After having a successful break away from blogging, I’m back and filled to the brim with ideas – especially now I know the direction I want to take my blog in. I’m guilty of easily feeling ‘lost’ in the community. I’ve never felt like I fit into any group or niche and being online for an excessive amount of time is something I know just doesn’t work for my mental health anymore. So a little breather is sometimes necessary and I’m feeling more refreshed and ready to write again – yay! One huge positive of taking some time away from screens has been focusing more on self-improvement, getting more intuitive and being able to successfully make and maintain my very own self-care routine. It’s a phrase we are hearing preached from every corner of the internet, with more importance being put on learning to ‘switch off’ and making sure we keep that work/life balance that sounds great but sometimes, can be easier said than done. I always thought self-care meant you followed a set ritual on certain days and nights but lately, I’ve been cramming in self-care sneakily without feeling the ‘guilt’ of setting aside time for me – something I struggled with when starting to look after myself more. I thought I’d share what has been working for me and how I’ve managed to build these positive things into my day.
Reading – Is there any better feeling than being cosy and curling up with a good book? It’s one of the little pleasures in life I love. I used to be a bookworm when I was younger and it’s something I go through stages with but since setting myself the Goodreads challenge to read 30 books this year (that I’ve now surpassed and onto my 40th book!), it’s rekindled my love of reading and now, it’s an integral part of self-care for me. I’m not very good at meditation or mindfulness but reading gives me that same feeling of clearing my head, being present in the moment and switching off from everything around me. So much so, you can expect to see much more book reviews and hauls on What Amy Did in the future. I’m always looking for recommendations so please send some of your favourites my way! I read a chapter or two at night, instead of sitting watching tv.
Journalling – Journalling every day has been something so key to my personal development. I don’t write as extensively as I did a few months ago but jotting down some of my thoughts or even just noting down ideas or positive things that spring to mind has been a great release – especially if I’m having a particularly bad day, it’s good to read back on progress I’ve made or things that I’m grateful for. By scribbling down my thoughts, I feel like I’m taking them out of my mind and start to put them to bed. It’s been something recommended to me for months and although it was strange at first, I’m 100% getting into the habit of setting aside 5 minutes a day to reflect on what I’m feeling. I normally do this at night, just before bed so I can get it off my chest and get into bed to rest easy, without my mind wandering.
Making Candles – This is a new skill I only learned a few months ago thanks to Peter’s mum who makes the most amazing candles! It’s not too difficult to do although it’s taken me a while to get them looking and burning just right. It’s one of the most therapeutic things I’ve ever done – especially as the wax starts to melt and your kitchen is filled with the most amazing scent. Now that autumn is around the corner, I can’t wait to make more, especially with the seasonal scents that you get at this time of year – cinnamon and pumpkin anyone?! I love burning candles all year round but especially as the darker nights roll around. There are tons of tutorials on Youtube and Pinterest if you wanted to learn more or try it out yourself. I really couldn’t recommend it enough.
Podcasts – I only got into podcasts at the tail end of last year but they are my favourite thing to listen to right now. From pop culture, politics, mindfulness and crime, my taste is so varied that it’s hard to get through them all. I now listen to 2 podcasts per day, making sure I do this on my commute and instead of dreading the car journey to work, I get excited to listen to the new episodes of my favourite ones. I recently invested in some noise cancelling headphones that have been an incredible buy so if at work, I really need to focus, I pop these on and a podcast and get stuck into work. I’m going to be creating an updated post on my favourite ones that will be up shortly so stay tuned!
Cooking – Getting back into cooking has been so good for me. Just like candle making, the idea of creating something from scratch is so therapeutic. I got some new cookbooks and make sure I try at least one new recipe per week – a resolution to myself I’ve managed to keep! My favourite one at the moment is Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients – all you need as you may have guessed is 5 ingredients and everything I’ve tried has been so tasty! It makes cooking from scratch so easy and you feel like you’ve achieved something compared to the guilt you hear when the bell in the microwave goes off!
Spinning – Ugh, I LOVE SPIN. I know it’s one of those forms of exercise people either completely love or loathe but for me, I love the buzz I get after I hop off the bike – the time on it is a different matter. I’ve lost my confidence in the gym. I haven’t been able to go for months and have developed a bit of a phobia towards going on my own and working out in front of people. So I managed to get a spin bike for £100 from Amazon – bargain or what? And I’ve been using the Les Mills app to do the spin classes they have. There is so much selection, you can choose between 30 or 45-minute classes but do not underestimate these because they are from home – they are totally BRUTAL and my legs always feel the burn the next day. I only do Spin a couple of times a week as resistance training your legs on an everyday basis can bulk them up but I love the feeling I get after a 45-minute class.
Doing these activities and sneaking in some time every day for things I love has been so instrumental to how much progress I’ve been making lately. I was always under the impression that I would have to set aside a specific night per week to have ‘me time’ but it’s not the case whatsoever. Incorporating some of these things into my everyday routine has been easy to do and I’ve felt so much benefit from being able to do them – especially when I’ve read a few chapters of a book and cooked a new meal for dinner – I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’d love to know what your self-care routine is or if like me, you thought self-care meant dedicating a huge bulk of time to you. You can comment below or tweet/IG me at @whatamydid. Thanks for reading!