Updated: Feb 24
Photo credit: Morre Christophe
Planning a self-care day might sound challenging with all our working and family demands. It could be tricky to make some room for relaxing and enjoying ourselves when we have a busy agenda. That’s why it’s so important that the time we dedicate to our own wellness is not wasted in the absence of good planning.
Are you taking a day off soon? Or perhaps planning some self-care for the weekend? Leave improvisation for another occasion and get yourself a planner and a pen! We’re here to help you save time by putting together some self-care activities you can incorporate into your day from the moment you open your eyes until the time you decide to go to bed.
| What is Self-Care and How to Do it Well
But first things first: let’s understand what self-care is and why it’s important.
We believe that self-care is still a very misunderstood concept. It’s fundamental you have a good understanding of what GOOD self-care is so you can put it into practice, because dedicating your valuable time to things that are often mistaken for self-care would simply be a shame!
Self-care often requires discipline, which is why it helps to have a list of the ways in which we can practice it so we prepare ourselves mentally for that moment. Some activities might require some concentration and being totally present, but we guarantee it is totally worth it!
To exemplify this, let’s do a quick list of what good self-care is (yay yay!) and what is not (nay nay).
Dressing in a way that makes you feel good is a yay yay! Shopping without any regard to your budget is a nay nay.
Giving yourself an occasional treat like ice cream is one of our favourite yay yay! Regular snacking, especially of foods that will make you feel worse is definitely a nay nay.
Going out for dinner with your partner or family and leaving your phone at home is a yay yay! Taking your work phone with you and checking it regularly over dinner is a nay nay.
Having a relaxing cup of tea and fully indulging in the experience with no distractions is a yay yay! Doing it whilst you keep an eye on what your kids are up to is a nay nay.
Would you be able to add other examples to the above list? Then you’re more than ready to jump into the next section!
| Ready to Plan a Self-Care Day From Morning to Night?
Let’s base your self-care day on Ikigai (pronounced “eye-ka-guy”), a lifestyle that searches the balance of the spiritual with the practical. It is a Japanese term that translates to “reason for being.” The five pillars of this Japanese concept are: starting small; accepting ourselves; connecting with others and the planet; finding joy in little things; and being present.
Keeping those five principles in mind, let’s divide your day into sunrise, morning, midday, afternoon, evening, and night.
#1 Wake up early or allow yourself some extra time of sleep
If you’re an early bird, waking up at the same time you would on a normal working day will allow you to make the most out of your day! You’ll be able to do some exercise before kids wake up and catch the sunrise, which is always a great start to any day!
On the other hand, don’t underestimate the power of an extra hour of sleep. Even though a consistent sleep schedule is important in your daily life, allowing yourself to wake up naturally is a great way to start a self-care day with a sense of relaxation and the feeling of having rest properly.
#2. Do some gentle stretching
After 8 hours of sleep, you can start small by giving your body some love with some gentle stretching. When you stretch right after you wake up, you help your muscles relax, keep your body in good shape, and improve your overall body posture, among other benefits. This is something you can actually dedicate five minutes to every day, regardless of how busy your schedule looks!
#3 Get out, go for a walk, explore your surroundings!
This time of the day is perfect to leave the house and go for a walk before the streets get busy. If you are a regular walker, then you can opt for changing your route and explore new corners of your neighborhood. Pick a different direction or road and let yourself be surprised!
#4 Write down a couple of things you want to achieve today
A key factor of planification, writing down in your journal or planner two or three things you’d like to do today, in order to be satisfied with your day will help you visualise your goals. Are you the type of person who enjoys cross things out of your lists? Then this step is a must-do!
#5 Smile at yourself in the mirror
Looking in the mirror and smiling is a great way to kick start your day! Did you know that a smile releases a powerful chemical reaction in the brain that can make us feel happier? In fact, this is one of our top pieces of advice at Maison Ito, especially on the next day after you’ve visited us so you can clearly see the results of our facial massage.
#1 Change your bedding, especially pillow sheets
When was the last time you changed your bedding? Did you know some experts recommend changing them once every week? Take this day as an opportunity to wash your linens up, especially your pillow sheets as this will contribute to better face hygiene.
#2 Enjoy a longer shower or bath
If you’re a shower kind of person, treat yourself to a bath today. Otherwise, indulge yourself in the ritual of bathing: enjoy the aromas and savour the silence or add a natural soundtrack like rainforest sounds or lapping waves.
#3 Have a good, long breakfast or go for brunch
Is breakfast your favourite meal of the day? Then reward your body by giving it the refueling it needs with a longer breakfast! Make sure to add some healthful protein (eggs, lean meat, cheese…), slowly digested carbohydrates (oats, wholegrain bread and cereal…), and some fruit nuts such as almonds, cashews, and macadamias!
If you opt for waking up a bit later than usual, you can organise a brunch with friends, your family or your kids and kill two birds with one stone: treat yourself with a delicious and healthy meal, and spend some quality time with your loved ones!
#4 Dedicate some time to a hobby or that new skill you’re learning!
If you’re part of the group of people whose brains function better in the mornings, then for sure you must spend some time learning more about that skill you’ve been exploring or that hobby you normally can’t find the time for!
You can take the example of leaders and entrepreneurs such as Tim Cook, who can be found at the gym by 5am, or Disney CEO Robert Iger, who claims to read the papers, exercise, and listen to music since he gets up at 4:30 every morning!
Photo credit: Pinterest
#1 Catch up on the podcasts or books you love
Today is the day to dedicate some time to keep reading that novel you’ve been wanting to finish for a long time, or spend a good hour listening to that podcast that’s been on your Spotify playlist for too long.
