The other day I woke up and the best way I could describe my mood was “foul.” I couldn’t put my finger on why, but everything was setting me off. Even small things, like Steve asking me a question while I was busy or Moose (my corgi) being underfoot, was hurling me into an unrelenting rage and stressed me out. I felt like I was going to explode. That’s how I knew it was time…. To take some moments to myself. All the emotions and troubles of the week can easily pile up on us, and make us stressed, short tempered, and volatile. This is why self care is so important.
Think about it. We spend most of our time working long hours, taking little to no vacation time, and then scurrying from one event or errand to the next. We need that daily (or sometimes weekly) time to reset ourselves, otherwise we may be facing burnout, anxiety, depression, anger, and a host of other unsavory emotions. Setting aside time to relax and reset has so many benefits such as the ability to deal with stressful situations more easily, reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, improve concentration, reduce or eliminate anxiety or depression, increase happiness and energy, higher self esteem, improved immune system, and increased productivity.
You may be saying, “but Kira, I’m too busy” or “I have people who depend on me and can’t take that time” or “…says the woman without kids.” I totally get it, friend. However, if God could take a break during creation (Genesis 2:2) and Jesus could take a break during his ministry (Luke 22:41, Matthew 14:22-24, Mark 6:30-32, Mark 7:24, Luke 6:12), than you too probably make the time. I’m also going to point out that if you’re saying anything similar to the above, than you’re probably already facing burnout and are riddled with stress.
Let’s get down to business. I typically pick one night a week (usually a Friday) to have “me time.” What’s to follow is just what I happen to do and what I find works best for me to be able to calm my body and mind and press that big red reset button. So take it with a grain of salt or try it out. What’s important is that you find out what works best for you and stick to it!
I usually start by turning off my phone (that part is really important) and lighting my favorite candles, which have really soothing scents such as lavender, vanilla, etc. I grab my lavender scented bath salts and take a nice long, warm bath to soothe my aching muscles. I’ll sometimes bring a book with me too, but more often than not I just enjoy the quiet or play some soft and soothing spa music.
I try to clear my mind of all my worries and give it to God. I recommend also taking some slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Just relax, clear your mind, and be in the moment. I soak for about a half hour to 45 minutes.
Next, I usually take a shower to rinse off the bath water. I take this time to deep condition my hair with a hair mask. I’ve tried out the ones from Love, Beauty, & Planet and ApotheCARE Essentials, which I find both do a great job at making my hair feel soft and silky smooth. However, you could even just let your normal conditioner sit in longer and cover with a shower cap. I’ve been using the Castor Oil Conditioner from the folks over at Maple Holistics, and it has done wonders for my fine, thin hair.
I will interject here that roughly bi-weekly or monthly I add in some facial exfoliation after I double cleanse my face. I’ve been using the Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Green Tea from Neogen, and it is very gentle with a subtle herbal scent to it. I’m careful to avoid my eyes and then rinse when done using the textured pads. If you have sensitive and/or combination skin like me, I recommend only exfoliating bi-weekly or monthly because you may see skin irritation if you do it more frequently than that. Check out this post for more about exfoliating.
Now that I’m all squeaky clean, I put on a fluffy, soft bathrobe and move on to a face mask. I started using the Inward Agas ACue Herbal Mask. This mask is a blend of green tea and Korean mint, which help to purify and soothe your skin. It also contains glycerin and butyl avocadate (which comes from avocados) to help hydrate your skin. Although it feels a little weird at first when you’re putting it on, you get used to it and I can tell you that it really does help calm your skin. I usually lay down for about 10 minutes while I wear this mask, and take in the delicate herbal scent.
