PAMPERING YOURSELF IS NOT SELFISH. It shouldn’t make you feel guilty, shameful or neglectful.
Pampering yourself is self-care. Self-care is about being your best self so that you can choose to distribute your energy appropriately.
Health begins with you. Taking care of yourself takes priority to be able to be your optimal self, work productively, feel great, prevent disease and support others.
When you are exhausted, stressed, poorly fed, dehydrated and sluggish you cannot be your best self. You will be reacting defensively to your situations and environment with limited ability to be creative or see the-big-picture. Stretched patience turns into more arguments, fights, hurt feelings and poor health choices.
Regular self-care is the key to taking back control of your life and re-setting your priorities.
13 Ways to Pamper Yourself and Take Back your Health:
1. Bubble Bath
Having a long soak in luke warm water with some Epsom salts and bubbles not only melt away sore muscles and a restless mind, but it’s also a way to help detoxify the body. The luke warm water may not feel as good as a really hot bath, but it’s less stressful for the body to regulate and so it’s actually more relaxing.
The Epsom salts in the bath help to draw out fluid and toxins from the body, while helping to heal damaged tissues. Make sure to re-hydrate yourself with water or relaxing herbal teas during and after your bath.
2. Long Walks
You don’t need a predetermined route or destination. Just walk. Walk and think, then walk and don’t think, then walk and pay attention to your environment – the sights, smells, sounds and feel of the wind on your face. Stop and take it all in. Get lost in your surroundings and if you feel like it, walk some more.
Writing is a therapeutic way to get down your thoughts and feelings and find clarity in what you want. Sometimes however, using a diary to vent or write down negative events can do more harm.
I use the “rule of 3”. Give yourself a maximum of 3 times to tell the same negative story before you must choose a solution or turn it into a positive message. When you journal, use this same rule however, after writing down anything negative follow it with a positive. Train yourself to look for opportunities and create a perspective of life that you can celebrate.
4. Yoga vs Crossfit
A yin producing activities like yoga or Tai Chi can help calm the mind, ground the body and bring more awareness to you and your surroundings.
On the flip side, physical exercise that invigorate yang energy like boxing or Crossfit can be a great way to let off some steam, pump endorphines, distract from your thoughts, and feel your body.
The spectrum of activities are all useful depending on your situation and needs. If you are an adrenaline junkie who’s always on the go, a yang exercise will be help expend your excess energy, however a yin exercise will help ground you. If however you are exhausted and not sleeping well, a yin exercise will help to restore your depleted state, while a yang exercise can deteriorate you further.
Both types of activities are important in taking care of your body and mind depending on your situation.
5. Home Spa Treatment
If you have a special local spa that you like to attend for your facial, massage, and mani-pedi’s, book a day to yourself and enjoy. As much as spas are social events, it sometimes nicer for it to be just you. Give yourself the time to reflect, relax, meditate and surrender.
Home spas can be just as enjoyable as going out for a treatment. Here are my favorite ways to pamper myself with a home spa:
- Face mask. Make your own clay masks to help draw out excess oils, clean out pores and re-mineralize the skin before you start hydrating. Start by washing off any make-up or dirt off your skin. Make a paste of dry bentonite clay (1 tbsp – also useful for making tooth pastes, cosmetic foundations and detox drinks), tea tree oil (4 drops – for acne prone skin), water (1-2 tbsp) and ground oatmeal (1 tbsp). Apply the clay mask to your face, avoiding the eyes and mouth. Let the mask sit for 10 minutes or until the clay begins to dry. Don’t let the mask completely dry as this will dehydrate your skin. Wash the face completely and splash on ice cold water to help close up those pores, then use your moisturizing creams or butters.
- Dry skin brushing steam. Place a plastic chair in your bathroom and turn on the shower to the hottest temperature. Have a seat outside of the shower and using a natural bristled brush, gently make small circles from your hands towards your heart. The coarse hairs should barely scratch your skin. Repeat the circles on both sides of the arms and up the legs. Dry skin brushing helps to improve circulation and lymphatic drainage.
- Hot oil hair treatment. Get a small bowl and place 8-10 tbsp of coconut or castor oil and a few drops of your preferred essential oil (ie. lavender). For longer or thicker hair you may need more oil. Heat the oil in a double boiler (water underneath the oil container) on the stove for 2 minutes, but don’t let it boil. Stand in the shower to avoid a mess and separate your hair into a few sections. Start adding the hot oil to one part of your hair at a time. Apply the oil from scalp to tip of the hair and comb through. Soak a small towel in hot water and ring out dry. Wrap the hot towel around your hair and let sit for 20 minutes (this is a perfect time to have a warm bubble bath) then wash your hair as per usual.
