HCAU Realistic Self-Care Guide

If there’s anything that lockdown has forced us to recognise, it’s the importance of self-care. The vast period of nothingness where we couldn’t rely on the distraction of visiting our friends or going to public events, meant that we all felt the sting of our own mental health at least once over the course of 2020. With no definitive end in sight, it seems fitting that we maintain this level of awareness for self-care, and while I can recognise that the internet is already inundated with articles pertaining to such a topic, it’s no secret that these articles often contain advice which is much too idealistic and not exactly… realistic. Of course, it may seem like a good idea to meditate every day, but really? It’s just not something most of us can stick to and, more so, it’s not something most of us will actually find helpful.  


That’s why here at HCAU we’ve compiled a list of all the things that have genuinely helped us care for ourselves in these strange times, no matter how nonsensical or bizarre. Sometimes you just have to do what makes you, a unique individual, feel better. Not what 50 articles online say should make you feel better. 


  1. 1. Baking & Cooking

    cooking cookies with milk

    Niamh Stolvoort-Henry (HCAU Vice Social Secretary): 

    ‘I like to bake when I’m stressed because there’s set instructions to follow and I know what the end result will be, so it tends to calm my anxiety a lot.’ 


    Jaden-marie Browne (HCAU PR Secretary): 

    ‘I second baking, but I like to do it more chaotically without a recipe and just whatever I have.’ 


    Meridyth Alderson (HCAU President): 

    ‘Also love to cook! I can be a chaotic cook, but on the odd occasion that I read the recipe through before starting it, things become a lot tidier and it’s just so calming to me.’ 

  2. 2. Re-Organisation

    Image of a planner

    Iona Hancock (HCAU Secretary): 

    ‘I have a habit of deep cleaning and re-organising everything I own, but in particular thoroughly going through my bookshelves and analysing book content is the most calming thing ever! If I can’t control other people or major life events, then at least I can have a well-planned ‘to read’ list and a hoovered bedroom floor.’ 


    Megan Hâf Donoher (HCAU Editor): 

    ‘I’m also guilty of doing a deep clean or decluttering my wardrobes and shelves.’ 


    Meridyth Alderson (HCAU President): 

    ‘I looooove colour organising my closet, it’s so satisfying. Little organisation hacks like that really make my life.’ 

  3. 3. Music

    records and a headphone set

     Megan Hâf Donoher (HCAU Editor): 

    ‘I find making playlists or re-organising my Spotify account helps! Music is such a great way of alleviating stress for me, so I could spend hours just messing around with playlists and discovering new songs etc.’ 

  4. 4. Reading

    Woman with book resting in bedroom

    Carlyn Robinson (HCAU Head Editor): 

    ‘Over quarantine, I found myself on more than one occasion getting so lost in a book that I’d end up finishing the entire thing in one sitting. A good way to take your mind away from reality for a while and pass the time when you feel like you just can’t do anything productive.’   

  5. 5. Shopping for the sake of shopping

    Lucy Clarkson (HCAU Treasurer): 

    ‘I’m a sucker for a stress-induced trip to B&M, Home Bargains, or The Range! Nothing is more calming than buying a selection of colouring books aimed at children or useless homeware items at bargain prices! I (like others above) also have the tendency to completely re-arrange, de-clutter, and deep clean my room, making the trip to these shops 100% worth it! There’s nothing more calming than buying a £5 glow-in-the-dark rug (one of my personal fave purchases from B&M) and re-arranging your wardrobe with a selection of new coat hangers!’ 


    Emily Henderson (HCAU Social Secretary): 

    ‘Yeah, I do love even just a good window shop somewhere with lots of pretty things!’ 

  6. 6. Plants!

    Potted plants in room

    Meridyth Alderson (HCAU President & resident plant mother): 

    ‘My plants! Watering them, re-potting them, watching them grow and thrive, and naming them all just makes my lil’ heart flutter!’ 

  7. 7. Looking Forward

    4 women walking arm-in-arm on beach during sunset

    Freya Juul Jensen (HCAU Editor): 

    ‘I like to make lists of things to look forward to. Could be small things like the release of new music, or bigger stuff like going on a holiday trip. Gives me something to work towards and makes whatever bad stuff I’m dealing with seem more do-able.’