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When I hear the term ‘self-care’, there are certain activities that immediately come to mind. These include exercise, hot baths, healthy eating, and spending time in nature. Such activities are regularly advised in blog posts about self-care, and rightly so! They are all well-known ways to look after yourself, and they are very effective. However, in this post I want to share some unique self-care ideas that you might not have thought of before. These are things I have discovered on my own journey to a more relaxed, healthy and happy life.
1. Listen to nature sounds
Getting outside in nature is a proven way to improve your wellbeing, but sometimes it’s not possible to go outside. The weather might be bad, or you might have allergies or phobias that prevent you from going outside. Or sometimes you might simply have so much to do that you don’t have time for a trip outdoors.
Fortunately, there is a way to bring the sounds of nature indoors to you! If you browse YouTube, Spotify or any other music player, you will find hundreds of tracks and playlists of nature sounds. These include rain sounds, birdsong, waves, whale song and thunderstorms. You can choose the sounds that you find the most relaxing – for me it’s rain sounds and waves. I have recently been using a playlist I found on Spotify called ‘Relaxing Nature Sounds’. It has over 8 hours of tracks, and features a large variety of different nature sounds. I recommend checking it out.
Playing nature sounds in the background while you work, exercise or do housework can help you to stay focused on the task at hand. When I play nature sounds, they tend to fade into the background of my consciousness after a while, and I forget that they are there. But I think they still help my subconscious to relax by giving signals that I am outside in nature. With my subconscious mind subdued, my conscious mind is better able to focus and be in the moment.
Of course, listening to nature sounds will always be second best to actually going outside and being surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of nature. But it can be a great way to replicate this in a small way when you are indoors.
2. Invest in an acupressure mat
I hadn’t heard of acupressure mats until the end of 2018, when I saw them advertised on Facebook. I did a bit of research, and found that they supposedly have many benefits for our physical and mental health. Curiosity got the better of me, and I purchased one.
I have had a great experience with my acupressure mat so far. When I lie on it, a deep feeling of relaxation comes over me. I use it any time I want to relax. I find it easier to stay still and not fidget when I am lying on the mat.
I wrote a review of my acupressure mat which you can read if you would like more information. But in short, I believe that an acupressure mat is a great self-care tool to invest in!
If you like the look of the acupressure mat I have, you can purchase one here on Amazon UK.
3. Get grounded
‘Feeling grounded’ is a term that is often thrown around when talking about our mental and energetic wellbeing. There is an even more literal meaning of this term that I discovered a couple of years ago by stumbling across a YouTube video.
Grounding, sometimes known as Earthing, is based on the theory that electrical energy from the Earth is transmitted directly to us via our bodies when we are in contact with the ground. In the past, humans would have spend most of their time being grounded, but modern lifestyles have got in the way of this. We rarely walk barefoot outside or spend time with any part of our body in contact with the earth.
There are multiple studies to support the theory that when we are ungrounded, we can suffer from health problems, but by grounding ourselves we can see a reduction in pain, inflammation and illness, and restore our health.
I had never heard of grounding before but it makes a huge amount of sense to me. Ever since I learned about it, I have tried to spend some time barefooted in my garden every day. I don’t always manage this though, especially during the colder months. Writing this blog post has reminded me of the importance of grounding and I intend to spend even more time barefoot outdoors if possible!
If it works, as studies suggest it does, grounding is a fantastic activity to add to your self-care toolbox. I would love to know if any of you have heard of grounding before and seen any improvements to your health by using it. Let me know in the comments.
4. Do Some Crafts
Lately, I have found that crafts can be a really good distraction if I am worried about something. I recommend buying a craft set or looking up some easy craft videos on YouTube that you can do. Crafting will distract you from your problems and give your mind a creative outlet!
Magnesium is an important mineral, but many people are deficient in it. As well as affecting many physical functions in the body, magnesium deficiency has been linked to depression. It is therefore very important to make sure you are getting enough magnesium, not just for your physical health but also for your mental wellbeing.
Sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans, avocados, bananas and dark chocolate. However, if you think you may be deficient in magnesium, it is a good idea to take a supplement too. Magnesium supplements are available in many forms, but I discovered that magnesium is absorbed best when it is applied topically, i.e. on the skin.
For the past year or so, I have been applying magnesium oil spray every day after I shower. The oil can be applied anywhere on your body, but I apply it to my feet because I read that it is absorbed best that way. The oil feels slick and slimy, and takes a while to rub in. It also stings a bit sometimes, especially if my skin is damaged in any way, but the sting soon fades.
Another way to get magnesium topically is by having a bath containing Epsom Salts. This is not normal table salt – it is made up of magnesium, sulphur and oxygen. By soaking in Epsom Salts, the magnesium is absorbed into your skin and you will reap the benefits!
Alternatively, you can take magnesium supplements in capsule form.
If you are feeling physically or mentally run down in any way, I would recommend looking into magnesium supplements as a possible way to help you feel better!
6. Use blankets
A blanket is a very simple yet effective self-care tool.There’s something genuinely so comforting about being wrapped in a blanket. I was wrapped in a blanket whilst writing this blog post, which prompted me to add it to the list!
If you are feeling at all sensitive or vulnerable, blankets can make you feel safe, warm and protected. They provide a soft, cosy barrier to protect you from the world.
On a practical level, blankets can be very effective for keeping you warm, in a way that clothes don’t achieve. I tend to feel the cold, and sometimes I pile on layers and layers of clothing but still feel chilly! However, if I wrap a blanket around me, I soon feel toasty warm, even if I am not wearing many layers of clothing. I also lay a blanket over the top of my duvet at night if I feel cold.
I like to wrap a blanket around me when I am sat at my desk, especially when I am working on difficult tasks. It helps me to feel more settled. I also cover myself with a blanket when I am laid on my bed reading, relaxing, or on my acupressure mat. Of course, I don’t do this on hot summer days! Only when it is a little bit chilly or I am in need of comfort.
I would recommend taking a blanket to put over you on long journeys as well, especially if you are going on a coach or plane, and if you intend to sleep.
Were any of these self-care ideas new to you?
I hope that among this list, there has been at least one self-care idea that you were not familiar with, or had never thought of using before. If you decide to adopt any of these, I hope you will find them beneficial for your physical and mental wellbeing!
Which idea are you going to try? Do you already use any of these for your own self-care? Do you have any other self-care ideas that you consider unique? Let me know in the comments!