33 Self Care Ideas to Nurture Yourself

How's your self care these days?

With Mother's Day coming up on the weekend coupled with a busy time at work and having a lot of feelings, I've been working on my own self care this month. As a self-admitted perfectionist who sometimes feels like they need to be "on" or "doing something" all the time, it needs to be a choice for me to slow down. And it isn't always easy. 

But I know I'm better for it when I slow down, give myself some time and get on the self care piece. 

I've been thinking a lot about what self care looks like for me, and wanted to share some ideas for ways to practice self care in your own life -- as a regular practice, but also in times when you really need to nourish your soul. For me that looks like busier than normal periods in my life, but also tough days like Mother's Day or my mom's death anniversary. It's an important habit to get into. You deserve it!

Here are 33 self care ideas to help you nurture yourself:
  1. Take a walk
  2. Read your favourite book
  3. Workout
  4. Nap
  5. Take a bath
  6. Watch your favourite movie/show/Netflix series (bonus points for a full season)
  7. Go out for brunch
  8. Buy yourself flowers, a cactus or succulent
  9. Get a manicure, pedicure or facial
  10. Journal
  11. See a show or concert
  12. Spend time with someone special
  13. Go to an art gallery or museum
  14. Meditate
  15. Sing
  16. Bake some donuts
  17. Say no
  18. Shut down your technology and take a social media break
  19. Do something crafty or artistic
  20. Diffuse essential oils or light some candles
  21. Spend time with animal friends
  22. Go to a farmer's market and make a nourishing meal
  23. Phone / Skype / Facetime a friend
  24. Play
  25. Make an awesome playlist and have a dance party
  26. Enjoy the sunshine / rain / stars
  27. Make a pot of tea
  28. Colour
  29. Go to your favourite coffee shop and have the best warm beverage
  30. Hang out in nature or near water
  31. Learn an instrument (or practice that one you used to play)
  32. Go for a bike ride
  33. Breathe
Over the past two weeks, I've been working hard at numbers 3, 4, 6, 12, 15, 17, 18, 20, 23, 27 and 33.

Ways to practice self care

One of my best friends came for a visit and brought me beautiful flowers. Time with her + tulips = 2 wins in one!

ways to practice self care

And since the weekend I've been teaching myself ukulele (you can follow my adventures over on Instagram!) Learning something new in a gentle way plus having the opportunity to sing and surround myself with music I love has been a very positive thing for my mental health this week. 

Whether you're going through a stressful time, find yourself losing momentum in the hustle or just need a little bit of TLC -- make some time in the near future to do something nice for yourself by practicing some good self care. (Pin this for future reference!)

Self care ideas to nurture yourself

What are your favourite ways to practice self care?

The Unicorn Frappuccino is a Disgrace to Unicorns

Unicorn Frappuccino

Guys, unicorns are awesome 🦄🦄🦄

The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino however, is not.

The internet has been agog over the last couple days about the limited edition Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino.

People like Starbucks. 
People like unicorns. 
People like pretty things to post on Instagram and show the world how much fun they're having.

I would hope that people would also like things that are delicious and filled with less than 60g of sugar in one serving - oh yes, that's what's happening in the Unicorn Frappuccino. 

Courtesy of various syrups and sugars that make up this concoction, this rainbow-hued beverage has 59g of sugar in just one cup (and that's if you go for a Grande - a Venti has more than 75g of sugar)

59g of sugar. 
In a beverage. 
You don't even get to chew it. 

Having a Venti is like the equivalent of eating 3 Snickers bars. That's insane. 

We know that increased sugar intake has bad effects on our body, right?

One of the things that freaks me out about this drink is the "sour blue powder" -- aside from oranges, there's no good flavour that is described merely by its colour. If you've eaten any candy in your life, you can probably reflect on what 'red' or 'yellow' tastes like. "Sour blue" is not a flavour I want to slurp up. Ever. 

