simple self care ideas



I used to have nails as thin as Richard E.Grant in Withnail and I, as brittle and grating as Tom Cruise’s hollow-but-haughty laughter on Oprah that one time and cuticles as dry as Ray D’Arcy’s personality (who once described Enda as having the charisma of a potato. Pot, kettle, black much, Ray?) Then one day I had an epiphany. What if I got my nails done? What if I treated myself to a file and polish or even a set of gels? But who did I think I was? Wasn’t that #notions? Was I a complete Aisling? Nah! I didn’t need to swallow The Little Book of Calm to be happy or win the Lotto after letting my Dad do my makeup on my wedding day on a space-hopper in the dark. I just needed a ‘fresh set’ to pimp my nails. Doing the things that I liked more often gave me a suspiciously capricious spring in my step.  Simple self-care ideas are just that. Simple! And while I’m still 50% miserable wench, with these self-care tips, I’m a little less unbearable to be around. Winning!

simple self-care ideas
My nails were done in Beautique in Waterford


There are so many simple self-care ideas out there but you have to do what makes YOU feel good. I’m talking to you, punk. Personally, shouting at the waves, making crafts or hiking up a mountain is far too much like work to me. I’m much more inclined to have a little sit. And sure why not? But sitting down to read a good book/magazine/blog with a cup of tea and some chocolate and I might as well be sitting on the shoulders of giants. Here’s my top self-care ideas that might just inspire some Donal Skehan style happiness. Goals!


1. Get your read on

The library has almost all the main magazines available on Zinio, (a virtual news-stand) so you can read your favourite glossies without having to pay a single cent. Of course, I’d highly recommend buying Irish Tatler and supporting Irish (just saying). This year has seen so many excellent releases in literary fiction – check out my top ten here.

2. Make yourself a mix tape

I’ve had some really good mixed tapes made for me down through the years. My sister used to make one every year on my birthday with all her favourite songs from Elvis Costello to Jeff Buckley. My best friend made me a mixed tape with her favourite Beatles songs. A boy named Billy I met on the bus to Galway posted me a CD which was wonderful. I never saw him again. Chris Norris made me a CD called the Wild Irish Rose in Iowa. Neither of us could drive. Ken of the blue hair made me the best CD I’ve ever had in my life but it had Supergrass’ Mary and Foo Fighters’ If you Walk out on me, I’m Walking after You on it and my friend said if I ever broke up with him, I’d see him floating up the River Lee. D made me an alarmingly good CD and vaguely threatened to burn down my house if I didn’t like all of the songs on it. Luckily, I loved them. S made me a deadly Spotify playlist with I Really Like You on it. That ‘like’ last about two weeks but, sure, the songs were great. Nialler9 is amazing for discovering new bands and he has a weekly playlist on his blog. Sonic boom!

3. Phone a friend

The other night I rang one of my favourite humans and we chatted for ages about Channing Tatum’s welding scene in Magic Mike and sent each other many, many Tom Hardy pictures. We bandied about our favourite phrases ‘ah, here’ and ‘the state’, always guaranteed to give us a laugh. I’ve had so many unfulfilling textual relationships. It’s amazing how freeing a phone conversation with a friend is. Something different, like.

4. Download a cool app

I personally ADORE Youcam Makeup. You can take a photo of your nephew and put eyelashes, a middle-aged ‘can I speak to a manager’ haircut and lashes to beat the Kardashes on his face. You can also put it on yourself but for some reason, it never seems to ‘register face’ when I try to do my own. Hours of fun though.

5. Re-live your favourite Eurovision moments

Em, Niamh Kavanagh, lads. Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids. Dana. Those Germans with the very lewd milk maids. Lordy. Chris Doran (who am I to judge?). You’re one Youtube video away from sheer bliss.

6. Stop watching Precious based on the novel Push by Sapphire

I’m an awful divil for watching something ‘worthy.’ One day, my Mam suggested we watch a comedy. What strange sorcery is this, I wondered. We laughed a lot and there was no wondering who murdered who and where was the abductee. My favourite comedies are Arrested Development, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The US Office, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and anything by Chris Morris or Simon Pegg. Black Books, The IT Crowd and Peep Show are always worth re-visiting too.

simple self-care ideas

7. Put on fresh bed sheets

Is there anything better than the feel of fresh sheets after a long day? Probably, but it comes pretty close to perfection IMO.

8. Light a soothing scented candle or massage with essentials oils

I love Field Day, Clean Slate and Dunnes also have some fab designer collabs with gorgeous packaging. I recently came across Tomitago, a totally natural skincare brand. It’s packed with essential oils that are proven to absorb into your bloodstream so your body and mind can reap the benefits. Arousing the senses is so therapeutic. The simple self-care ideas evoking the senses can be visiting a gallery and viewing a beautiful painting, revelling in a soothing scent, listening to your favourite music, even massaging your body. It might feel strange at first but I guarantee you, the benefits are manifold.

9. Dance like nobody everybody is watching (basic, I know)

My niece adores doing dance-offs with me when she comes to visit. I love dancing to electro music but of course her favourites are Ed Sheeran and Justin Timberlake and you know what, throwing caution to the wind and throwing some shapes around the living room is a whole lot of fun. I learn a lot from her about expressing myself – she’s not self-conscious and is always in the present moment.

10. Wear what you want, when you want

An onesie to mass, sequins to Supervalu, dungarees to the airport; feeling good in your clothes isn’t the end all but it’s the be-all. Do it. Put on that fringed 80s white leather jacket and listen to some White Snake or Poison. Iris Apfel, Leandra Medine, Pandora Sykes all do it. And so should you. Wearing what you want whether that’s bright hues or muted tones, feeling ‘yourself’ and comfortable in your clothes is a tonic for the soul.


Disclaimer; the word ‘bearable is very subjective and that percentage is very much made up).

1 Comment

  • Reply Clio in Cork September 26, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Great ideas here: thank you Mary Cate. I might just have to go buy a candle, sit down long enough to paint my nails, dig out my 80s ‘mixes’, and challenge one of underage charges to a dance off (my children will be delighted … it’ll be one for the books – as long as it’s not recorded!!!)

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