This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s summer intern
Olivia Charlson. Find her on Instagram at @olivialee2000. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m always turning to the internet for hobbies to save me from the looming boredom swinging over my head. The term self-care has perfectly captured a need for winding down without having to dive into a complex or mentally challenging hobby. I keep looking up lists for fun ways to occupy my summer days, only so much of self-care is surrounded by buying things. The first thing that may come to mind with the term “self-care” is doing a face mask that makes your skin look bright or your eyes look less puffy. I don’t think self-care should entirely focus on beauty trends, fancy lunches or gifts. Here’s a list of ways we can all be mindful and enjoy a free self-care day.
Go on a hike or a walk
After moving somewhere with changing seasons (after the miserable bright sunny 100 plus degree weather in Phoenix) I was shocked at how I could just be outside whenever I want. Lately, I’ve been driving to the hiking trails that come up on my maps app on my own terms. Whether that be at 4:00 p.m. after I struggled to get out of bed all day or at 10 a.m. when I’ve planned for it. Even just leaving my house and being able to walk around helps. If you live somewhere where it’s not ideal to go walk around outside, just remember that self-care is what’s good for you. Maybe that means just walking to the grocery store or around your neighborhood when the sun is going down. A stupid walk is actually good for your stupid mental health.
Go swimming and allow yourself to play
When I am trapped in summer’s heated grasp, I’ve always found being able to jump in a pool of water to be a good way to escape. If you have a pool, remember that a good way to break up the day is to just take a dip. If you don’t, there are other ways to do this too. Planning a lake day with friends, a water gun fight with siblings or even just playing with a hose outdoors are great ways to wake yourself up. Playing in water has always helped me. Don’t be afraid to embrace things like this that make you feel like a kid again.
Read a book in the park or at a library
One thing I found myself doing when social distancing was heavily suggested was to take a blanket or a towel and go sit at the park to read. Taking yourself on a date is a new sort of trend. Bonding with yourself is a great form of self-care (even if it sounds a bit odd). I’d recommend trying to go to your local library too. Better yet, you can see if there are any Little Free Libraries near you if you don’t have any new books to read. This organization is set up to build community and people all over have built structures so you can trade or borrow a book. You can even use the Little Free Library app to see if there’s one by your favorite park.
Set up a safe space for yourself
Something that subconsciously affects you is where you are and the way you’re using your own home. If you work from home or are a writer, it helps to have a desk space set up specifically for it. I personally always feel better sitting next to a window than I do under the covers. Having your own comfy corner or book nook might just be the best way to calm yourself down. One of my favorite things to do when I’m trying very hard to focus on myself is to set up a bath. Not just run the water, but light a candle if I have one, grab whatever fun drink or dessert I have and set up a tv show so I can watch it without drowning my tech in the process.
Find a way to comfortably stimulate yourself
I know. You are not a dog. And you need more than some peanut butter in a Kong to occupy your time (unless that sounds great, then knock yourself out). Boredom can make it hard to take care of your responsibilities. I am always trying to mind what I need to do for work and what I need to do for myself. Putting on lofi or video game music while you study can stimulate your mind and make the task less stressful. Putting on a podcast or some music while you do tasks like laundry can make chores fun. I always try to keep the items I use as fidget toys on my desk and very comfortable things like plushes and journals by my bed. Doing activities like journaling, sketching, guided meditation or “bed yoga” (basically just stretching and rolling around before going to sleep) can be ways to take care of your brain. Social media is fun too, but it usually feels better to engage with other content that doesn’t leave you scrolling down a rabbit hole.
What are some free self care ideas that you have and love to do? Let us know in the comments down below!