Back in July I turned forty. And the thing is, I don’t feel old. Or older. I still feel like I’m twenty. I’m still insecure at times, I still act like a kid, I still make stupid mistakes. But I have a lot more life experience tucked under my belt than I did when I was twenty, and I have some tips for us ladies in our forties on practicing self care.
I know self care sounds like a buzz word. Back in 1995 no one talked about self care. But we sure knew a lot of people who needed it because their mom had died, or they worked twenty hours a week on top of being a high school student. They were tired at the very least, likely some were depressed. Depression was a word we heard a lot, but no one really understood what depression was I don’t think. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, self care isn’t something we are used to practicing but we sure need it. So I am here to tell you what self care is, and some ways to practice this in our forties as well.
What is Self Care?
It’s so simple you’ll laugh. It’s a conscious choice you make to improve your overall physical, emotional and mental health. Do you take a shower? That’s self care because you are cleaning your body, which can prevent disease. That’s a pretty conscious choice too. Do you cut people out of your life because they are not good friends? Likely that is self care too because that individual is potentially toxic. So there you have it. Self care isn’t about a spa day or massages. It’s about taking care of yourself. Yes, it might cost money sometimes, and yes it requires some dedication of time but here’s the thing.
You deserve to spend money on taking care of yourself.
You also deserve to take a time out to simply settle your mind and emotions.
And self care is something everyone needs just like we all need food!
You are, after all, your own greatest investment.
Unique Idea One: Colour a Picture
Colouring is very soothing. And adult colouring books were all the rage a few years ago. Find one that is of interest to you, get yourself a pack of crayons or even some fancy fine tipped markers, and allow yourself to be a child again. Alternatively, grab some free colouring pages off the internet and just colour.
Unique Idea Two: Dim the Lights
Take some time out to turn down the lights. Turn on a Himlaylan salt lamp and some soy or beeswax candles, and enjoy some quiet time with a book or magazine. Too much of our lives is all noise and chaos–TVs on, smartphones beeping and buzzing, kids demanding attention, social media feeds pushing ads and sensational news–turn that all off, take a deep breath and enjoy a quieter, more mindful evening.
Unique Idea Three: Talk a Walk with Yourself
I often see the idea of taking of walk as a self care idea, and it’s a good one. But it also has been stated so many times, it can be easily overlooked. But taking a walk is a great form of self care and I suggest you get out there with yourself and enjoy nature. Don’t just speed walk your way around the block, rather, be mindful. Look up at the clouds, keep your eyes open for birds and maybe stop and take a photo or two of something interesting or beautiful. Be present in nature, in the moment, in yourself. Notice what you think and feel and you’ll likely be surprised by yourself.
Unique Idea Four: Dance Like No One is Watching
Remember how much fun it used to be to blare music and just sing and dance? Why not indulge your inner fifteen year old and play your favourite tunes from back in the day and dance? Fifteen minutes of this will leave you laughing and feeling great.
Unique Idea Four: Go on a Shopping Spree
Do you have clothes that don’t fit? I know you do. Are you hanging on to them in the hopes of losing weight and getting into those jeans again? I sure am. Do these clothes that don’t fit make you feel guilty and just generally bad about yourself? Honestly, it’s time to ditch those clothes and go on a shopping spree. I am not talking about spending hundreds of dollars, but you do deserve to have clothes that you love that fit you right now. So do buy three or four outfits or items that you can pair easily and feel good about yourself again. You totally deserve to spend the money on yourself and to feel amazing.
Unique Idea Five: Girls Night Out
I always roll my eyes at this idea, because I feel like I am not the type of woman who gets together with friends to go dancing and drinking. I guess I have this impression when I hear the phrase “girls night out” but getting together with your girlfriends doesn’t have to look this way. It can of course, but it also just be dinner or a movie night at someone’s house. A chance to catch up with good friends is always beneficial as it makes you feel connected and remember that there is more to life than work and chores.
Unique Idea Six: Get Creative
Let’s get creative ladies! We may be approaching middle age but that doesn’t mean we can’t find our inner child or artist. Learn a new creative skill such as candle or soap making, calligraphy or flower arranging. Imagine being able to create your own gifts for family and friends, and to add these items to your home decor.
Unique Idea Seven: Sign Up for a Meal Delivery Box
Cooking can be a real chore, especially after a long day at work. You have to have a meal in mind, prep everything, cook it, and then there is clean up. Plus all the time you spent doing groceries. Why not sign up for a meal delivery box like Hello Fresh or Good Food? The kits include recipes of your choice, fresh food and takes the headache out of home cooking. Subscriptions are pretty flexible as you can pause or cancel at any time, and the cost isn’t extraordinary.
Unique Idea Eight: Clear the Clutter
I am not talking about diving into a big declutter of clothes and items you don’t want or need. I’m talking about clearing off countertops and dressers. Put away the magazines no one is looking at, find a home for the remote controls, clear off your kitchen counters of things like knife blocks and appliances you hardly use. Having a clear space is restful to the mind and benefits your mental health.
Unique Idea Nine: Cuddle Time
Make some time to cuddle. It could be with your lover, your kids or pets, or even just a super soft and cozy blanket, or a weighted blanket. Cuddle up and talk, watch a movie together or indulge in a cup of hot chocolate or herbal tea. Physical contact is super important to humans as it lower blood pressure, improves our immune system and releases oxytocin. I find that often we let the day pass without really spending time with those we love, that instead we allow distractions such as emails and social media to take up hours of our time. Cuddle time will leave us feeling so much better, so why not indulge?
Unique Idea Ten: Make a Gratitude List
Make a list of all the little things that happened in your day that were amazing. The package that arrived, the text from your partner saying I love you, the yummy latte from Starbucks a friend bought you–whatever it is, write it down. Too often we focus on the negative things, the things that went wrong, and don’t give a second thought to the good things that happened in our day. Writing them down is a great way to acknowledge that life is beautiful.
I hope you have been inspired to take the leap into self care, and have found some new ways to incorporate self care into your life.