With the year anniversary of corona invading our lives coming up soon, I think we’ve all had enough now. I cannot count the number of times I thought we were ‘near the end’ throughout the past year, when in fact we had another lockdown, another closure, another stop to go before we were anywhere near the end. I am very sure you are all feeling the same. There is definitely a collective sense of feeling low among everyone, the lockdown low you could say, so it comes as no surprise that we are all in need of some self-care.
Whilst the relatively new recognition of mental health on social media is a good thing, I often find the advice given is well, not as good. it is all too common on social media to come across ‘mental health’ posts telling you if you feel low, you need to go on a run to get those endorphins pumping, or to journal to let out all your feelings. Whilst I do think this advice can be quite good, as it is proven exercise improves your mood, and in-depth journaling can be really beneficial for your mental health, these things have quite delayed satisfaction, and do require abit of a base habit. Sure, a habit of running when you feel low can be great, I genuinely think it can help clear my head and cheer me up, but if you either have not used running as a coping mechanism before, or you feel very low, a run is far from the best thing. This is also something that is abit more long term focused. A running when down habit can be really great, but you won’t start to feel the benefits of it as much until you have done it a few times, and realise it actually helps. Same with journaling; if you don’t do it sometimes and already associate it with good feelings, then it will not be beneficial for you to do when de energised and really down.
I’m trying to say that certain self-care habits reap the most benefit when done consistently long term, when your brain has been wired to associate them with happy, relieving feelings, not when you do them as a one off. To start these long-term self-care habits, like doing yoga or a workout when sad, you will need to start them at a slightly happier point. But this post is not talking about that, it is talking about other habits with instant satisfaction, that will be beneficial to you when you are demotivated, low energy and generally down. When you are feeling low energy, you do not want to be doing self-care activities that focus on long term relief, you want short term relief, instant gratification. I guess that is why a lot of us find ourselves scrolling on social media mindlessly for hours when we are drained, we want the instant satisfaction as opposed to delayed from completing an activity that will make us feel better, but not straight away.
Now that I have explained why certain self-care routines are not suitable for super low energy days, I’m going to give you some ideas, a tool kit if you will, for you to remember and pull out whenever you need it. I’ll make sure to do another post in a week or so focusing on the more long term self care habits I mentioned, as those are really important, just not in the context I am discussing self care today. I am not claiming these activities ( Activities sounds a bit wrong but I’m not really sure what else to call them? Activities sounds better than things to do so I guess I’ll stick with that!) will make you suddenly happy and energised again, but they are things that require low effort, so you can complete whilst in a de-energised low state to stop you from scrolling for hours!
- Bath. Having a bath requires little to no effort but can be such a nice relaxing thing to do. Run a bath, pop in a bath bomb/bubble bath and let yourself relax.
- Podcast or audiobook. Listening to a podcast or audiobook really requires no effort and can be extremely relaxing. In my evening routine post, linked here, I discuss how I’ve started listening to podcasts in bed, in the dark, and honestly it is one of the best no effort self care act I can think of. If you need a recommendation I’m currently loving the High Low podcast ( they aren’t releasing any new episodes but I’ve recently discovered them and have been working my way through old episodes!)
- Skincare. I am not suggesting a pamper routine because that is not low effort, I mean just take off your makeup, wash your face, and leave it at that. If you can be bothered you could use an oil or do something like gua sha, but this step is just about pure self care and looking after your body on the most basic levels.
- Sit under a hot shower. Sounds rather weird and perhaps even dramatic but when I do it I feel like I’m in a different world and literally nothing else matters, it can be a nice thing to do when overthinking or when drained.
- Pinterest scroll. I am a Pinterest addict and could spend my life on there. There is something so relaxing, so low effort, about scrolling through it and creating boards. If you need a prompt, create a board of your favourite quotes, or perhaps of food you want to make! I’ve linked my blog Pinterest here and my personal one here if you need inspiration.
- Sort through an old drawer. This initially sounds like something you wouldn’t bother to do when down but hear me out. Pick one clothes draw, maybe your tshirts or underwear, and pull it all out. Put on a podcast or music and just fold all of it back up neatly and put it back in the drawer. The aim of this is not to focus on getting rid of things, it’s to reorganise and fold things back up so your drawer is all neat again. This is productive and low effort, you can zone out and rest your mind whilst doing it.
- Read a book you’ve read before. Read your comfort book, a book that you know the plot of so you don’t have to focus a lot. It is a nice way to get into the flow of something and detatch yourself from the world, but since you’ve read it before you won’t have to focus as much as you would a new book, because starting a new book when you are lacking energy never turns out too well.
- Colour. I seem to remember a time when adult colouring books went really popular and everyone bought loads. Is that only me? Regardless, colouring can be a relaxing, low effort activity to take you away from your screen, so if you have one of those adult colouring books ( or even an old child one) grab it out and do some colouring.
- Sit in childs pose. If you don’t do yoga you may not know what I’m talking about, but if you do I’m sure you’ll be nodding your head right now! Childs pose is a relaxing yoga pose that gives you a good stretch, but is comfortable enough for someone inflexible to sit in. You can do this pose for 10 minutes and just let your thoughts go in your head, almost like a meditation, but with less pressure. Focus on your breathing and feel how much your body relaxes in this pose. It is genuinely great. I’ll insert a picture below the list for you to check out if you haven’t done before- it’s very easy!
- Netflix or youtube bingeing session. I know it is great to get off your phone and off your screens when feeling down but sometimes, you’ve just got to allow it. Bingeing netflix is relaxing for a reason! Turn off your phone, grab a cup of tea, and sit down to binge some netflix or some youtube videos under a blanket. Spend the afternoon just curled up fully relaxing, when I was younger my mum used to call these days duvet days and I think that’s an accurate description.
So that’s it for now! Thank you for reading. I hope you can save this post and refer back to it when you are feeling super low and need something to do that requires little to no energy, lockdown or not. Have you discovered any of your own self care rituals you do when you’re deenergised? If so, I’d love to know!