As Ferris Bueller said, in the 1986 teen cult movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” 31 years on, the truth of these words resonate more than ever: In 2014, the New York Post published an article on society’s self-destructive addiction to faster living, likening the high-stress pace to an addiction.
Caught in a chaotic, frenzied spiral of a new addiction, people are chasing money, power, success and a wilder, faster pace of life. Just like any addiction, people are out of control in their behaviors, feelings and thinking, yet they believe they are normal.
Enter the self-care movement. Gaining grounds as fast as, and with an undeniable correlation to, the body positivity movement, self-care is about tending to one’s own well-being, both mental and physical, by taking the time to do nurturing and soothing activities.
You might think “that’s nice, but I don’t have the time for a day at the spa.” The good news is that there are a thousand ways to self-care, and you can take good care of yourself, on the go.
Here are just 5 self-care activities you can try when you travel or when you commute.
- Write in a journal.
Sounds simple (and inexpensive) enough right? Even when you don’t feel inspired to write a full-length essay, pick up a small notebook you can easily slide in your jeans pocket or your satchel, and make a list: of things you have done this week, things to do, things you are grateful for, your values, your dreams etc… Getting your thoughts out on paper, surprisingly, eases anxiety and helps you see clearer.
- Develop a morning (or beauty) routine
I’m an avid reader of A Cup of Jo’s Uniform Series and I have noticed that most of the featured women had developed morning or/and beauty routines. I have even borrowed and made some my own (like exfoliating with a hand mitt and body scrub every time I shower… hello smooth skin!). One habit that keeps coming up is waking up before everyone else in the household for some quiet “me” time: some chose to journal or do a 20-minute yoga sequence, while others catch up on chores or relax with a cup of tea (or coffee!).
- Protect your energy
We have never been more accessible: through social media, email (now on our phone!) or text, and even when we really want to unplug and relax, it’s easy to get sucked into someone else’s drama. You might be scrolling down your Facebook feed or spending time with your kids – or even taking the bus — and be provoked into a bad mood by a post that doesn’t reflect your values, an off-hand comment or someone cutting in front of you. Worse, you might have some toxic relationships with people you truly care about. One of the pillars of self-care, in my humble opinion, is protecting your energy aka your life force. One way is to eliminate harmful people or situations and another way is to find coping mechanisms so you can maintain your composure and and be less emotionally affected by other people’s actions.
- Do Yoga
I attended a yoga retreat this summer during family week and was amazed at the ratio of men, women and children, of all body types and races. Only a couple of years back, when I discovered yoga in my late teens, the yogis at the studio were often female and skinny. These days, the yoga demographic has shifted and yoga as self-care for every body is a movement in itself with influencers such as @mynameisjessamyn and @nolatrees clocking in over 300 000 Instagram followers each. Yoga’s propagation as a tool for active body positivity and self-care has struck a cord with millions, dare I say, billions across the globe. You can start doing yoga wherever — and whenever — all you need is a mat and some comfy clothes. Psst… I love Yoga with Adriene: she has a YouTube Channel as well as an app.
- Meditate or give yourself permission to do nothing
Take a couple of minutes to close your eyes and still the mind. Try not to move or fidget, and focus on your breathing. If you’re feeling a bit silly and unsure if you’re doing “it” right, swing by a meditation center or download a guided meditation app like Headspace. If meditation is really not your thing, just give yourself permission to do nothing at all. Just go with the flow: don’t catch up emails, or fold the laundry, or text friends and family you might have, sorta, neglected. Just be.
We all lead busy lives, but we can’t go on forever without recharging our batteries and destressing: self-care isn’t selfish, it’s about mental and physical preservation. And now you know you can indulge yourself on the go.
Q: What are some of your self-care practices?
Psst… another form of self-care… blanket scarves! and we can’t get enough of them.