In times of difficulty - and yes, sanitising your groceries because of a world-wide pandemic does count as a difficult time - it’s more important than ever for us to slow down and show a little kindness to ourselves.
But first: try unclenching your jaw, removing your tongue from the roof of your mouth and relaxing your shoulders that have unknowingly crept up towards your ears.
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Despite what you see on social media, self-care is in no way a one-shoe-fits-all affair. We mean, if this past year of complete cabin fever has taught us anything, it’s that what may have worked previously to help us unwind in a life before lockdown, might not have quite the same effect on us nowadays.
Our bodies and our minds are craving new routines and sometimes, a bubble bath just ain't gonna cut it. So, what does self-care look like these days?
For some, this will be watching Bridgeton marathons whilst cradling a glass of rogue, others may find it by sweating their stress, dropping into a virtual world, or taking that one step closer to self-employment. The real question, is what is your self-care secret?
Whether you’re curious, or genuinely in need of a little wellness inspo, below are a variety of tried and tested self-care routines, and the words of the lovely Gymshark staff members behind them.
Read on to explore our favourite self-care tips ’n tricks...
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Chloe Perkins - Influencer Marketing Executive
"Prioritising sleep hygiene and getting lost in books.
"Like most, when I’m feeling the effects of a mental health spiral my sleep is one of the first things to go. And also like most, I know how sleep is a maaaajooorrrr essential in my day-to-day mood, hangry-ness and just general will to do anything.
"So whether my anxiety is building or there’s been a hiccup in my life, the first thing I prioritise is my winding down routine. From a bubble bath using Lush’s sleepy range to spraying a lavender mist on a silk pillow - all aid in helping me get an extra few hours and uplifting my mood a few notches.
"Intertwined with this is my ever growing colour co-ordinated bookshelf and piled high TBR list. But find a fiction, whether that’s an en-grossing thriller or page flipping chick-lit, to get lost in. The imaginary world really helps me deal with the one we’ve got right now. So of course my favourite moments and true happy place is combining these both - when I’m clean out the bath and lathered in moisturiser, to slide into fresh sheets and break the spine on a read."
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Laura Blythe - CRM Manager
"A tan makes everything feel better.
"When I’m feeling low or in need of a confidence boost, I almost always turn to a bottle of the dark stuff… not spiced rum this time, but Bondi Sands extra dark.
"A good fake tan can cover a multitude of sins and give you a little pick-me-up when you don’t feel like you’re looking your best.
Don’t just slap it on either, really enjoy the process.
Hot shower with a good exfoliating scrub.
Moisturise the dry areas - knees, elbows, ankles, wrists.
Top tip for blondes; add a little Vaseline to your hairline to act as a barrier.
I prefer a foam tan and apply with a mitt always! As an extra treat use a big bronzer type brush to apply to your face.
Pop on a tune that always gets you moving and dance around until dry to touch.
Tip stolen from Mrs Hinch; sleep inside a single duvet cover to avoid tan stains on the bed sheets!"
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Madeleine Rhodes - Senior Editor
"A hot shower, Glossier’s Moon Mask & one of my Nanna’s famous rock cakes (fresh out the oven, with a cup of tea to slurp on ofc).
"My alter-ego really wanted me to say that I go out and exercise to the point where I sweat my stress indefinitely. But who am I kidding? That routine has not happened in a long while. And I'm absolutely okay with it.
"Instead, I’ve swapped the hugging Lycra for a hug from my warm shower - something which chills my mind out completely and lets me fully recharge. I also decided to invest in a stellar, super moisturising face mask during lockdown 2.0 which I now slather on (albeit still sparingly), post-shower for some serious skin-loving magic.
"But the real self-care 'love' comes from my Nanna's famous rock cake recipe. These 'lil cakes are something I grew up on as a child, and now, as soon as I smell them baking bring back such blissful memories. Pair one of those fresh out of the oven with a good brew, and blimey, I'm as good as being 10-years-old again - back in my Nanna's house, curled up on the sofa with my family."
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Jenni Harrison - Senior Producer
Dog walks and coffee. In no particular order.
"Scheduling in dog walks with that one other person between meetings and before it gets dark, gets me through the week!
"Weekends have become an extravagant version of this! My boyfriend and I will get a takeout (recent fav: Steamhouse Bagels - we see a lot of GS ppl in the queue here!), and then we’ll go for a big walk and eat our bagels on a bench somewhere.