- Salt Scrubs. Get a bowl of Epsom or coarse salt and turn on the shower to a neutral temperature. Step into the shower to get your whole body wet and then turn off the shower. Cover your body with course salt, making the same small circles up the limbs towards the heart to exfoliate the skin. Be gentle on the face and genitals.
- Hydrate your skin. After a warm bath or shower, apply a hydrating moisturizer to your skin. Lotions are often water-based and can dry out your skin even more. It’s best to use a combination of oils, waxes and butters such as a shea butter, coco butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil, bee’s wax. Give yourself a nice relaxing massage while rubbing in your moisturizer.
- Nail art. Throw on a robe and let’s get to your beautiful nails. Before you get started, make sure you have everything you need so that you don’t accidentally ruin your nails trying to get a glass of water or a tissue.
- TV remove control or book
- extra pillow
- herbal tea and water
- tissue or a towel
- nail polish remover
- nail clippers, file, cotton balls, swabs
- nail polish
- garbage near-by
6. Arts and Crafts
Arts and craft time is for the young at heart. Get messy, have fun, get creative and make something you can use, show off or share. Now-a-days it’s very easy to get free beginner videos for easy crafts and DIY (do-it-yourself) projects just by Googling or going onto YouTube.
Crocheting has been one of my favorite projects to do lately because it doesn’t require any prep or clean up and very little materials — yarn and crochet hook. Start with a scarf, small blanket or cute Amigurumi characters. I recently made a cute crochet sushi from this video:
7. Purge Your Closet
Get rid of your excess. Everyone has excess and I know this because for 6 months out of the year I live solely out of a carry-on knapsack and do just fine.
Most people fill the need to fill their rooms, homes and lives with “stuff”. Stuff that give you a false sense of security and permanency. Purging your clothes, electronics, art, toys, books, cupboards and garage can feel like a weight has lifted off your shoulders.
The space you live and work in should be inviting, clean and inspiring for you to be able to feel your best. Start going through cupboards, drawers and closets to donate everything you haven’t used in the last year.
8. Clean Your House
Start with the bedroom, kitchen and office space. Clear off the counters and floors and bring some order to your home. Do a thorough cleaning one room at a time. Cleaning doesn’t take as long as people think. It’s only when they get distracted by going through sentimental treasures or over-analyzing unnecessarily. All you need is 3 piles:
Don’t get sentimental until you are finished with your set out task. Don’t start creating more mess. If you have paper work to go through, for example, put the pile to the side and finish organizing your desk before going through every paper.
9. Stay Somewhere Else, Order In and Find Some Quiet
Have a change of scenery by traveling, getting a hotel room or staying at a friend’s place to have a relaxing night in. It’s nice to have a bit of a change to really disengage from your life, home and work. Have a quiet night in with some delicious delivered food.
It’s nice to unwind, slow down, and have a change of scenery once in a while to get some clarity and distance from the bubble that you live in.
10. Read a Favorite Book
It’s easy and mind-numbing to pass the time with watching movies, re-runs and tv series. Especially with the marathons of tv shows that one can easily access online, you can let hours of your night escape you in a blink of an eye.
Take some time to detach from your electronics (computers, tv, cell phone, Ipads, etc). Snuggle up on the couch with a blanket, glass of wine and a favorite book and let yourself get immersed in the story and your imagination to go for a ride.
11. Watch a Rom-Com Movie
Sometimes you just need a good laugh. Whether you decide to stay in or go out, give yourself permission to let go. There are a handful of stressors in our lives that we have full control over, the rest we need to accept or make a decision to change the situation.
There are times when you can prepare, worry and rehearse every possible outcome and have it not make any difference except to damage your mental state. Give yourself a chance to laugh and not take yourself or your life as seriously. Life is about having fun. So go ahead and be in love with your life, your choices and yourself.
12. Sleep In
Sleep… so many people are sleep deprived. Whether it’s staying up late, being woken up by children or working crazy hours, let yourself sleep.
If you can’t sleep in, start by going to bed only 10 minutes earlier than the night before. Once you can stick to that time consistently, go to bed another 10 minutes earlier until you are getting at least 7 hours of restful sleep a night.
13. Make Yourself a Sexy Meal
Buy some fresh ingredients and make yourself a beautiful meal. Something hearty, rich and satisfying. Splurge by get a nicer bottle of wine, or a stinkier cheese, or a small carton of your favorite ice cream.
Add to the ambiance by setting out flowers, throwing on some sexy fun music, and lighting a candle or two. Be a little naughty by enjoying the act of cooking for you.