“Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself – what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing. Recreate and repeat.” ―Warsan Shire
Self care is all the buzz now-a-days. Social media is full of advice to take out some time to really focus on yourself, and for the most part this usually includes all the wonderfully indulgent things from soaking in a warm bath to face masks, massages and mimosas. Though it runs the danger of being yet another trite social media word, it is a much needed message in this hectic age; stop and take care of oneself.
Self care of course goes beyond the luxurious baths and brunches. It can be removing yourself from a situation that causes you anxiety. It can be turning off your phone an hour before bed (highly recommended) and also going to bed earlier. It can be staying in bed all day doing nothing or getting out of bed early to be productive. It can be playing dress up with nowhere to go. It can be reading a book while sipping tea (rather than spilling it).
How do I self care? I wish I could say I always make the right choice- Oh I put on some slow jamz and read a book while sipping on camomile tea infused with honey and ginger and waiting for my tea tree oil facemask to set. In reality I spend most of my free time staring at my screen until my eyes burn and then I go on to have a restless punctuated sleep. In fact this lockdown has been terrible to my eyes as I spend every waking hour in front of one screen or the other without the usual break (usually in commute). My poor eye has been twitching for weeks now.
I really should take care of myself by putting down my phone, turning off the computer and TV and just revel in the peace and silence while giving my eyes a break from the glare. This is what I should do, but will I? It is especially hard when one lives alone: technology becomes a substitute for other humans; the television and phone help keep me company at the detriment of my eyes. Which is why I am now here wearing oversized sunglasses in the privacy of my room.
Still sometimes I do indulge myself. These are my self-care tips, and by that I mean these are things I would like to be doing but can’t seem to sustain.
Looking up expensive apartments that I cannot yet afford: Very few things make me happier than fantasising over the house I would one day like to live in. A picture of a comfortable couch is enough to set me off for a few minutes. I could spend hours looking pictures of people’s living rooms, watching apartment tours on youtube, following the interior decorating trend on social media. Sometimes I even go on the Ikea website and screenshot pictures of the furniture I like. It may be weird, but simply looking at the pictures invokes all sorts of feelings in me; nostalgia and a longing for home. I like all the staged instagram pictures of people in bed with cozy socks and a cup of tea. I long for a cosy flat of my own-with a lovely parlour, a luxurious bathtub, a balcony, and a garden. Until I have my own I shall live vicariously through everyone else.
Reading cozy blogs: Hygge was all the rage that year, and of course I paid no attention to it until recently. Now I realise that I have been in pursuit of hygge all along- that cozy contentment- and I cannot get enough of it. I like reading those lifestyle blogs which drip coziness in each sentence- “I snuggled in front of the fire with a steaming cup of mint tea.” Of course it would be better to actually practice hygge rather than just reading about it. I would like to have breakfast with a view on my balcony, and snuggle in front of the fireplace on bitterly cold nights and soak for an hour in a nice tub. For now I try to make myself as cozy as possible in little ways- making myself breakfast and eating it in bed while watching television. I buy myself flowers and art for my room to make it more homely and cozy.
Treat yo self!: Spend money on yourself yes. It is good to be prudent with money, but sometimes you do need to treat yourself to some goodies. Buy that coat that you have had your eye on. Treat yourself to brunch. Buy the dress that makes you feel beautiful. Book yourself a spa treatment just because. Do not wait for a special occasion, just go ahead and treat yourself. Terms and conditions apply-Do not blame me if you spend your rent money on a spa treatment and are now homeless.
Be more organised aka be nice to your later self: Sometimes is self care to be a little disorganised and spend the day relaxing rather than organising. Still, disorganisation can lead to stress and anxiety. I have spent so many mornings stressed out because I am running late to catch the train and I still can’t figure out what to wear. Sometimes in a temporary moment of sanity I set out my clothes the night before and it makes such a difference. Be nice to your later self and make things easier for her. It is easier to think tomorrow will deal with itself and then when tomorrow does arrive you are stressed out to the max, wishing you had handled it yesterday.
Taking the time to clear out and clean your room is also self care. The cleaning process itself can be calming (turn on some music or a TV show as you do this) and afterwards you are left with a nice clean space which is calming as well. I like to do a thorough clean and declutter and then take a nice hot shower after. Then I can lie in bed and just relax, feeling rejuvenated and happy.
Eat well: Of course it can be self-care to stuff your face with ice cream and chocolate, sometimes it is absolutely necessary. However eating junk all the bloody time is bound to make you feel bleh and icky and that is just not groovy (lol what?). This does not mean you should start drinking celery juice (although I have heard it is good for you) but just be mindful of your diet.
Mindfully engage your time: Time goes by so quickly; one minute it is 7am and in a twinkling it is midnight. It is easy to feel down if you feel you have wasted the entire day. Self-care must be planned into your day rather than just passively meaning to do it. I have so many face masks that I keep planning to use but then I wake up and fritter away the day until it is time for bed, and I postpone it to tomorrow and again and again.
The bottom line is this: do more of what makes you feel happy. There are women who have put on full makeup (false eyelashes included) everyday of the lockdown, and while there might be discussion to be had here about self esteem and social media and keeping up appearances, if it makes them happy then why not? Spending days on end in various pyjamas feeling and looking raggedy can be depressing. Once in a while if you feel like it, get dressed, style your hair, spray perfume and make yourself feel good.
So long chaps! Be sure to take care of yourself. I have baked some brownies and will now devour the whole thing in the tin with some strawberry cheesecake ice cream, right after I paint my nails bright red.