Being nice to yourself doesn't require much money, or energy, or anything much at all. Writer Sam Prendergast has a couple of handy tips.
SCHEDULE IN TIME FOR SILLINESS
A little-known fact, obscured by the reality that we live in a world with jobs and rent and deadlines, is that it’s totally acceptable to schedule in time for supposedly ‘silly’ activities. As in, you should pull out your planner or calendar right now, and set aside some time for the completely ‘non-productive’ activities you enjoy, but struggle to justify. Dancing around your room in a towel is a schedule-worthy activity. Other plannable moments include building a cardboard fort, teaching your dog to do a roly-poly, and learning all the lyrics to Rent: The Musical. Silliness should go in your calendar with a giant symbol for ‘priority’, because otherwise you’re 20 weeks into the year, your hair is falling out, and you can’t remember the last time you played hide-and-seek with your imaginary cat.
GET A BIT ORGANISED
Does your underwear need to be colour-coded? No. Could it be? Yes. There’s real value in the act of doing things just because you can, especially when the task is strangely visually satisfying and theoretically counts as ‘tidying up’. When life is overwhelming, your space can turn into a literal nest of clutter and trash, and frankly, that’s fine. If you have the energy to clean your whole house, go for it. But if your bedroom’s a good 10 years away from looking organised, just pick a tiny task and give it your attention for a while. Alphabetise things that don’t need alphabetising. Change the pillowcases on your bed. Arrange everything on your bedside table or organise your pantry for no particular reason.
WATCH CUTE ANIMAL VIDEOS
Sometimes we need to step away from the computer, but other times it’s best to lean right in. The internet’s not a total pit of trolls and doom – it’s also home to one of the world’s happiest, least stressful phenomenons: super-cute animal videos. I don’t know who decided it would be a good idea to tape cats crawling out of jumpers and turtles playing with dogs, but that person is a genius, and together the universe has created so much heart-warming animal content that we’re basically set for life. Some people would call this activity ‘procrastination’, but really, watching animal videos falls into the category of sensible self-care.
WEAR SOMETHING CHEERY
Put on your fancy, happy, good-time clothes, then free yourself from the obligation to go anywhere at all. If make-up’s your thing, add that, too. Do whatever you do to your hair to make yourself feel great, or something you’ve always thought you should maybe try. And then: nothing. This is a no-pressure activity, because dressing up doesn’t have to mean going out, and sometimes it’s just nice to wear things that make you feel fancy or strong or like a glorious queen. Flop on your bed and watch four episodes of The Office, if you feel like it. They’re your fancy clothes, and you can do whatever you like.
START A COMPLIMENT FILE
When you’re feeling shitty, it’s hard to remember that you’re actually a really great person with a pile of redeeming traits. So, instead of relying on your memory to remind you you’re worthy and awesome, ask your friends to do some of the work for you. Screw any sense of shame and literally request some reminders of the nice things people think about you, and the reasons you’re a good friend. If that sounds like a nightmare, whip out a pen and some paper and write the list yourself. Jot down literally any kind words people have shared about you in person or online, including but not limited to, “Thanks for lending me your pencil sharpener,” and, “Your hair smells really nice.” Try not to qualify happy memories by telling yourself they probably didn’t mean it. They meant it, and you’re great.
So much of our time is spent crumpled up in chairs or standing on our feet, resisting gravity. This little activity is about giving in to the universe and letting gravity take you to the ground, so your muscles can chill out for a bit. If you have access to a patch of grass and it’s not rainy, windy or overbearingly warm, then go have a little lie down outside. Getting horizontal can change your blood pressure and breathing in ways that just feel good, especially when you’re lying in the sun and watching clouds in some idyllic re-enactment of a summer picnic. If you can’t get outside, though, the regular inside ground will be just fine for lying on, too.
This helpful list comes from the pages of frankie issue 87, on sale now. To find even more self-care tips and nab a copy of the mag, head here, or subscribe from $10.50.