The last 18 months have been tough. You know it. We know it. EVERYONE knows it. I need not even mention the virus who shall not be named. What’s been especially tough though, is the effects of post-pandemic life and lockdown on our mental wellbeing. With the stresses of social distancing, working from home and an overly complex tier system, it’s been easy to let your self-care time slip. Even as we see the light at the end of the tunnel (bring on freedom day!!) it’s good to keep in check with your mental state as the world opens back up. So fear not, fellow reader, for I have put together this list of self-caring stress-busting endorphin-boosting activities to help you feel your best, even when the world seems to be going mad.
1. Spend Time with Furry Friends
This one will come as no surprise to anyone who’s been a fan of Bambino for a while… We even made a promotional campaign on the benefits of spending time with dogs on your mental wellbeing. Spending time with pets of any kind is a great way to ease stress. There’s even some animals who train to specialise in helping soothe people with anxiety issues. Pets are always there to brighten your day and listen to your woes, and they’ll never complain either. You can still enjoy the mood-brightening effects of fluffy friends even if you don’t have one yourself. Try visiting a cat cafe or using dog walker apps such as BorrowMyDoggy.
2. Get a Sweat On
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. I’m thinking it too. “Exercise” is a word which does not strike great feelings of joy or wellbeing into my heart. But let me be clear, exercise doesn’t have to mean jogging til your knees are wobbly or lifting weights until you’re red in the face. Of course, if that’s your thing, GO WILD!! But for those of us who still wake up in a cold-sweat after school cross country nightmares, there’s plenty of other ways to get active. From aerobics to zumba, it’s all about finding a way to exercise that you enjoy. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed turning my living room into a solo disco and having a bit of a boogie… but that’s just me. You could even just go for a walk, find a local trail or just have a stroll around the park, anything that gets you moving will do wonders for your wellbeing.
3. Have a Declutter
“Tidy room, tidy mind.” people say. Whilst this is a blanket statement that might not ring true for everyone, there is a bit of truth behind it. Living or working in a space that feels organised and tidy can make it so much easier to get on with your day, without having to frantically search for where you left your keys or that one matching sock. At the very least, tidying up is a great way to destress and ultimately a very satisfying process. It doesn’t have to be a bore either, stick on a podcast or audiobook while you clean make that one chore you’ve been putting off something enjoyable, or even what I do and crank the tunes up while washing up for a doing-the-dishes disco! (Am I a little obsessed with at-home discos? perhaps.) However you do it, looking after the space around you is a wonderful way to get in a bit of self care, and you’ll definitely thank yourself later when you don’t have to come home to a mountain of unwashed socks or a sink of dishes that looks like a scene from Kitchen Nightmares.
4. Treat Yo Self!
This is the one I’ve been waiting for. Did I add this one just so that I could justify buying myself yet another houseplant? Maybe. (Shoutout Small Plants in Sheffield!) I’m sure I don’t need to explain the joy of retail therapy to you, but I do think there’s more to this than simply impulse buying whatever you like whenever you like. Sure, that may give you a quick burst of happiness for a few minutes, but it’s often followed by a sense of guilt moments later. To avoid this, I present a couple of buying guidelines:
1. Create a list of things you would like to get yourself, and don’t buy it unless it’s been on the list for a couple of weeks. This way, you have time to think about whether you really want it, or you just got caught up by a flashy advert and the desire to impulse buy. Plus it’s that much more exciting to get something you’ve been waiting a while for (and it gives you a chance to save up your pennies!).
2. Do your best to buy in a way that you’ll feel good about after. For example, could you buy it from a small business? Getting yourself a nice gift feels so much more special when you know you’re supporting someone else too. You never know, your purchase might just make a small business owner’s day!
Okay, you might have been expecting this one. You are on a blog for a crayon business after all. You’ve probably already experienced the benefits of colouring yourself. There’s a good reason adult colouring has become such a popular trend in the last few years. It really works though, colouring gives you a moment to just sit and focus on the page in front of you, forgetting the worries of the outside world. You might not realise it, but taking time to colour allows you to create some space in your brain as you process all the thoughts that have been rushing around. Think of it as letting your head go on autopilot for a little while. It’s even been scientifically proven that colouring for just 20 minutes a day helps to reduce stress and anxiety in the short term.
Even if colouring books aren’t your thing, all types of art are great ways to get your emotions out. You can scribble out your anger or even try getting abstract and literally put your feelings on the page. Either way, it’s all about creating that space in your day that you can just focus on something chill, and in return, you create some space in your head. Try it, you’ll thank me.