I never thought much about the notion of “self-care.” Certainly, not within the context it now has.
Today, self-care is about nurturing one’s whole self: The mind, the body, the soul. It’s about taking time to care for yourself. That’s my impression of the term, anyway. The stress of daily living, of taking care of others — before you know it, you are your own afterthought.
Certainly, you women — and men — who regularly practice self-care have your favorite ways of achieving that overall, comes-from-the-inside-out, burnished glow, that tells the world: “I’m feeling good. I’m looking good. Dammit, I am good.”
If you fall into the “I don’t have the time/money/desire for self-care,” you should rethink this.
You make the time because you deserve it.
You should desire it because you’ll love it.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money, or really, any money.
Let me share one of my favorite self-care rituals: A bubble-bath! A good, old-fashioned, down in the weeds, soak-your-ass-off bubble bath.
Our city’s Water Department can attest to the fact that I take frequent bubble baths. I look forward to them as a soul-saving, mind-calming, limb-loosening treat at the end of a trying day.
And, it takes no effort at all. How hard is it to fill up a tub with water and bubbles? Your three-year-old could do it. Your cat. Your dog. You see where I’m going with this.
My favorite bubble baths have a lavender and vanilla or musk scent. I find that those are the scents that help me relax, the most. Floral scents are lovely, as well, especially, gardenia and jasmine. So sexy!
Our tub isn’t anything special, by the way. Certainly not the type of tub that Julia Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts, frolicked in, bopping along to the music from her earbuds. Or, the football-field-sized-tub Al Pacino snorted coke in, in Scarface. But, it gets the job done.
For me, it’s not enough to merely fill the tub with bubbles and slide in. I need my accoutrements: Magazines, a scented candle and a glass of wine or cup of tea. Heaven!
I soak for as long as time permits, or until the sweat is pouring out of me from the heat, whichever comes first. (Think spa. Steam room. Like that.)
After I’m done soaking, I get up, turn the shower on and start the business of scraping my body raw. That’s an overstatement. I exfoliate. Religiously. It sloughs off the dead skin and makes everything so much smoother. I use a special cloth that can be found in any Asian store, or on Amazon. This multi-pack is a great deal.
After I step out of the shower, and before I’m completely dry, I slather on coconut oil or one of my many body lotions. This step adds that little extra something. So basic but it makes you feel so good. I try to stick to products that are free of parabens and chemicals. I hope you do, too. There are so many available these days that there really is no excuse for putting bad stuff on your lovely bod.
How easy is all this? Self-care doesn’t have to be a whole, big thing. It can be easy, inexpensive and the returns are invaluable.
You don’t need L’Oreal to tell you, “You’re worth it.” So take a bubble bath today, dammit. And, take care of yourselves.
Sherry McGuinn is a longtime Chicago-area writer and award-winning screenwriter. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and numerous other publications. Sherry’s manager is currently pitching her newest screenplay, a drama with dark, comedic overtones and inspired by a true story.