Running is a way I manage stress and anxiety and it also keeps me productive, confident and living a more balanced and healthy life. But as runners, we often neglect to incorporate some basic self-care activities to rejuvenate our physical and mental wellbeing. A few weeks ago, I set myself a 5-Day Self-Care Challenge. I chose activities that were relatively easy and affordable but forced me to focus on myself in a specific way. This is what I chose and how it went…
DAY 1: Stretching and Foam Rolling. With all the running I do, I should be doing a lot more of this. But what happens most of the time is as soon as I’m done with my run, I move onto all the things on my agenda without taking any time to stretch or foam roll. So the first day of my challenge was to set aside 45 minutes to focus on my favourite stretching routines. I then grabbed (dusted off) my foam roller and focused on a few specific spots, ironing them out as best as I could. Although the foam roller is not my idea of relaxation, I never regret using it!
DAY 2: Foot Spa. Our feet do a lot of work for us but how often do we give them some love? I filled my home foot spa with bath salts and soaked them for about 20 minutes. If you don’t have a foot spa, a wide-brimmed bucket/tub works just as well. I then massaged them using some lotion and oils. If you’ve got someone to assist, great! But if not – I found doing it on my own still made a huge difference. If you’ve got extra time, why not paint your nails while you’re at it?
DAY 3: Hair Treatment. My hair so often gets neglected – I keep it clean and manageable but I don’t give it that extra care and attention it needs to feel healthy and lively, especially as it is so exposed to the harsh elements when I run. So I spent about an hour pre-pooing it and then did my normal shampoo routine, but this time, when I conditioned my hair, I sat under a heating contraption I have (and hardly ever use). I followed this with a proper detangling and LOC (liquid-oil-cream) routine. It felt like such a hassle but my hair loved me for it!
DAY 4: Bubble Bath. I can’t remember the last time I used the bath tub. In fact, a few years ago we renovated our en-suite bathroom and removed the tub to create more space! So my bubble bath had to be done in the kids’ bathroom. I removed the rubber ducks for a more luxurious feel, put some candles around the tub, dimmed the lights and sat back and relaxed. Initially, it felt awkward, then it became more relaxing but then I got impatient and knew it was time to get out! Later on in the week, I decided to use scented candles for a long shower and much preferred this. So if a tub is not your thing, I highly recommend this instead!
DAY 5: Hot Stone Treatment. I received a massage voucher from Mosha Wellness Spa so I finally made an appointment for the hot stone treatment. As always, this was absolute bliss and definitely my best self-care activity over the five days! I’m not sure how realistic this is, but I’d love to do this at least every 4 – 6 weeks.
This 5-day Self-Care Challenge was such a great exercise and on the final day I vowed that it shouldn’t end here. I’ve been feeling so rundown and I realise that a big part of this is not ensuring I take enough care of myself. This includes the often-forgotten basics like drinking enough water, reducing screen-time, getting more sleep, etc. So going forward I need to actively find ways to incorporate self-care into my regular routine. And I hope you do too!
What are you doing to ensure that self-care is part of your regular routine? What are your favourite self-care activities? Have you had a hot-stone massage before? When was the last time you had a bubble-bath?