A REAL Self-Care Checklist

Hi guys! I have already mentioned the total sinkhole of happiness and motivation January turned out to be multiple times, so we aren’t going to rehash it. (Okay, so maybe a tiny rehash: January really fucking sucked.) Today, however, is not about January and said suckage . . . today is about self-care and feeling damn amazing.

One of the highlights of January was when the beautiful Isabel came home from Sweden and we met up and had a really motivating life chat. I feel like those conversations are becoming the backdrop of our friendship and I’m genuinely so grateful for it; she’s one of those people that I feel inspired to improve just by being around. (I need more of those people; feel free to apply.)

Both of us had a pretty lacklustre January and, as girls who are usually very motivated and focused on our productivity and growth, we were both feeling incredibly shitty. And I think a common theme we found was that as things started to go downhill, we’d scrabble to try to fix it . . . at the expense of self-care. For me, I was forgetting to eat, not sleeping enough and working to create design projects for literally 15 hours straight.

However, on top of this, Isabel raised a point that resonated so strongly with me that it actually inspired this entire post!

To paraphrase, she said: “So much of what’s considered self-care is surface level; is it really taking care of you?”

That thought struck me like a bolt of lightning. (Albeit less . . . mortally wounding.) Because, honestly, as many face masks as I was doing and luxurious hair masks I was using . . . my skin was still breaking out from stress, I wasn’t suddenly meeting my nutritional requirements and – shock horror – I hadn’t miraculously got a full eight hour sleep.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking these things. I do think they can be a form of self-care and, when I’m on top of all my basic needs, a nice face mask can totally relax me and make me feel like I’m taking some time for myself. But, if we’re being honest, on the scale of reality to dream Instagram/Pinterest life, a bubble bath is not going to fix the fact that you’re struggling under the weight of serious mental downtime.

So today Isabel and I are going to be sharing our self-care tips for your soul as opposed to just for your skin. This post is a collaboration and Isabel has her list over on her blog, so make sure that you go and check it out. (Seriously, it’s well worth the read. Right click and open in new tab. You’ll regret nothing.)

My Most Important Self-Care Rites

I call my self-care actions rites because I almost feel like they are; a lot of these things act as touchstones for me.

In my general life, I can be a tad obsessive at times. This would probably come as a big surprise to people who know me because it’s not a personality trait, as such, and I’m generally quite a laid back (read: lazy) person. But when I have a goal or I set my mind to a task . . . I tend to really 150% hyperfocus in a way that isn’t entirely healthy.

Balance can be something I really struggle with and, ever since I was really young, I sometimes feel a bit of a dissociation between my body and mind. For example: if I’m hungry, I generally won’t notice until I have a migraine, or I feel a bit faint, and then I’ll think “…oh, I haven’t eaten today”.

As you can imagine, combining these two things can really lead me to some terrible habits – so I keep treat these self-care habits as almost a checklist to make sure that I haven’t inadvertently forgotten some basic care.

1. Eat a substantial, healthy breakfast

Look, we all know that we’re meant to kickstart the day with a full stomach full of fuel, but how many of us actually do it? Even if you’re just chilling at home, make sure you start your day right. And, hey, if you need an easy breakfast recipe here’s my 2-ingredient, healthy and delicious pancake recipe link.

2. Go to sleep, but set an alarm for eleven hours after

Sleeping for too long tends to be counter-productive and make you more groggy and tired, so while sleep is important and I want you to get a full night’s sleep . . . make sure you don’t over sleep. Of course, you can wake up before the eleven hours – I think eight hours is enough, personally – but the key is to make sure you don’t sleep past it.

3. Have a shower or bath

I know, I know – I said that baths don’t fix everything. Well, they don’t. But being clean is important and getting clean is mentally awakening. Honestly, don’t you feel 100x more productive and ready to face the world on days that you wake up, take a shower or have a bath and get dressed? Sometimes the temptation to lay about in our pyjamas is strong – and sometimes it can be beneficial. I’m definitely not against a nice mental break day . . .

But getting up and showered to put your pyjamas back on? Who said that wasn’t a thing? (And, trust me on this one, it feels damn good.)

4. Meditate (or just give yourself some time to be calm, not watching TV or checking your phone and relax)

Not everybody enjoys or partakes in meditation and that’s totally fine (although I highly recommend it), but if you don’t meditate, just give yourself 20 minutes to sit down and do nothing. Just to enjoy being comfortable, being relaxed and not having to do anything. Don’t think, don’t plan, don’t worry – just take 20 minutes to sit down and think about how squishy your sofa is, how relaxed your limbs feel. You’ll be astonished how it acts like a mental reset button.