#2 Lunch or coffee with someone you admire or that inspire you
Can you think of a friend, relative or colleague you admire and haven’t seen for some time? Spending time with people who help us think outside the box, motivates us to keep going, and increases our self-awareness is a great and simple self-care practice! Make some room in your day to invite that person for lunch or coffee.
#3 Pilates class before lunch or on your lunch break
Do you happen to have an extra hour in between your morning and your afternoon? Then take it as an opportunity to attend a pilates or a yoga class before you jump into your next activity! Take it as a moment to disconnect, experience the present, and give both your body and mind some extra love.
#4 Do a quick self-face massage
Noon is also a good time of the day to stop, practice some self-love, and be good to yourself. You can do this by doing a quick self face massage. Do you feel your eyes are tired after a long busy week looking at screens? Then make sure you especially focus on this area!
You should know that giving your eyes some love doesn’t necessarily mean to massage them. Did you know that a light massage to your neck can move the lymph and release some tension from the eye area? You can learn this and more tricks with our facialist Emilie!
Photo credit: unsplash
#1 Practice breathing exercises
If you don’t normally take some time every day to stop and concentrate on your breathing, today is a good time to add this healthy practice to your routine! ‘Moon breathing’ might be a great start point. This Japanese breathing technique only requires closing one nostril and breathing through the other.
A popular relaxation method, breath-focused practices like ‘moon breathing’ has cognitive benefits such as increased ability to focus, decreased mind wandering, and more positive emotions.
#2 Treat yourself to a massage
One of the golden rules of self-care, a day dedicated to ‘me time’ would not be complete without a massage! The perfect way to silence pain, soothe your mind, and improve your sleep, a massage is the cherry on the cake of any self-care routine!
#3 Sip on a golden milk latte
It’s highly advisable to have a caffeine-free day to make it all about self-care, but you can still enjoy that coffee or tea time moment in your afternoon. Would you like to explore alternatives? Our recommended one: golden milk. Give it a try, and don’t be disappointed!
#4 Catch the sunset
There is no better way to finish your afternoon than watching the sunset. An opportunity to slow down and witness a breathtaking natural spectacle, you can in fact try to combine two different things on this list while you catch a sunset. Try practicing breathing exercises whilst the sun passes over the horizon, or drink a herbal infusion whilst you admire the sun disappearing in the distance.
Photo credit : pexels
#1 Start journaling and keeping some thoughts for yourself
In the social media era, sharing our lives and opinions online seems like a must-do. You can try to take a break from the digital world and start a journal today! A place when you can store your thoughts and ideas, take it as a chance to express yourself freely and naturally.
#2 Light some candles or turn your fireplace on
Candles and fireplaces are one of the pillars or hygge, a Danish concept that refers to the mood of cosiness and feelings of wellness and contentment. If you don’t have a fireplace in your house, have you ever tried to turn your TV into one? It truly creates a cosy atmosphere, and you would still enjoy the relaxing crackling fire sounds!
#3 Create a new playlist in Spotify with chill music
The evening is also a great moment to spend some time on Spotify creating new playlists. Today, your theme is self-care, so make sure you add songs that help you relax and put you in a chill mood. Would you like some ideas? You can find some must-have self-care anthems on Maison Ito’s playlists.
#4 Spend some time playing with your kids before bed
Playing is a fundamental activity for children, but did you know it’s also good for parents? Parent-child play has been proven to contribute more to a kids’ ability to give structure to early social interactions, not to mention oxytocin plays a major role in parent-infant bonding. In other words, playing with your child can make you both happier! We can’t think of a better way to end your evening.
#1 Thoroughly cleanse your skin
Washing our face is probably part of your night routine on a daily basis, but it becomes even more relevant on a day you fully dedicate to self-care. Tonight you can add an extra step to your skincare regime by using a Gua Sha tool. Learn how to use it properly and you can actually add this step to your regular routine starting from today!
#2 Dim the lights
Did you know light stimulates alertness? This is exactly the opposite of what we’re looking for at this time of the day. It’s almost bedtime and you should start communicating to your body that it’s the moment to relax and wind down. Dim the lights to help you get into the right mood before bed.
#3 Try a relaxing pillow spray to help you get a good night's rest
If you require a little extra help to get a good night’s sleep, then you might find organic pillow sprays an interesting solution. Most of them have essential oils as their main ingredient, which is ideal (in very small amount) because they’re a natural sedative that can help you sleep better.
This is a form of aromatherapy that can improve sleep quality, and the best thing about it is you can even make your own pillow spray by adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water.
#4 Do an auto face massage before bed
One of our favourite bedtime behaviours, an auto face massage is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for sleep. Our facialist —and also personal trainer— Emilie Celine’s top tip before a face massage is to add a foam roller for a body massage to this bedtime session and to spend some time focusing on the back and shoulder blades. You can learn more tips and tricks for automassages with Emilie’s private coaching sessions.
#5 Keep your phone and any other gadgets outside the room
Ensuring your phone and any other electronics stay out of the room during the night should be mandatory moving forward. Gadgets can easily be a source of distraction and sleep disruption, and they can make us lose the association between our bedroom and sleep.
An extra piece of advice: turn off your wifi at night to reduce your exposure to wifi radiation.
You can plan a full day of self-care with all the above suggestions, but you can also incorporate some of these activities and tips into your daily routine. Remember that a busy working schedule or a demanding family life is not incompatible with looking after yourself! Just bear in mind that good planning is key to finding some quality time to dedicate to yourself every day.
BY JULIANA R. & EMILIE CELINE
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