After rinsing off my mask, I pat my face dry and apply my tried and trusty toner from Acwell, followed by the spectacular new White Truffle Intensive Ampoule I found from D’Alba Piedmont. I swear to you, it’s like magic and has helped really rejuvenate my skin while reducing the appearances of fine lines. I do recommend that this ampoule is used weekly or more infrequently (yet on a regular basis no matter what frequency you choose), as it can cause skin reactions and redness if you use it too much. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Once my skin has fully soaked up the ampoule, I add my essence and let that soak in.
Before I go to the next step in the facial portion of my routine, I go and rinse out my hair with warm (not hot) water from the deep conditioning treatment. That’s right, this whole time I’ve kept my hair in a shower cap with the hair mask or conditioner soaking in. I then wrap my hair up in one of these awesome hair towels, and move on to my sheet mask! Oh, sheet masks, how I love thee. I would still recommend the Tony Moly masks hands down though. If you’re interested, definitely check out any of their I’m Real masks. The Skin Soothing Calendula one is quite nice, as is the Nutrition Avocado mask. Seriously though, any of their masks are fantastic.
So I lay back down with my sheet mask on for a full 20 minutes. Sometimes I will also add in the Tony Moly Panda’s Dream Eye Patch for my eyes, if I feel like they are looking tired or have dark circles. Those patches can be a little hard to find in the United States, so feel free to try out some of their other eye patches. Keep in mind to fully unwind while you have this mask on. Clear your thoughts and just breath. Continue to play some calming music or just enjoy the quiet.
At the end of the 20 minutes, I remove the masks and pat in the remaining serum on my face until my skin has fully absorbed it all. The last step in my face routine is to add my favorite moisturizer, A·TRUE Spring Green Tea Watery Calming Cream. This is literally the best face moisturizer I have ever used. It is so lightweight and goes on smooth, with a subtle floral herbal scent. It makes me feel calm just using it, and is also perfect to use under make-up in the mornings (if that’s your jam). I’ve never had any skin reactions to this moisturizer either, and it works great in summer and in winter.
Once I’ve completed my facial care, I remove my hair towel and moisturize the rest of my skin using the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion For Stretch Marks. I don’t know what sorcery they used to make this wonder lotion, but not only is my skin hydrated – it is actually visibly firmer and smoother and really has diminished the appearance of stretch marks. Your skin does need some love and attention. Bruh, it does so much for you already so don’t neglect it any longer… and remember to stay hydrated! Drinking enough water not only has a myriad of health benefits, but also beauty benefits too!
Since I’m usually incredibly sleepy by this point, I throw on my jammies and slide on into bed. I take this time to meditate. Meditation is known to reduce stress, depression and anxiety, promote emotional health, increase your attention span and concentration, enhance your self awareness, decrease blood pressure, control pain, help you sleep better, improve your memory, increase your compassion towards yourself and others, and help increase your will power to fight bad habits or addictions.
Now, if you haven’t meditated before, that’s totally fine and you can find some great guided meditation apps. When I was pregnant, I used the Expectful app and really enjoyed it. There are a ton of very well rated 4.5-5 star guided meditation apps on the app store. Try some out and see which one you like the best.
Now we’ve come to the very end of my routine. I’m sure you guessed what’s next… SLEEP. Glorious, wondrous sleep. Guys, sleep is so important for your mental, emotional and physical health. This is your body’s time to recuperate and also the only time your body is able remove the toxins that build up in your brain.
Not only does getting enough sleep provide cognitive benefits, it also helps us to be happier and can affect our metabolism, memory, and immune system. There are a ton of resources out there backing why we need sleep. I found that Dr. Caroline Leaf has some great information on how sleep affects our brains. Definitely recommend checking out her books and podcast.
Friends, we all need that time to rest. We need our bodies and minds to reset and rejuvenate. You’re worth it to have that time to yourself and care for yourself. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate beauty routine. It could be a walk or hike in the woods, reading a book, having a solo picnic in a scenic park or having a cup of tea and listening to the rain outside. Whatever you feel calms you and makes you feel at peace – do that. Love yourself, care for yourself. You deserve it.
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