Person holding a bottle of essential oil

I Tested 6 Viral Self-Care Practices to See Which Ones Work

Look, I love self-care as much as the next girl, but it seems like a new viral self-care hack pops up on TikTok or Instagram every few days! With so many flooding our screens, it’s impossible to know which self-care practices actually work.

That’s why I tested 6 of the most popular self-care activities to see which ones were actually worth your time.

Keep reading to see if your favourite self-care habit made the list!

1. Gua Sha

How to use a gua sha for self care.

In the world of self-care, skincare is always trending. But lately, you’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard about gua shas.

What is it?

Gua sha is a traditional Chinese healing method used to treat a variety of conditions and issues all over the body.

How it works

Different sides of the tool are used to create repeated pressure over certain parts of the body. The process is meant to increase blood flow and help remove toxins.

Did it work?

For thirty days, I followed this tutorial. (and I managed to stick to it for almost all of the days!)

While I did notice some changes in my facial definition, I wouldn’t really consider this to be self-care. It did have benefits aesthetically but in terms of decreased stress and overall daily satisfaction, I actually think it added more stress to my daily routine.

My recommendation:

If you’re the type of person who loves having a complex morning and nighttime routine, then I think this would be a great addition to your self-care routine. But for me, I prefer my routine to be as short as possible for me to feel good about myself.

Overall, I give this one a 6/10.

2. Weighted blankets

Do weighted blankets actually work? What do weighted blankets actually do? Our guest writer finds out.

The weighted blanket started taking off in popularity a few years back and haven’t seemed to slow down. It feels like they can help with almost any ailment! I found it really hard to believe that one blanket could do so much. But I tried the kuddly Classic Weighted Blanket and I was pretty shocked by the results!

What is it?

Weighted blankets are blankets with plastic or glass beads sewn into pockets throughout to create a weight that mimics a hugging feeling when you use it.

How it works:

These blankets are designed to employ a science-backed therapeutic technique called Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT). This technique targets the nervous system and helps your body regulate hormone production.

Did it work?

To my surprise, this blanket worked for so many things. I really couldn’t believe how comforting it was. Here are the few different situations in which I used it.

First, I used it in bed at night. I was amazed at how deep my sleep was after only night! While I don’t usually struggle with insomnia, I do struggle to get to sleep on nights when I know I have to work first thing the next morning. This blanket almost made it so my anxious thoughts melted away. I fell asleep within probably 15 minutes!

Secondly, I used it while I was experiencing some anxiety. After a bad day at work, I couldn’t shake that anxious feeling once I got home. After an hour on the couch under my new blanket I had completely forgotten that I was feeling anxious!

Finally, I decided to try it out while I was experiencing some menstrual cramping. I have heard that the blanket can help with pain, so I wanted to try it. This was the one time I was unsure of whether or not the blanket helped me. My pain did lessen after about an hour and a half, but it’s impossible for me to know if it would have lessened either way.

My recommendation:

100%, I would absolutely recommend a weighted blanket. I can’t believe how much it helped. Yes, I thought they were super expensive at first, but now that I realize how many different aspects of my life it helps with, I’m actually surprised they aren’t more expensive!

Overall, I give these a 9.5/10.

Shop Weighted Blankets

3. The Anxiety Notebook

Journalling is self-care that actually works.

Journalling has been a buzzword in the self-care industry for a while now, but recently, journals with specific, guided prompts have been gaining in popularity.

What is it?

There are a bunch of different variations of these notebooks, but the Anxiety Notebook is a notebook with prompts that help guide you through anxious moments.

How it works:

These notebooks use Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) tools and tricks to help users understand and regulate their emotions. Some prompts help ground the user while others help them get a deeper understanding of their more complex emotions.

My experience:

I absolutely loved using this notebook… when I actually remembered to use it. The idea is amazing in theory, and when I did sit down to journal, it really did help. My problem was that there was no one to hold me accountable.

The notebook is supposed to act as a replacement or supplementation for a therapist, but I really don’t think I’d ever recommend it as a replacement.

I did notice myself feeling much more relaxed when I did use it. It helped me to be more mindful and it made me realize that I needed to set a boundary with my boss!

My recommendation:

This isn’t to say I wouldn’t recommend it—I absolutely would recommend it—but I would say it will only be effective when used in combination with a treatment plan through a mental health professional.