I've also seen the flavour described as a "creamy, mango white mocha". Those are not things that should go together. 

I was actually shocked by the number of these things that popped up in my newsfeed this week - but no one was shouting from the rooftops about it, proclaiming their love and how they wanted to go back for another. When I posted about it on my Facebook on Wednesday night, someone mentioned drinking one and feeling ill all day, and another chucked hers in the trash after 3 sips (and the aforementioned pretty Instagram photo)

And the only people who are having fun are the people who are ripping it to shreds all over the internet, because surely the baristas aren't enjoying it, and neither are the people shelling out $6-$7 for one.

Unicorn Frappuccino vs Shakeology

I wanted to compare the Unicorn Frap to Shakeology, as it's something I drink each day.

Looking at the ingredients side by side is a no brainer - the frap has 7 different kinds of sugar, a variety of artificial colours and a whole lot of no thank you. Shakeology is full of vegan protein sources, superfoods and greens. Shakeology isn't sugar free - but has less sugar than an apple, and those sugars are derived from non-refined sources. It's also significantly higher in protein and fibre (Protein 16g vs. 5g, Fibre 5g vs. 0g) which is going to help stabilize your blood sugar and impact your feelings of satiety (feeling more full)

Shakeology may not be rainbow coloured or unicorn themed, but I'll take a glass of that any day over a glass of rainbow coloured sugar with mango flavouring and sour blue dust.

I definitely have a sweet tooth and it's taken me a long time to deal with my sugar cravings. I still enjoy a treat now and again, but having my chocolate shake each day definitely helps to manage. Breakfast that tastes like cake, but works like a salad? Yes please!

One of the best things I've seen said about the Unicorn Frappuccino is that "it's where unicorn spirits go to die" and that pretty much sums it up. It's only got a few days left of the menu, and hopefully it won't make a comeback.

Let's just go back to unicorns being awesome, ok? 

The Things I Would Have Told Myself

I'm gearing up for a really fun weekend that includes my birthday and latest cabaret, "The Things I Would Have Told Myself".

I often find myself reflecting on the things I've learned on my birthday. I've celebrated quite a few since writing this blog. I still believe in the manifesto I created last year and I'm still trying to figure out all of this grown up stuff.

The show is going to be about all of that, plus the advice I would have shared with myself along the way. I wish I could go back and tell myself that I wouldn't get married in my 20s, offer some sage advice on the people I should (and shouldn't have dated) and share details of the future to my younger self that probably would have made me squeal.

When I moved into my new apartment at the beginning of this year, it marked the start of a new chapter for me. Not only was it the end of my relationship, but it also marked the first time that I've ever lived on my own. I worried that I would get lonely or that I just wouldn't feel comfortable - I wish I would have had the opportunity to do it sooner.

Living in my own space has been such a blessing for me. I love not talking to people. Leaving things in a spot and then returning to find them exactly there. Having friends over. Enjoying a whole fridge to myself and not having to share shelves. Keeping it tidy (or not). Decorating and creating the space that I want to live in. And accumulating a glorious collection of throw pillows on my bed and couch. 

I still think it would be charming to go back and tell my 8 year old self all the things I know now, but the list of lessons learned seems to grow longer as the days and years pass by. I doubt my younger self would have listened to any of this, but it might have been nice to try.

I'm looking forward to spending the weekend with people I adore, enjoying some shenanigans, treating myself to some red wine and cake and having the opportunity to do what I love onstage whilst sharing some innermost thoughts with the crowd.

33, let's do this. 

If you'd like to come celebrate with me on Sunday at 7pm at Club 120 (above 120 Diner), you can get your tickets here.

Saying Goodbye to Honest Ed's and Mirvish Village

As a native Torontonian, I was incredibly sad when it was announced that Honest Ed's would be closing.

