Monday, 8 June 2015

Seven things that are good for the soul!

So exams are finally over and that's my second year of university all finished which is really exciting, but also really scary thinking that this time next year I'll finally be graduating. Then it's going to be all about job hunting in that big, bad, adult world. Scary stuff.

Anyway, enough of the serious talk. Today I wanted to write a really light hearted post about self-care. Self-care is basically a term for doing things that make you feel good; things that are "good for the soul" or just keep you plain sane in times of stress (i.e. revising for exams). It's so important to look after yourself so you're less likely to turn to unhealthy habits to soothe any discomfort. Making the time to do little things for yourself each day can really add up and improve your mindset. 

With that said, here are seven of my favourite things I to do to look after myself:

1. Cook a New Meal
I'm not sure if it's just because I personally enjoy cooking and baking, but I really do think there's nothing more satisfying than cooking a new meal from scratch. There's something so rewarding about going out, acquiring the ingredients, following a recipe and creating an entirely new taste experience. It can take up as much or as little time as you want and the same of course goes for cost. You can cook for yourself, for your partner or your entire family, whatever you fancy. 
I've spent so much time in Greece I like to think of myself as an honorary Greek citizen and that of course means I love Greek food. This weekend I went to an amazing Greek restaurant with my entire family for a Greek banquet and the food was absolutely amazing! I've attempted a few dishes previously but have never made Beef Stifado, which is one of may favourites "When in Rome Greece" and it's now on the top of my hit list to cook next.

2. Tea
It might be a British thing, but the comforting feeling a hot cup of tea gives you can't be denied. Whether it's your typical English Breakfast tea or something more exotic; green tea, vanilla tea, peppermint tea etc. It really is like a hug in a mug. Put it in a pretty cup and saucer or your favourite mug and enjoy!
 Mine is a standard English tea, with lots of milk and a pinch (yes a pinch) of sugar, please. Oh and I'll have a chocolate Hob Nob with it if you're offering.

3. Do something that makes you feel good about your appearance
Of course I know that appearances aren't everything, but things like a bright shade of lipstick or a dress you feel amazing in can really brighten your day. Or even something like wearing beautiful underwear in the most humdrum, everyday-life situations. There's nothing more uplifting and slightly amusing than sitting in a lecture or at work knowing you're wearing the most spectacular underwear. No one is going to see it but that doesn't matter. It's not for a man or for anyone else, it's solely for you. Only you will know how exquisite you look underneath your clothes and that's enough to leave a little smile on your face and a spring in your step. Trust me and try it ladies. 

4. Reading 
It's hardly surprising this is one made the list with me being an English student, but I don't really sit around reading Shakespeare in my spare time...
I recommend that you find a genre you love and completely devour it. If for example you like Romance books, look on Amazon top sellers, buy three or four books and really get into them. I love books and always have because stories are such powerful things. They have the ability to take you to another world, but they also open your mind up to how other people think which is a valuable life skill.
I personally enjoy books on body image, women in the media and anything on "New Feminism". I've just started a book by Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project. The book itself is called "Everyday Sexism" and I'm only two chapters in but I really recommend it. This woman talks a lot of sense and I think that I'm slightly in love with her. I'm also thinking of writing a post about my favourite books on body image, eating disorders, anti-diets etc. so keep a look out for that.

5. Have an amazing bath, with bubbles, candles and music
 This can seem like a bit of an effort when you're short on time but make the time and make the effort, because you deserve it. Pick your favourite music, a scented candle, settle down and relax. 
I love Yankee candles and my favourite bath products are basically anything from Lush, because they're natural and most importantly they don't test on animals. If you haven't bought anything from Lush before I suggest a bubble bar!
If you have the time, turn that bath into a pamper session. After a bath I love smothering myself head to toe in moisturiser. I'm not talking about a light lotion here people, I'm talking about that rich body butter in a tub that leaves you so slippery you feel like a wet seal sliding around your bed. No really.

6. Take on a new challenge
As I write this, I've just got back from my first ever driving lesson. I figured at the ripe old age of 22 it was about time I started learning to drive. It was so scary but so exciting and it's all I can think about now. Starting a completely new challenge can be so refreshing and really give you focus. It can be anything you fancy, learning to drive, starting a blog, learning a new language, learning to cook etc. Just choose something you've always wanted to do, but is also fairly realistic, and get stuck in because you never know where it may lead.

7. Family, friends and pets
Now this is a cheesy one, but nothing makes you feel better than spending time with your loved ones. I don't care if you don't have a "nuclear" family, if you consider your friends to be your only family, or even if it's just you and your cat against the world. Spend time with those people (+fur babies) and cherish them. We live in such a fast paced world we're all guilty of putting other things before our loved ones but it's never too late to start appreciating others. When I'm a bit down or stressed having a good laugh with my family and friends is the best thing in the world.

 Also I'm sure you've guessed by now that I have cats. The number depends on if we've taken another stray into our make shift cat rescue centre, but that number stands at seven right now. 
This little man below is possibly the love of my life. His name is Teddy Bear in case you were wondering, but he goes by the name of Ted to those who know him best.

And that's a wrap.

I hope you guys enjoyed these tips. I wanted to include some more personal information about my life and the things I like to do because I don't want this blog to feel anonymous. I mean I'm discussing some pretty serious and personal stuff, like eating disorders and body image, and I want you to feel like you know a bit more about who I am.

With regards to future posts now I'm exam free (did I mention I've finished my exams?) I've got so many exciting ideas. I want to write articles about so called "plus-size" models, disparity in clothing sizes, books reviews and a lot more so stay tuned!