I have been all about self-care lately. In fact, I feel like an absolute broken record when I talk about it. “Self-care” has become a bit of a buzz word lately so I kind of feel like I jumped on the bandwagon. But honestly? It’s something I sought out on my own after a rough year. I’m partnering with Gillette Venus on today’s post to talk about how I prioritize self-care. A big part of self-care for me is feeling confident and considering that one of my personal insecurities is body hair, the Venus razor is practically my best friend… and has been for almost two decades. Above anything else, having smooth legs gives me the most confidence. I can go out without makeup, throw my hair up in a bun, and wear super comfortable clothes, but it’s freshly shaved legs that really makes me feel like I can conquer the world.
There’s so much out there that tells us to put others first. I 100% understand where that sentiment is coming from, but I think in order to give the most to others, we have to be in a good place ourselves first. It’s just like on an airplane when they tell you to put the oxygen mask on first before assisting others.
When we’re programmed not to put ourselves first, it can feel like a selfish endeavor to take care of our own needs. When I first started my self-care journey, I felt a tremendous amount of guilt. I felt guilty when I got a full eight hours of sleep. (But my to-do list seems endless and I should keep working…) I felt guilty taking twenty minutes in the morning to read a book. (I should be addressing those emails I got overnight.) I felt guilty when I went into a cafe to just sit there and enjoy my coffee before resuming my day. (Shouldn’t I take the coffee to go and make a few phone calls while I drive home?)
After feeling burnt out and exhausted from taking care of other people before myself, I knew I had to make a change. I thought it would end up being an entirely selfish decision, but I learned that once I put myself first, I was actually a much better daughter, friend, businesswoman, girlfriend, and even stranger. All of my relationships (from people that know me best to people I happened to cross paths with during the day) improved because I was relaxed and recharged and confident.
I still feel pangs of guilt now and then, but I remind myself that I’m doing everyone, myself included, a service. When I get eight hours of sleep, I’m cheerful and not grumpy throughout the day. I have more patience and think clearer. My interactions with people and my work output are both better. When I start the morning with a non-work related task, like reading, I’m a calmer, more relaxed girl. I can then tackle my inbox without feeling a sense of rush. And when I sit to enjoy my coffee? I give myself a much-needed break from an otherwise filled day. 20 minutes to just sit and be is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.
The big ways in which I’m taking care of myself:
ONE // Sleep
Getting enough sleep is the easiest way to self-care. As I’ve mentioned, this used to make me feel guilty. At Georgetown, there was a common phrase of “you can sleep when you’re dead,” and the students completely embodied that. Here’s the thing. Not getting enough sleep can have profound effects on your health, not to mention short-term issues (like grumpiness or poor work). I no longer let myself fall victim to the guilt. The “grind” and the “hustle” can wait until I’m well-rested.
To get better sleep, I stay off of digital devices about 30 minutes (but ideally an hour) before going to bed. After giving the dogs one last walk and washing my face/brushing my teeth, I get into bed to read and journal. This helps me unwind and get all of the day’s thoughts and worries out of my head. To aid in sleep, I’ve been listening to soundtracks specifically designed for deeper sleep. A sound machine or sound machine app can work, and Headspace just released a bunch of different tracks for sleep that I enjoy. I set the timer for 15 minutes, and I’ve never heard the end of it; I’m asleep in no time!
TWO // Baths
I know bubble baths are not what self-care is solely about. But… I am so hooked on taking baths. I started taking a bath, nearly every day actually, because my workouts left me incredibly sore. After foam rolling and stretching, I would soak in the tub to ease my sore muscles. It became this daily ritual that I loved. Sometimes I bring my phone and draft emails (is that weird to admit?! haha) and other times I dim the lights and burn a candle… and just relax.
I typically take a shower after the bath because I do think baths are pretty gross when you actually think about it. Instead of just jumping into my day, I try to enjoy the whole process, methodically going through the steps of the shower. Even though this started as a way to help sore muscles, it opened my eyes to how I had been rushing through so much of my daily life. Taking my time and being deliberate about each step of my routine, even in the shower, gives me a new perspective. It sounds weird, but when I don’t rush through eating my breakfast or rush out the door for a meeting or rush through my nightly routine, that calmness carries throughout my entire day.
