“Self-care”: 6. The unexpected bliss of tiny, daily rituals

I’ve been writing about the practice of “self-care” recently, simply because it’s a phrase that I didn’t hear much growing up, but now – in my online world of lifestyle blogging, daily podcast listening, and mental health awareness ‒ it seems to be everywhere.

For a word that makes British people’s sensitivities stand up on end – “self-care” sounds pretty touchy-feely even for me, and I love this sort of thing – it’s surprisingly important in creating new habits that help you feel like life is worth living, even when it’s pouring with rain outside or something far more scary or upsetting is going on.

Today, I don’t have much wisdom to share, but I just thought – I’ve started doing two tiny things every day that take less than a minute but massively improve my feeling of wellbeing and sense that I’m taking a little bit of time to take care of myself.

These things are neither expensive nor time-consuming, and for many people, they will be as obvious as breathing. For me, though, they’ve come to me slowly, and it’s only recently that I’ve started appreciating their importance, among the many other tiny, tiny habits I have.

  1. Massaging my face sloooowly when cleansing it

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap – amazing stuff (and they don’t even pay me to say it!)

Cursed with spot-prone skin since I was a teenager, I have washed my face twice a day, every day, for over 10 years (I use the teenager-style Garnier Pure Active in the morning, and the gentler, higher-end Clinique in the evening, but use whatever you like, even soap, go wild). I used to do this super-quickly, as I am usually rushing to either get out the house to work, or to get to bed, having stayed up too late…again.

Recently though, I’ve realised that even this tiny thing can make a difference to your mood.

Instead of frantically rubbing at your face like kitchen towel on a red wine stain, try using these seconds to actually massage the wash into your temples, sinuses, cheekbones, jawline, forehead, and, if you can, your neck and shoulders. Go through each bit in turn, and deliberately go slower than normal.

It needn’t take long at all, but this small act of slowing down, even in the quickest of routines, can offer you a tiny bit of space in an otherwise busy routine. Try it, it’s crazy how much it works.

  1. Using a moisturiser for no other reason than it smells like heaven

As someone with greasy skin, I’m not in the habit of regularly moisturising, and have, for all of my 28 years, never really got into a routine, either with my face or body. Yeah yeah, I know, skin suicide. But at least I’m catching up now…!

As well as applying Clinique gel to my face after washing, I’ve also discovered the full-size bottles of Palmer’s for the rest of my body. It’s luxurious and creamy and sinks in beautifully, but the best thing?

It just smells like the best vanilla and chocolate cake shop you’ve ever smelled in your life. It might be too strong for some, but it cheers me up instantly.

Using it last thing at night after a workout and a shower, before going to sleep, is almost – almost – as good as actually eating that cake itself. Try it – or, find one with a smell you love, and use that. And you’ll get softer, more hydrated skin to boot.

How has it taken me this long to discover?!  Anyway – self-care. A good thing! Enjoy.

My self-care series

Self-care: 6 ways I chill the hell out

Self-care: 1. Meditation on a train

Self-care: 2. & 3. Going the hell to sleep

Self-care: 4.& 5. On sweat, my favourite yoga videos, and eating less pizza

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