How to Make a Self-Care Jar! (My 10 Favourite Self-Care Activities)

Self-care is so important. It is what reminds us of who we are, to focus on our wellbeing, to check in with how we’re feeling and promote long-lasting mental health.

But how often do we neglect it?

Over the last few years, I’ve been trying a lot harder to add self-care activities into my life. This involves everything from yoga, to phone detoxes, to simply watching a funny video. There are endless possibilities.

Last weekend, I made my Sunday a self-care Sunday. I did a lot of reading, I drank lots of tea, I let myself chill without placing any expectations on myself, and I also created a self-care jar, and that’s what I want to share with you all today!

 

What is a Self-Care Jar?

A self-care jar is a jar full of self-care activities. I’m not sure if it’s a well-known concept; I simply thought it would be a fun and beneficial thing to do!

The idea is that you put your hand into the jar and pick out pieces of paper, each one containing a surprise self-care activity for you to do!

 

Method

1. Firstly, you need to find/buy a glass jar. Luckily, I already had one that I’d bought a few years ago for my Gratitude Jar, but if you’re not willing to buy one, you could reuse a jam jar or something similar!

2. All you need after this is paper and a pen! Rip off pieces of paper (I like them to look imperfect and ragged, so I didn’t bother with a ruler or scissors, but feel free to do that too!) and write on each piece a self-care activity.

TOP TIP: Choose activities you genuinely enjoy, or believe you will enjoy if you had the time and motivation to do them. The idea is to promote relaxation, not make you dread taking part! (see my examples below)

3. I wrote down each self-care activity twice, so I ended up with about 20 pieces of paper and 10 different activities. I had a leftover piece of paper, so I wrote on that one “Treat yourself” – something which is nice to do, but not as often, especially if it involves spending money!

4. Fold each piece of paper in half and throw them all into the jar!

5. Then, you can decide how often you want to pick out an activity. Although I practice a bit of self-care everyday, with journalling, reading, etc. I decided to pick one out every Sunday! That will be my day to focus on something for myself.

 

My 10 Favourite Self-Care Activities

If you’re struggling for ideas, here are the 10 self-care activities I used in my self-care jar!

  1. Read for an hour
  2. Do a face mask
  3. Have a relaxing bath
  4. 30 minutes of yoga
  5. Phone detox for a few hours
  6. Cup of tea, podcast and a candle
  7. Go for a walk in nature
  8. Do some meditation
  9. Play a card/board game
  10. Declutter/Organise

 

Overall, I’m hoping this will be a fun way to take some time out for myself, but also make self-care a consistent routine. There is no reason why you can’t also include your friends and family in your activities! Go for a walk with a friend, or do a face mask with your Mum. It may be self-care, but you can practice self-care with others too.

 

 

 

Do you practice self-care?

What’s your favourite self-care activity?

Let me know down below in the comments!

 

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 19

The challenge for this week was… Reduce Sugar!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

As I’m writing this post, I am currently drinking a fruit smoothie, but one I’ve made myself, with only natural sugars! I’ve found that this is one of my favourite ways to have a sweet snack without consuming lots of preservatives, sugars, etc. (I’ll leave the recipe at the bottom of this post) and it’s super easy to make as well!

I think having healthy snacks is all about getting into a new mindset where you replace old eating habits with new ones. As I mentioned in my Weekly Wellbeing Newsletter, eating healthy snacks isn’t actually more difficult than grabbing a pack of crisps or a chocolate bar; we just have to rewire our brains and our inner temptations to do so.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any sugar this week – no one is perfect – but I think I got better at reaching for something more sufficient when I felt the waves of hunger creeping up on me.

Here are a few things I tried, aside from the fruit smoothie:

  • Nuts – reaching for a pack of almonds
  • Fruit – apples, bananas, etc.
  • A carrot – my Mum’s idea. Apparently, because it involves a lot of chewing, it fills you up more.
  • Cheese – I may have had a babybel at one stage, but in future I will just cut a chunk of normal cheddar cheese!
  • Having an early dinner – when I get hungry at half five/six, why not start cooking dinner? By the time it’s cooked, it’s a normal dinner time anyway.

I’m still in the process of figuring out what other healthy snacks could be good to try, especially when I’m concentrating on work and I don’t want sugar to spike my energy levels.

If you have any ideas, please let me know in the comments below! Let’s all share our healthy tips!

 

Smoothie Recipe (for 2):

Blend all the ingredients below.

(I make this in a Nutribullet)

  • A handful of walnuts
  • A banana
  • A handful of frozen berries
  • Honey (optional)
  • Protein Shake and/or other powder supplements (optional)
  • Oat milk (or whichever milk you prefer) 

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 18

The challenge for this week was… Read Before Bed!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already!]

