“There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” So wrote poet Sylvia Plath in her novel The Bell Jar, whose central character has clinical depression. Hot baths are certainly a remedy I turn to when feeling out of sorts. There’s a reason my Twitter avatar is a bath filled with hot water.
Last weekend, I was with a group who took turns to share one thing they did to nurture themselves, as a pick-me-up, to relax. Naturally I mentioned my favourite cure all, the hot bath. One woman, when asked what she did to nurture herself, burst into tears and said she never had any time for herself. Then she remembered she’d recently had her nails done, and her nails were indeed a glorious deep berry colour. And, as we went round the group, we all learned new ways we could try out to relax ourselves.
I was really inspired by some of the suggestions, so thought I’d share them with the lovely Twitter people and at the same time ask them for their tips. If you can’t think of some way to nurture yourself, or are looking for some inspiration from things that work for others, take a look at the suggestions below and in the linked Storify story of tweets where there are many more.
I’m pretty sure there’s something for everyone! And if you have a tip of your own to share, please feel free to comment below or tweet me to be added to the Storify story of tweets.
Here are some things the women in the group said they did to relax, to nurture themselves, to care for themselves:
“I sit in a coffee shop & watch people.”
“On Sunday, when I go for my long run, I take off my watch, leave my phone behind & just go.”
“I read gossip magazines like Okay. It feels good to focus on something completely superficial.”
“I put on my snuggly dressing gown. Whatever I’m doing, it’s really comforting.”
“One Sunday a month, I turn everything electrical off for the whole day.”
“Walking in nature” & “Walking my dogs.”
“On summer afternoons, I lie on the trampoline in the garden in the sunshine. In winter, I watch TV series.”
“I go to a spa or get a pedicure” & “I paint my nails”.
“I try on clothes in expensive shops!”
“I sit on my prayer mat & imagine it’s a magic carpet transporting me somewhere calm.”
“I spray my favourite perfume in the air” & “I use aromatherapy oils”.
Here are some suggestions from the lovely Twitter people when I asked the following:
What helps you to nurture yourself when you’re feeling out of sorts? What says “me time” to you? What do you to relax? What are your tips? #howIrelax
- I bake, put radio 4 on and create yummy food … lifts my spirits always (Fibrogirl @fibro_girl)
- I always watch police programmes – watch someone else get into trouble for a change! (Petrolhead999 @Petrolhead999)
- My garden, birdwatching, long hot bubble baths, my cats and music (I make ‘rescue’ cds/playlists) for when things are bleak (Liz (@redliz)
- Do something you enjoy: baking, reading, dancing, seeing friends/family, walking, running, painting. Put a hole in your stress bucket. (LYPFT Library @lypftlib)
- Hot bath,relaxing music, undersea nature documentary, drawing/painting/collage, writing poetry and masturbation (Michael Brown @brownie1983)
- Long hot bubble bath seconded. (Stroppy Ambo Woman @Stroppyambo)
- Watching my pets, baking, knitting, youtubing animals. (Just another one @priorynutter)
- With mental health specifically: just stopping & forgetting any responsibility I feel to “work through” the feelings of anxiety & depression. (Coffee Zombie @xcoffeezombiex)
- I play the keyboard. When low it brings me out of myself, when high it burns off rocket fuel safely (Polarbearcub @megandoodah)
- Knitting, as it helps to keep my mind and my body occupied. I also essential oils as smell is an easy distraction technique. (Bexatron @DuckBeaki)
- Bath, music, horlicks, clean sheets. oh, and crochet! (Ceri Jones @liberatedwomble)
- People watching is great. Listen to music. (ForeverMorrissey @Mozgirl71)
- I take a nice long hot bubble bath, light some incense and candles and play calming music (Sarah @sarahxXx1990)
- I tend to put headphones on to block out the world with music or a marathon of a favorite tv show. (Roiben @roiben)
- I’ve always been helped by music, both listening and playing, can relax, elate, or show you’re not on your own (Shaun Blezard @cluttermusic)
- I watch the sunrise, and sunset! (Rokayah415 @Rokayah415)
- Read novels, swim, workout at the gym, pat my cat, go shopping (not food), watch movies (Anna Butterfly @aButterfly123)
- As a nerd I play computer games to purge my mind of the insanity of my day. Nothing like wiping out Alien hordes to destress (Notjarvis @notjarvis)
- Has to be the relax cd by Paul McKenna for me with benzoin aromatherapy oil! (Michelle @oldtrouty)
- Favourite music, lush baths & clouds. Oh … and Twitter – for good virtual support from good people. (Kimbohud @Kimbohud)
If you have any suggestions of your own, please comment below, or tweet me to be added to the Storify story (check it out – there are many more helpful suggestions here too).
- Storify story “How I relax” of my tweets & those of others. (Last week I learned from Victoria Betton (@VictoriaBetton) that asking people to contribute in this way is called “crowd sourcing”!)
- Another good way (backed up by science) for reducing stress and anxiety is to look at images of nature & other cute stuff – so I also have a page of cute stuff that I update as I come across new material.
- Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar was in the news last week when a new 50th anniversary edition was issued with a controversial “chick lit” cover (pictured above) – eg “The Bell Jar’s new cover derided for branding Sylvia Plath novel as chick lit” (Guardian, 1st February 2013)