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Image / Self / Health & Wellness

Six IMAGE staffers on their go-to self-care rituals


By Sarah Gill
08th Apr 2023
Six IMAGE staffers on their go-to self-care rituals

From unwinding with a scented candle to escaping to nature and swimming in the sea, here’s how team IMAGE prioritise their mental health and spiritual wellbeing.

Holly O’Neill, Beauty Editor and Digital Editor

Relaxation kicks in for me as soon as a candle is lit and the current bougie I’m burning is Aesthetic Lily, €45, the latest from Galway’s artisan perfumer Cloon Keen. I’ve never met a Cloon Keen candle I didn’t love – they can transport you like nothing else, from the Christmas-in-a-luxury-hotel-lobby fragrance of their Noble Fir, to the rich Antique Library, inspired by the Long Room in Trinity College. Aesthetic Lily is no different; a homage to Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetic Movement, the art movement that spanned literature to architecture dedicated to beauty and ‘art for art’s sake’ whose signature motifs included the lily. As the father and face of the Aesthetic movement, it was as a student in Trinity College that Oscar Wilde read Walter Pater’s Studies in the History of the Renaissance, which became a manual for the movement and led Wilde to shape his life and work around beauty. With Easter Lily captured at its core, the Aesthetic Lily candle is decorated with ginger and jasmine and will grant you an aesthetes moment to experience and revel in the supreme value of beauty, a beautiful representation of Studies in the History of the Renaissance’s conclusion; ‘to burn always with this hard, gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy is success in life.’

Sarah Finnan, Deputy Digital Editor

Admittedly, I’m very bad at self-care – it’s usually only when my cup is empty that I realise I haven’t been looking after myself – but I have been making more of a concerted effort to stay on top of things. For years, I’ve been hoodwinked into thinking that self-care equates to luxury, but I’ve learned that, oftentimes, self-care is what constitutes the day-to-day things we should all be doing anyway. Lately, that means, lighting all the good candles, spending less time on my phone, reading and getting out in nature. A sheet mask, a delicious dinner that took hours to make and minutes to eat and one of Erica Bracken’s morning yoga classes (when I can rouse myself from my leaba!) also help.

Dominique McMullan, Editorial Director

Ah, my old friend self-care. I have had an on again/off again relationship with this phrase over the last few years. As a mum of two it can sometimes feel like yet another thing on my to-do list. Yes another thing that I am not managing to quite get to, and yet another thing that usually slips to the bottom of the list. I used to think of it as luxury baths and long walks in nature, but my viewpoint has changed. For the stage of life I am in now – sometimes self-care can mean simply taking a breath – stopping, letting my shoulders fall, feeling into my body and doing a big exhale. It can work wonders. Other times it can mean turning up for myself, even when I don’t feel like it. I don’t think self-care is always necessarily enjoyable, but it’s always important, and I always feel better for it.

Marlene Wessels, Art Director

Killiney Hill is the perfect spot for a fast uphill walk that will take less than an hour. It is a magical place regardless of what the weather is like, the sun can be shining or it could be freezing cold, the hill could be covered in fog or it might be drizzling softly. While pounding up the stairs, with your heart jumping out your chest, it feels more like you are wandering in a fantasy, surrounded by trees, bird songs and the sound of happy barking dogs. Reaching the top out of breath, de-stressed and revived, the forest opens up to stunning views over Dublin bay and the Wicklow mountains. And you get all of this without spending a cent. (PS. If you do want to treat yourself to a coffee and a pecan slice to die for, the Killiney Hill tearooms are on your route).

It took me many years to take the plunge. I always envied the bravado of the crazy, happy sea dippers. I am now one of those happy people! Getting up most mornings can be a struggle, but not on the days I meet my friends for a dip in the icy sea. In the last year I have gained friends from all walks of life, girls whose friendship I treasure. It is the camarade when you first hit the cold water, the initial gasps and then the chats where we solve all our life problems in just a few minutes. The chatter does not stop while we get dressed and enjoy our essential cup of coffee after which we all go our own ways ready to brave the world.

Shayna Sappington, Senior Branded Content Writer

Nowadays, I think the term ‘self-care’ gets thrown around too much, often associated with pricey spa treatments and a 22-step skincare routine (calm down, Niall). But to me, self-care is performing a small (and easy!) ritual that brings me joy. It’s simply blocking out an evening in my calendar, donning my comfiest threads and tucking into a really good book. I recently binged Run Time by Catherine Ryan Howard and it had a joyfully unexpected twist. Other restorative ‘lack-tivities’ (activities that lack brain power) you’ll find me doing in my downtime include ordering takeaway from the divine Sugarloaf Bakery (I think about their chicken coxinhas at least once a day), binge-watching Succession, or if the weather allows, strolling along the canal with my doggo Pax.

Sarah Gill, Staff Writer

Given the fact that my mind is much too full of useless pop culture moments and superfluous song lyrics to be emptied out in an attempt at meditation, I struggled to find a form of so-called self-care that genuinely worked for me for quite a long time. Largely opting for bubblegum-for-the-eyes television that won’t engage my brain, it wasn’t until I came across ‘Brown Noise’ that I understood. It’s like this soothing static, a thickly layered sound that feels like putting a weighted blanket over my head. I’m prone to overthinking, so on sleepless nights I’ll switch on some brown noise and all the thoughts will be pushed out of my brain and I’m out like a light.

Since the evenings have started to stretch on a little more, I’ve taken to grabbing my book, walking the 15 minutes to the Salthill Prom in Galway and perching by the water to read my book for a while. Naturally, I’ve got a dedicated Spotify playlist for this particular jaunt, but I find that sipping a cup of tea and listening to the waves lap against the shore does something to my soul that I can’t quite describe. It’s cathartic and releases some kind of energy that leaves me feeling thoroughly rejuvenated.

Feature image via Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash.