Growing up (and well into young adulthood), pampering myself seemed like such a frivolous indulgence. As I got older, it was less about frivolity and more about impossibility. As the mom of two busy girls the closest I came to pampering myself was shaving my legs. Once I became an empty-nester I thought there would be a lot more time for some topical applications of self-love. Hmmmm. Anyone else finding that’s not the case? Like me, you’re probably realizing you have to make time.
As women, we’ve elevated the juggling of obligations to an art form. Between children, spouses, work, and our own pursuits, we somehow managed to fit it all in or cull what wasn’t critical. Pampering usually didn’t make the cut. We may carve out time for workouts, but spending time “spoiling” ourselves may seem too frivolous to some. It certainly did to me.
The Philosophy Shift – Because We’re Worth It
I’m not sure when I began seeing things differently, but I’d guess it had to do with all the blogs I started reading several years ago. I know a lot of the features are the bloggers’ highlight reels, but the idea of fresh flowers around the house, bubble baths, and facial lotions and potions sounded like complete bliss. Try this facial scrub, and that face peel. Exercise is good for the body. A massage is good for the soul. I was finding myriad ways we can pamper ourselves, giving ourselves the opportunity to create our own self-love recipe, the thing or things that make us satisfied, loved, and cared for.
In all that time I’m realizing I’ve barely dipped my toe into the pool. So many options! I’m not the type to create a self-centered world of complete self-indulgence, but I’m seeing that the little ways I treat myself contribute to my overall sense of well-being and self-worth. If you treat yourself kindly by treating yourself to a little pampering here and there, you strengthen your sense of worthiness. Like the L’Oreal commercials used to say, “. . . because I’m worth it.” because you are.
The History of Why I Didn’t
I grew up in a frugal household. My parents understood the value of a dollar and worked to stretch that dollar as far as it could go. As a result, I hate to waste things. My husband and daughters call me The Goat, because I’ll eat food that’s a few days out of the freshness window so it doesn’t go to waste. That may be an honorable intention, but I’ve started to realize it’s created a different mindset within me, one of “less than.” I’m finished with that thought process! To keep from wasting food, why don’t I just buy less food? Doesn’t that make more sense?
Being a mom, the needs of my daughters were more important to me than the needs of Helen. Limited budget? The money went to the things the girls needed. This isn’t a “poor me” pity party, but a statement of my history. I did some things for myself, but my focus was on my family. I was an afterthought to myself. To paraphase a film line, I was a supporting actress in my own movie. I think many moms are. We do things for the benefit of our families; we’re the family glue. Glue is too busy holding things together to indulge in pampering.
The New Outlook
As I mentioned earlier, I’m gleaning some really great ideas from many of the blogs I’m reading. I’m working to elevate my daily routine so it feels more like a celebration of myself. Where I used to slap on cleanser, wash it off, slap on moisturizer and go to bed, I’m turning it into a little mini-facial every night. I start with TULA Purifying Face Cleanser. Three to four nights a week I use a home micro-needler on my face, neck, and décolleté, which I follow with Watts Beauty 100% Hyaluronic Acid serum and TULA Aqua Infusion Power Serum. It’s not as deep and restorative as a professional micro-needling session, but my skin has noticed! It feels and looks softer and more hydrated. I do this purposefully, with a mindset of indulgent self-care.
My morning routing starts with a rose quartz roller, which I keep in the refrigerator. A jade roller will accomplish the same thing. I use it on my face and neck for a minute or two in the morning before applying sunscreen and make-up. It reduces under-eye puffiness and feels so refreshing! It’s a little thing and takes just a couple of minutes, but it’s a nice moment of pampering, something I’ve added to my morning routine that tells the inner me I care. Something that says I’m worth it.
Every once in a while I’ll soak in my jacuzzi tub or take a bubble bath. What a wonderful way to ease sore muscles and relax body, mind and soul. No tub? Try a mini self-massage in the shower with your hair conditioner. You won’t get your shower or towel oily and the conditioner helps smooth the surface of your skin for gentle muscle-kneading. When you’re finished, rinse off and enjoy the extra benefit of moisturized skin!
