked for me. Go a step further and write down how daily experiences make you feel. This really helped me pinpoint and avoid triggers that would deep-six my day.
Mindful Consumption of Social Media
Only follow social media accounts that inspire you. Do an audit of who you follow immediately. Delete all accounts that make you feel bad or that you don’t like.
This tip right here made Instagram, YouTube and Tiktok so much more fun. I refuse to follow anyone negative, annoying, boring or who profiles things I don’t agree with. I also stopped following accounts that take part in cancel culture, rely too heavily on filters, feature potentially harmful supplements (skinny teas, weightloss lollipops, etc.).
Try following any sort of feel-good accounts that resonate with you! Here are some of my favourites:
Get Off Your Phone and Pick Up A Book
Reading was one of my favourite past-times ever. I could get lost in a great non-fiction book for hours. As life got busier, my love of reading took a backseat.
The more time I spent on my phone, the worse I felt. It took a lot to recognize that spending 9 hours a day on my phone (OMG) was detrimental to my mental health. When I took a social media break and handed my phone over to my husband for safe-keeping, my world opened up.
I ordered a slew of books and dove right into them. The Vanishing Half, Motley Crüe’s epic The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band, The Silent Patient, The Help, The Other Black Girl, Calm Within The Storm…you name it. If it had printed words, I read it.
These books provided an escape and got my creative juices flowing. They never made me feel bad like watching “@xxxxx’s trip to Capri with Revolve” or watching some influencer work with a brand who dumped me in January. I learned a lot too and reading voraciously improved my own writing. This really was a game-changer and I cannot recommend it enough.
To this day, nothing makes me happier than snuggling in my favourite chair with my dog, cup of tea in one hand, and a good book in the other. Got book recommendations? PLEASE SHARE in the comments!
Embrace The Word “No”
“Say yes until it stops serving you.”
Last year, I was killing myself accepting every single social media job that crossed my desk. There was a method to that madness though. I was trying to make as much money as I could to quit my terrible desk job. Turns out, that right there really was “madness”.
I was burning the candle at both ends and frankly, doing both jobs badly. I crashed and burned, and lost complete inspiration for my true passion which was photography, writing and connecting with my supporters online.
Once I quit that day job, and started carefully evaluating each social media job I got, I learned to adore saying no! Setting boundaries for myself and sticking to working with brands I truly believe in opened up my world. My content got better, my following grew, and my heart soared.
Surround Yourself With People That Inspire You
When all of that awfulness happened to me at the beginning of the year, half of the people I considered friends disappeared. That left me brokenhearted and confused. It made me feel like I was indeed a “bad person”, that I deserved ” to be punished”, and that I wasn’t worth being friends with.
It took a lot of self-work to realize that wasn’t true at all. At one time, I was surrounded by people that were really just along for the ride, that loved a great party, but didn’t really care about me as a human being. Them scattering when the going got rough was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
My true friends that love and care about me made sure I weathered the storm. And these are truly stellar people: leaders in their field, go-getters, smart, cultured and wonderful people. It makes me smile ear to ear when I leave a dinner with them and drive home feeling great about the time I spent in their presence.
That right there is so important: how do you feel when you leave your friends? If you aren’t learning from them or if they make you feel bad in any way, shape or form…well, you have some hard decisions to make.
When you multitask, you do each job badly. There – I said it.
For years, I worked in luxury retail. We were trained to focus on one customer at a time from the moment she walked into the store until she left. You build bonds with your customers and make more money that way. Try applying this method to everything you do.
Put your phone away while you read your book.
Savour each step of your skincare routine without doing anything else.
Don’t you dare text and drive…
…so on and so forth.
When I stopped answering emails while I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner, I started feeling better digestion-wise. I rediscovered food too. That seems so simple, but so many of us don’t take the time to even enjoy our food anymore.
This was so evident while sipping a Turkish coffee with friends. The wonderful flavours of the coffee – the citrusy cardamom followed by some home-made Turkish delight was heaven. No way would I have enjoyed that as much while answering emails or responding to online comments, etc.
Turn Off Your Comments (*for those experiencing online bullying)
When I was being bullied online, I heeded my therapist’s advice and turned off my comments. A person who didn’t have my best interests at heart told me to “keep them on – that turning them off makes you look guilty. Stop being a wimp and face the hate head on!”
This was killing me. The hurtful notifications were literally wearing on my body and soul. Once I turned off my comments, enabled the ability for only those I follow to comment, and used Instagram’s comment filters, I started to heal more quickly. Oh yeah – and don’t be afraid to delete and block haters. Eff ’em!
Buy The Damn Bag!
What does happiness and self-care look like to you? For some, it’s saving money. For others, it’s charity work, enjoying a great meal, walking the dog, eating a whole birthday cake, buying a designer bag…whatever.
If it makes you happy, gets you through the day and doesn’t hurt anyone, DO IT.
When I’m feeling a bit low, I hideaway in our ensuite bathroom and slip into a warm bubblebath. Applying my various serums, lotions and potions while listening to soft music is food for the soul.
The simple act of pampering yourself is extremely relaxing! Savouring every step of your spa ritual process especially before bed time primes you for a great, stress-free night’s sleep.
You know what I love that I have gotten a couple of my friends hooked on? Putting a jade roller in the fridge and “ice-rolling your problems and puffy face away”. I don’t know what it is about me and jade-rolling, but the coolness….the gentle rolling over the skin…makes me go: “Ahhhhh…” every single time.
Here are a couple of my faves:
Smile At Everyone
Take an opportunity one day to make eye contact with everyone you pass on the street and offer a quick “hello”. You would be amazed at how happy this makes people and how great it makes you feel too.
Remember – self-care isn’t always about you. ;o)
What are your favourite self-care tips? Please share in the comments!