Self Care Priorities

What are your self care priorities? SelfcareThe things you absolutely must to feel like you have been kind to your
self on a given day? The non-negotiables of caring for body and soul? It helps to think about these, because they give you a list to tick off when you’re wondering “Did I really take care of myself today?” Then you can either relax into your accomplishment or know exactly where you need to start to make things better.

Here are mine:

Number one definitely is sleep. I’ve learnt to prioritize eight to nine hours a night during my first year of college. It is simply astonishing how much easier and more enjoyable life is when you are running on enough sleep. Everyone knows this intellectually. But try it for a few weeks, and I guarantee that you’ll be surprised. Fun things are even more fun when one is awake while doing them, and not so fun things go from “Ugh I hate this, what did I do to deserve this?” to “Oh, this is actually not so bad.” Sleep enough, and your mood, and in the long run, your health, will do a 180. To achieve it, make bedtime nonnegotiable: at least 8.5h before you have to get up, to give yourself some time to fall asleep.

Next up are two items on equal footing: eating well and exercising. If somehow I can’t do one, I use the other to pick up the slack and not feel too bad, but to feel great, I need to do both. Eating well daily, but not necessarily at every meal, exercising almost daily. And if not true exercise, at least some form of movement, like walking.

The next is my favorite: reading. This is caring for my soul. When alone, that is my favorite thing to do. If I haven’t had a lot of time to read, be it due to school, or friends visiting, or just the general hectics of life, I almost feel a physical craving to sit down with a book. Once I do, I can finally breathe again.

A close second to reading: spending time with loved ones. For obvious reasons.

Writing. Reading soothes my soul, but writing keeps it untangled.

The last and least item on this list is grooming: I’m not really into makeup (but when I do use it, I feel like a self care superhero), so it comes down to manicure (DIY, sans nail polish), pedicure (DIY, currently red), reigning in my eyebrows, and washing my hair at a socially acceptable frequency. The basics.

If I do the first three on the list, I know I don’t need to worry. If I do the first five, I know life is good. If I do them all, I’m truly proud.

What are the most important parts of your self care routine?

On Not Wearing Makeup

I pretty much stopped wearing makeup during the past year. Mostly out of laziness – sleep is a precious resource, people. It was not some kind of experiment trying to counter the ridiculous beauty standards society imposes on us. But it may have gone off in that direction a little bit.

ElleIt wasn’t very hard. If it was, I would have gotten over my laziness. But once you start asking yourself “Am I going to feel like taking this off tonight?” you know your makeup bag is going to get a nice long break.

I did wear makeup for special occasions, some parties, but not all, some concerts, but mostly the ones where I was on stage myself, a 10 k race (it came with my race pack and instantly doubled my makeup inventory). I was going to put on makeup for the first day of my internship, only to realize three days later that I’d completely forgotten about it. No one commented on my face, ever, except for my mother, saying that I was right to finally follow in her footsteps and chucking the mascara that fails to deliver on its promises of angelic beauty, steamy sex, and true love.

I got very used to my bare face. I have never used copious amounts, and some products just confuse me – I would not know where on my face to put blush, or how to wear lipstick in everyday life. Additionally, my glasses are very prominent, obscuring my eyes quite a bit. I also like being able to say that I don’t wear makeup.

I must also admit that I have been blessed with natural coloring that lends itself to this experiment: dark lashes and eyebrows, not too pale, very clear skin. So I never felt the need to use makeup to cover up my insecurities – I used clothes for that, and so far, I have not adopted a naked policy on that one. This explains how not wearing makeup didn’t feel like giving anything up – it felt like gaining time.

And yet, sometimes I wonder if I am selling myself short by choosing not to beautify my face. Whenever I see an exceptionally beautiful woman on the street, I notice whether or not she is wearing makeup – she is. They all are. Is it the makeup that makes them exceptionally beautiful? Are exceptionally beautiful women more prone to using makeup? Have I forgotten how to appreciate natural beauty, no longer recognizing it when it passes me on the streets? Can I blame the media for perpetuating a heavily madeup and photoshopped version of beauty? I recognize natural beauty in the mirror, but I’m biased. Would others recognize it in my face?

I wonder how and if things will change once I no longer wear glasses after getting lasic surgery later this week. Will the two-week period of makeup verboten be enough for me to get used to my new face so that I won’t feel the need to break out the paint jars? Will I start having fun with makeup because my glasses no longer hide it? Or, worst-case scenario, will I use it every day because I’ll feel too plain without it?