No year made taking care of ourselves more essential than the roller coaster ride that was 2020. We all found our own ways to get through seemingly endless lockdowns and other trials of last year, so here are some of the Best Self-Care that the Milligram team turned to when we needed some extra support.

THE NOMINEES

Journey of Something's "My Grandmother's Country II" puzzle

Journey of Something's My Grandmother's Country II puzzle, shown as loose pieces in an open rectangular box. The box is sky blue, with the Aboriginal art of the puzzle shown on the inner lid

We all seemed to rediscover the calming joy of a puzzle during lockdown, and it's easy to see why – they're designed to slow you down, and the soothing time spent gradually assembling a beautiful design really helped us to stay in the moment when we needed it. My Grandmother's Country II's captivating illustration by Aboriginal artist Natalie Jade is inspired by her indigenous roots, adding an extra layer to the experience that invited us to consider something larger and much more ancient than ourselves.

 

Arcadia Scott Ceramics' Oil Burner

A small cylinder of cream and blue ceramic with rounded edges, with an arch-shaped opening holding a tea light candle

When we couldn't enjoy the regular changes of scene that we were so used to, changing up our space and treating our senses was a simple way to feel refreshed. Scent is a common thread in this list, but the earthy feel of Arcadia Scott Ceramics' Oil Burner also appeals to us visually and as a tactile object.

The Aurora Borealis finish mixes abstract blue-greens together against a creamy glaze, creating an effect like a hazy mountain range or roiling, foggy clouds. Pair that with the natural warmth of the hand-crafted stoneware, and the result is a captivating escape even before the candle is lit. Adding a few drops of our favourite essential oils to the water dish helped complete the effect, so we could imagine ourselves in a sweeping landscape miles away from our Melbourne lounge rooms.

 

Bon Parfumeur's Les Prives Collection

Bon Parfumeur's 903 fragrance in a square bottle made of dark glass with a white label reading 903 in black serif font

When it got hard to tell one day from the other (and honestly, we're still grappling with that), we found new ways to mark the important moments during lockdown. Zoom drinks with friends never quite replaced the pub, but it did give us a nice excuse to put on a fancy outfit, spritz ourselves with perfume and pretend that we were in a bar again. Bon Parfumeur's premium Les Prives collection gave us a little way to make our evenings special just when we needed it most.

 

Leif's Buddha Wood Hand Wash

Leif's Buddha Wood hand wash, in a translucent bottle with dark amber liquid inside behind a circular, deep green label with Leif printed in white

We chose Leif as our Best New Brand of 2020, and the Buddha Wood hand wash was a big part of why the brand made such an impact on us last year. When everyone else was dealing with dry, cracked hands that felt like crocodile skin from all the 20-second washing sessions, we were taking care of ourselves with the gentle feel and gorgeous scents of this beautiful hand wash (and following it up with the hand balm to keep things smooth and supple). Leif helped turn a practical necessity into an indulgent experience – so much so that we caught ourselves making excuses to go wash our hands just one more time.

 

Love Tea French Earl Grey

Love Tea French Early Grey Tea, in a soft stone-coloured rectangular box with dense black type with an image of a dried cornflower blossom superimposed

Stuck inside during some of the coldest months of the year, a warming cup of tea was the perfect sensory treat to help us get through the winter. And Love Tea's French Earl Grey fit the bill just right, with a delicate mix of floral tones and the citrus-y zing of bergamot that greeted us each time we brewed ourselves a cuppa. From the mesmerising swirl of the tea steeping to the subtle flavours of each sip, this soothing blend helped us through some tough times, and we're very thankful for it.

 

THE WINNER

Studio Milligram Scented Candle

Studio Milligram Scented Candle in Study of Trees scent; a cream-coloured candle in a clear glass holder sits beside a tree-green cube box with white writing that says Study of Trees

Inspired by the wild flora and incredible landscapes of this continent, Studio Milligram's Scented Candle was exactly what we needed to give us a sense of escape when we were stuck indoors for so long. The old-growth scents of Study of Trees brought us a touch of the outdoors, with a bracing whiff of fresh pine that helped us feel ready for the day, while Ultraviolet stole us away to an evening garden thick with dark, calming florals to wind down with at the end of the day.

 

Even as things feel like they're starting to return to normal, we'll remember the importance of taking a moment to relax, practice our mindfulness and ask ourselves the tough questions – no matter how much we might look forward to a fresh start as we turn the last page of the calendar, self-care didn't end when 2020 did.