5 Ways I Self-Care Without Face Masks or Baths
If you take a little fingertip stroll down your timeline, you'll see lots of posts promoting self-care with face masks and baths filled with candles and flowers. While I love the occasional bath, that beautiful scene takes TIME!! And I need to self-care more than once or twice a month.
As for face masks, I honestly get more stressed doing them. Like one second I'm refrained from moving my face, then there's black gunk stuck in my pores, and then I'm staining towels trying to get it out. I wouldn't consider it my most ~zen~ scene.
So while a weekend vacay, a massage, or a bath are truly relaxing, these are things you can't necessarily do mid-day when you need it most. I put together some of my favorite forms of self-care that I do on a daily basis. Here are some of my favs!
1. Movement not exercise:
As of last summer, I've been viewing the way I move my body as movement and not exercise. I don't know if it's just me, or our culture's as a whole, but the word exercise has a negative, punishing connotation to it.
If I wake up early to exercise, chances are I'm trudging through it, forcing my body to do things it doesn't want to do. If I decide to wake up and move my body, I feel more at ease and free. Do I want to simply walk this morning? How about a quick walk or choosing to bike to work instead of driving in rush hour? It seems so much more natural to me, and makes me feel satisfied with whatever I end up doing.
As for its self care properties, WOWZA. When I move, I listen to my body to see what it wants, meaning the end result is always a positive one regardless of what I do. Sometimes I'm feeling hella stressed, and a long, speedy run feels so good. Sometimes I wake up and leisurely walk to a coffee shop which feels just as good.
Both clear my mind and leaves it in a better state than when I started. That's all I can ask for.
2. Protecting my energy
This one has been a biggie this year, and relates to different areas. I realized a quick and easy way to feel depleted, exhausted, and stressed af is to dish out all my energy on things that don't serve me. Once I feel this coming, I'll either completely delete social media for a day or two, or change the way I use it. This allows me to become present again, figure out what the heck is going on in my head, instead of putting that energy into consuming other people's lives.
It's saying no and not being sorry 'bout it. It's hard when you like the opportunity but know it will leave you spread thinner than, well, let's just say not how I like my peanut butter ayyy. The people pleaser in me loveeessss to say yes to everything (it sometimes screams YASSS). This year I've been working on flexing that no muscle.
Saying no to hanging out with friends on Friday when you haven't slept all week and need to chill out (I'm an introvert can you tell lol). Saying no to a work opportunity that you know won't bring you joy. Or going out when I have work to do because I know I'll be 3 times more productive the next morning after getting some friend time.
3. Driving to my favorite music
Not the kind of driving where you're stopping and starting. Not the drives where you swear if that person moves an inch forward, they're going to hit the back of your car. And not the drives where you're running late, so you're convinced you found every slow driver in the city to drive behind.
I'm talking the open road highway drives. Preferably warm enough to open your windows, blast your music, without commercials (Spotify premium, you have changed my lifeeee), and to just be. To me, I realized as I commuted to my pre-req classes last year that I always arrived in a good mood. I had to drive about 30 minutes, and during this time I listened to empowering podcasts, and once my brain had enough thinking, I zoned out with my favorite music.
It continues to work wonders. Now in the city, I bikeshare my way around town with my headphones in (hope this is legal @cops!!!!) and it elicits that same feeling.
4. Cooking or Baking
Have you ever read or listened to someone explain how to find your passion? Some say it's that activity where you lose track of time, where you're so focused on what you're doing, that the outside world kind of slips away.
To me, that's working in the kitchen. I love experimenting with baking (not so much with savory meals, they don't allow enough leeway to experiment for me), creating nourishing foods that taste good, finding ways to photograph them, and allowing for a complete and beautiful mess in the kitchen.
Whenever I bake or cook for fun, I never know what time it is. I have to set alarms if I have to be somewhere because my sense of time poofs out the window, but in the best kind of way.
I feel like I can feel people tensing up from here. "Keep your problems to yourself pls." While I don't think it's necessary to write about what I talk about in each therapy session, I don't think there should be shame behind going to therapy.
Some days I'm like, I don't feel like going, everything in my life is fine! Then I go, and simply letting things out leaves me a little bit lighter, able to respond to people, places, and things instead of reacting all of the time.
Instead of trying to always find that fix (a new diet, eliminating caffeine, reading self-help books, anything perfection related), it has been so beneficial (and painful but in a cathartic way) to peel away those layers and see why I'm feeling the way I am and am looking for a fix in something external. And to just become more aware about myself, learn how to accept myself as I am now no matter what the circumstance, and to just be.
Plus, one day I realized all of the most inspiring people in my life go to therapy and it hit me that there doesn't have to be anything embarrassing or shaming about it. It's just another way to self care just like a yoga class or massage would.
Self care. It's being defined by culture by the day. But to me it means something that leaves your mind better off than when you started. Is it treating yourself to the cold pressed juice downtown? Great. Is it baking brownies? Awesome.
Find what works for you and know it doesn't have to be extensive. It can be taking one big deep breath.