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20 self-care tips to find happiness in Singapore

Feed your mind and the rest will follow. Here are 20 self-care ideas to treat yourself to a relaxing and inspiring time in the Lion City

Palm Ave Float Club
Photo: Palm Ave Float Club
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Mindfulness. Self-improvement. Finding inner peace. All noble goals that are easier said than done. But in a city like Singapore where all we seem to do is wake up, drink kopi, work, and maybe if we’re lucky, meet friends for dinner before going back home to sleep – we could all look into taking better care of our physical and mental health.

You don’t even have to do anything big and grand. Self-care is about setting aside pockets of time to do something small for yourself – even if it’s every couple of months – to contribute to our overall well-being. From the absolutely free of charge to the ultra-luxe experiences for those that demand the best in life, here are ways to work towards happiness.

All aspects of our lives are affected by our mental health – it has an impact on how we think, feel and act. Our mental health affects how we handle stress, relate to one another and make decisions. And mental health influences the way individuals look at themselves, their lives and others in their lives. If you know someone who is in crisis, needs emotional support or has thoughts of suicide, you can reach the 24-hour Samaritans of Singapore hotline at 1800-221 4444.

RECOMMENDED: The best spas in Singapore to pamper yourself with and unusual beauty and wellness treatments to try

Palm Ave Float Club
Photo: Palm Ave Float Club
Health and beauty

Float on by

icon-location-pin Kallang

At Palm Avenue Float Club, you float in the private tank filled with a warm temperature-adjusted saline solution (of a salt density that’s said to mimic that of the Dead Sea), which allows one to literally and figuratively float their cares away in hour-long stints. With only a multi-coloured light for illumination, the deliberately featureless tank imparts a feeling of weightlessness, alleviating bodily weariness, and encourages a mind on overdrive to disconnect and find its peace, or get reacquainted with its inner creative voice seeking an audience with one’s consciousness. You’re meant to get an enhanced awareness of your surroundings, plus a new spring in your step from the method’s benefits. Prices for a float start from $90 for a one-hour session. 

Things to do

Get lost in a museum

icon-location-pin City Hall

Following its $25 million revamp, the Asian Civilisations Museum is awash with new artefacts to uncover. Its galleries showcase the interconnectedness of Asian cultures, encouraging visitors to find out something new about their own heritage. Meander aimlessly through the different galleries, or download the ACM app to gain a better understanding of the treasures in front of you – just be sure not to miss the new Tang Shipwreck Collection, a virtual time capsule from 9th-century China.

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Shopping, Perfumeries

Light a candle

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

You don’t need someone to buy you a bouquet of expensive flowers when candles do a much better job at making a room smell like an English garden. Choose a candle that calms you down or fills you with a sense of peace from expert scent-makers, Diptyque. Take your time picking from scents like the mood-setting Feu de Bois (wood fire), the sweet-smelling Baies (blackcurrant and Bulgarian roses), the calming Feuille de Lavande (lavender leaves) and the earthy Geranium Rosa. Trust us, it lasts longer than flowers. 

Things to do

Climb a hill

icon-location-pin Bukit Panjang

Challenge yourself and get out into the great outdoors. It really isn’t so bad when you immerse yourself in the lush surroundings of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. There may not be mountains here but Bukit Timah – the highest point in Singapore – is the closest you can get. It might be a steep climb for the first 15 minutes or so but it gradually gets easier. Plus, the views from the summit definitely make the climb worthwhile.

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Hotels

Staycay all day

icon-location-pin City Hall

With 157 rooms stretching over two heritage buildings – The Capitol Building and Stamford House – from Singapore’s colonial days, The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore is as opulent as it is private – perfect for those looking for a tranquil retreat. No matter how much noise you make, your neighbours won’t be able to hear, so feel free to let off some steam. The rooms (from $500) are fitted with an island bathtub for a quick soak or you can hop over to the saltwater pool for a languid dip before having dinner at 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung.

Theatre, Performing arts space

Improv your life dramatically

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

When life throws you lemons, make some damn good lemonade, or just roll with the punches and learn the art of improv. Founded by a group of friends that are always up for a laugh, The Improv Company is Singapore’s biggest improvised theatre company and training centre. There are many types of classes (starting from $300 for a five-week course) that cater to everyone from first-timers to veterans looking to sharpen their skills. Discover the joy of spontaneous play over the sessions – you’ll be overflowing with creativity and humour in no time.

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Kamal Arts
Photo: Kamal Arts
Things to do

Learn the art of Batik

icon-location-pin Marine Parade

A dying art, Batik refers to the traditional wax technique. which originates from Java, for decorating cloth. Get into the nitty-gritty of the process at Kamal Arts Batik workshops (from $150) at Goodman Arts Centre. Attendees are introduced to the traditional methods of the craft and are guided on the proper use of tools and processes like waxing with the ‘tjanting’ and dyeing. Progress through the weekly sessions at your own pace and your masterpiece slowly takes shape.

