Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Self-Care Tips, From All of You (and the giveaway winner too!)

Check out tip #13. I want a favorite spoon too! (photo via)

Ask and she shall receive—thank you to everyone who shared their self-care techniques last week. I loved reading what everyone does as an act of self-care, and I realized that in some ways I wasn't as behind as I thought. For example, I'm good about drinking tons of water and getting the occasional nice coffee, and it's such a part of my routine that I hadn't realized it was, indeed, self-care—which, in some ways, is the goal. I want to find things that are small and daily, not big, expensive, and for special occasions only. I also picked up a few new things to try (hula-hooping!), and got some good reminders that things I'd written off as unacceptable luxuries aren't unacceptable after all (I don't remember the last time I read a book only for pleasure, for example).

Here's a roundup of the tips—and a congratulations to Rachael, who won the self-care kit (a signed copy of Beautiful You by Rosie Molinary and a Pacifica Island Glow Beautiful Body Kit), selected by a random number generator assigned by comment number. Rachael, send your mailing address to the.beheld.blog at gmail dot com so I can get the book and body package to you!

1) Drink up: Rachael drinks "tons of water"; Carolyn drinks nice coffees in cafes, and Kathryn gets all British with "endless cups of tea." Beth finds that having a glass of ice water near her when she goes to sleep is a comfort, even if she doesn't sip from it—a reminder that she deserves happiness, and that it is literally within reach.

2) Collective action: Try something in a group that can help you alleviate some of your daily pressures. Kristen had a perfect example: "I started backcountry snowboarding with a group of parents who shared babysitting." Love it!

3) Find out what messages you heard about self-care, and talk them down: Some grew up in homes that regarded self-care as selfish; others developed that feeling later. Either way, it's worth remembering the classic oxygen mask wisdom: You can't take care of anyone else until you've taken care of yourself. It's something Terri learned the hard way, when her physician told her plain and simple that if she didn't take action on her self-care, she wouldn't be able to take care of her daughters.

4) Brain breaks are okay:
Carolyn gives herself a break from everyday stresses by picking up fun books that allow the brain to sort of work in a different, non-work-mode.

5) Accept compliments...: Becky learned how to stop "shyly shrugging off compliments," and it's something we could all try. A smile and "thank you" is always appropriate (um, unless the compliment is "You're beautiful"); I've also seen a smile and slightly downcast eyes work as a way of being humble but gracious.

6) ....And give one to yourself too: Emma tries to find one or two things during each shower that stand out to her that day and gives herself a quiet compliment on them. (This reminds me of Eat the Damn Cake's "un-roast," which she includes at the end of each post.)

7) Try food:
This one is tricky for me, and for a lot of people, because taking care of myself with treat-like food slips very easily from something sensually indulgent to something unhealthy. But Talia's comment—"if I"m feeling frazzled, or if I'm just in the mood, out comes the ice cream"—is a reminder that there's nothing inherently wrong with using food as a coping mechanism. It's when it's the only coping mechanism that problems crop up.

8) Flossing and other health routines: Rebekah doesn't pretend that flossing is fun, but she knows its rewards will pay out in the long run.

9) Take care of your skin: The act of applying moisturizer works on a lot of levels—you're nourishing your body's largest organ, you're giving yourself a light massage, and it's a small act you can do daily to no ill effects. Beth applies lotion after her nightly shower, a way of being kind to herself through her newfound sobriety. GiaPet takes a moment in the morning to do a dry brush, which she finds both meditative and cleansing.

10) Oh, fine, take a bubble bath:
I guess I believed bubble baths were cliche because I haven't enjoyed once since age 8. My knees poke out! My neck gets sore! I get chilly! But it works for many of you, so while I'm not about to try one for myself again, it's clear that Calgon might have been onto something. (Maybe you all have bigger bathtubs? I envy Jones Family, who has a tub with jets!) It also presents the opportunity to smell nice, as with Andrea's Lush bath bombs.

11) Mani-pedi time: Like Natalie, "When my feet start looking raggedy and the paint is chipped, I usually know it's not just laziness but more a sense of malaise." It's a small act, but I too feel infinitely better when I've given my hands and feet a little love.

12) Activities: Sarahliz gardens; Olivia swing dances; Julia A meditates; CakeStripe shifted her studies from technical statistics to classes that invigorated her (like biology and yoga). Drumlore is a regular activity self-care machine, with library-hopping, hiking, and hula hooping (which I LOVE to do and appreciate the reminder of!). Also, opting out of activities can be self-care too, as Drumlore shares about cutting out of the social scene early to go home and watch a good movie.

13) Find a talisman:
ModernSauce and Rebekah both have favorite spoons, which I think is totally awesome. For a self-proclaimed "design junkie" like ModernSauce, having a small item that indulges her aesthetic sensibilities makes a difference.


  1. What great self-care tips. I love "accepting compliments". That's definitely a hard one! Another blog you might enjoy on this topic is http://www.the-beheld.com/2011/08/self-care-tips-from-all-of-you-and.html

  2. Anonymous, don't thank me, thank my readers! (And I think you meant to share another link; that's the one to this page?)

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