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Lush ideas for Canberra-based self-care

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Self-care doesn’t have to be woo-woo or frivolous.

It’s not about vanity or indulgence—it’s about being proactive to maintain and improve your mental and emotional health.

Self-care might not necessarily be the antidote to burnout, but it’s certainly about providing a moment of relief. With our busy schedules and ‘always on’ approach to work and life, it’s a way to reclaim some of your own time and energy and divert it towards feeling good within yourself.

The tricky thing about self-care is that it means different things to different people. What feels like a lush, restorative activity for one person can feel boring—or worse, draining—for the next.

It can be difficult to come up with ideas for how to recharge. With that in mind, here are a few Canberra-based self-care activities:

Stretch it out

Exercise is undoubtedly great for your body and mind, triggering a release of endorphins and improving your mood.

If you’re someone who already has an exercise regime in place, a workout might not actually be the best way to decompress or recharge.

Instead, why not try a yin or restorative yoga class? In contrast to a more intense style of yoga, like vinyasa or ashtanga, these styles of yoga are more calming, with a slower pace. You hold poses for a much longer time, which allows you to focus on your breathing and really relaxing into the poses.

Try a yin or restorative yoga class after a hectic day or on a Sunday night before a busy week to feel soothed and recharged.

Catch a flick

Sometimes, what you really need is an escape — and a film is an ideal way to distract you from your worries and get caught up in someone else’s story.

Seeing a film on your own can be intimidating for some people (“what if I run into someone I know?”) but actually, it’s a really great way to enjoy some time to yourself.

I personally love Palace Electric, especially when I can catch a matinee when the cinema tends to be less crowded. Palace plays host to a range of international film festivals throughout the year, so you’re always likely to find something interesting you can really immerse yourself in.

Upgrade your movie experience with a ‘feature’ sized glass of wine—you deserve it.

Indulge in a staycation

For me, a staycation is the ultimate in luxurious self-care. Book yourself a room in a fancy hotel, wrap yourself in a lush robe and order yourself some delicious food.

One of the reasons I find this works so well compared to a night in is because it gives you a real sense of purpose. You’ve literally invested in taking time out to yourself, so you’re more likely to make the most of it.

My favourite is Little National Hotel (pictured above). Not only is it affordable but it has all of the indulgent essentials: a huge king size bed, block out blinds, free movies, robes, a rain shower head in the bathroom and monochrome minimalism that’s oh-so-soothing.

Get creative

I don’t know about you, but often if I enrol in a class or course, it’s something geared towards my professional development. While this is important, it can often feel like an extension of work into my personal life.

Sometimes, getting out of our heads and using our hands can be really rejuvenating. Give the thinking part of your brain a rest and get creative with something hands-on like pottery or painting.

If you’re not naturally artistic, getting out of your comfort zone can give you a sense of confidence. Otherwise, you could enrol in something more aligned with your interests like cake decorating or a floral workshop.

A stunning bunch from Moxom & Whitney. Credit: Tim Bean Photography.

Take a hike

We are really lucky to have plenty of stunning bushland in Canberra to roam. Getting out into nature, breathing the fresh air and feeling the sunshine on your skin can work wonders for your mood.

Mount Ainslie, Mount Taylor, and Red Hill are some of the better-known tracks that provide not only beautiful scenery on the way up but a spectacular view at the top to reward you for your efforts. Otherwise, why not explore something off the beaten track like a secret garden or woodland sanctuary?

Lose yourself in a podcast, tune into a relaxing playlist, or better yet, leave your phone in the car and take notice of the sounds around you.

Credit: Rob Mulally for VisitCanberra.

Date yourself

Whether it’s a fully-fledged meal or simply just a coffee, taking yourself to your favourite restaurant or cafe (or perhaps somewhere new) can feel ultra indulgent.

Especially if it’s your first time, dining alone can seem a bit intimidating. To take the edge off, take a book or magazine to read, or a notebook to journal in and get all of your thoughts and worries down on paper.

Otherwise, even taking the time to sit down in a cafe for your coffee (rather than gulping it down on the run or at your desk) can feel like spoiling yourself. Take the time to really savour your coffee, take some deep breaths, and watch the world go by.

Verity Lane Market. Credit: Lean Timms.

Get cultured

How many times have you heard about a new exhibition or show, only to never quite make it there?

Taking some time to yourself to visit a gallery or museum is the perfect way to indulge in some self-care. Taking your time to immerse yourself in art or history can leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

No matter where your interests lie, Canberra really does have something for everyone, with plenty of blockbuster exhibitions this summer.

Treat yourself to a coffee or meal afterwards as well as a memento from the gift shop for an added sense of luxury.

Feature image: Little National Hotel by Lean Timms via facebook.com/littlenationalhotel

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