Reading before bed is something I started doing at the beginning of 2020. Since university (or even A levels), I lost my love of reading for fun, because I was so focused on reading for educational purposes. Now that I’ve graduated (and we’ve been in lockdown), I’ve had more time to read than ever and I’ve been really enjoying it!

Ever since I started reading before bed, my sleep has improved hugely. I find it difficult to switch off my mind at night, so putting away my phone (and any screens with blue lights) and focusing on a book helps me wind down.

I noticed that the one night I didn’t read before bed this week, it took me a lot longer to fall asleep. It’s become such a habit that I rely on it a lot to help me feel sleepy, and it’s become so ingrained in my routine that even if I skip one night I really miss it!

I think there’s so much conflicting advice on how to sleep better – some people say that doing a passive task (such as watching TV) is better than doing an active task (reading), whereas I’ve found it to be the opposite with me. Perhaps by doing an active task it tires my brain out quicker.

Either way, I find it very interesting how the brain can be affected so hugely by small changes to everyday routines.

What change have you recently made to your routine? What was the effect?

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 17

The challenge for this week was… Declutter your Home!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already!]

I feel good embarking on writing this post because I feel like I’ve done a great job of decluttering this week!

My main focus was my clothes – most of which I’ve somehow accumulated since I was about 13/14 years old. There were a lot of worn down fabrics and nostalgia more than anything.

I decided to take the classic Marie Kondo method and I threw everything on the bed at once to shock me into taking action. I don’t even want to admit how many jumpers I had, but it was more than 30…

My friend, who is into organising just as much as me, helped me sort it all out! She suggested splitting the jumpers into colours, so I would only keep one or two of each colour. This helped a lot, because I could compare more easily and pick the one I was drawn to the most. I think having someone else there helps – it definitely made me more brutal with my decisions!

As I picked each one up, or tried it on, I asked myself whether I felt amazing in it. If I didn’t, what was the point of keeping it? I ended up piling up loads of old clothes, and the larger it got, the happier I felt. It felt like throwing away unnecessary stress!

I am particularly glad that I finally got round to sorting out my sock drawer. There were so many old socks that had shrunk in the wash!

As a whole, I’m really pleased I’ve sorted out my clothes. I feel like I could go back in a month or two for a second round, and get rid of a few more items, but for now I’m glad it’s looking a lot better. And, for the first time since before university, all my clothes are in one place, so it’s much easier to get a grasp of everything I own.

Have you been doing any decluttering lately?

How does it make you feel?

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 16

The challenge for this week was… A Compliment A Day!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already!]

If I’m honest, I wouldn’t say I’m a natural compliment-giver. If I like someone’s top I’ll likely mention it, or if I’m reviewing someone’s work and I think they’ve done a good job. However, I wouldn’t say I go out of my way to do it. But I should! Here’s why…

I noticed this week that the smallest of compliments can actually make a huge difference to someone’s mood. Although I didn’t compliment as much as I would have liked, simply saying I loved someone’s outfit, or dropping someone a kind comment online, made me happy because I felt like I’d made someone else happy, you know?

It made me aware of all these opportunities where, originally, I perhaps wouldn’t have said anything, but the challenge encouraged me to speak up and compliment, and that’s exactly what I’m aiming for with writing the Weekly Wellbeing Newsletter – to push myself beyond my base capacity, to try new things, to experiment and see what happens!

I also noticed this week, that when someone complimented me, it put me in such a good mood. It’s an amazing feeling when you feel like someone else appreciates you. It made me think: this is what other people feel when I compliment them, so isn’t that even more reason to do it?

A while ago, I published a blog post all about how important having a good/positive aura is, and I genuinely believe that if you’re the sort of person who goes around being kind and complimentary to others, people will do the same back to you. The world works in crazy ways like that.

So, overall, I feel like this week was a great time to reflect on my choices and spread some kindness. I like to think I’ll go into the next few weeks continuing to compliment where I can, and I hope you will join me!

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 15

The challenge for this week was… Stroke a pet!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already!]

This week I put my huge photo album of cat photos to good use by including them in my Weekly Wellbeing Newsletter. Spending time with animals – whether they are your own pets, someone else’s, or videos you are watching online – can really change your mood into positivity and happiness.

If I haven’t spoken about them enough already, I have two black cats – Monty and Jasper. I see Monty as a bit of a grandfather – he is lazy but wise and loves all the attention he can get! Jasper, by comparison, is like a little baby – he is anxious, likes his own space, but when he trusts you he is unbelievably affectionate.

It’s strange because, as if Monty knew that spending time with cats was the challenge for this week, he bounded over to me on the sofa one evening and lay on my lap for a whole hour (which is really unlike him!). He was being extra soppy, and almost fell asleep, and it was honestly the sweetest thing!

