This past weekend, I had one of the best mini-vacations I had in a long time, visiting friends in Boston. In an effort to get good flight prices, Scott and I relied on 6 a.m. flights and then the weekend was PACKED with fun stuff since it was my first time there.
No regrets but...holy shit I am tired. Compounded by the facts that I got my period (and was not able to cycle-sync with rest), my healthy eating went to shit (still no regrets though because Boston has amazing food), and my body is still adjusting to a slightly new work schedule, this week has been ROUGH.
Again, it was worth it. Spending time with friends and traveling are always good for my soul. But getting thrown off of my routine means self-care is the first thing to go -- especially boring self-care.
I've mentioned it a few times here and there, but boring self-care essential. I *love* manis, salt baths, and face masks as much as the next basic bitch, but sometimes to really care for yourself, you need to go even more...well, basic.
Cue boring self-care.
I first read about the concept of boring self-care about a year ago here, and I've been following @makedaisychains since (so #relatable). The idea is that something as simple as taking a shower can be excellent self-care when you're in a slump (especially if it feels like an achievement -- which is often the case when one has endometriosis, depression, or any chronic illness).
It's hard for me not to beat myself up when I fall off the rails of good habits, but as I've mentioned previously, I am trying to reframe that as an opportunity for good information. So in addition to really enjoying my poor eating habits and running around Boston this weekend, it also taught me that now that I am home, it is time to make some space for boring self care.
Here are some of boring self-care's greatest hits:
- As previously mentioned, showering. A lovely epsom salt bath works wonders on your skin and muscles and throw some lavender oil in there and you've got yourself a self-care party, but the truth is, we don't always have time for a leisurely bath. I try to make them a priority leading up to my period, but that just didn't happen this month. But you know what ALWAYS makes me feel refreshed? A simple shower.
- Making my bed and sleeping like a champ. I know this doesn't bother everyone, but I personally hate getting into an unmade bed. I hate sheets being wrinkled up around my legs. It feel luxurious to get into a neatly made, tidy bed. And I know that sleep is the first thing to go for a lot of busy people, but we collectively need to make it more of a priority. The health benefits of a solid eight hours a night are numerous, and anyone who knows me knows that anything under seven means I'll be a useless, angry person the next day.
- Social media and news curfews and blackouts. After Trump's inauguration I temporarily put myself on a social media and news ban each weekend. I was so angry and upset every day by the news that I needed a break to stay strong to be part of the #resistance. Otherwise, I probably would have lost my mind by now. And in keeping with my preachy attitudes, I've given myself a social media and news curfew as part of good sleep hygiene. If I start looking at Facebook or Instagram right before bed, I am prone to 1) scrolling mindlessly and endlessly because I am literally too lazy to turn over and plug in my phone, and/or 2) I will see something that makes me angry and I will go down the rabbit hole of obsessing about how stupid Trump's latest tweet is and how horrible his MAGA people are and then I will simmer and have trouble falling asleep.
- Stretching. I began to really focus on stretching when I started running in order to minimize aches and pains. Then I made stretching a daily activity on the recommendation of my pelvic floor physical therapist. Luckily, PT stretches can double as runner stretches, since they focus on stretching hips and hamstrings. I know a lot of people hate stretching though because it's boring, and at this point, my regimen takes up 16 minutes. I make it go by more quickly by listening to podcasts while I do it, and my body 100 percent appreciates it. Plus, I am a better runner for it.
- Dry brushing before each aforementioned shower. This one potentially falls into the "trendy self-care" category, because I am seeing more and more mentions of it on Instagram, but it is frankly a little boring to do. Before each shower, you basically brush your skin with a dry, stiff-bristled brush working your way from your extremities toward your heart. Aesthetically of course, it is good for your skin since it helps with exfoliation. But additionally, it promotes circulation, particularly of lymph, which is why I started to do it. Anything that helps eliminate excess estrogen more quickly, especially when I'm PMSing, is the way to go.
- Cleaning, blurgh, cleaning. Look, I hate cleaning. Some people love it, but I hate it. I never really thought about it as a self-care activity until recently. I had some time off before I started my new job and had planned to park my ass at the pool for the whole week and not budge. Needless to say, that didn't quite work out. In fact, Scott and I spent an entire day reorganizing and cleaning the apartment since he recently moved in. Honestly, it was grueling. We were both tired, sore, and cranky by the end of the day. But then it was the most amazing feeling to just sit down on a clean sofa in a sparkling, sweet-smelling apartment, and RELAX. I was telling my PT about it, and she was like, yeah, that's self-care. OH.
- I also used to hate cooking, but you guessed it, that's self-care too. In fact, I've come to even enjoy the whole process BECAUSE I've come to think of it as this really caring thing I am doing for myself. From meal planning, to food shopping, to prep, to cooking, being really mindful about what I am going to eat each week and creating dishes I will enjoy feels like the ULTIMATE act of self-care. When I think of it that way, it feels less like a chore and more like something I can feel good about.
What about you? What are your favorite acts of boring self-care? Will you be participating in any this weekend?
I for one will be catching up on sleep.