In a culture that often seems obsessed with productivity, it can feel a little strange to take time for yourself. But the reality is that practising self-care and indulging in a bit of pampering can actually help you manage stress and find greater success in your life, work and relationships.
Nurturing your physical, emotional and mental needs is the key to a life well-lived. Carving out time for self-care in your day is not selfish. In fact, it will make you a better partner and parent.
Whether it’s a 15-minute meditation or a weekend staycation, when you return to your regular routine, you’ll feel calm, refreshed and ready for whatever comes next!
If child-free time is an issue consider reciprocal childcare: you watch a friend’s children for a couple of hours and they return the favour!
1. Head Outdoors
We’re lucky to live on a beautiful island where sunny days are in high supply! Get outside and appreciate nature with an energising walk or sea swim. According to the NHS UK, a 10-minute daily walk is enough to boost your endorphins, improve your mood, reduce stress and lower anxiety. Once you’ve got into the swing of things, try working towards 150 minutes of moderately intensive activity every week. If you need extra encouragement, consider combining your exercises with a new podcast or music album you love!
2. Book a Hair Appointment
Having your hair done is a real confidence booster and a great excuse to sit down and unwind for a few hours! Who doesn't love a hair wash and relaxing scalp massage? Uniko Eco Salon and Studio 54 both offer a wide range of services to help you look your best including haircuts, colour and blowdrys. Or why not book an additional treatment such as Hair Botox from Uniko or a deep conditioning mask from Studio 54? Both salons use natural hair products that are cruelty-free and vegan so you are also doing your bit for the environment. Men don’t need to feel left out either and can take advantage of haircuts and grooming services and even facials.
3. Try a Yoga Class
Yoga is a workout for the body and the mind. Bring your focus back to your breath by participating in a restorative yoga class. Whether you prefer a heated yin session or a vinyasa flow, yoga is the perfect way to add a bit of zen to your life. Practise at home with the Asana Rebel app or head to a class at One Heart Cayman Yoga & Apothecary Or VITAL Spinbar & Yogaden. When you get on the mat, you’ll feel the connection between your mind, body and breath start to blossom.
4. Treat Yourself to New Skin Care Products
The very act of looking after your skin is comforting and soothing. Numerous skincare boutiques in Cayman are packed full of incredible skin care options suitable for all skin types; why not talk to their knowledgeable staff about what options are best for you? Turn your routine into a ritual by scheduling time once a week to really focus on your skin: wash your face with a cleansing balm and use an exfoliator to remove any dead skin. Next, apply a mask, lie down, close your eyes and relax for 10 minutes. Remove the mask with warm water and finish by applying eye cream, a serum and a night cream. Stress will melt away and you will enjoy the added bonus of brighter and more radiant skin!
5. Take a Long Bath
For the ultimate in relaxation, take some time out to enjoy a long soak in the bath. For added indulgence pour in some bubble bath or essential oils and light a scented candle. You might choose to unwind to some music, an audio book or a podcast, or even treat yourself to a glass of wine. Emerge feeling like you’ve been to the spa and prepare to fall into a deep slumber.
6. Read a Book
Escape reality by losing yourself in a good book. Head to Next Chapter in Camana Bay and choose a title from their vast selection. Whatever genre you are interested in: murder mysteries, romance, autobiographies or dystopian thrillers, they have something to suit all tastes. Then simply sit back, relax and let the pages transport you to another world.
7. Take a Vacation... from Social Media
Social media apps like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are wonderful in many ways, but the desire to constantly stay connected can also have a negative impact on mental health – so why not schedule a break? Whether it’s one full day a week or every other weekend, stepping away from scrolling will help you step into the moment! Try turning your phone display to greyscale. This removes all colour from your screen which is a simple idea, but one that tricks our brains which are attracted to anything bright and eye-catching. The idea is to make your phone less fun to use; social media becomes a stream of gloom and games lose all their stimulating visual appeal.
8. Enjoy a Relaxing Nail Treatment
Pamper yourself with a manicure or pedicure at Studio 54. Sit back in their comfortable chair and zone out while you soak your feet in a warm bath before enjoying a relaxing treatment. Your beautician will exfoliate your hands and feet to remove dead skin followed by a blissful massage that helps improves circulation. Emerge from the salon feeling wonderfully relaxed having taken some time for yourself.
9. Practise Mindful Moments
Clear your head of chaos by incorporating meditation into your routine. At first, it can be challenging to switch off your brain, but practising for even five minutes every day will help you create more calm and order in your life. Apps like ‘Headspace’ and ‘Calm’ provide guided meditations that will help you on your journey towards more mindful moments. Meditation is a fantastic self-care tool because it helps manage feelings of depression and anxiety while also igniting important sentiments around gratitude and self-love.
10. Try Something New
Open yourself up to feeling challenged by trying a new hobby or learning a new skill. Keep it fun and enjoyable without putting too much pressure on yourself and revel in your sense of accomplishment. It could be immersing yourself in a new language, taking up painting or drawing or having a go at a sport outside of your comfort zone – the possibilities are endless! Visit the Cayman Resident's 'Social Clubs' and 'Sports & Fitness' for some inspiration!
11. Count Your Blessings
Research has shown that one of the best ways to reduce anxiety and improve your overall wellbeing is to write a list of the things you are grateful for. Keeping a Gratitude Journal helps you gain a new perspective on what is important to you and what you truly appreciate in your life. By noting what you are grateful for, you gain clarity on what you want to have more of in your life, and what you can cut from your life. At the end of each day spend 10 minutes recording your appreciation; it can be as general or specific as you want. You will find lovely notebooks in Next Chapter, Book Nook and Kirk Market.
12. Treat Yourself to a Staycation
Whilst travelling isn't quite back to normal, there is still time to take advantage of holidaying on our beautiful Islands. There are an abundance of hotels, condos and cottages to enjoy a break at and escape the daily grind, you may find a spot you didn’t even know existed! Choose from the five star hotels on Seven Mile Beach with their decadent spas to a desert island escape of dreams in Little Cayman. Perhaps you prefer the rugged beauty of Cayman Brac or the stunning vistas of Cayman Kai? Re-create the best parts of a good getaway without straying too far from home: no packed schedules, no clutter, a change of scenery and a pristine space to return to at the end of the day. Take the opportunity to unplug, book a spa treatment or simply enjoy the beauty of the Cayman Islands without any demands on your time.
13. Prioritise Sleep
Sleep is an often overlooked part of self care, we all want more yet we don’t invest in it. Daily stresses, multiple night wakings from children and falling asleep scrolling through our phones translates into an empty tank. According to Matthew Walker, author of ‘Why We Sleep’, we need at least six hours of uninterrupted sleep per night for our DNA to regenerate and between seven and nine hours of sleep for optimal mental and physical health. A good night's slumber will recharge your parenting powers (i.e. patience!) too so don’t scrimp on the snoozes, prioritise sleep!
14. Get Cosy
Put on your cosiest clothes, wrap yourself up in a blanket, switch on the television and watch that new reality series everyone is talking about. Self-care doesn’t always mean finding new hobbies or developing new habits. Don’t feel guilty about not being productive during your time off. Sometimes what we need most is simply a night on the couch with a fun-filled movie and some popcorn!
15. Learn How to Say No
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is carve time out, away from family and friends, to invest in yourself. It can feel self-indulgent and guilt ridden but our mental health should be seen as a priority. The next time somebody asks you to do something for them just as you are on your way out to a yoga class or the phone rings as you are sitting down with a good book, think to yourself: can I put myself first here? Give yourself permission to say yes and reap the benefits.