I actually enjoy doing this for ten minutes before I get out of bed. It helps me to wake up, calm myself and prepare to get up and out of bed gracefully (as opposed to waking up cursing the world for daring to exist before 12pm).

If you meditate, you’ll already be aware of the amazing mental impact regular meditation has. So quit putting it off.

5. Stand up and walk around (AKA Exercise. And, not to be a stereotype, but yoga is pretty great.)

If you’re at home, it can be really easy to just . . . not exercise. I mean, how do you even exercise from your bedroom, right? And, if you’re feeling in a low place or it’s cold outside or you’re tired or you feel ill or- see how this can go on? There’s an absolute abundance of reasons that it’s pretty easy to put off exercise . . . but it’ll make you feel so damn good to do it.

That said, exercise doesn’t have to be intense sprinting. If you’re at home all day, it’s easy to just throw some music on and pace around your house for twenty minutes, right? Or throw down a yoga towel, a guided Youtube yoga video and get to stretching? Just get up, do something and get some blood pumping.

6. Tidy your space

There’s a reason there’s an environment needs bar in Sims; people, both real and simulated (although who can tell the difference anymore?), react to their surroundings. Being in an untidy space can cause your mind to feel cluttered, so take a couple of hours to tidy up your living space.

7. Call your best friend. Or a friend. Or family. Just talk to someone.

Does anyone else ever find themselves inadvertedntly isolating themselves from the world? I’m a big believer in space and not needing to be connected 24/7 – but there’s a difference between having some breathing room and isolating yourself. And it’s a subtle difference that can be damn hard to spot until you realise you haven’t spoken to anyone for two weeks . . .

So call someone; check in with the world.

8. Detox your social media

This one is a concept I feel so damn strongly about (I know – you’re shocked, right? “Mia has passion for something; who knew?”). Social media, for better or for worse, is inescapeable. Most of us are connected in some way and, honestly, I think it’s all in how you use it.

It may sound cliche and you’ve probably seen this all over Twitter, but unfollow anything that doesn’t make you feel good.

And I mean this. If you struggle with your body image, unfollow all those bikini-clad Instagram models that make you feel inadequate. If you feel judged for things you post and it’s making you anxious, remove all people you know personally from your socials. If you can’t afford a certain lifestyle and seeing it posted everywhere is making you feel inadequate or upset, unfollow the people sharing the things that make you feel that way.

9. Give yourself a break

I’m a big believer in work/life balance. Not that anyone believes me because when I’m at home I’m usually blogging, but I genuinely do stand by that balance – I just enjoy blogging and I don’t watch TV, so it’s a form of entertainment. I don’t take my work home, I don’t think about my work when I’m at home and I don’t check my emails or anything like that. When I’m on the clock, I’m working. When I’m not, what even is work?

First of all, I recommend this – highly – but more importantly I recommend you realise that we all need leisure and downtime. Your brain needs to be able to relax and just enjoy something. So whatever you enjoy doing – reading, watching movies, baking, clubbing – make more time for it and give yourself a break from the “hustle”.

Okay, so these are just a couple of things that I do to ensure I’m on top of my self-care! Don’t forget to go and check out Isabel’s – I actually printed out a little graphic she made and stuck it on my office wall because her tips were that good.

I hope you enjoyed this post; can any of you guys relate to completely losing track of your self care sometimes? How do you guys get back on track? What are your touchstones and top tips? Which is your favourite of the tips I shared? Let me know your thoughts down below!


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73 thoughts on “A REAL Self-Care Checklist”

  1. Have a cat as good as mine…. and when normal people do le petite bourgeois… you can inappropriately and seemingly unrelatedly talk about the cat.
    Strangely enough… it pays. I would like to say it doesn’t, but it really does.
    Big thumbs up for suggesting having a bath. When I lived over there I got attacked almost nightly by my pommy mates whinging that I washed with water daily. At you guys headbutt properly. That’s another great thing about my cat… she can fight and isn’t inspired by money to do so.
    I prescribe…. Get in the Ring, Out to get me, Welcome to the Jungle, and Man in the Box by Alice in Chains 😉😎

  2. I agree with all of them, but today I didn’t follow the 8 hour sleep rule, I didn’t know what happened. After I clenead my space, I had a movie marathon and slept late but I normally do this but today I slept 14 hours 🙄

  3. For me ultimate thing to do on self care day is to have a long relaxing bath and face mask, I don’t know why but those are so important to me. Of course some jummy food. Lovely post. xx

