7 Days of Self-Care
If you’ve been a Cutie follower for some time now, you’d know just how important self-care is to me and my philosophy of living a healthy and positive life. While I can list the reasons as to why taking care of yourself first isn’t selfish, I’ll admit I also spent the beginning of 2019 not taking care of myself myself. Essentially, I was going through the motions with my gas light ON; and as we all know, you can only push farther for so long until the tank is empty and you roll to a stop.
I’ll be honest, when that happened to me this past February, it was a scary feeling that I’d never experienced to this capacity before. However, I knew it was something I didn’t want to feel for a moment longer… so I woke up one Monday, took a page from my own book, practiced what I preach, cleared my schedule, and took one week — 7 days — to take care of myself. For someone like me, a true challenge in itself. After taking that step back, and finding a new perspective, I realized just how much time I spend improving every other relationship in my life, and just how little time I spend improving the relationship I have with myself. Now I am incredibly fortunate to have a work/school schedule that is flexible enough to create my own hours; yet, since my ‘hiatus’, I’ve actively been altering my daily routines based on what I learned during that week, and have thus compiled this list to share just how simple and important it is to take care of yourself amidst life’s busy-ness. I hope you are able to take pieces of what you read here and find that with just a little effort, you can give the world the best of you instead of what’s left of you.
Day 1: Monday
I truly believe that “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. So, on day 1, let’s set up to succeed!
- delete social media
Yep — the thing I always knew I probably should do, but just never did. When I finally did, I was shocked at just how much more time I had. I’m a Gen-Z, so this was shamelessly incredibly difficult at first. I found myself wanting to scroll and double tap every free moment I had simply out of habit. But by completely eliminating the temptation, I came to realize that I was also eliminating a lot of self-comparing and negative thinking that happened while scrolling. My ’24-hour Delete Social Media Challenge’ towards a mentally healthier me turned into 7 days without these toxic apps, so you can infer how great I felt without their influences!
- overhaul clean your living space
Don’t make it a chore. Make it more of a step towards success and have some fun with it — turn on your favorite throwback song, some old pjs, and go to town! A clean space promotes a clean mind…as simple as that!
Day 2: Tuesday
- get your hair or nails done
I got my hair colored on this day, and although I had no intentions of going out or showing it off, doing something to make myself look good made me feel good. I think of it like this: life is a battlefield. Confidence is an indispensable weapon to carry with you into that battlefield. No matter your economic status, life schedule, or mental state, remember that; because investing in beauty services isn’t shallow or a waste of money, it’s empowering!
Day 3: Wednesday
- DIY spa day
This has to be one of my favorite ways to de-stress, especially when that stress shows up as unwelcome red dots all over my face…It’s also one of the easiest ways to incorporate self-care into daily life. Draw a bath and set the atmosphere to be a time and place where it’s impossible not to relax! Sprinkle in some bath salts, light a candle, put on a sheet mask, and cue the Himalayan salt lamp! Lather yourself in some hydrating body lotion post-bath and watch some Netflix while it all soaks in.
Here are some of my self-care-night-in favorites:
1. TONYMOLY Sheet Masks from Urban Outfitters
These are also typically 2 for $5 in store so I like to stock up! Pick the ones that cater best to what you need, but my favorites are definitely the ‘I’m ROSE’ Vitalizing and ‘I’m REAL’ Hydrating ones!
2. Bath & Body Works Lavender Vanilla Aromatherapy Gift Kit
3. Enchantments NYC Rose Candle & ‘Magickal Bad A$$’ bath salts
This little shop in the East Village is NYC’s oldest occult shop, opening in 1982. Let me tell you, finding this gem made me actually want to take care of myself! Their mission is to heal and empower people through their products, and although their wide selection of candles, incense, books, and bath products are no frills, there’s something about them that is just so appealing. I mean, c’mon, their bath salts are all-natural, fragrant, and called ‘Bad A$$’. Can’t really beat that!
Unfortunately, their website does not carry every product in their store, but you can most certainly call and order anyways! However, if possible, I definitely encourage making the trip here because you will not be disappointed!
4. Himalayan pink crystal salt lamp
Day 4: Thursday
- make a delicious dinner
Plan a dinner you love, or do what I do and look up a recipe to try on Pinterest! 😉 (I made this taco bar for 1!) Go to the grocery store with a list, get fresh ingredients, and come home with a plan! Get into #ChefMode and make the task of cooking this dinner the most important thing in your life at this moment.
Live in this moment and enjoy the process of making the food just as much as you will enjoy sitting down to eat it. And when you are eating it, do so slowly and attentively, as if it’s the axis on which the whole world — your whole world — revolves. Enjoy it thoroughly and don’t rush towards the future. Only this actual moment is life!
