Love & Life

Self-Care Is More Than Retail Therapy

What is self-care? Or, I guess, the more important question – what isn’t considered self-care? For one, it isn’t selfish. Self- care is necessary for one’s well-being – emotionally, physically, spiritually. And as much as a part of me hates to admit this – it’s not a reason to go out and spend a bunch of money.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a big Parks & Rec fan ( I’ll sheepishly admit, I like it better than the Office)  so I am all for a good “treat yo self” moment. However, we are all addicted to something; we all have a crutch we lean on when things get tough emotionally. Case in point: I love a good bargain and I adore a good face mask, cream, spray, peel. Both addictions can be pricey and I used to consider both important parts of my self-care. I was a true “treat yo self” kind of gal. I still am, at times. I love a good meme about shopping or other ways of pampering yourself, but you can see where I am going with this – those bargains and fancy face creams are just instant gratification highs. They send a nice boost of serotonin to my brain but it doesn’t stick and soon I’m looking for my next hit.

I can walk into Target and get a high just from the smell of a good two-for-one deal. I hope your imagining me sniffing the Target air like a Bloodhound, because that’s what appeared in my head when I typed that sentence. You get the point, right? We all know shiny, pretty, expensive things don’t buy happiness  … and yet we fall prey to it too often.

Our self-care toolbox should have a plethora of things in there for us to pull out and do, no matter our social status. Granted, some things you do need money for but ladies and gents, there are options. Please don’t think that self-care means you need to buy a bunch of brand new things just to feel better about yourself and your life.

Here are some things you can do at home for yourself with little to no cost:

  • Netflix and Chill. Forget what the “kids” say it means, sitting down and snuggling into a funny movie, romantic story or scary documentary (if you’re into that kind of torture) is perfect way to unwind. For me, when my husband is away at work and my kids are asleep, I find a good comedy special and snort-laugh into the night.
  • Mindfulness and Nature. Step outside and be like Ferdinand the Bull, stop and smell the flowers. Stand in the sunlight for 15 seconds, a minute. Get out of your head and just focus at whats in front of you for a few seconds. No one says you have to sit and be mindful for hours on end.  I’ve been mediating for six months now and I’m STILL not levitating yet. #goals Seriously though, start small. If you can sit quietly and enjoy the view in front of you, whatever it is for 5 seconds, you can do 15, 30 seconds, one minute, five minutes. Build your mindfulness at your own pace.
  • Make a Homemade Face Mask. If you are like me and like a good face scrub here’s a quick recipe that is also tasty. Mix some brown sugar and honey together and smear it one for a few minutes. The brown sugar work as an exfoliator, and it’s tasty.  Gross your kids out by wiping the mask off your face with your finger and then lick it. Olive oil is a great cleanser, coconut oil is a good moisturizer (put a couple of drops in your bath). Google homemade hair/face masks and you’ll find a slew of recipes and things to try.
  • I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie. If you’re into the written word, your local library is a great way to unwind and it’s free. I read or listen to more than 20 books a year and 99 percent are checked out from the library. Expanding your knowledge on a subject you knew little about is self-care. Rereading Harry Potter for 10th time is self-care. If you’re spiritual, the Bible is dandy.
  • Take a Damn Selfie. I’ve been reading studies on this, taking a selfie and sharing it with the world can boost your confidence. Like all things, everything is in moderation. Confidence is a skill that grows within but I’d be lying to you if I said it doesn’t feel good when you post a picture and people comment how much they love your new hairstyle. If you feel good, celebrate it. If you don’t feel good, share. Filter, no filer, doesn’t matter – the real world and the social media world needs your wonderful face – so post away.
  • Therapy Smerapy. Therapy gets a bad rap, I was one of those who poked fun at therapy and now that I’m about to hit my one-year anniversary of therapy … well, I still make fun of it but in a loving way because it’s changed my life. If I could give everyone a gift in this world, it’d be a good therapist. Now cost is an issue here, I get that. Check out your local universities and see if they have a program with their psychology students. The sessions are cheaper and you are helping them become better psychologist! It’s a win-win! There is also online therapy, which is affordable depending on how many times a week you chat. I will say person-to-person therapy is better because there is a less of a chance of things being misinterpreted. I had this issue when I did online therapy for about four months. Are you spiritual? Seek out a faith-based counselor. A life coach, counselor, therapist and psychiatrist are all different, so do some research and find out which is the best fit for you. I can’t tell you how valuable it is to have someone to talk to who is unbiased. You are not your thoughts, you are not crazy. Get your thoughts out and you’ll be amazed.
  • Create. Have kids? Have crayons, pencils, gel pens, paint and paper? Did you doodle a lot as a kid? Time to bust out Doodle the Doodler again! Sit with your kids and color with them, paint together (I suggest acrylic because you can hose your kids off when your done), or create by yourself. There is a creative side in all of us, let him/her out. No one says you have to paint a masterpiece – just do it for you.
  • Rock that Hobby. Have you always wanted to learn how to knit? Love gardening? I’m all for signing up for a local class but if you’re crazy broke, we have Google and Youtube, ya’ll. USE THEM.

By the way, if you need motivation on how to get motivated – check out Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule here: https://melrobbins.com

Here are some other self-care things you can do:

  • Take a hot bath.
  • Sit in silence for 5 minutes.
  • Talk a walk around the block.
  • Stretch.
  • Take a cold shower. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s invigorating.
  • Wear your favorite color.
  • Listen to your favorite song or album.
  • Walk barefoot in the grass.
  • Go swing on your kids’ swingset.
  • Drink a cup of tea or coffee slowly.
  • Call up a friend and catch up.
  • Take your medications.
  • Do put on a makeup and do your hair just for you.
  • Wear your favorite scent – and hey, if that’s just deodorant, that’s OK!

Self-care is about you and then again, it’s not about you. If you take care of yourself, you’re more likely to give the care and love you want to give to your loved ones.Your kids are watching and if they see how important self-care is, they will know the importance of taking care of themselves.  When you take care of yourself, you make the world a better place. When you feel good, you put more positive energy out there, you shine your light. And I don’t know about you but it’s time we start shining our unique light so damn bright the Sun is jealous.

So go on, let your little light shine. Let’s make the Sun wear sunglasses.

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