When it comes to "self-care", there are different activities that come to mind. From religiously following a skincare routine to keeping a healthy diet six out of the seven days of the week to simply adhering to strict work hours, self-care can come in different forms. Because there are so many, finding the self-care activity that truly works for you takes time especially as adults bombarded with adulting responsibilities and concerns. Looking for suggestions on where to begin? We spoke with #heartbits content creators Munah Bagharib, Hanli Hoefer and Aimee Cheng-Bradshaw — all strong advocates of wellness and mental health — who shared tips on how they practise self-care as adults.
"Journalling," actress and host Munah said about how she practises self-care as an adult. "When I was young, I did a lot of penning down my thoughts. I haven’t done it in years and when I started again, I forgot how it helped give me some perspective. Writing your thoughts down or even just saying it out sometimes helps me. It allows me to acknowledge something and be able to move forward to either resolve or understand a situation better.
It was in the back of my mind and I thought I'd revisit it. I was subconsciously penning down my thoughts on my notes initially. Then I realised, 'Hey, I used to do this in exercise books!' So I decided to restart it. Sure, now it's a little bit more digital now, but the effects are the same. It helps me."
But she also admitted that she didn't always view self-care that way. "I understood it to mean pampering yourself, as in, going to a spa or rewarding yourself with a meal... But then I realised, there is so much more to self-care on a daily basis, rather than just setting one day to do your own thing," she candidly shared. "I've come to realise that there are many ways to make sure you take care of yourself. Even things like choosing who you surround yourself with, that's self-care. Choosing to say no instead of yes, that's self-care. It's all about listening to your mind and your body."
Writing kind letters to yourself
Host-actress Hanli, who is very vocal about the importance of taking care of your mental health, also 'journals' like Munah. However, she prefers doing so in the form of writing letters addressing a very specific person. "I suppose a weird thing I do is write letters to myself in the third person? I write to me as if I were my best friend. It came to me after I was introduced to the power of self-talk. This method allows me to generate a stronger idea of my relationship with myself."
When asked about how she practises self-care as an adult aside from writing these letters, Hanli shared that she also makes time for her "Hanli Parties" — moments of me-time when she keeps to herself. "I think I had been 'self-caring' under a different term for a long time before it became as trendy as it is now," she mused. "It sounds silly but, trust me, they are the best parties. It’s about celebrating myself by doing what I want without self-judgement."
"Self-care has become much more about going inward than about indulgence. It's about checking in if I am living in line with my values. It's about practising self-compassion and self-protection," she explained. "It’s about looking after yourself — understanding when you need a break, what to do when you’re feeling frustrated or even when you just need to get it all out. Remember, it's perfectly fine to put yourself first."
Filling out adult colouring books
Since Aimee, like Munah and Hanli, finds herself frequently in front of a camera, she counts self-care as one of her top priorities especially since self-comparisons are always a side effect of social media use. "Comparing ourselves with others, especially on social media, is something that we tend to do automatically and can be detrimental to our mental well‑being."
Outside of her workouts and journalling sessions, she channels another artistic side of her skillset with a childhood pastime. "One thing I started doing was colouring in adult colouring books. It worked amazing, it felt like I was in my own bubble of mental self-care where I could go on and on forever. Plus, these adult colouring books are really interesting, with swear words and sarcastic lines in them and all so it’s entertaining too." Along with her sister, Ella, Aimee shared that they "sat down with [their] own books and ended up colouring for hours" during the circuit breaker.
This led her to realise that there are a lot of ways to practise self-care as adults. "My understanding of self-care has definitely broadened to encompass activities that are therapeutic in a slower, more entrancing way than multiple movement-based activities scheduled into one day. Now, I truly value the time I have to myself to just get lost in my journal or even a colouring book."
(Cover photo from: @munahbagharib, @aimeechengbradshaw, and @hanlihoefer)
For more different views on the essence of self-care, these content creators make a case for makeup and skincare as a form of self-care.
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