Day 5: Friday
- use ‘friend time’ wisely
You’ve made it to the end of the work week! After a week of putting a lot of energy and time into yourself, getting dinner with a friend or S.O. on Friday night is a great way to unwind, yet also a time to put all you’ve worked on personally to the test…Believe it or not, after what I’m referring to as my ‘hiatus’, one of the biggest things I realized was that I most certainly was not optimizing my time with my friends. After learning so much about myself, being intuitive about my thoughts, and noticing how my positivity was breeding more positivity, I wasn’t going to stop the high I was on.
When sitting across the table from your friend, focus the conversation away from negativity. Don’t gossip about that girl-you-don’t-like’s most recently-posted Instagram pic (which you probably liked anyways). Instead, take advantage of this time to catch-up, talk goals, aspirations, achievements, and to tell your gf/bf about that delicious dinner you made last night! 😉
Day 6: Saturday
- wake up & be active
Yes, it’s the weekend. Yes, you should still set an alarm for an AM sweat sesh. Pushing forward and not letting everything go simply because it’s the weekend will do just that — move you forward! Keeping it as simple as pulling up a video on YouTube and following along in your pajamas in the living room is enough to get the endorphins flowing! Personally, I like to sign up for a class to hold myself accountable. Purchasing a boutique fitness class is my kind of #treatyoself! SLT, AK classes at StudioB, and Switch Playground’s Cardio Circuit class are my faves! I like to think a morning workout is a lot like breakfast: it kickstarts your metabolism and makes you happy! Even better, when it’s over, you can enjoy a real brekkie!
Day 7: Sunday
If you’ve made it all the way here, and done so without allowing negativity to cloud this personal journey, a well-deserved congratulations is in order! In all honesty, self-care is HARD. It’s hard for many reasons, but hopefully you learned that it’s something that, although takes effort, is not selfish. It’s important for so many reasons, but mostly because you deserve the love, respect, and attention that you give all else in your life. So today, sleep in, brew a fresh pot of coffee, and find peace and pleasure in having no obligations. Reflect on the week you just had:
How do you feel? How is this feeling different from the beginning of this week?
Hopefully, you now feel a newfound sense of clarity and confidence, as I did.
Hopefully, you now realize that happiness truly is something we manifest within ourselves.
And hopefully, most of all, you take time to practice some more self-care in your daily life; because, at the end of the day, you are far more capable than you ever dreamed!
the Cutie Foodie
This was truly a fantastic blog! I enjoyed from begining to end!
You are a star (insert my sparkle, heart and star here)
Every time I look at you, I’m like 😍😍
This is great advice, and I decided to take it, although my approach may be different than yours, because every life has its own challenges!
Reading this reminded me I’ve been terrible about self-care some days. My challenges are definitely loneliness and isolation, because my family is far away in New Orleans and has never been very “traditional” in terms of being close to me, although that has improved some in recent years. My father has been remarried a long time and has a big family that keeps him occupied (and I’m grateful he has them), and my mother has always suffered from issues stemming from childhood trauma, so I’ve had to work hard to keep them close in the best way I know how.
Add to that the stresses of living in a new city and running a business that had just begun to find its legs — with its own particular set of challenges — and I can easily lose sight of the things that matter!
In the past I’ve really benefited from meditation and other self-care rituals, but it’s easy to let these slip in the busyness of life. (I’ve been sober many years, so my first big hurdle when I did that was to reclaim my mind at all!)
I really love essential oils and candles, because scents are one of the most grounding things out there. Germanium and lavender are two of my favorites. Scents connect us with our bodies, which are the very things we forget about when we get too far into our “heads.” (The other grounding thing is exercise! Although I have a personal trainer, I don’t tend to go to the gym between sessions, although I certainly do a lot more walking in NY!)
But probably the most “subtle” bad habit is not accepting and appreciating my life as it is given. Although it’s important to change the things I can with positive thinking and self-care, there are some things I cannot change, such as my age — the fact that I’m a very “late bloomer” in so many ways — or my desire for a wonderful life partner. But I can spend more time and energy focusing on self-love. Time has shown me that I’m a beautiful, wonderful human being, which is something I didn’t know about myself for a long time. So I can light my new Homesick New York City candle, delete the IG app for a bit, re-read The Power of Now, and appreciate every single hour of my day for what it is — not what I think it “should be” — because every hour is sacred and precious. And I’m probably right where I need to be right now: whether I know it or not.
Oh, and I’ve found the best way to avoid acne is with a daily Retin-A cream, because it prevents the sebum buildup that causes acne in the first place! I used to have adult onset acne, but a combination of a prescription tretinoin gel and a glycolic acid wash (I used GlyDerm) basically made it vanish, and has had amazing effects for people I know who used to suffer from it. It also has a long-term “dermal plumpening” effect, which creates more youthful appearance over time, but it’s a miracle worker for avoiding acne .