When a plane is crashing, we are told to put our own oxygen mask on first before attempting to help anyone around us, including loved ones. So why do we so often rush around making sure everyone else can breathe, before we give ourselves some much needed breathing space and self-care?
What is self-care? We all do our own version of self-care maintenance in one form or another; hitting the gym, reading a book, eating well or attempting a good night’s rest. But self-care is those extra steps we need to do once in a while when we are feeling down and deserve to give ourselves some much needed joy and pleasure. Here are 10 tips on how you can learn the art of self-care and the best part is, most things on this list are free!
1. Get Out!
Seriously! Get out of the house! No matter what suburban oasis of Canberra you live in, there is bound to be a well-marked walking track within a few minutes of your house. Not to mention our amazing national parks that are simply stunning. The CANwalk Portal provides you with a comprehensive list of all the amazing walking in and around Canberra, and has a list of walking groups anyone can join, suitable for all ages and mobility. No matter who you are (hint: for allergy sufferers, late evening would be best) a walk in the fresh air is a great way to clear the mind.
2. Road trip for a day
In can be expensive to book a trip away, even just for a night. If camping is not your thing, fear not! Point your car towards the coast and in about 2 hours, you will literally trip over some sand. If money is an issue, why not pack yourself a picnic? If you do have a few dollars to spare, ice cream, fish and chips or prawns on the beach, watching the waves crash into the sand is bound to make you feel great! Let us not forget that Jervis Bay Territory is technically a part of Canberra … ish.
3. Do Something Creative
People from around Australia and the world travel to Canberra in the hopes of experiencing our spectacular industry leading galleries, museums and unique attractions. No matter your mood, there is just the right creative space to immerse yourself in and look at some really beautiful things. Visit Canberra has done the hard work for us, with all these fantastic creative and wonderful spaces are available on their site. From Lanyon Homestead to Megalo Gallery, all things creative are at your fingertips to help satisfy whatever your desired self-care needs might be.
4. Take yourself on a date
Treat yourself! You have the ability to make YOU feel amazing. If movies are your thing, there is now a great variety of choices in Berra cinema land. This is awesome news and means competitive prices, with most cinemas now having a section with comfy recliners available. Maybe Markets are your thing? From food to trash and treasure, Access Canberra have a detailed guide on what is about, including locations and market information. Whatever you choose for yourself, make sure that your date is spoiled rotten.
5. Treat yourself
Give yourself a day or even just a meal, where you eat all of your favourite foods. Don’t worry about calories or the gym. Make it special, go to your favourite restaurant by yourself. No, only you will think you’re a strange cat if you dine alone, in fact, you will probably get lovely extra attention from the staff. Take a book, a sketch pad and some pens and drench your taste buds in the mystic wonders of your favourite foods and beverages. There are so many amazing food options in Canberra now, you’re spoiled for choice! If you want to try something new, check out The RiotACT’s Serina Huang and Elias Hallaj who are sure to provide some delicious inspiration.
6. Spend time with family and friends
The Nation’s Capital is blessed with some of the country’s most amazing parks. Why not grab your nearest and dearest, pack some picnic supplies and jump in the car. Most services are free, with some having a small charge for use of equipment such as a BBQ. The ACT Government has all the picnic areas listed on a fabulous site, including a facilities list for each venue: wheelchair accessibility, playground, campground, fishing, swimming, horse riding, cycling, fitness equipment, type of BBQ and whether a dog area is provided. Pop up a totem tennis pole, grab a bubble machine from the $2 shop and enjoy a temporary outdoor oasis that Mother Nature conveniently created a few million years ago.
7. See some live music
If one more person states “there is nothing to do in Canberra”, they might find themselves with this article firmly lodged in their … hand. No matter the type of music you like, our local music scene will have something for you. Culturazi and BMA Magazine provide the community with detailed gig guides every week, with links to artists, tickets, venue and gig info. If you want to try before you buy, you can tune in from 4pm-6pm weekdays to LocalnLive, 2XXFM’s daily drive time program. The team interview bands, musicians and performers.
8. Pick a random short course and do it!
Have you always wanted to write that short story, shake your hips and belly dance, learn to play the ukulele or master the art of haloumi cheese making? Do it! Worried about sucking at it? Or nervous to meet people? The whole reason these courses exists is so people can have some fun! Everyone needs to start somewhere, so why not do that thing you always wanted to, expand your own joy and grab some fabulous skills along the way.
9. Me time – take a mental health day
Now before you rush for your phone to mash the key pad to call your boss and chuck a sickie, mental health days can often be best enjoyed on the weekend. We all need from time to time to press the ‘reset’ button. This could be getting your hair done, binge watching your favourite TV show, booking a trip to a day spa, or sleeping all day. No matter what, as long as it’s all about you, and no one else, it’s a winner!
10. Build your A-Team
Last on the list, but the most important, build your A-Team. Luke Skywalker, Frodo and Harry Potter all needed at some point their Obi-Wan Kenobi, Sam, Ron and Hermione (if you don’t get the last sentence, make sure a member of your A-team is a movie buff). It could be a significant other, a friend, family or work colleague and it might include medical professionals. Your team is those truly special people in your life, that will be there for you and have your best interest at heart.
We would love to hear what you do for self-care! Your suggestion might inspire a fellow Canberran to begin the life-long journey of taking better care of themselves.
Photos: Rachel Moore