Self-care ideas to get you started


Post work wind down

Long days or nights whilst training can take a toll on the mind and body. Some people enjoy having a post work wind down routine. Do you have a routine that works well for you? What do you do to wind down after work?


Nourish the mind and the soul

Some people find spending time in the kitchen therapeutic, which is an added bonus if you see it as self-care time. Making food to nourish your mind, while winding down after a day at university or in the department is beneficial.

Here are some quick and easy recipes shared by fellow learners.


Fat free greek yoghurt with frozen berries, sprinkled with sweetener. A yummy healthy breakfast to take to work which defrosts by your first break.

Stir fry

Stir fry a few selected fresh vegetables, fresh fish or boiled chicken without oil or sardines. Mix with brown rice or normal white rice; the vegetables should be more than the rice.

Pasta bake

Fry some onion, garlic and mincemeat whilst boiling pasta. Once the mincemeat is cooked, add a tin of tomato soup and a beef oxo cube, allowing it to bubble for a couple of minutes. Drain the pasta and add to the mincemeat mix, stirring together. Transfer to an oven proof dish, sprinkle cheese on top and then bake until the cheese has melted. Works well heated up, and it’s easy to prepare and take to placement!

Kimchi fried rice

Stir fry together the cooked rice, sesame oil, fresh garlic, chopped kimchi, beansprouts, chopped pak choi, and gochujang pepper paste.

Pasta with fresh tomato sauce

Chopped onion, five tomatoes de-seeded and roughly chopped, garlic (as much as you like). Cook the pasta and drain. Meanwhile, gently heat the onion and garlic until browned and then add the tomatoes and simmer gently. Once this is cooked, mix with the pasta. This can be made in bulk and frozen.

Tray bake roasted vegetables

Drizzle with olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar and seasoning of choice, place in oven and bake. Serve with a quick protein choice such as Quorn fillet, turkey breast, chicken fillet.

Vegan tagliatelle

Cook the tagliatelle as per the packet, drain and then mix in olives, lemon juice, parsley, fresh garlic, and salt.

Vegetable curry

Fry onion, garlic, and ginger until soft and then add either a curry paste (like massaman curry paste) or spices. Mix and cook for a couple of minutes then add coconut milk and vegetable stock. Let it bubble and then add chunky vegetables, like sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, and peas. Cook until vegetables are going soft and season to taste (spice/paste/salt). Takes around an hour from start to finish. Can be easily frozen and defrosted to take to placement with rice and broccoli.


Keep hydrated

Keeping hydrated is also an important part of self-care, because without water we can feel tired, leaving little energy left after studying and work. Many learners report that as soon as they started the habit of drinking water daily, it became second nature. Here are some ideas of how to keep hydrated whilst working or studying.

  • start the day with two cups of warm water
  • set your own goals of how much you want to drink in a day and aim to reach that goal
  • infuse your water with lemon, ginger, cucumber, and mint
  • juicing is a great way to ensure you take more fluids
  • set times throughout the day that you would like to have drank a certain amount by, e.g. 1 litre every 4 hours
  • keep a bottle or cup of water, or juice, in front of you at all times to remind you to drink
  • use a motivational bottle to help keep up with drinking that has written reminders on the bottle when to drink
  • change your water bottle to a new one every so often and make sure it’s one you like looking at as it may encourage you to drink more

Sleep well

Sleep is a vital part of self-care. A lack of sleep can affect concentration, weaken your immune system, and make you more accident prone, amongst other issues. Trainees sometimes find it hard to wind down after a long day. It’s advisable to find a routine that works for you that helps you find a way to go to sleep at night. Here’s a few ideas that may help you drift off into a peaceful sleep.

  • meditate
  • hydrate before going to bed
  • exercise
  • relaxing shower or bath
  • cup of Chamomile tea
  • don’t use the phone an hour before sleep
  • lavender on the pillow
  • use an eye mask
  • make sure your sleep space is tidy
  • write down any notes for the next day to help clear from your mind
  • read

Take time out for you

It’s easy to get caught up in university life, impending assignments, or work-based learning. Some people have long journeys at the start and end of the day, and use that time to catch up with friends, read a book or listen to music. Finding a way to fit in family and friends into your life can be difficult, but it’s important to carve out time for people close to you as they are your support system.

Once you’ve found some time for yourself, what can you do with that time to ensure self-care is a part of the experience? Here are a few ideas. These can be done alone or with others. But whatever you do, make the most of your time.

  • nature walks
  • arts and crafts
  • shopping
  • cooking
  • listening to music
  • going to the cinema
  • spending time with family and friends
  • exercise
  • meditation
  • sleeping
  • driving
  • travelling
  • spa days
  • gardening
  • volunteer work
  • watching sports
  • bowling and many more