Health and beauty

Put your best face forward

icon-location-pin Newton

Removing blackheads and stubborn whiteheads can be a nightmare, and the folks at My Cozy Room get it. Set in a quaint terrace house a skip away from Orchard, the boutique spa is known for its extraction facial, which promises to get rid of dirt and excess sebum trapped within your pores. The facial is completely painlessly and you don’t have to worry about dealing with any redness, too. Step out with a smooth and radiant complexion that lasts for days.

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Sojao

Change your bedsheets

You know that feeling of utter bliss when you slip into your bed after changing the sheets? That’s what you get every night with local bedding brand Sojao. Made with lightweight and breathable organic cotton, these luxurious sheets get softer with every wash. Purchase a bundle (from $198) and say hello to some quality snoozing for the rest of your nights!

Check out more at its website.

Things to do

Get a manicure

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

This little house of bliss hidden away on the second floor of a Tras Street shophouse is a quiet oasis in the middle of the CBD. Be treated to a warm cup of tea and snacks while your manicurist buffs, shapes and polishes your nails. An express manicure starts from $15 but go all out and try its signature Botanical Spa Manicure ($60), which is a treat for all your senses.

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Shopping, Musical instruments

Pick up an instrument

icon-location-pin City Hall

It’s never too late to pick up the piano, guitar, violin, guitar or flute. The YamahaPlus, learning to play a instrument has proven
to increase comprehension and math 
skills, improve coordination, and enhance your capacity for memory. And if you like being the centre of attention, you could be impressing many with your new talent at gatherings and parties.

Nirvana Mind
Photo: Nirvana Mind

Keep calm and carry Om

Don’t forget about your mental health. Soothe your weary mind and soul at a meditation class. Meditation has helped focus our thoughts and calms the brain in the midst of chaos and stress. Find your balance at Nirvana Mind. Located on Keong Saik Road, the studio sees itself as a meditation community and support system for people to come together in a safe space to explore their inner selves.

Check out more at its website.

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Health and beauty

Knead your troubles away

icon-location-pin Bishan

Hiding in the heart of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Aramsa The Garden Spa is a secret refuge that transports you away from the bustle of the city. An aroma therapy bar greets you at the reception. There, you can mix a custom blend of essential oils that are then used in its signature Aroma Rich therapy ($179.76), a pressure-point massage that relieves tension, aches and anxiety.

Weekend Worker
Photo: Weekend Worker

Pick up a pottery class

The art of pottery is so much more than the Patrick Swayze-Demi Moore moment in Ghost. Turns out, it is also quite a rewarding skill to have. Get creative and start making your own cups, saucers, bowls and unique pieces to flex to guests.  Ceramic collective Weekend Worker runs basic ceramic classes throughout the year. Sessions are also kept small and the hands-on course guides you through the fundamentals of pottery-making using the electric wheel. You’ll be bringing home your own handmade goods in no time.

Keep tabs on its pop-ups and classes here.

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Health and beauty, Hair salons

Find your signature look

icon-location-pin Orchard

Tucked away on the 14th floor of Ngee Ann City behind a little yellow door, Chez Vous: Hideaway has seven experiential zones throughout its unisex salon, from a Re:Charge relaxation den decked out in leather massage chairs to a pale pink cacoon for VIPs and guests that need absolute privacy. For $199, you get a haircut and one hair service – this could be anything from its signature Tokio Inkarami Hair Treatment to getting your hair dyed – and prices go up to $499 for a cut and four services if you want a total transformation.

Sport and fitness, Boxing and kickboxing

Punch above your weight

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

Sometimes the best way to release any pent-up anger or repressed rage is to punch it out, literally. While boxing is picking up its pace in Singapore, Still Boxing is one of the best studios for group boxing workouts that pack in strike sequences, boxing moves as well as strength circuits so you’ll be fighting fit.

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Shopping, Kitchen and bathroom

Have a bath

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

One of the most relaxing ways to unwind after a long day is to take a soak in a tub. But if you, like many Singaporeans, don’t have the luxury of a bathtub, Lush’s Shower Bombs (from $7) are the next best thing. Just like its famous Bath Bombs, these babies fizz and explode upon contact with water, unleashing the rich scent of essential oils. For a good night’s rest, try Sleepy, which is made with soothing lavender and ylang ylang.

Shopping, Bookshops

Try the KonMari method

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is all about keeping the things in your life that spark joy, and (gently) getting rid of the things that don’t. Pick up the book at local bookstore The Moon and learn how the act of cleaning can be a form of therapy.

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Marie Kondo

Or just watch people try it

While her book is full of useful tips and tricks, watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix shows you how real people put her method to practice. Fans of the self-help genre will also enjoy Queer Eye and Amazing Interiors, which offer great home décor inspiration to spruce up your flat.

Check out more at its website.

Things to do

Use your green thumb

icon-location-pin Tanglin

Reconnecting with nature doesn’t always mean going on a tough, sweaty hike. Urban farming community Edible Garden City champions the sustainable living movement and encourages everyone else to do so. Besides converting unused places and rooftops to urban gardens growing herbs and vegetables, it also offers classes and weekend workshops on how to grow your own micro garden at home – including how to cultivate your first mushroom!

Treat yo'self

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