I’ve also been picking up Jasper to give him lots of hugs this week. A couple weeks ago he was really ill and wasn’t eating, so I’m really glad he’s back to normal again as we were all really worried.

I also got a chance to see my friend’s dog too, which was really lovely!

 

 

Have you been spending time with any animals this week?

Let me know in the comments!

I want to hear all about your pets and their names!

 

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 14

The challenge for this week was… 5 Minutes of Deep Breathing!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already!]

This week, I tried a few different ways to practice deep breathing. On the days I was feeling tired, I would stay lying in bed after my alarm went off and do the deep breathing on my back, starting the day with a calming breath. I think it helped me feel more awake!

Other days, I sat on the edge of my bed, and practiced deep breathing whilst looking at my vision board. This was a great way of setting positive intentions, whilst also exhaling out any stress simultaneously. I enjoyed letting my mind wonder and think about my future, but also reigning in the breath and reminding myself of the present moment.

The problem with deep breathing (or any meditation) is that I find it hard to make a consistent routine. I often forget to do it, or my mind automatically dreads the time I have to sit still – because I’m rearing to get up and get things done! But then I’m happy to spend that same amount of time scrolling social media – it’s hypocritical!

As a result, it’s all about creating a mind shift. I must associate deep breathing with something good – and it is something good; it increases wellbeing and productivity.

Perhaps I need to stop talking so much about meditation and start doing it!

Have you been practicing deep breathing?

How does it make you feel?

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 13

The challenge for this week was… Practice Sun Salutations!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up if you haven’t already!]

So, if I’m being totally honest, I kept forgetting about my own challenge for this week! But I think that’s okay – none of us can be perfect.

The week started off well. I did a few rounds of sun salutations in the evenings or first thing when I woke up. I also did two one-hour yoga sessions this week where I tried to incorporate a bit of sun salutations, so I don’t think that’s too bad!

Overall, I think I realised this week how much I actually love sun salutations, which sounds a little crazy, but they’re such a good way of incorporating both movement and also strength exercises. It’s good for the arms that’s for sure.

I think it’s a well known fact that it’s so easy to say you want to do something, but it’s always more difficult to place it into a consistent routine. Sun salutations is something I would love to do more consistently, alongside meditation, so I’m hoping I can figure out the right time to do it – a time where it seems to fit most effortlessly into my normal routine.

What do you want to add to your routine but are struggling to find the right time to do it?

Let me know in the comments below!

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 12

The challenge for this week was… Practice Loving Kindness!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up if you haven’t already!]

Loving Kindness is one of my favourite types of meditation. I don’t do it very often, but it really helps connect with how you’re feeling towards yourself and towards other people.

This week, I practiced loving kindness by doing a meditation session with my Mum. We found one on an app called Insight Timer that has a wide variety of different meditations for different moments in your life, different emotions you’re feeling, etc.

I think when I sat down I wasn’t really feeling in the right mindset for meditation, but I think that is what makes mediation all the more useful – it is when you are feeling agitated, restless, headache-y, nervous, that mediation is the perfect way to tune into how you’re really feeling. It is the best way to avoid the distractions and understand your core.

I would like to practice some more loving kindness mediation without a guide. Just repeating these phrases inside my own head:

 

May I be happy

May I be healthy

May I be safe

 

And it means that anyone can practice loving kindness anywhere and anytime!

Have you ever practiced a loving kindness meditation?

What did you think of it?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 11

The challenge for this week was… Quality Time Together!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up if you haven’t already!]

This week was focused on spending quality time with close friends and family, and I really enjoyed doing that this week!

My favourite activity for this week was something my Mum, my brother and I have only just started doing – Friday Film Night! We set up Netflix on the TV, get comfortable on the sofa, and enjoy a good film together. Because we can never agree on a film, we will take it in turns to decide the film each week (it’s a secret until the night of!). It was my choice first so I chose The Quiet Place – it had a lot of plot holes, but it was very well filmed and acted, and I think everyone enjoyed it so hopefully I made a good choice!

We’ve also been playing a few board games this week. My Mum and I both love scrabble and somehow, every single time we play, without fail, our scores are so close! She’s the perfect component because it’s always a fun challenge to try and win. We also had afternoon tea and cake a couple days ago too (that we put together ourselves), which was really lovely, to celebrate that I finished the first draft of my novel!

I have had a few video calls this week, to catch up with friends and family, which has also been really nice! I’m hoping to try the app Bunch again (where you can play games over video call, such as pictionary and trivia quizzes, etc.) as that’s a lot of fun!

What activities have you been doing this week, to spend quality time with people you care about?

Let me know in the comments below!