Finding the balance: Liberty Belle’s guide to self-care

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It’s February. It’s dark, it’s cold. It has all the qualities of winter but without the joys of Christmas to look forward to. Surely I’m not the only one feeling a bit miserable? My annual New-Year motivation is wearing thin and I’m sick of grey skies and rainy days.

I tried throwing every ounce of myself into uni, spending all hours of the day working towards assignments and exams in a bid to stay motivated (2/10, exhausting, wouldn’t recommend). I also tried taking some time out for myself; reading a book, watching a film, painting my nails, you know the drill. But I’d get so caught up in it all that I’d feel too chilled out to even consider doing any work.

It seemed that nothing I could do would help to drag me out of my February funk. I finally realised that the one thing I was missing was balance.

Balance is something I find really hard; I struggle with finding perfect mix of working hard and and caring for myself.

I found that the hardest thing to schedule into my day was self-care. So if you’re struggling to come up with ways to make yourself feel happier, here are a few that I’ve found work wonders:

Wake up early

I know you’re tired because you were up till 3am on YouTube. I know you’d rather stay wrapped up in your cosy duvet till mid-afternoon. But unless you’re hungover beyond belief or it’s a Sunday, you have no excuse. Granted, I find this SO hard, so I invested in an alarm clock that slowly lights up the room and plays bird noises in the morning. Sounds so cliché doesn’t it? It works though, I swear. Whatever it takes to get you out of bed that bit earlier, just do what you’ve got to do. It’s so worth it. More hours in the day = more time to get things done = less stress AND a better night’s sleep!

Have a shower

So, you’ve woken up early (or skipped the alarm and slept in til lunch time) but it’s done absolutely nothing for your productivity or mood. Wash. Is there anything better than brushing your teeth, washing your hair and smelling like you’ve slept on a bed of candy floss? (The answer is no.)

Get some fresh air

It’s so easy to stay cooped up at home and wallow in your self-pity and stress. Don’t. Taking a little bit of time out of your day to go outside and get a bit of fresh air is so helpful. And don’t tell me you’re too busy. Busy doing what? Binge watching Netflix and polishing off a packet of digestives instead of being productive? Thought so.

Make yourself a really nice lunch/dinner

Cooking can be so therapeutic, especially if you’re making something you love. It sounds simple, but so often I find myself rushing around and chucking together something extremely average and not enjoying it at all. Take the time to enjoy cooking something that you’ll also enjoy eating. Major mood booster.

Wash your bedsheets & put on some fresh PJs

It’s the end of the day and you’re exhausted from getting up at 8am and managing to fit in both work and some you-time. But your bed is peppered with crumbs from the days of yore when you would spend all day in bed eating crisps (aka, yesterday). Sounds…cosy? Wash your sheets, chuck in some of those beads that make everything smell like heaven, tumble dry it all and let the magic ensue as you get tucked up in your warm, fresh bed.

Have a bath before bed

This one is reserved for all you lucky ones who have a bath in your student digs. Who isn’t a lover of all things LUSH? Turn on your chill playlist, pop a bath bomb in and soak in the tub. Leave your phone in the bedroom and just have a bit of time to yourself. I’d recommend Twilight, Butterball, Yoga Bomb and Intergalactic bath bombs for a therapeutic bath time. I’m also a huge fan of the Comforter bubble bar.

Read a book / watch a film

Personally I’m more of a bookworm than a film buff, but whatever takes your fancy! Snuggle up to a cup of tea and a good book, or turn on your favourite film or TV show to help you unwind. Often I get in to bed and just sit on my phone for hours until suddenly its 4am and I still haven’t slept. Doing something different can sometimes help to settle you down a bit better. For all you book worms I’d recommend The Girl on the Train, A Monster Calls and If I Was Your Girl. If reading isn’t your thing but you love a good TV show, I’d give Vikings, Black Mirror or Stranger Things a go.

Make a feel-good playlist

Research has shown that when you listen to music your brain releases a ‘feel-good’ hormone and lowers stress. So get yourself on Spotify and make yourself a feel-good playlist. But for those of you who aren’t so keen on spending hours scrolling through endless song choices, we’ve done one ourselves which you can check out here! (You’re welcome).

Words by Hannah Lamb.

Alice is your lifestyle editor.

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