Why self-care is equally as important post-lockdown
As lockdown eases and the new normal ensues in the UK, we look at the practices worth adopting to keep a positive mindset.
Although we’ve had a strange year, self-care has flourished. The pandemic has evolved beauty and wellness as we either took up new ways of looking after ourselves or developed our existing routines during the lockdowns.
Two of the ways many of us did this was through skincare and exercise. Skincare dominated 2020’s first lockdown. As a nation we swapped our foundation and powder for serums and hydration. TikTok users were giving informative videos on how to achieve great skin while we were buying products that were being raved about online, doing our own research, and creating new bespoke routines. This year online searches for DIY face masks have shot up by a staggering 186 per cent. And with the closure of beauty salons coupled with so much spare time on our hands, many of us have finally been able to focus on attaining healthier skin.
The same goes for exercise. The constraints on our social lives led to some unanticipated benefits, with research from May 2020 finding that three quarters of Britons began at least one new type of exercise since lockdown rules were introduced. “Lockdown has triggered a big shift in the way we workout and with new ways to stay connected, even former anti-fitness fans are enjoying the attention, energy and community of in-person classes without leaving the house,” says Gymbox press officer Alfie Webster. However, research has also found that not of us struggled to stick to an exercise routine the longer lockdown went on, which suggests we need to find new ways to stay motivated.
With lockdown and WFH saving hours on the commute and giving us plenty of free leisure time, we can lather all our serums on from the comfort of our own home and actually feel motivated enough to exercise straight after work. But this begs the question: what does the new normal look like for self-care? How do we adapt our exercise and skincare routines once we are all back to living our normal and busier lives? And quite frankly, is it all possible?
Organise your free time
As the UK eases out of lockdown, many of us are excited to return to our old routines. However, some of us may be feeling stressed about going back to a busy and sociable lifestyle and feel like we won’t have the time for self-care. One of the best ways to maintain your skincare and exercise regimes is to prioritise looking after yourself in your free time. Be conscious of how much time you’re spending on devices – scrolling through social media feeds can actually cause more upset and stress. So if it’s having a detrimental impact on your mental wellbeing, avoid looking through other people’s posts and focus on your own hobbies. This will also help prevent you comparing your own situation to others. A self-care routine can come in all shapes and guises, from applying a decadent ten-step skincare routine to reaching for some dumbbells. Have a bubble bath or apply your favourite scented body lotion. These small, daily habitual practices will help improve your mood more than scrolling through Instagram can. Reorganising and decluttering your home environment can work wonders on your mindset too. Create a calm positive space by incorporating little sentiments to uplift your mood. This can simply be a vase of flowers or scented candles. Storage can make a huge difference too - a tidy house is a tidy mind after all.
Find an activity you enjoy
With everything that’s happened over the past year, some of us are finding it difficult to find motivation to start new hobbies. Virtual activities are a great option; they’re convenient and provide a cautious alternative to the easing of lockdown. Online classes for painting, singing and exercise have seen a spike in popularity. Whether you’re exploring yoga for the first time or building your practice, The Black Women’s Yoga Collective offers a full range of virtual classes that you can log on to anytime, anywhere. Sign up to the weekly newsletter for wellbeing advice and more.
Don't be hard on yourself
Don’t worry if you find you’ve slipped out of your self-care routine. Just because you might have had a hectic week doesn’t mean you now have to abandon doing the things that you enjoy. Rather than ditching them entirely, try to reintroduce them slowly and find where they can fit in your life. But remember, if you can’t do them as often as you did – that’s OK. It’s all about adapting and compromising your time between different things. To put that in motion, The Positive Day Planner by Leanne Pero (from £3) is a 21-day gratitude practicing, affirmation affirming, self-commitment measuring, and mind dumping essential that will help you organise your time and create more positive habits, one day at a time.
But most importantly...
It’s important that we don’t forget the other lessons that the pandemic has taught us. Over the last year, we’ve been separated from our loved ones and have had significant time with our friends and family taken away. When the rules are lifted, it’s important to enjoy life with those who matter and just live in the moment - now more than ever. Have fun and appreciate living with your new freedom by spending time with loved ones and forging new memories you can look back on with fondness. While self-care is incredibly important, appreciating what we have in our lives is also a great way of looking after our mental health. So try to minimise screen time when you could be enjoying a coffee with a friend or visiting family members you haven’t seen in a long time. Also, take some time alone to enjoy things that helped you in lockdown so you feel your best for those much-missed mate dates!
7 steps to happiness
- Think less, feel more
- Frown less, smile more
- Talk less, listen more
- Judge less, accept more
- Watch less, do more
- Complain less, appreciate more
- Fear less, love more
“Don’t hesitate. Don’t wait. Don’t Aspire. Achieve.” — Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb, inauguration poem