A meditative pampering and self-care ritual can create positivity and act as an anchor of wellbeing and mindfulness within your daily life, writes Zara Wright.
I’ve been running on very little sleep lately. My little one still wakes up frequently overnight and the ongoing broken sleep has been taking its toll on my health and wellbeing. I often feel rushed and stressed with too many tasks and not enough time in the day.
“You can’t take care of others if you can’t take care of yourself.” – Mary Mazzer
I hadn’t really looked in the mirror properly for a very long time. Not a good look. It was reversing out of my driveway when I finally saw myself for the first time in what felt like months.
The person in my rear vision mirror was so pale and drawn. My eyes were deeply shadowed and there was broken hair frizzed out all along my hairline. I had acne along my jaw-line and I just looked dull – no spark, no energy.
And it wasn’t just about my appearance, the way I looked was indicative of how I felt on a deeper level. I was unhappy and withdrawn. It wasn’t good for me and it wasn’t good for my daughter.
“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” – Eleanor Brown
It was very difficult for me to move past the notion of ‘self-sacrifice’ being admirable. I mean how much should you sacrifice of yourself for others? When does ‘self-sacrifice’ simply become ‘self-neglect’? I decided that I needed to include some time for my own wellbeing and care.
I started to think about all the things that I enjoyed doing and made me feel calm, centred and cared for. Then I decided to be realistic and move past what I ‘could’ do and focus on what I ‘will’ do.
I decided to make my nightly shower a meditative pampering session to nourish my body and my mind; a way to centre after a hectic day and collect myself for the disrupted night ahead.
“If you do not take care of yourself, you will not be strong enough to take care of anything in your life.” – Leon Brown
I now light a candle and do some gentle stretches or yoga. Some days if I feel exhausted I just do some deep breathing. I listen to my body and don’t push myself – I do what I need because this time is about caring and nurturing. I listen to music or a mindfulness podcast (The Mindful Kind by Rachael Kable) and focus on breathing deeply.
I love body oils and mild fragrances so I use an oil cleanser and I massage my skin gently. I treat myself to some really beautiful products that make me feel special. I take my time and think about letting go of the day and cleansing my mind for sleep.
In the shower I focus on the present – whether I’m washing my hair or using a body cleanser I just keep thinking about nourishing my body and centring my mind. I wash away the worries and in actively caring for my physical wellbeing I find that I’m actively caring for my emotional wellbeing.
Some days I will do a face mask, scrub or serum and some days I’ll just put on my face oil and moisturiser – again I let how I feel be my guide. Sometimes the whole process takes 5 minutes because I just need to go to bed – but I still make sure I do some aspect of my ritual. Some days I’ll feel luxurious and spend 20 minutes on myself.
“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” – Christopher Germer
The last think I do is lather myself in body oil and write three statements that will be my focus for the next day:
It has been such a small change in my life, but one I have found has had a huge impact on my outlook and interactions with others, and I’m more able to create and sustain a positive environment for my little girl.
How can you give yourself a little bit of pampering in your life?
By Zara Wright: Zara is a teacher, mum, writer and blogger for pregnancy and breastfeeding website www.milkbarbreastpumps.com.au