A Few Other Things I’ve Been Doing
- Workouts – yes it isn’t really pampering, but even when I don’t want to do them I feel so good about myself when I’ve finished. I especially like those days I can workout in the morning, because I feel as though I’ve started my day with a win. I can check that box and move on to the next thing. That’s a big deal.
- A really good mattress – I didn’t realize what a big deal it was until we bought an amazing new mattress last fall. We bought the Rejuven-8 from Denver Mattress. this baby does just about everything but brew the morning coffee! It adjusts so I can read in bed, it vibrates to massages, feet, head or both, and it supports while still feeling amazing, cushioned plushness. Don’t want to buy a new bed? Try this instead and convert your current mattress into sleeping bliss.
- Bamboo Sheets – the softest sheets I’ve ever slept in. I found these sheets and these pillow cases for such great prices. With value like this, almost everyone can enjoy this bit of luxury.
Sunscreen – again, this is a basic, but it’s also one of the best ways you can love yourself, especially your face. Not only is sunscreen moisturizing, it’s anti-aging because it protects you from the wrinkles and other damage the sun causes. It’s not glamorous, but it’s so very important. You may not feel you’re pampering yourself, but you’re certainly loving yourself!
Candles – I love scented candles. I’ll spend time in the store choosing the perfect scent. I especially love citrus scents in the spring and summer; cinnamon, pumpkin and other harvest scents in the fall; and most Voluspa candles all year round. The rich aroma permeates the house and makes me smile. The ambience created by soft candlelight as evening approaches feels so luxurious.
Quality wine glasses – if you’re a wine lover there is nothing like the quality version of a glass matched to the appropriate wine. I love red wine, and these Reidel Vinium glasses are perfect. My husband prefers this stemless version. During the summer, a glass of sparkling wine is my drink of choice. Although saucer-shaped glasses may harken to old-time glamour, a fluted glass is the only way to go. They hold the “sparkle” longer, which is the whole reason for drinking bubbly, isn’t it? Very little makes me feel more glamourous than this.
Mani-pedis – whether you visit a salon, a beauty school, or your own home, treating your nails to some love not only helps you look better, it’s good for you. A good pedicure helps you avoid in-grown toenails and nail fungus. Manicures take care of hangnails and keep your cuticles conditioned to avoid cracking which can lead to pain and infection. Your local beauty school is a lower-cost source for nail care, or you can simply treat your nails at home. My nails grow quickly and I found taking time every two weeks for a salon manicure was becoming too difficult to schedule. I bought my own UV light, gel polish & supplies, and protective gloves and started doing my nails myself. It’s not for everyone, I’ll admit, but it’s been working well for me.
- Hair Color – Like my nails, my hair color needs maintenance every two weeks. I may go get the occasional professional color, but I’ve been the primary person coloring my hair since I was in my twenties. I’ve recently switched from off-the-shelf color to Madison Reed in Sicily Blonde, and what a difference! When the color itself is rinsed out, my hair already feels soft and conditioned. Once I use the after-color shampoo and conditioner my hair feels amazing! Check out this post for more detail.
As I embrace the idea of self-love, I can say with certainty the above is just a portion of a growing list. Friends, we have to learn to love ourselves. If you don’t feel you’re worth a bit of pampering, please take some time to determine why. I’ve given you several no-cost and low-cost things you can do to care for yourself. There are so many more. Take a little time to care for your body by gently massaging your lotion into your arms and legs. Be gentle while shaving your legs. Lightly massage your face for a couple minutes as you apply your evening moisturizer. Massage your hair conditioner into your scalp before rinsing. Stretch your muscles and work on flexibility. These are not big things, but they can really make a difference in the way you feel, and the way you feel about yourself.
If this is a bit weird for you, or the idea of self-love just seems way off base, try a few of the easy methods above. Bit by bit, week by week, add one or two little pampering steps into your daily routine and see how you feel.
Have any great pampering tips? I’d love to hear about them!