I love being busy. I usually tell people I thrive on busyness. I do my best work when there’s a little pressure on me to get everything done, and I’ve always been the person who puts a lot on her plate.
I took every honors class I could in high school — even the classes I hated — because I loved the challenge. I joined about eight clubs during my freshman year of college, and of course, sought as many leadership positions as I could possibly manage. Now, I’m finishing school, interning with The Everygirl (yay!), doing some part-time work, and trying to have a fulfilling social life. I can’t complain about my schedule because I created it, and I really do love it.
But… I’m exhausted and could use some much needed time with myself. So, I embarked on a week full of stress relief, self-reflection, and serious me-time.
Monday: A Face Mask and Netflix
Mondays are a long day for me, and I don’t usually get home until close to 8pm. Usually, I come home, make dinner, and basically go straight to bed. This week, I took a little extra time and used a new face mask (I had a sample, and I already bought the full size!). While this wasn’t a full-on facial, it was enough for me to take a break and relax. As my face mask dried, I put on my current favorite show. (The Haunting of Hill House — if you haven’t binged this yet, you need to!).
This was a pretty low-key night, and I almost feel weird describing it as self-care. What I’m learning though is that we individually define what self-care is to us, and while putting on a face mask and watching TV is a normal night for some people, for me, it’s an extra step with myself that I don’t normally indulge in. I went to bed that night feeling refreshed and excited to embark on the rest of the week.
Tuesday: Took a Lunch Break and Read Before Bed
I’ve discussed my obsession with YouTube beauty vloggers many times, but my schedule doesn’t always permit me time to watch them like I want to. So, on my lunch break this day, I watched one of my favorite vlogger’s newest videos. While this seems like a normal activity, it was the perfect little break in my day to get me through lots of writing (like this article!). Watching YouTube videos is a strangely calming experience for me, and I’m so excited to utilize all those tips in my beauty routine!
Then, once it came to be bedtime, I started reading a new book. I know a lot of people read before bed every night, but I’m one of those dreadful people who brings the phone into bed and scrolls until I can’t see my screen anymore. This night, I started You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero, and let me tell you, it’s just as good as the OG You Are A Badass. You’ll thank me later!
This day, I proved to myself that I don’t have to spend money to engage in self-care. I rented the book from my local library, and YouTube is free!
Wednesday: A Massage
Yes, I did just say that I don’t have to spend money, but this day, I deserved it. I ordered a Groupon for a massage (the best) last week in preparation and was so excited until the day came around. I was pretty stressed when I walked into the room, and I almost canceled it because I had so much else going on that I needed to work on. In the name of this article though, I kept my promise, and I am so grateful.
I went into this massage knowing that I wanted to make the best of it, which meant I was going to get out of my head and stay in the present moment the entire time. Afterward, I was both physically and mentally renewed. I left knowing that everything on my to-do list would get accomplished eventually. I experience a lot of physical stress symptoms (tense jaw, sweaty palms, aching neck and shoulders from slouching), and I noticed an immediate difference in how my body felt.
This was actually my first ever massage (yay me!), and I think I could definitely get used to the feeling. I might already be addicted to this post-massage high.
Thursday: Attended a Concert
I’m not one to make time (or save the money) for experiences. It’s one of my biggest regrets in the past few years and a goal of mine for 2019. So, when my one of my favorite bands from high school (#tbt to emo me!) was coming to Chicago, I knew I had to go. I convinced a friend that I don’t get to see very often to come with me, and it was a date!
I truly forgot how crazy punk-rock concerts could be. I’m pretty sure I burned like 1,000 calories just from all the jumping and singing and dancing we did! I loved seeing a band I haven’t seen in years, and doing it with a close friend made it special. I knew the next day was going to be a stressful day, but I didn’t even think about my stress while I was at the concert. I focused on having a good time and singing every single word.
