Simple tips for self-care and self-love

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With the prospect of an uncertain future, the daily struggles of lectures and seminars, and the impossible balance between your minimum wage part-time job and some semblance of a social life, it’s no wonder that young adults spend more than six hours a day feeling stressed out.

I am not immune to stress, so one of my new year’s resolutions this year was to work on self-love and self-care.

And by that, I don’t mean bingeing my favourite Netflix show and downing a whole bottle of Sauvignon in the process. While it feels good in the moment, it doesn’t do much for my mental or physical health in the long-term.

According to Psychology Today, self-care is about “taking time to pay attention to you… in a way that ensures you are being cared for by you.” 

Here’s how I started my journey.

I organised my space

I live in a tiny studio. It’s great because I live by myself, but it has its downsides — it being so small means it gets cluttered quickly.

Like most people, living in a cluttered space contributed to a chaotic, unorganised mind.

Taking a page out of Marie Kondo’s book, I did an early spring clean and got rid of stuff that didn’t spark joy.

I then invested in some storage boxes and put away things that I wouldn’t be using for the next few weeks.

This made my place feel significantly more organised.

After a proper deep clean, I turned my fairy lights on, lit some incense, and sat on my fresh duvet feeling zen and accomplished.

This was a good starting point for the rest of my self-care journey.

I committed to a healthier lifestyle

Students are notoriously bad at living healthy. In a way, that’s a good thing, because the bar is set so low that even the smallest lifestyle changes have a positive impact on your well-being!

For me, living healthy meant setting weekly goals to get at least seven hours of sleep a day (not always possible), and trying to cook most of my meals.

Cooking elaborate meals is not always an option as it requires time and patience, but I’ve found it to be therapeutic. Put some music on, pour yourself a glass of wine, and get started! It’s healthier and cheaper than most meal-deals and takeaways.

Also, if you’re within a half hour walk to your lectures, ditch the public transport. It’s a needless expense and it usually takes about the same time as it would have if you’d just walked. 

Pro-tip: There’s an awesome Spotify playlist called “Walk like a Badass” which really helps with morning walks.

I set aside time to pamper myself

Pampering yourself could take many forms, but setting aside even a half-hour every day to be totally selfish feels great!

I love lighting a Bath&Body Works scented candle, putting on a jazz playlist, and reading a good book or magazine.

Your version of pampering yourself could be different. Anything goes as long as it makes you feel like you’re doing something solely for yourself. That could be a twelve step skin care routine, or yoga, or meditating, or whatever else you like.

Positive changes

Carving out time for myself led me to be more productive in the hours when I need to work. This, in turn, has made me feel more positive about myself — the sense of accomplishment from ticking off tasks on my to-do list gives me purpose.

My self-care routine allows me to recharge and stay healthy.

It’s all a process and I’m slowly making more positive changes to my lifestyle. I understand there’ll be setbacks, but part of my commitment to self-love is to celebrate the little successes and learn from the failures.

Words by Stela Gineva

Saya and Hope are your lifestyle editors.

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