5 Self-care practices you shouldn't skip

4 min read

5 Self-care practices you shouldn't skip
Sadly, self-care isn't just spa days and bubble baths—here are some of the less glamorous self-care habits you shouldn't be skipping
Self-care has become something of a buzzword, and in the world of wellness Instagram it often looks like a luxurious spa day, a spiritual yoga retreat or a relaxing bubble bath. But there are some less glamorous self-care practices that may not have quite the same appeal, and you may find yourself skipping them.
"Self-care has become something of a buzzword"
Despite the allure of kicking your feet up and ignoring the world (which certainly has its place in your self-care routine, by the way!), make sure to invest some time and energy into these habits that may not be particularly fun, but will ensure that you are taking care of yourself now and in the long run.

Regular exercise

Yes, it's important to listen to your body and take rest days. However, don't let every day become a rest day! It's important to push yourself to exercise on a regular basis, as this brings with it both physical and mental benefits. 
Woman doing a home workout
If you're feeling too tired and just don't want to do it, remember that doing exercise can actually give you an energy boost. This is because moderate-intensity exercise increases your endorphin levels, which can relieve stress, reduce pain and, crucially, give you energy. So do the exercise, and let the energy come after!
But it's not a case of go big or go home. If you're really not feeling up to it—perhaps you're struggling with an injury, or maybe you just feel miserable and have no motivation—gently pushing yourself to move just a little bit will still allow you to reap the benefits of exercise. Low-intensity exercise has been found to improve physical and cognitive health, and may be a more realistic and sustainable approach to exercise. So don't be hard on yourself if you skip the heavy weights or the 5k run and go for a gentle stroll instead—the best exercise is the exercise that you actually do!

Financial planning

Money matters can be a significant source of stress and anxiety, but practising financial self-care through diligent planning and budgeting can help to alleviate this burden. No, it's not as fun as treating yourself on payday, but creating a budget and sticking to it can empower you to take control of your financial wellbeing.
"Knowing where your money is going and planning for the future can give you a sense of security"
Knowing where your money is going and planning for the future can give you a sense of security and peace of mind that will help your mental wellbeing overall. If you don't know where to start, try an online course to improve your financial literacy. Financial self-care is an investment in your future self, providing stability and reducing stress in the long run.

Routine maintenance

From doing the dishes to tackling laundry piles, routine maintenance tasks are the unsung heroes of self-care. While these chores may seem mundane, completing them can have a profound impact on our mental and emotional state. Clutter and disorganisation can contribute to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, whereas a tidy environment promotes a sense of calm and control.
Pile of washing up
Engaging in routine maintenance tasks is a form of self-respect, as it involves caring for our living space and, by extension, ourselves. Embracing these tasks as acts of self-care transforms them from burdensome chores into opportunities for nurturing our wellbeing.

Establishing a sleep routine

In a world that glorifies productivity and hustle culture, sleep is often sacrificed. However, adequate sleep is non-negotiable when it comes to self-care. Establishing a consistent sleep routine, complete with a designated bedtime and wake-up time, may not sound glamorous, but its benefits are invaluable.
"Adequate sleep is non-negotiable when it comes to self-care"
Quality sleep boosts cognitive function, regulates mood, and strengthens the immune system. Prioritising sleep is an act of self-respect that pays dividends in every aspect of our lives, from productivity to emotional resilience.

Planning ahead

If there are things you can do now to make life easier for yourself when things get busy, don't put them off! For example, know you've got a busy week coming up full of meetings and events? Meal prep at the weekend so that you won't have to worry about dinner after a stressful day at work. Yes, batch-cooking for the week ahead might be the last thing you want to do on your nice quiet Sunday, but you'll thank yourself for it by Wednesday.
Likewise, if you notice a chore that needs doing, do it straight away rather than telling yourself that you'll get to it later (spoiler alert, you probably won't). If you make a habit of doing things as and when they need doing, it'll make life easier to stay on top of. There are always going to be times that you have to let yourself off certain tasks—maybe you're ill, or feeling low, or have more urgent priorities. But the more that you do when you can, the less you'll have to worry about when you can't!
Ultimately, self-care as a daily practice goes beyond spa days and indulgent treats (although that's not to say you should never treat yourself in the more Instagram-friendly sense!). It's not always glamorous, but doing the less fun stuff will make you feel better in the long-run!
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