Until this week, I had never thought of going to a concert as self-care, but it’s an experience that gets you in the present moment. Self-care does not have to be spent alone in a quiet room meditating over a crystal if you don’t want it to be. While attending a concert every single week isn’t exactly feasible (if only!), I can certainly afford to spend more time and money on experiences like this every now and again.
Friday: Essential Oils and Gratitude Journaling
I recently ordered a ton of essential oils on Amazon for my diffuser, but alas, I hadn’t had time to actually use them. So, I read up on my oils and decided to play master oil mixologist. Not only did my apartment smell AMAZING, but the act of researching my oils, deciding what I’d want to use, and mixing them all up in my diffuser was also such a mindful process.
Once my oils had filled the air of my apartment, I snuggled up with my favorite notebook and pen and thought about gratitude. I really try to write one to three things I’m grateful for in my planner every day, but it’s not often I sit and journal about it. I gave myself a full hour just to take in the aroma of my essential oils and think about what I’m thankful for. Sometimes, all you need is a long talk with yourself to feel truly grounded and at home.
Then, I went out with my girlfriends and drank one (or three) too many vodka crans. Let’s go GNO, ooh ooh. I felt confident and so happy all night, and if that isn’t self-care, then I’ll be damned.
Saturday: Went to Yoga and Took a Nap
One of my good friends teaches Restorative Yoga at a studio near my apartment, and I’ve been telling her that I would go for months. I thought this week would be the perfect time to start. During Restorative Yoga, you stay in your poses (or stretches) for a longer period of time than regular yoga, so you do fewer movements. It’s not meant to be very rigorous or for weight loss or power training; it’s to relieve tension and stress in the body and to center your mind.
I used to be a big yogi, but I’ve lost the habit over the years. This class reminded me of everything I love about yoga and encouraged me to book another class right away! Yoga makes me feel strong, sexy, and relaxed, and it’s not so bad for my health either. I’d love to make this a habit, eventually.
After yoga, I came home and was exhausted. Instead of fighting it, I gave in and took a restful nap. I’ve trained myself to feel guilty whenever I take naps on the weekend because I feel as though I should be productive. I’m learning that my worth isn’t measured by my productivity, and the number of checks on my to-do list doesn’t make me a better person. I’m going to create better content when I’m rested and refreshed anyway.
Sunday: Dinner With a Friend
I’m very prone to the Sunday Scaries, so I knew I needed to indulge thoughtfully this day. Earlier in the week, I planned to get dinner with one of my best friends. She’s in graduate school, so we basically have opposite schedules and never see each other.
I didn’t realize how much I would need that dinner date! I was so stressed all day about everything I’d have to get done and all the work I’d have in the upcoming week. We spent a few hours talking mindlessly about our lives, fashion, and gossip about boys (because how could we not?), and it was the distraction I needed to get my mind off of everything I was anxious about.
I was also reminded that mozzarella sticks are one of the world’s greatest gift to us, so there’s that.
My week of self-care is officially over as I write this, and I’ve never felt so at ease and ready for the next week to begin. I feel an overall sense of calm, through mind and body. I also feel more confident in myself. I have a deeper sense of self-awareness, and I have proven ways in which to easily relax or cope with stress as it arises.
If there’s anything this week taught me, it’s that self-care doesn’t have to be a full day of massages, facials, and mani-pedis, just as it doesn’t have to mean waking up at 6am to meditate and sage my house. I decided what self-care was this week because what makes me feel calm and at ease is different from someone else.
So, here’s the rundown:
How Much I Spent: $60 massage + $52 concert tickets + $24 essential oils (used some I already had!) + $12 yoga class (shoutout to student discounts!) + $20 at the bar with friends + $30 dinner = $198
What I’m Going to Add to My Normal Routine: Yoga, massages, and time with friends on Sunday evenings
What I Learned: Little moments of self-care throughout the week are so much more effective for my lifestyle than doing it all on a Saturday, and self-care can be whatever the heck you want it to be.