Life is hard. Work is hard. Adulting can be the pits. It’s easy to prioritize just about everything over self-care. And often times the only self-care that we do is squeezing in a spin class or a yoga class. We need more than that.
Just like we need to make sure that we are focusing on the positive and eating right, it is important that we take care of ourselves in ways that some might call indulgent. I call them necessary and the perfect antidote for weeks that feel like a blur and a political arena that’s gone a bit bonkers. And to be honest, it’s not really self-indulgent. I call it self-preservation.
RELATED: The Importance of Rest Days
Face masks are one of my favorite ways to get in a little me-time. You can double this ritual up with a simultaneous bath or pedicure. You can do it while you watch tv, answer emails or deal with an unending conference call. (You’ve gotta squeeze in that self-care when you can find the time). Not to mention, your skin is your body’s largest organ and our faces our subject to all manner of damage. Makeup, sun, wind, it all adds up and a little reprieve is good for you. This little break is great when taking much time for yourself isn’t an option. It’s also great for those rare Friday nights when no one is around and you can give yourself a home facial with 3 masks and all the Miss Congeniality movies.
Bubble Baths/Epsom Salt Baths
Baths are the ultimate luxury. There is time for reading. Scented candles or scented baths can help calm and relax you. Plus, if you fill it with Epsom salts, you get a healthy dose of Magnesium. It’s a great tool for muscle recovery on a rest day and can be doubled up with your face mask. Some days, I love the little bath bombs from Lush that fizz and turn the water pink and some days I just want a Eucalyptus Epsom salt bath after too much dancing. When I can pair it with a good book, I end up with a half hour retreat that brings me back to center.
Our feet take us everywhere. And we aren’t always the nicest to them. Pedicures remove callouses and make sure feet are well moisturized — they even come with a leg massage. (Who can resist a massage and pretty toes?) Now, these can’t really be doubled up with work, but they’re a great way to force yourself to relax. If you don’t have time for a full-on pedicure, a foot mask is a great almost as good treat.
Take a walk
Take 5, 10 or 15 minutes and get out of your own way. Stepping away and standing up is good for your heart (it’s why your Fitbit yells at you to move every hour), but it is also good for your mind. Taking a break empowers you to come back with fresh eyes to whatever you’re working on. When you give your brain a break, you’re putting yourself first and ensuring that the you that’s back when your walk is over is the best version of you. (And your heart will thank you).
And if all else fails!
Put on a swipe of your favorite lipstick or lipgloss and stand up straight
It seems silly. Maybe a little trite. Or even sexist. But if I’m having a bad day and all my meetings are going wrong and there’s not enough coffee in the world, just putting on a little bit of my favorite lipstick makes me feel a bit better. It makes me feel stronger, better. When I stand up straighter, I’m telling myself that I am strong. It’s along the line of a personal mantra – it’s a sign to yourself that everything is going alright. It’s a little bit of self-care in the middle of a crazy day.
Is it time to review your self-care routine? Read more here.
Mary Fran Wiley is a well known gluten-free and positive living blogger from Chicago where she writes Curiouser and Curiouser, maintains the Chronic Positivity Project, and has been featured in Allergic Living Magazine, Care2.com and Today.com.