You’ve no doubt read about the importance of “self-care”, the idea of looking after yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s easy to get so caught up in studies, keeping up with friends and fulfilling family expectations that there is no time to focus on ourselves.
But if you don’t take care of yourself, and your physical or mental health suffer, you can’t succeed in any area of life.
So, with exam period in full swing for HKDSE students, and bearing down on the rest of Hong Kong, here are our favourite ways to practise self-care. We hope they inspire you.
As I’m getting older, self-care means making more of an effort to take care of my body, so I try to do some form of exercise at least twice a week. I also like to relax by reading, and playing video games. I’m also starting to realise that I can’t solve every problem by myself (whether at work or in personal relationships) so I remind myself that not everything is my responsibility. I hope everyone can learn this lesson earlier in life.
Jamie Lam, Special projects editor
I make time for self-care on Sundays. It can range from something completely free (spending an extra hour in bed), costs a smidgen (a chai latte and three hours in a coffee shop with my Kindle), a little more than that (eating sushi until I’m fit to burst? Okay), or obscenely pricey (a full day at a five-star spa, thanks). Each one is about making time to indulge myself and ensuring my needs are met without having to worry about anyone else first.
Ginny Wong, Sub-editor
Walking home from work instead of taking the MTR or bus is an easy way to fit self-care into my day (because I need to get home somehow). I usually like to take the longer, quieter route home, and listen to music or an audiobook as I walk. It really helps me shake off all my agitation from the day, so that by the time I’m home, I’m able to wind down and have a good night’s sleep.
Charlotte Ames-Ettridge, Sub-editor
On Sundays, I make sure I wake up early and either go for a mini hike or spend an hour at the gym. I love starting the day by getting a sweat on and my heart rate up. There’s something especially rewarding about being up and out early in nature, when the rest of Hong Kong is sleeping or getting ready for work. I love ending my day with a long shower and a good book, before tucking in for the night.
Rhea Mogul, Junior reporter club manager
Cooking is my favourite stress-relief activity. I enjoy looking for interesting recipes online and hacking them to suit my budget and taste. It also helps me to take my mind off things. There is something therapeutic about creating a dish from scratch, experimenting with different ingredients, and sharing the end product with friends and family. I also feel a sense of accomplishment when I manage to recreate my version of a fancy recipe.
Doris Wai, Multimedia producer
I like to make sure I have at least one night during the week to myself, when I don’t have any plans with friends or chores/work to do at home. I take that night to do all the things that relax me, starting with a long bath with my favourite music playing in the background. Then I light a scented candle and either read, watch one of my favourite movies, doodle in this massive sketchbook I have, or close my eyes and listen to a Harry Potter audiobook, depending on how I’m feeling that day.
Nicole Moraleda, Sub-editor
I am so lucky to have a dog, Ms Julie Bee. If the weather is kind, I like to take her for a walk up to the park and throw a ball around. If it’s raining, that’s even better, because Ms Julie likes water. She likes to pat it with her paws and walk through it. If I let her, she rolls in it and runs through it and we both end up rather dirty. Laughing and playing with her is the best medicine.
Susan Ramsay, Editor
I make a point of getting away, by myself, a few times a year. You might not be old enough to go on an overseas beach holiday or city break alone, but you almost certainly are old enough to spend a few hours sitting on a beach in Hong Kong by yourself. There’s something about sitting with a book and not having any responsibilities other than to my own well being for a short time, that really restores my soul, and sets me up to be even more excited about everyday life.
Karly Cox, Deputy editor
When I’m stressed or not feeling myself, I usually call my friends on Discord (Skype for gamers) and have a marathon gaming session with them. If the weather is nice, we might even venture out of our mancaves for some basketball or an all-you-can-eat buffet. I think the best cure for stress is your friends: hang out with them and make some good memories.
Alejo Lo, Videographer
When I have time, perhaps over the weekend, I give myself an at-home facial. I start with a detoxifying DIY mask, followed by a richly hydrating one. Then I ignore all forms of social media interaction to veg out on my couch, catch up with my favourite YouTubers, and cuddle my kitties. On a daily basis, I always make sure to enjoy my evening skincare regime. Like Jonathan Van Ness says, “It’s not vanity, it’s self-care, hunny!”
Heidi Yeung, Web editor
Having some me-time is my favourite way of practising self-care for my mental health, whether the time is used for reading, writing, practising yoga, or just spacing out. I’ve learned that physical self-care is also very important as I get older, and now I try to make sure I drink lots of water, sleep early whenever I can, and take vitamin supplements.
Nicola Chan, Reporter