‘Self-care’ has become something of a buzzword over the past few years.
I don’t know about you, but for me the term conjures up images of willowy women doing yoga while simultaneously sipping herbal tea.
If that’s how you self-care, then more power to you – I envy anyone with the balance to practise yoga or the ability to stomach green tea. My version of self-care, however, is considerably more sedentary and significantly higher in calories. Intrigued? Read on…
Fun fact: it is impossible to feel sad and cosy at the same time. When I’m in a low mood, I put on my dressing gown and sleep socks (the fluffier, the better). I do not exaggerate when I say that buying my first pair of sleep socks on Amazon back in March changed my life for the better. It’s true that the name would suggest you need to be asleep to wear them, but rather ironically my bed is the only place in the house where I don’t wear those bad boys.
I also have a throw blanket that I keep in the living room to put over my legs because apparently having a perpetually cold body temperature turns you into a premature pensioner.
Sometimes, if I’m feeling wild, I’ll even introduce a pillow into the mix.
The trick is to cocoon yourself, caterpillar-style, from all talk and thoughts of viruses and pandemics and lockdowns, and then emerge half an hour later like a zen butterfly. Corona who?
Add a hot drink and a McVities Chocolate Thin for peak contentment – you won’t regret it.
The ultimate in free self-care. Provided you have paid your rent or mortgage this month, congratulations you meet the criteria for having a nap. On your sofa, snuggled up in bed or, if like my boyfriend (or your average toddler) you can nap anywhere, even on a soft rug in the living room.
Remember, lockdown napping is a lawless realm. Any time of day goes. If someone you live with tries to tell you that you’ve been napping for too long, politely, but firmly, tell them to do one.
Unless it’s your child asking you to feed them or something, although to be honest as long as they can reach the biscuit tin I’d say you’re good for another half an hour or so.
We’re in the middle of a global pandemic – you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
By this stage of lockdown, you’re probably sick of hearing those words, but have no fear I am not talking about PPE. During your next trip to the supermarket, wheel your way over to the skincare aisle and chuck a couple of face masks into your trolley.
I am no skincare guru and, if we’re honest, a £1 face mask from Sainsburys isn’t going to transform your skin. But there’s something about applying a mud mask or patting a sheet mask into place that automatically makes you feel pampered and it’s nice to feel like you are treating yourself. For £1, what have you got to lose?
If you want to amplify the spa vibes, slice up a cucumber and leave it to chill in your fridge – bam, you’ve got yourself a cooling treat for your eyes. Light your favourite candle, play some relaxing music and stretch out on the sofa. Bliss!
All that stuff about exercise releasing endorphins and making you happier that health professionals always harp on about? It turns out they’re onto something.
When I return home from a walk, I feel energised and more upbeat. As someone who is currently taking a minimum of two naps a day, trust me when I say if walks can make me feel more energetic, they are likely to work for you too.
Of course any exercise will give you a much-needed mood and energy boost but I’m sure you’ve received enough guilt trips via social media this week without me talking about weight lifting or high intensity workouts.
Walking is the easiest form of exercise and therefore the most bearable for people struggling with lockdown blues or a lack of motivation.
In lockdown by yourself and find walks boring? Put on an episode of your favourite podcast or an uplifting Spotify playlist.
Great news – scientists have confirmed that calories don’t exist in a global pandemic (don’t google that, just listen to your heart and believe me on this one). Before anyone starts moaning that I’m ‘promoting obesity,’ please save your time because that is exactly what I am doing and I have no intention of stopping.
Jokes aside, that new diet that promises to help you lose half a stone in a month – and then gain a stone six months later – can wait until after lockdown is done.
I am not ashamed to admit that I wouldn’t have got this far in lockdown with my sanity (somewhat) intact if it weren’t for coffee with oat milk, McVities Chocolate Thins and my boyfriend’s hoodies.
Over-consuming two of those things has the potential to make me gain a lot of weight and potentially diabetes, but right now tasty snacks and creamy coffees are providing me with little moments of happiness on even the dullest of days.
If you are concerned about your weight, I have two words for you: damage control. Bagel thins, McVities Chocolate or Oreo thins… the clue is in the name! Those snacks are considerably lower in calories, which means in theory you could eat them and still stick to a calorie allowance on MyFitnessPal.
Or you could follow my lead and eat twice as many chocolate thins as you would normal chocolate digestives – double the biscuits, same number of calories. Snack smarter, not harder. You’re welcome.
I hate phone calls and I dread video calls. I even get anxious about reading and responding to Facebook messages. Combine the fact I’m an introvert with all that anxiety and you’ll understand why staying in touch with even my favourite people can be a challenge.
However, once I actually force myself to do these things, I find that I enjoy them. Even if you like your alone time, we are innately social creatures. Everyone can benefit from talking to their friends and family during this strange and difficult time.
Without exception, every video call I have had during lockdown has lifted my spirits and made me feel infinitely closer to the person or people I spoke to.
If the thought of making small talk about hand-washing stresses you out, organise a virtual pub quiz or watch something on Netflix Party. Enjoy a cider together or even start a virtual book club like my family have. Now is the time to think outside the box. If you are struggling for ideas, a quick Google search will give you plenty of creative tips on how to make video calls more entertaining.
And it doesn’t have to be a phone or video call, a text conversation can also bring you closer to the people you are missing. Lockdown doesn’t have to isolate you unless you let it.
So, there you have it – how to self-care, Luce in Lockdown style.
The great thing about self-care is that it’s subjective. What makes you feel relaxed could be completely different from how I prefer to unwind. Regardless of what self-care looks like to you, let’s all agree that now is the time to indulge.
Go self-care crazy.
Buy a pair of sleep socks for every day of the week!
Stay in that bath until you are more prune than human!
Eat that whole box of McVities Chocolate Thins! You deserve it. (By this point, I have name-dropped McVities so many times that they owe me a sponsorship deal.)
And if you’re a parent during this pandemic, stick the kids in front of Peppa Pig or Adventure Time for a couple of hours and take some time to relax. In the long-run the occasional TV marathon won’t kill them, but having to answer another question like “why do my feet have toes?” or “why do you have two chins mummy?” may kill you.
Happy self-caring folks!