  4. I know I say this in EVERY post but I swear you’re a goddess, your pictures make me wanna cry. This was such a great post and a super important point that Isabel raised, I don’t think I’ve every really thought about it that way before! These are some great tips and I’m absolutely trying to crack down on all of them because I forget to do a lot of these things from time to time, and I need to start prioritising them way more! I’m also really looking to get into meditation because I think it would help me so much – do you have any recommendations or apps / etc. I could use ???? Also AMEN to “If you feel judged for things you post and it’s making you anxious, remove all people you know personally from your socials. ” I feel like nobody ever says that enough, but it’s so damn true. I only did it recently actually, because I was so scared of people wondering why I’d deleted them (not a confrontational or dramatic person) so I didn’t want people thinking I had something against them, because I don’t, I just felt like I couldn’t express myself fully. But honestly the feeling of removing those people from your socials is SO liberating, I wish I’d had the courage to do it sooner! xxx

    1. Oh my god you actually flatter me so much 😭😭😭😭😭 I think the exact same thing whenever you share a photo of you (still shook over that photo of you with the short hair tbh) 💕💕 and thank you! I know, as soon as she said it in conversation I was like PAUSE GIRL PAUSE we must investigate further, you just dropped a truth bomb 🙌 and thank you lovely I’m glad you can relate to them. I used the app forest and set times I wanted to meditate for and used that as an alarm, but that’s about it. I had a lot more time when I started though – I definitely think I’d need to make more of an effort to prioritise it now! Forest is a great place to start though✨✨ AND THANK YOU! Seriously I had the exact same thing – I restarted my Insta because it was like eugh I don’t want you guys seeing my life😭 and I know exactly what you mean!! Like I didn’t want to seem bitchy and I had no problem with those people I literally just wanted to unfollow because they weren’t beneficial to ME ✨ and oh god girl it’s actually like a weight off your shoulders, right?xxx

    1. Thank you lovely! I really wanted this to be realistic and honest as opposed to some dream world “do Pilates for 10 hours” “go for a walk on the sunset lit beach” unachievable or “go on a date” “paint your nails” shallow self care (which can be good but not really when you’re in a really negative state) x

  5. In terms of self care for the mind n soul, for me getting dressed and actually leaving the house every day is so necessary. I find it way too easy to stay in my pyjamas watching TV or just heading back to bed to chill but making sure I get changed out of my pyjamas and leave the house (it can literally be taking the dogs for their evening walk) literally keeps me sane 👌 also eating 3 meals a day and keeping my life free of clutter!

  6. This is great! I actually never used to have breakfast ever (all throughout most of my school life, in fact until the last few years of university). But now I can’t live without it. It’s literally my fuel for the rest of the day and I’m learned that having a good morning sets me up for a good day.

    I’m still working on the exercise thing – would love to get back into Yoga. Not that I was a regular anyway but would just be nice to even do it once a week. It always makes me feel good after! I don’t meditate but my brother does everyday for 20/30 minutes because he’s always busy with work which I think is absolutely fair.

    1. Same here! I only started eating it halfway through last year and it really helps set me up for the day!

      Yes girl, maybe see if there’s a class near you? Yoga is AMAZING. And oh my god, I wish I was that consistent with meditation! Go your brother!x

  7. Great article with very pertinent advice!! I agree with so much of what you said and love what you highlighted to be deeper forms of self-care. It is easy to get caught up in surface level rituals that can be wonderful assets but don’t always lead us to true internal content. Eating, yoga, walking, and journalling are cornerstones in my self care routine and when I veer off course I always come back to them and feel ‘welcomed home’.

  8. These are such awesome tips honey, go you!!!! February is all about re-finding that self love ❤️ And honestly, our empowering friendship inspires me so much – how lucky am I to have met and gotten to know you. You’re amazing ✨✨

  9. Pingback: My REAL self-care routine – MY WILD SPACE

  10. This post is something!!! I think it can be so difficult to decide what you need to do to take care of yourself because if you’re struggling you think anything will do. BUT this list is perfect! It’s not too extreme and out there but it’s some little things that someone can do with minimal energy! xxx

  11. I’m so glad you and Isabel brought this up because I always felt this way about how ‘self-care’ is promoted on social media – while having a bubble bath or lighting some candles can be therapeutic, it does not address the deeper issues which are causing you to be stressed out and demotivated, whatever they may be. I love what you said about trying to dedicate some time to doing nothing at all because many of are so accustomed to being on the go, that can almost feel like stepping out of our comfort zone while allowing our brains to ‘reset’. Wonderful post as always, and you look like an absolute queen in the photos! Xx

  12. I’m loving these tips. I’m pretty sure I do most if not all of them and they really help. Over sleeping is the worst. When that happens, I feel like I’ve just wasted the day and then I’m too tired to do anything else. And I don’t get how people don’t eat breakfast.
    If I don’t eat, my stomach is louder than my voice. I could probably have too separate breakfasts 😛 xx

