Self-care is important for our mental and physical health. Without taking the time to care for ourselves we leave ourselves susceptible to burnout, mental, physical and emotional distress. By taking some time out to engage in self -care we can ease anxiety and depression, be more resilient to stress, improve concentration, reduce anger, increase happiness and improve energy. It's a wonderful way to restore our connection to ourselves and slow down in a world where it feels almost impossible to take a moment to stop.
Making a Self-care Jar
Ah, but what will become of all those empty jars? I know I'm not the only person here who washes out and saves jars for...Well, I'm not really sure what for (anyone?). I have this idea that I'm going to start making chutneys or get really into pickling. I haven't completely ruled either of them out, so watch this space (but don't hold your breath!).
What is a self-care jar?
A self-care jar is a wonderful tool-kit to help you when you need comfort and soothing. Your self-care jar is there to remind you of all the ways you can look after yourself. Some days when we need self-care, we aren't always able to remember how we can look after ourselves. So having all these ideas in one place takes away the pressure to remember.
How to make your own self-care jar
Take a jar (if you don’t have a jar, a box or container will work fine). Below is a list of self-care activities. Pick out ones that speak to you or that you’re curious about. You may choose to split the self-care activities into types of care. Or you may choose to split it out in duration (e.g. 10 mins, 30 mins, 60 mins, daily). Write each one down on a separate piece of paper (you’ll need different coloured paper if you wish to colour-code them). For example, you may write all the self-care activities associated with touch on yellow paper and all the activities associated with movement on green paper.
Whenever you need some extra self-care, draw a piece of paper from the jar. Think about what you feel you need right now. Is it to feel a connection, be nourished, feel comforted, move your body, or maybe get your thoughts out?
It takes time for some of these activities to feel self-caring. So give yourself plenty of time to adjust to these new ways of looking after yourself.
A mini-spa session
Face mask (store-bought or homemade)
A long shower or bath
Floss your teeth
Exfoliate/moisturise body (or parts of the body you feel comfortable touching)
Self intimacy: sensual touch/touching anywhere that feels pleasurable, masturbation, reading/listening to erotica or romantic stories
Changing your bedsheets
Putting on clean pyjamas
Haircare: mask, protective styling, oils, head massage
A longer skincare routine: exfoliate, steam and mask
Put together a playlist of songs you enjoy
Start a photo project: an album of favourite memories, places you’d like to visit, photos of places where you’d feel safe and comfortable.
Create a vision board
Watch your favourite film/show
Watch funny videos on YouTube
Listen to an audiobook
Listen to a podcast
A guided meditation
Light a scented candle
Spray your pillow with a soothing sleep spray
Cook/bake your favourite recipe
Create a snack box with snacks from your safe foods
Write out an emergency meal plan with safe foods for days where you are struggling to nourish yourself
Write out an emergency plan
Make yourself a warm drink
Journal: write out your thoughts, write a list of things you are grateful for, write about the “bigger picture”
Learn/practice a new hobby
Write a poem
Write a short story
Write a list of 5 things that you must get done this week
Write a letter to yourself, to the part of you that doesn’t want to heal, to the part of you that needs some self-compassion, to your future self, to your inner child.
Write out some boundaries that you need to set with others
Do a puzzle
Play a game
Do some art. doodle, a colouring book
Play an instrument
Find something you like the feel of, e.g. a comfort blanket, teddybear, hot water bottle, favourite piece of clothing, favourite bed set
Call a friend or loved one
Ask for a hug (and if no one is there, hug yourself)
Go for a mindful walk (taking note of the sights, sounds and smells)
Dance like no one is watching (even if it’s just clapping your hands or dancing with your head and shoulders)
Buy yourself some flowers
Do some gardening
Declutter - wardrobe, makeup bag, bookshelf, unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters, delete unused/unhelpful apps.
Plan a dream holiday / your dream home/garden
Spend time with your pet
There's no way I have thought of everything and so I shall continue to update this list over time. What ones do you like the most? Would you add any others?