My first memories of Honest Ed's come from when I was in elementary school. My Nana would take me back to school shopping there and we'd hunt down the best Yikes erasers and coloured pens. When I was in musical theatre college, Ed's was my hub for batteries, cassette tapes for my dictaphone and the occasional snack.

Over the years I would find myself shopping inside for toboggans, men's ties, home decor and random souvenirs.

I spent many a late night in the alley chatting the night away during the Fringe. It was always impossible to leave because by the time you got to the end of the alley you would have run into at least 7 other people you knew and someone would inevitably offer to buy you a drink.

I was happy that I was able to visit the building one last time, during its closing weekend in an amazing event called an Honest Farewell.

There was beautiful art installations, performances and a chance to visit all sorts of neat nooks and crannies, whilst getting lost one last time. I explored, watched some theatre, listened to music, ran into all sorts of friends and reminisced all of the time that I had spent amid Ed's treasures.

The end of Honest Ed's also means the end of Mirvish Village - including one of my very favourite restaurants: Butler's Pantry.

In December I felt an inclination to go visit and have dinner. I started going to Butler's during college, and had some really special meals there with friends, as well as great solo time doing work or learning lines. I knew the menu by heart and the Butler's salad dressing is like no other.

By complete coincidence, that dinner in December turned out to be its closing dinner service. The owner came over and comped our meal. I was thankful that I felt compelled to go when I did. It happened during the end of December when everything in my life was changing, and it as a pretty special experience. They still have a location on Roncesvalles, but I know that it will never feel the same as those giant window booths.

It's barely been a month since the big bash, but the lights are off and there's graffiti covering the building. It will be so strange to see it torn down and a condo erected in its place. Rumour has it that the sign will be incorporated somehow, but it will never be the same. The Fringe tent will move this summer and we'll have to adapt to a whole new setup.

I already miss the iconic lights at the corner of Bathurst and Bloor, and all the great memories along the way.

with photos by Corbin Smith

How I Grieve

It's February 24th, which means that it's the 19th anniversary of my mother's death.

Year after year, February throws me into a tizzy and leaves me feeling sad. I've shared before the idea that grief is like the seasons - ever changing, but always present. While I know this and believe it, February continues to hit me like a tonne of bricks every year.

My mom isn't buried in a cemetery, nor do I have a place to visit her in any way, so each year my blog has become a forum for me to honour her memory and reflect on each new season of grief. This is where I'm at today.

It's ok to not be ok.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Most of us are guilty of reassuring people that we're ok. I myself found myself telling my therapist that I was "mostly ok" -- and that's totally fine if it's true. But it's also really ok if it's not. And it's also ok to admit it.

In this glossy, social media-driven world it's easy to view one another's lives as polished, easy, ideal or even perfect. But you never really know what's happening behind the photo or what their expression looks like in between camera clicks.

I encourage you to truly ask those around you how they are and adequately prepare yourself for a real and true answer. It's not always sunshine, rainbows and unicorns -- and that's really ok.

And in those darker days, I encourage you to reach out. Ask for help if you need/want it. Practice self care that helps you to feel safe. And do your best to find a glimpse of light in the darkness, just to make the day a tiny bit easier.

Feelings are valid, whatever they are

In past years I've gotten down on myself for anticipating February 24th or just feeling upset as soon as the calendar turned to February. I've worried about being "too upset" or "getting myself worked up". I've been working to remember that my feelings are valid and normal and it's totally ok to feel what I'm feeling. Getting anxious over "getting too upset" doesn't serve anyone, especially me.

Grief is such a difficult thing - it comes in waves and sometimes hits you when you least expect it. There are so many things that have triggered my grief - other deaths, special occasions, difficult life changes, happy life changes, photos, memories, conversations -- the list goes on and on.

I've found myself feeling sad over the last few weeks and doing my best to practice self care, but I've had moments where I've been paralyzed by grief. I've started and ended workouts really quickly, cancelled plans and put myself in bed to manage my emotions. I've been having some really helpful conversations with my therapist and being honest with where I'm at day to day, hour to hour.

