The chill-out routine that’s better than a bath
A while back, we were contacted by esalon to write a post about our chill-out routine, and I thought it’d be a nice idea. I had it all pictured out – a fluffy piece, like I was a chick lit heroine. You know the one: hot bath, wine or tea, soothing music, candles, the works. And then it dawned on me that I couldn’t write that. Fluffy pieces are totally fine. I read a lot of beauty blogs because it’s relaxing. Posts that pretend there’s not another care in the world apart from the latest limited edition eye shadow palette and the best skincare for your skin. But…
But then, life isn’t always like depicted in romance novels or beauty blogs. And right now, I can’t write that piece of fluff that tells you that lavender oil is great for de-stressing, that a sheet mask will relax your skin and soul and plug some products at the same time. Because, truth to be told, that will do shit for you if the world is crashing down on you like a ton of bricks, anxiety levels are through the roof, you can hear depression calling around the corner, you can’t sleep and feel chillingly alone.
That’s probably the place to admit that I’ve had a pretty shit year so far, to bring some things into perspective and you’re not sitting there in front of your monitor wondering what’ve gotten into me. It’s been that kind of shittiness that no bath bomb, no face mask and no amount of wine/chocolate is going to make better.
What’s helping me, though
There’re things, though, that help me that I want to share. It has nothing to do with going out and buying something, or taking a bath, although that doesn’t mean that might work for you. If you relax by buying that hot new lipstick, watch Twilight and have a massage, good for your! In the end, what counts is what is good for you. Try to take some time to figure that out, because you might need it some day.
Everyone who knows me in real life will have a laughing fit reading that. I usually hate exercising. But nevertheless, even if I’m the least sporty person known to men, it helps. Exercise makes you feel your body, cuts through the grey fog that is depression and releases endorphins. No matter how, no matter where, try to get moving.
Trying to still the voices in my head that incessantly tell me what to do and what to worry about around 1am is what brought me to meditation. I had tried previously to get into it a few years back and couldn’t. For me, the key is: Get an instructor (or app, or CD, or whatever) who appeals to you and whose voice and style you like. I like the Calm app I’ve written about previously, and yes, it helps in stilling those voices.
Talking to a friend
Whenever I feel really, really crappy, I shut down and don’t talk to my friends anymore. Which is bad, because actually, that’s what I need most right then – having a friend either chat with me about frivolous things like beauty, or getting down to the nitty-gritty and figuring out what happened. (If you also have that one friend, tell them they’re awesome from time to time. Because they are.)
Reading a book
I’m a voracious reader and always have been. In a way, books have been my oldest friends and the shoulder that’s always there. A good book has the strength to transport me totally to another place and time, clear my head and calm my heart. After that, I’m better equipped to deal with whatever crap life is throwing at me.
Spending some time with a loved one (and do silly things)
For me, that would be watching silly TV shows or movie with my husband in companionable silence. (Our drug of choice is that show about the 900-year-old alien that travels through time and space. No, really!) No need to talk about whatever’s on my mind, just hanging out. And sometimes, that’s enough.
Doing my makeup
Still, there’s some love for all things beauty deep engrained in me, and there’s always the comforting steps and automated movements of putting on my makeup. It’s my respite from everything that lurks outside. My creative space when everything’s deadened my creativity, and it’s self-care at its best. It’s the space where I can be simultaneously be me and become that version of me that I want to be today.
Usually, I’d close a post with a chirpy remark or question, but this time it’s a plea: Figure out what’s good for you. And remember that when the days are dark.
Also, if you do suffer from anxiety or depression, don’t hesitate to ask for professional help. (A quick google search for free help lines should give you some options.)