After my previous post, I realized that I really need to devote some time to self-care so, I declared the following weekend to be my Weekend of Self Care. (Of course the ultimate goal is to work self-care into my daily routine but, since this is an especially busy time of year for me where I practically live at the office, the thought of trying to squeeze personal time into the workweek right now is more stressful than stress-relieving.)
To make it easier to stick with my commitment to (a weekend of) self-care, I decided to work in some DIY projects to both appease my creative side as well as my internal gremlin* that likes to guilt trip me about spending too much money on myself. (*Hay House author Jennifer Grace refers to that internal gremlin as the “Itty Bitty Shitty Committee”, which I love because giving it a silly name takes away a lot of its power.) That’s not to say I didn’t spend any money on myself but, I kept it in a range that didn’t trigger the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee. Here’s what I did…
Actually, I’m going to start with what I didn’t do: I didn’t schedule anything for Saturday so that my day could be fluid and stress-free, so I didn’t set my alarm on Friday night, which allowed me to sleep in as late as my body needed to and feel fully rested when I got up on Saturday. Now, here’s what I did…
#1) I got a massage:
Now, you’re probably thinking: “She just said she didn’t spend much money on herself!” I didn’t. While I would love to have a full-on spa day in an environment like Burke Williams, that Itty Bitty Shitty Committee loves to tell me that is for “special occasions only” and stop me in my tracks. Luckily, there is a little Chinese Foot Massage place in a strip mall only 5 minutes from home that does a great job for $25/hour! My IBSC can’t argue with that. Also, in keeping with my plan for a relaxed and fluid day, I knew that I could call that massage place whenever I was ready to go and they’d be able to fit me in within an hour or so. So, after a leisurely late breakfast with Dusty, followed by a nice long shower, I called and made an appointment for an hour-long massage 20 minutes later.
Like I said, this place is not a spa: it’s a dimly lit room with a mellow instrumental soundtrack, a fish tank, a dozen or so leather recliners, a massage chair and a curtained area in the back with two massage tables. You’re not paying for atmosphere. But it’s easy to close your eyes and relax into one of the recliners with your feet soaking in warmish-hot tea-infused water while someone performs acupressure on your scalp and face then moves down to massage your neck, shoulders and arms… eventually working on your feet and legs before transitioning to one of the tables to finish with a more thorough back and shoulder massage. I love this place! They even have a frequent visitor punch card so your 11th visit is free.
#2) I enjoyed a family meal:
I love to cook but rarely have time to during the week. Weekends are when I have the luxury of planning out a meal, shopping for it, preparing it and plating it. I especially love when I have the opportunity to cook for small groups of family and friends, it feels good to present something nourishing, delicious and beautiful to those that I love. So, I decided I was going to surprise Dusty (my hubby) and Evan (my brother) with a little family dinner on a Saturday night.
On my way home from the massage, I took a detour to the grocery store to buy food for a simple and delicious dinner as well as ingredients for the sugar scrub I planned to make on Sunday. Since this was a relaxed day and I was already hungry, I decided to make dinner prep as quick and easy as possible and purchased prepared baby back ribs, a yummy cauliflower side dish to bake with the ribs and a salad kit. Dinner was ready in practically no time, Evan set the table and Dusty cut the ribs. Before I knew it, we were all sitting down to a delicious meal. I can’t say there was much conversation, it was mostly yumming, but it was still nice to share a meal with my favorite guys.
#3) I practiced yoga:
On Sunday mornings, my favorite thing to do is go to the 9:15am class at Yoga Shelter. Because of two weekend road trips to see Stage 11 play and, before that, being sick, I hadn’t gone for 3 weeks! I was so looking forward to being in class again this weekend. If you practice yoga, I’m sure you understand. If you’ve never done yoga, look for a class near you and you’ll see what I’m talking about. (I’ve noticed a lot of yoga studios have free trials or use Groupon or Living Social deals to make it easier for beginners to try it out.) Of course you can do yoga at home, on your own or with video instruction, but there’s something about being in a class that I love. The instructor gives encouragement to hold a pose longer or go deeper, as well as tips on body position (there are multiple ways to do each pose, everyone’s body is different) and insights into the true purpose of yoga such as “we create drama with these poses to learn how to handle drama when it comes up in our life.” I always feel better walking out of class than I did walking in. I always have a big grin on my face even if it was a particularly difficult class (maybe especially if!) A good hour of yoga gives me a natural high that I just love.
#4) I made something to pamper myself:
I’ve been wanting to move toward more homemade cleaning products (household cleaners and body care) both to eliminate chemicals and save money. What’s more “self-care” than that? I decided to make a sugar scrub because it sounded simple and I was looking forward to using it!
