Updated: Apr 1
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