"I really look forward to these walks and actually start planning them in the week. Any good B’ham based coffee shops/dog walk recommendations, let me know!"
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(Illustrations by: @jodannadesign)
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Grace Brough - Senior Campaign Executive
"Being organised in as many ways as possible helps me focus and feel calm.
Start the day with enough time to look and feel good, by showering & doing my makeup the same I would for a normal day. It seems a little sad, but the worse I feel, the more I try and make an effort. It's almost like a self confidence boost, getting myself out of that sluggish feeling and the occasional nice comment (even on zoom) is just a nice little feel good!
Always have time for a quick chat! Sometimes we are jumping from one meeting to another and talking about work work work, but as we would if we were grabbing at coffee at work or having lunch with everyone, I try to spend a little time having a nice life chat in the day to make everything feel less robotic!
Get out the house, even if it's just a quick walk, but it's a must to help me sleep and get the fresh air.
MAKE LISTS ALWAYS! The unknown stresses me out, so when I write it down & look at what I need to do/am thinking about, it's 9/10 much less that I am worrying about.
Finally something I do to chill & mentally feel organised is meal prep, the more I can help future me the better, so I try spend time on Sunday/mid-week cooking (1. because I love it/& food lol) but also, less little things you have to think/worry about, the better."
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Chloe Lansbury - Social Content Executive
"Sometimes self-care can be found in caring for others.
"My routine is super simple but it's finding the time to be with loved ones, and going on walks with my boyfriend and my puppy.
"Whilst we can't physically 'be' with anyone else at the moment, just simply calling my mom and nan, not for any reason, but just to chat, gossip and feel like we are together again."
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Rebecca Shipton - Senior Social Channel Specialist
"There's nothing quite better than dropping out of the real world into a virtual one.
"For Gymshark66 2021, I took a pledge to journal every single day. I have journaled before, but I left it very open ended... I sometimes didn't know what to focus on or would end up going down a negative spiral. It felt more like a chore, than something that was going to help me.
"This time round I've helped myself by finding many different prompts on Pinterest. I don't apply any pressure to follow a set, strict list of what to write - I just pick one I am feeling that day, and let my pen do the rest. Writing this only 11 days into this year's challenge, the difference it has made to my mindset, wellbeing and progress towards my goal of loving myself unapologetically is monumental. Every day I am reminded of my little feats, and contributions towards self love.
"And then there's my gaming. It isn't just for the boys. Whether it's a couple of hours on Apex Legends or building up a desert island from scratch on Animal Crossing: New Horizons - there's nothing quite better than dropping out of the real world into a virtual one."
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Megan Kimberley - Sponsorship Executive
Reduce screen time.
"100% with you for those who have said fake tan! It makes me feel so much better and more ‘me’ having a glow haha.
"Kind of cliché, but my self-care always involves reading and getting stuck into a good book - I love to read a variety of different genres throughout the year.
"I use IG for recommendations & @meganellaby always gives the best. Reading helps me to step away from my phone and reduce my screen time (which I so desperately need to do!)
"I also love spending time with my little dachshund puppy Reggie, being only 4 months old he is the CUTEST most lovable little thing who gives lots of cuddles so the perfect remedy to switch off."
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Samantha Cubbins - Senior Lifting Club Coach
Listen to what your body wants and needs.
"I love spending time alone. As a social/out-going creature, part of my self-care routine is walking my dog on my own, or, just sitting in a room we call the 'girls room' - it's pink, has heaps of blankets, cute decor and is something I share with my step-daughter.
A good TAN! I'd book a holiday when we could haha, but now it's from a bottle of St. Tropez! So simple. Their face mist is awesome.
I'll set myself goals, intentions and non-negotiables for work, health and household so that I get everything I want to do done. I have a journal which I use to time block. I see this as a huge part of my self-care as it helps me reduce stress! Cuz there is always so much I want to do, and so many people I want to help!
Food. I love eating. I feed my body what it needs and wants.
Plenty of WATER!
I love to learn new skills - last weekend I bought some DJ decks, so always having cool activities to learn 100% adds to my self-care.
Enough SLEEP. I love SLEEP.
Music. It's always on."
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Today is a new day. As is tomorrow. And every day still yet to come.
Please take some time to look after yourself and find a self-care routine that works for you physically, mentally and emotionally.
If you are struggling and do need to talk someone, be it for direction or distraction, Deload is on-call to help take the weight off your mind. - explore Deload here.
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This might be tough, but we will be tougher.