Overall, I’d give this an 8/10.

4. Sound bathing

Sound bathing to raise your frequency.

This one has been popular on Tiktok but I have to admit, I was sceptical about whether or not it would work.

What is it?

Sound bathing is the practice of using wind instruments, percussion, or crystal bowls to emit sound waves that alter your body’s vibrational frequency. It’s been used in traditional medicines for centuries and many people rave about the positive effects it’s had on their life.

How it works:

A practitioner uses different types of instruments to create sound waves that induce a meditative state. While there is very little hard science behind the practice, many practitioners claim it can help heal many mental, spiritual, and physical ailments.

My experience:

I was so unsure about this when I walked into the mediation room. It was such a surreal experience and at first, I was incredibly uncomfortable with the situation. But, I have to admit, after a few minutes, I began to feel really relaxed.

I started seeing shapes and colours on the back of my eyelids, which I know from my previous experience meditating means I’m really in a zen zone. Once the sound bath was finished, I felt really refreshed and calm.

My recommendation:

This one is tricky. Because while I did notice an incredible lightness afterward, it’s hard to know if that was more due to the meditation or the sound waves altering my vibrational frequency.

If it’s just a post-meditation glow, then I’d say it’s a bit pricey. You could achieve the same results with a youtube video at home. But if the sound waves really did work, I think it’d be worth a regular visit.

Overall, I’d rate it a 5/10.

5. Manifestation exercises

Manifestation exercises are a great form of self-care.

Manifestation has been incredibly trendy this year. So much so that there’s an entire niche of social media influencers who have emerged as a result! But how much can manifestation (in particular, writing affirmations) actually help you?

What is it?

Oversimplified, manifestation is a practice that believes individuals can attract certain things into their lives based on their mindset. There are many different ways to practice manifestation but a popular one is written affirmations.

How it works:

Written affirmations help you by allowing your brain to see an example and “proof” that what you want from your life if possible. It helps you to remove limiting beliefs and take the necessary actions to get the things you want out of life.

My experience:

While I don’t believe in the “power” of affirmations to attract things to you, I do believe in the power of affirmations to motivate you to go after the things you want! And that was my experience with this exercise.

I found myself getting really excited about goals I had previously not taken seriously. And I think that alone is worth the time and effort!

My recommendation:

If you’re interested in trying these affirmation exercises, there’s an easy guide for you here. I found them so helpful and, unlike the gua sha, fun to include into my daily routine!

Overall, I’d give it an 8/10.

6. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy diffusers and essential oil diffusers for self-care.

The ancient practice of aromatherapy has been around in many cultures for thousands of years. Today it has evolved to many different variations from rollers with essential oils to expensive aromatherapy massages.

Today, I’m choosing to focus on accessible and effective essential oil diffusers.

What is it?

Aromatherapy diffusers are small household appliances that use diffusion technology to dispense a mixture of essential oils and water into the air.

How it works:

Different essential oils have differing effects on the body, and using an essential oil diffuser is one of the easiest ways to enjoy these benefits. You simply choose the oil you want, put it in the diffuser, start the diffuser, and enjoy!

My experience:

I may be a bit biased when it comes to this, but I absolutely loved my experience with this diffuser. As much as I am a huge fan of scented products, I had to give up candles and other artificial scents when I learned about how bad they are for your respiratory health.

Scent has a massive impact that scent has on our moods and emotions; it’s responsible for nearly three-quarters of the feelings we experience on a daily basis! So not only did I absolutely love having lovely scents in my home every day, but I also got to enjoy the benefits.

I especially loved lavender oil for bedtime. It just relaxed me so much. This combined with my new weighted blanket could put anyone to sleep, I’m sure of it!

My recommendation:

I absolutely recommend trying this. It’s such a simple way to show yourself some self-care. And it can be combined with any of the other self-care habits on this list to make the activity even more impactful.

Overall, I’d give this one a 9/10.

Shop Aromatherapy Diffusers

Take time for self-care

Celebrate yourself with some trending self-care essentials.

Whether you want something that is scientifically proven, like a weighted blanket, or something that feels more like pampering, like a luxurious skincare routine, it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you take some time for yourself. You deserve it!

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