    1. Thank you girl! And oh my god YES. It makes me feel super sluggish, I’d rather get less sleep tbh.
      Now that I’ve started eating breakfast, I cannot agree with you more – I really don’t know how people don’t srtart their day off with food anymore!xx

  13. I never eat breakfast. For starters, I don’t even wake up in the morning. I work 2nd shift, and my alarm is set for 11:30, but I usually hit snooze until noon each day. lol I have to be at work by 2 pm, so I only have enough time to get up, shower, and get ready. I also don’t eat before work because I have IBS, so I can’t risk it. I don’t eat at work either, which is actually terrible for me, I know. Sometimes I find it so hard to focus because of lack of food. Then I stuff my face as soon as I get home. I wish I could just be like a normal person and be able to eat without fear of a flare up.

    Showering and bathing is definitely on my checklist as well. Not just to get clean, but I find it incredibly relaxing and a good way to start or end the day. It’s great for your state of mind.

    I wouldn’t know anything about #8. I’ve never stayed off social media for more than half a day. lol

  14. Such a beautiful and important blogpost. I never really looked at self-care at a deeper level. You are so right about that! The last few years probably haven’t been going very well for me because I have been trying to fix the problems, instead of looking at where my problems come from and what I can do to change that too. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I like this, I’m sorry you had a bad January but let’s hope it will get better! (: And I think mental self-care can actually be achieved with the physical tips you gave above, its just a good feeling to let yourself have a moment to nourish yourself! <3

  16. Mia, these are awesome tips <3 I love what you said about showering then getting back in the pjs! SO TRUE. As a nurse all I want to do is lounge on my days off-so thank ya for the kind reminder. Hope you have an amazing, February, beautiful!

  17. Such good tips. I’m honestly one of the messiest people I know, but I thrive when I do a huge massive clean of the house and my mum doesn’t mind it too much either. And 100% agree with the social media cleanse. I do it every few months and it’s become such a great thing for me because now I’m not just blindly liking things on Instagram and I’m genuinely interested in everything that comes up on my feed. I do however need to start investing more time into my breakfast. I don’t think an ice coffee and slice of toast is too great, but I’m working on it. And once again, your bullet journal is giving me all the vibes, I wish I had the patience or the time to make mine look half as beautiful as yours Mia xx

  18. Is it TMi if I love getting back into bed after showering? Some people might find it hard to get back out, but it’s sooo comfy after a hot bath and do nothing for 10 minutes… or 30. 😅

  19. Amazing…. stress is a bummer I know
    Exams coming around and all that stress is making me fatter, less energetic (I am usually so full of it !), greasy and tired. Your post is amazing. Gonna try it out too….
    Check out my blog too and help me out!! I just started Blogging and I could use all the help I can get :-*

  20. We are almost the same person. lol. I to get obsessive about things which is not healthy. I love these tips! And I love how you mentioned a lot of our “self-care” is all superficial. Don’t get me wrong I love a spa day and will not say no, BUT it is only short term relief (which again isn’t a bad thing), I try to do things like (#cliche :p) yoga! lol. And I love to clean when I am feeling down. Though that usually turns into a huge project. Anyway such great tips beauty. Also you are so flipping gorgeous! I LOVE these pics! Werk it girl! <3

  21. oh my gosh yess! self-care has got to be internal too, not just external. I for one love to meditate because it makes me feel more calm and at peace and less stressed and overwhelmed. that on top of eating healthy and making sure to put in some exercise has me feeling super great!

  22. Awesome tips especially sleeping enough 💜If I don’t sleep enough I don’t feel good. Having a shower also always make me feel fresh and fruity and happier. It’s so damn peaceful. I also would love to go to yoga lessons because it’s so damn good for your health.

  23. YES! So relatable! FYI: your voice is adorable! Anyways, your February layout is ADORBS, as well. I totally connect with the concept of balance, as you know! Lol, There is so much I want to say, and I don’t know where to start. I usually get between 7 and 9 hours. I go to bed quite late and, because of my puppy, I began eating breakfast before two pm (WOOT)…does an avocado count? :’) ​I’ve noticed the importance of mediating, in the sense of spending the morning to myself to pray and reflect BUT I have a tough time balancing things and become super anxious. I am working on that!
    I am glad to see you are taking February as a place to recollect and take time for your needs; you deserve it! Blessings!

  24. Your words are so relevant and so inspiring. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 Also detoxing social media does make sense. I think I’m gonna follow that more strictly from now onwards. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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