I read this quote last night in Brené Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection "owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do", which rang especially true.

Showing or expressing feelings is not a sign of weakness. It's not a competition to try and be better or stronger. Feelings are valid - whatever they are.

19 years later, it's still important for me to honour my mom

I moved into my new apartment on January 1st and I've been enjoying making it my own and creating little projects for myself. One of the things that makes me really happy is that there are lots of pictures of my mom throughout my space. I look up in most rooms and she's there.

My mom wasn't a huge fan of having her photo taken, so each of these photos feels like a pretty special gift. Having these photos, talking about her, sharing my thoughts through social media helps me to feel closer to her.

I'm afraid of next year

It blows my mind that 19 years have passed since I've had any contact or a conversation with my mom. I have no frame of reference for what it would be like to have her in my life. I'm an entirely different, grown up person from 13 year old me.

If I'm being totally honest, next year's anniversary scares me a lot. Two decades. 7300 days. Her physical presence in my life feels like more than a lifetime ago. 20 years feels like it has added significance somehow.

Today I will feel what I need to feel. I will continue to practice good self care, surround myself with wonderful people who I love, take time and space to feel safe and remind myself that whatever my feelings are today, they're valid, real and significant.

"As far as I can see, grief will never truly end. It may become softer over time, more gentle, and some days will feel sharp. But grief will last as long as love does -- forever. It's simply the way the absence of your loved one manifests in your heart. A deep longing, accompanied by the deepest love. Some days, the heavy fog may return, and the next day, it may recede, once again. It's all an ebb and flow, a constant dance of sorrow and joy, pain and sweet love." - Scribbles & Crumbs

Therapy Doesn't Have to Be a Taboo #BellLetsTalk

Two weeks ago, I opened up on my Facebook about going to therapy. The response that I received what phenomenal and I was overwhelmed by the incredible support, love, reassurance and conversation that ensued. Given that today is Bell Let's Talk day, it seemed fitting to keep the conversation going. 

I want to talk about a subject that can be really taboo in our society:


I've been seeing a therapist over the last few months as I worked through challenges in my relationship and now in the aftermath of our break-up. I have an appointment tonight and I'm so thankful to have someone outside of my normal life to talk through the way I'm feeling right now.

Before this, I hadn't had a very positive experience with going to therapy or working with a therapist. I tried once when I was in college and another time in my 20s. I didn't jive with the therapists and was basically told I was "fine".

As someone with a lot of feelings, I had an instinct that seeing a therapist would be a beneficial thing, but both of those experiences kind of rubbed me the wrong way and made me pessimistic about the potential of seeing someone else. I also felt like I had a good support network and that I was pretty good at handling things on my own.

That changed when things started to get hard in my relationship. We were working through some difficult things and I was trying to navigate through a lot of unfamiliar, vulnerable and scary feelings.

A friend recommended my current therapist and she ended up being a great fit. For the first time, my needs felt heard and I jived with her approach.

Asking for help can be really scary, but it's so important.

Going to a therapist doesn't make you weak.
It doesn't make you a bad person.
It doesn't mean you're "too emotional".
Or that you are incapable of handling your shit.

Asking for help and learning more about your feelings actually makes you really, really REALLY brave.

And if you're like me and didn't necessarily have a good experience the first or second go round, take your time and try to connect with someone else - who follows a different modality or comes with a recommendation from someone you know/trust.

If finances are a concern for you, there are programs you can access to find someone to talk to for a lower cost. It may take a bit more digging, but they're out there.

If you're not ready to take that step or it doesn't feel like the right approach for you, don't be afraid to reach out to a friend or family member.

You are loved.
You are worth it.
You are not alone.

There doesn't need to be a negative stigma around therapy or mental health or mental illness -- we're all just trying to do the best we can.

And you don't have to do that on your own.