Hello, and welcome! Hopefully, if you follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, you will have seen me post about my little self-care experiment. If not (and I am unapologetically self-promoting here), then please feel free to give me a cheeky follow.
For the newcomers, I will outline the basics of this experiment. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so (weird flex but okay), you will have noticed that ‘self-care’ is new hype. You may think it’s a made-up fad created by the rich and famous in Hollywood (which sounds about right) but the idea of doing small, beneficial activities regularly, can help promote a healthier mind and body…apparently. On the surface, sure, why not? It makes sense that doing things for you, will make you feel happier.
But happiness doesn’t just come from a bath bomb and a face mask. So, I decided to put self-care to the test. In this experiment, I (a beautiful, powerful, strong, and lowkey narcissistic woman) will be doing a form of self-care practise everyday for the darling month of May. Will I feel any different at the end of the month? Will I find practises that work for me? Or will it all be a flop?
Day 1: Going to a Museum by Myself
Ahh, the first day of May…summer is on the horizon. Picture the scene: I have just finished my undergraduate degree and life is feeling pretty good (hello guilt-free lie in, it’s been awhile).
…hold the press…
…I had a horrible morning. Disclaimer: No one is to blame for this, other than myself, 18 hours before, in the pub. Yes, I was hungover (idiot), so I was feeling pretty rough. After a good breakfast, a big pot of coffee, and some paracetamol, I felt well enough to kick-start the experiment. So, for my first day of self-care, I went to a museum by myself. I had been wanting to visit the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool for some time, and thus, this was a perfect opportunity to finally go there. The museum itself, was very good, and I’m glad I went…but going alone wasn’t so fun. I thought it would be fine, and maybe even therapeutic, but there’s something about going to a museum with a friend that makes it more enjoyable (that’s probably just me).
Review: Museums are good. Alone time isn’t always fun. Hangovers are bad.
Day 2: Breathing Exercises
In…and out. We breathe constantly, without even having to think about it (bet you’re thinking about it now though). In stressful situations, we’re often told to just breathe, and that is supposed to cure our woes.
On the morning of day two, I felt pretty good (and not hungover) and I had a big day of shopping ahead of me. Sometimes, shopping can make me feel overwhelmed, stressed and irritable. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good shop (basic bitch), but when you’ve tried on so many things that don’t look right, or people are walking in front of you, or dodged the endless amount of prams – it can get chaotic quickly. Anything that can relieve some of that tension, is welcomed.
After searching for breathing techniques on YouTube, I found a video from a Dutch extreme athlete called Wim Hof, who basically runs around barefoot in the snow and submerges himself in ice water (because who wouldn’t). He has credited his success to his breathing exercises, the Wim Hof Method (WHM). I really enjoyed this video, but mostly because Hof’s personality made the video great. I didn’t feel that much different, and I don’t know if it made any difference to my shopping experience. I do think, however, that over time the exercises are more likely to make a difference, that just doing it for one day.
Review: Shopping can be stressful. Wim Hof is insane, but his exercises could actually work in the long run.
Day 3: Listen to a Podcast
Podcast killed the radio star (hmm, okay maybe that’s not as catchy).
Day 3 started out pretty rubbish (no, I wasn’t hungover again) – I had a big suitcase to pack for my journey home, and the water in my flat had been turned off by the maintenance staff. So by the time I was ready to leave to catch my train: I was already pretty stressed, I had forgotten to do the Wim Hof breathing from the day before, and the crowds at the train station were filling me with dread. However, I gave myself enough time to find my seat and breathe (non WH-style).
Admittedly, I listen to podcasts on a regular basis, especially when I’m travelling. Thus, on the whole, this wasn’t really a new activity for me, but it made me think about why I listen to podcasts when I’m travelling, and why I listen to the ones I do. I listen to around four podcasts, although my top two are the Minimal and Maximal podcasts by The Minimalists (click the link to check out their website). Why do I listen to this podcast? Well, it calms me. There are no advertisements, no cheesy intro music, just two guys chatting and helping others to discover, and embrace, minimalism. I also listen to the Science Vs podcast (nerd alert) because I adore the mixture of science and witty commentary, and ‘Getting Curious’ by Jonathan Van Ness (Gay of Thrones, Queer Eye) for his bubbly personality.
Review: Don’t take water for granted. Travelling by train is stressful. Podcasts are relaxing.
Photo Credit 📷: dorota dylka