Now, after a relaxing bath, my time in the shower feels like a luxurious trip to the spa. It doesn’t take longer than my usual showers (I’m not just standing there with water pouring down on me), but it feels like it. While washing my hair, and this might sound lame, I try to emulate the hair washers at the salon, using my nails to massage my scalp in the process. Once a week, I do a hair mask. While that’s resting, I’ll go about shaving my legs.
I am so picky about shaving. I have used Venus razors since I started shaving in sixth grade. They do the best job (even when you are in a rush) at going over all the curves and bumps of my legs. Gliding over the knee is no problem!
Gillette Venus recently sent me the new Venus Platinum Extra Smooth to try out, and I love how sturdy it feels. It has a metal handle which gives you so much more control, and the actual razor head is the same one that I know and love with five diamond-like coated blades and a 360-degree ribbon of moisture for the smoothest glide. The metal handle has just the right weight and has an anti-slip texture so you have a better grip, even in the shower. It feels, and looks, very chic and luxe. You can find it here while stocking up on your other self-care necessities!
My skin is ridiculously sensitive and shaving is the only way for me to get super smooth skin and the Gillette Venus razors are the only ones that work for me. (Trust me, I’ve tried everything over the years and always go back to my trusty Venus!)
Even if I skip the bath because of timing, I have been trying to embrace the luxurious shower. Beyond appreciating every step and not rushing through, I also feel like a new person when I get out. Sometimes I use a shower as a “reset” button. For me, there’s no greater feeling than having squeaky clean hair and completely smooth legs. I feel like I’m ready to conquer the world as I’m fully refreshed and totally confident. Body hair is, hands down, my number one insecurity so anything that helps me feel confident in that department is a win for me!
THREE // Meditation
Guys. I know I’ve been harping on the meditation thing, but I really cannot recommend it enough. Everyone should be meditating!!! Learning how to do it should be required in every elementary school because it’s such a fundamentally important life skill. I meditate every day (I’m coming up on the one-year mark!) with Headspace and I also have found myself just meditating on my own during times of stress. I don’t have scientific numbers on how my anxiety has been reduced, but I do know that I’m having significantly fewer episodes of panic a week and I’m finding that I’m simply enjoying life a lot more. I don’t feel like I’m in a constant fight or flight mode.
Everyone has ten minutes a day! You may want to start your mornings with meditation or break up your workday with a quick 10-minute session at your desk. (I prefer to do it in the afternoon when I start to get in a slump.) What I love about meditation is that you don’t need anything: time, props, etc. You can do it anywhere at anytime!
FOUR // Working Out
I used to convince myself that I hated to work out. And maybe I did to a certain extent. But it wasn’t so much that I hated working out, it was just that I hadn’t found a work out that I loved. Now that I’m doing metabolic circuit training every other day and mixing in yoga and barre classes, I feel like a different person.
Working out is such a great way to take care of yourself. Sweating is good for the soul and you’re also taking steps to improve your health. What could be better? Beyond the health benefits, I also use that hour or so to focus solely on myself. I’m not doing the training for anyone other than myself. Of course, people have fringe benefits of it (because I’m just a happier person when I regularly work out), but it’s really just for me. I had a day at the gym the other day where I was frustrated with my work out so I stopped what I was doing and shifted gears to do something that I enjoyed. Someone asked why I switched and I said, “I have one hour for me today, the rest is eaten up by work and obligations… I want to feel good about this hour!”
Whenever I’m dragging my feet about going to the gym, I try to remind myself that I’ve never left regretting my choice to work out. It’s always the opposite, in fact. I walk out feeling ready to tackle anything that comes my way. (If you’re like me and experience a little bit of gym anxiety, I also shared some of my tips for overcoming that with Venus last summer!)
The Bottom Line:
Taking care of yourself is important. Putting yourself first and making sure you’re 100% in a good place mentally and physically is going to allow you to be the best version of yourself. There’s nothing to feel guilty about because when you’re able to put your best foot forward, everyone wins!
Thank you to Gillette Venus for sponsoring this post!