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9 self-care rituals that’ll soothe your anxiety

More than just treating yourself to a hot bath and a bar of Cadburys

By George Driver  November 27th, 2017

Self-care. It’s more than just the latest buzzword popping up in ‘inspirational’ Instagram posts. It’s choosing to prioritise your own standards of happiness, above those other people might project upon you. Self-care is about being good to yourself. But more importantly, it’s about being good to your mental health.

So that might mean sleeping in until 12 without punishing yourself for being ‘lazy’, spending forty minutes putting your make-up on, saying no to plans with people you don’t want to see (even though you have nowhere else to be), going on holiday to a destination you’ve always wanted to visit but is by no means Insta-worthy.

It’s about allowing yourself the time and space to be all the good/bad/totally badass versions of you without giving them a hard time for even existing.

“Self-care isn’t a new term, teaching or concept, but now, more than ever, we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired”, says Jayne Hardy author of The Self-Care Project. “Self care is a nod to that and gives us the permission, that we so often don’t give to ourselves, that taking care of our needs is okay. In fact, it’s more than okay, it’s complete and utter common sense.”

But is there such a thing as getting self-care wrong?

“I don’t think there’s a legitimate argument against any form of self-care if it truly meets a person’s needs. Only you will really know what self-care means for you”, says Hardy. “The truth about self-care is that it’s nearly always not fluffy; it can be downright boring.

“But don’t be fooled — being boring doesn’t diminish its importance nor its epic transformational abilities. It’s a short- and long-term approach that allows you to be the captain of your own ship.”

We caught up with eight pros to lend you their go-to self-care rituals, so read on, and give yourself a little self love. You, and your mental health, deserve it.

Kate Freemantle, acupuncturist And herbalist

“To me, self-care is about self-awareness and maintaining balance. Getting to know yourself and how you can manage your energies positively in all areas, physically , emotionally and spiritually. We all lead very stressful lives nowadays with excess stimulation, to balance this we need to look into areas of our lives where we can include more downtime, quiet reflection and calm.”

Self-care ritual

“I ask my patients to try a month of lying down for 5 minutes on a yoga mat and doing breathing exercises when they walk through the door to switch off from work. They tend to find their energies and evenings take on a much more relaxed flow and they don’t rush to get all their chores done, but approach them in a much more relaxed manner and thus feel calmer and sleep better.”

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Caroline Kremer, breathing expert

“Self-care is what we do for ourselves that reminds us we are important and need nurturing. So self nurture.”

Self-care ritual

“Breakfast. My favourite meal of the day. I chop up mango, papaya, banana, figs, add some apple and blueberries that have been carefully washed, I pour over a tablespoon of coconut oil, add a sprinkle of turmeric and a grind of black pepper (I know it sounds odd but it releases the good bits from the turmeric!), bee pollen, and some pumpkin seeds. My husband adds a dollop of yogurt to his. It leaves me feeling like I’ve treated my body to some good fuel to start me off on my day.

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Kate Kerr, facialist

“Self-care is almost like balancing the chaos and staying grounded, which is vital for good mental health — it’s being able to look at the growing to-do list, that never quite gets completed and telling yourself that it’s okay, because you’re constantly adding new goals and not having definite deadlines on everything is normal!”

Self-care ritual

“My beauty rituals are so important to me. I was always self-conscious of my skin and it was a constant battle for me to maintain, so having clear, healthy skin makes me feel more confident and on top of things. I’m vigilant about sticking to my morning and evening skincare regimes and I also have acupuncture, which really helps when my mind feels chaotic and keeps me grounded.”


Lola Ross, nutritional therapist

“Nourish the body and mind by eating unprocessed foods, exercising daily and train yourself to think kind thoughts and speak kind words about yourself and others. As the saying goes “The words you speak become the house you live in”. So make your words loving and positive.”

Self-care ritual

“Clear your bedroom of electronic devices like phones, TVs and laptops so that you reduce energy-zapping electromagnetic radiation and aren’t over stimulated before bed. I like to burn essential oils such as rose or lavender to help promote peacefulness and create the perfect sanctuary before I drift off.”

Katie Jane Hughesmake-up artist

“Self care is key for good mental health because we give so much of our self to other things and other people it can easily feel draining. I’m learning the art of saying no at times and it sure makes a difference.”

Self care ritual

“Tidying the house is one I love. I feel so happy when I’ve got a clean tidy home and I’ve had a bit of a workout too. The music is on, and the organising begins — I love it when I’m in the tidying mood.”

Andrew Wallas, the modern day wizard

“Self-care (or for me, self-love) is the key to everything, including a better functioning planet; because if I can care for myself then I will care for others.”

Self-care ritual

“Play in any form. Set boundaries. Hug a tree.”

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Jacqueline Hurst, hypnotherapist

“Self-care starts in the mind. Self-esteem and self-worth come from the mind and once you have those, self care becomes effortless.”

Self-care ritual

“I check my thoughts often. If I feel crappy, I have to ask myself, “What am I thinking to make myself feel this way?”, that way I can change the feeling and feel better! I find a pen and a pencil super helpful here because when I see it written down in black and white, I then get the opportunity to see it clearly and to change it.”


Phoebe Collings-James, artist

“For me, self-care is about identifying the things that cause me to feel most on the edge and finding ways to stop me tipping over.”

Self-care ritual

“Move! Either go out, or stay in dancing, I do yoga, go for a walk, anything to untangle the knots of stress in my body. I draw and scream and write, I try to get all the things whirling around in my head out, somehow.”

Akcelina Cvijetic, ultimate wellbeing specialist

“Self-care involves our ability to switch off, be present and do something we enjoy. It is also about replacing self-judgements and comparisons with self-compassion, kindness and acceptance. When we look after ourselves we create ripple effects for others.”

Self care ritual –

“Set aside some time daily to sit in silence and practice a mindful breath meditation. Close your eyes and breathe a deep, slow breath in through your nostrils. Observe it as it moves into your sinuses, throat, lungs, your heart and your tummy. Notice it and feel it as it sits in your tummy for a few seconds. Then gently release the breath and observe it as it gently moves up from your tummy into your lungs, your sinuses, through your nostrils and out. Repeat for a few minutes to experience an instant calm if you feel stressed and short on time.”