“I Tried Self-Care Every Day For A Week – Here’s What Happened”

Self-care. It’s one of the hottest buzzwords in the wellness world right now. Everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to self-confessed health and wellbeing warrior Arianna Huffington is singing its praises. And it’s definitely not a coincidence that “Self-care Sunday” has gone from a hashtag to a dedicated movement. Let’s face it. Life can be stressful. Between deadlines, meetings, events (plus juggling family and friends on top of that) it can be a little like trying to keep a million plates spinning. On a daily basis! As women, we so often put ourselves last. So, in light of all the Insta buzz, I make a decision: To practice one small act of self-care every day for a week, then assess the wellbeing benefits. So, all in the name of research, here goes!

Sunday: As anyone who knows me can confirm, food is one of my greatest joys in life. So I kick things off by spending a lazy afternoon browsing the farmer’s markets. Once home, I roast a huge tray of vegies, cook up a Bolognese and bag up bananas and berries for DIY smoothies during the week. The reason? According to wellness experts, even seemingly “mundane” tasks like this can make a major difference to both body and mind. And who am I to argue? Once done, I sit back and enjoy some TV in my newly-tidied apartment, before turning in early to read. A rare luxury!

Monday: With a crazy-busy week looming, I decide to start the week as I mean to continue and squeeze in a 30-minute yoga class on the way to work. I make a major effort to stay present and feel my feet on the mat as I move through the poses, and consciously try to clear my mind (not always successfully!) and focus on what I’m grateful for during Shavasana. I walk out feeling brighter, more balanced, and ready to tackle the day ahead – no matter how many curveballs come my way!

Tuesday: There’s nothing like being surrounded by nature and feeling the breeze on your face to clear away the cobwebs. So, for today’s act of self-care, I set my alarm for 5.30am (yes, super-early, but so worth it) and head out for a run. As I jog down my street to the water, I send a silent high-five to myself for getting a head-start on the day, and feel like I’ve done something beneficial already. On the way back, I stop and treat myself to a coffee, rather than bolting home. I feel stronger, calmer and more energised, despite cracking out a cheeky 10km before breakfast.

Wednesday: Confession time: I eat lunch at my desk (over my keyboard) pretty much every day, typing with one hand while forking salad into my mouth with the other. (Yep, guilty as charged). So today, I shut down the computer, escape the desk and walk to my favourite sushi place, and eat there rather than rushing back with my food in a bag! I keep my phone well-hidden and, instead, just take in the people around me. I walk back soaking in the sunshine, make a mental to-do list and stroll into the office feeling much fresher (and more focused), than when I left. Baby steps and major wins all round!

Thursday: Back at the gym first thing! This time for spin and my much-loved core class. I resist the urge to cancel so I can get to my desk early, and soak in every single minute of the fitspo, powered by Beyonce power ballads and one serious serving of sweat. Fast forward to an afternoon of back-to-back meetings, I sneak into a conference room and spend five minutes doing some stretches, and can’t believe the difference it makes.

Friday: After a busy week, I say no to social engagements and spend the night binge-watching The Sinner on Netflix in my PJs with a glass of red and endota’s Intense Moisture Mask (it’s a game-changer and leaves my complexion totally replenished in 15mins!),100 percent guilt-free. The moral of this story? It’s perfectly acceptable to say no, set boundaries, and do what makes you truly happy. Even if that’s as simple as couch-time!

Saturday: Brunch is my idea of heaven, so I kick-off the weekend by taking the time to meet up with a girlfriend I haven’t seen in forever. One serving of corn fritters and avo coming right up! I can’t remember the last time I booked in for a massage, so treat myself to 60 minutes of aromatherapy bliss. By the end, I’m so relaxed I pretty much fall asleep on the bed. Yep, well worth the investment.

Sunday: Final day of the experiment! And I’ve got to admit, I feel great. After much-needed coffee, I call my mum and dad to re-connect, then spend a luxurious hour reading the Sunday papers (another one of my guilty pleasures). With the usual life-admin ticked off the list, I pull on a pair of trainers and take advantage of daylight savings by doing Sydney’s Bay Run with my fitness-mad husband, then enjoy a quick burrito bowl dinner with the TV switched firmly off (for once). A perfect way to end the week!

The verdict: What I’ve learnt from experience? Even the tiniest self-care tweak can positively impact your mood, your energy levels and your outlook on life. Whether that’s as simple as five minutes of mindfulness, cracking open some dark chocolate (and savouring every single square), or a weekend mani-pedi session. And it definitely doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. Can I keep up this level of me-time? The jury is still out. But there’s no doubt I’m heading into the new week calmer, lighter and more centred than I have in ages. And, if you ask me, that’s a major plus!

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