If you’ve never used a sugar scrub, it’s a wonderful exfoliant that leaves your skin super soft, you can usually find it at bath stores but it tends to be $10-$20 per jar. All you need for a sugar scrub is: sugar (duh! either white or brown) and a carrier oil (grape seed, jojoba, sweet almond, olive or coconut,) you can also add vitamin E oil for extra skin nourishment (but leave it out if you’re prone to breakouts) and experiment with adding your favorite essential oils for some lovely aromatherapy. I found another recipe that also adds honey and lemon for their unique skin benefits, I’ll probably try that next time but wanted to start simple.
One of my favorite bath product scents is Warm Vanilla Sugar so I decided to go with a combination of Brown Sugar (1 cup), Coconut Oil (1/2 cup), Vitamin E Oil (1/2 tsp), and real Vanilla Extract (1 tsp). I could only find vitamin E oil in capsule form, so I had to puncture and squeeze a few (8 or 10) to get a 1/2 tsp and ended up with it all over my fingers… but I saw that as a surprise benefit and rubbed it into my cuticles for an impromptu cuticle treatment! It was easy to mix everything together in a bowl, then I scraped it into a clean jar and labeled it. Voila!
I then took a shower to try out my concoction and learned it makes a wonderful pre-shave exfoliant because it leaves a thin layer of oil on your legs that lubricates the blade so you can skip the shaving cream! (It does gunk up the razor a bit, but no more than pricey shaving lotions I’ve tried, and it’s nothing a good blast of hot water won’t fix.) It felt wonderful on my face and lips, too! (By the way, recommended use of sugar scrub is 3x a week on your body, 1x a week for your face.) I also made sure to use it on my feet and hands in preparation for the next item on my self-cart to-do list…
#5) I gave myself a mani-pedi:
I’ve always loved doing my nails and used to get quite creative with it. (Long before “nail art” was so popular, I was dropping different colors of polish onto my nails and swirling with toothpicks!) Over the last decade or so, I just haven’t given myself much time to paint my nails… and it’s not just the painting time, it’s the drying time and the it-might-still-smudge time… I feel like I can’t do anything productive for a few hours after painting my nails so I usually talk myself out of doing them. This time, I threw in a load of laundry while I was trimming and shaping my nails and got the clothes in and out of the dryer while I was doing my toes so, I felt a bit more productive. I also decided to try some of those fun nail art strips that I keep buying and never using… I considered putting the strips on my fingernails but thought the flower pattern might look too busy on my hands so I applied them to my toenails instead. On my hands, I did one flowery accent nail and painted the rest lavender. I really like how it turned out!
#6) I sang:
I love to sing but, it’s mostly in the car or shower even though I really love singing in front of people. I used to do karaoke with friends but, it’s been a while since that was a regular thing. What I’d really love to do is get a little set together for an open mic night. A couple things have been holding me back: I’m not ready to share original songs yet and I feel a bit odd singing covers when most of the open mic singers will be performing their own work… whenever I manage to re-work that first thought so it doesn’t bother me, the other obstacle that pops up is Time. Time to perform and Time to practice. I figure “time to practice” is my first hurdle so, as a gift to myself on this Self-Care Weekend, I asked Dusty if we could work on some songs. (I don’t know why I ask so rarely, he’s always happy to play with me.)
I’ve been on an Alanis Morisette kick lately so, he pulled up the tab to a couple different Alanis songs and we went through them once or twice… then he remembered a Lisa Loeb song and we worked on that for a bit… I think I’d like to learn a few ‘90s female singer-songwriter tunes and eventually perform them at an open mic with Dusty. I like that thought. It makes me happy.
Isn’t that what self-care is all about? Making yourself happy? Doing things that feed your soul? Ideally, we should be doing soul-nourishing things every day. I’m working toward that but, for now, weekend self-care is a step in the right direction. What have you done for yourself lately? Why not plan a weekend of self-care? And if not all weekend, why not Saturday or Sunday? Or a half-day of each? At the very least, make yourself a sugar scrub and take a nice long shower to enjoy your creation. Treat yourself this weekend!
P.S. – I apologize for the long lull between posts. As mentioned in the first paragraph this is an especially busy time for me at work, lots of twelve-hour days and weekend work, so it’s taken me a while to finish writing this post. Every time I start to beat myself up for not getting it done, I remind myself that this is not a normal time of year and I can get back to my once a week posting schedule in June. And I will. That makes me feel better. That, and the homemade sugar scrub I’ve been using these past few weeks: in the middle of all the hectic craziness, it’s quick and easy pampering and I love it! Seriously, make some this weekend, you’ll love it too!