Sweatshirt – Nike | Leggings – Nike | Shoes – APL | Sunglasses – Le Specs (similar here) | Water bottle – S’well

I’ve always been a person that believes in self-care. The old adage of putting the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help anyone else is something I have always held true for my own life. Though I want to do it all, help everyone, go until I can’t go anymore, the reality is that it’s not feasible nor healthy. I saw this firsthand when I had my first spine surgery. I was 100% dependent on help from family and friends for walking, showering and even simply turning over in bed. It was then that I realized that keeping myself healthy and taking time to care for my mind and body meant that I would be less of a burden to those around me. Obviously unforeseen things happen in life, but when I intentionally ignore my body telling me to slow down, relax or take a break then I risk myself falling ill and then not being able to be the mom/wife/friend I want to be and others around me will need to pick up the slack. And if I really want to help those around me, then I won’t let this happen (when I can avoid it).
So over the years, I have really held tight to my self-care practices and will always find time for them no matter what. Even now with Miles, I need to be my best self more than ever. There are times when obviously I just do what I need to regardless if I’m not feeling my best, but I will not keep that going for a prolonged period of time. I thought I would share with you some of my favorite self-care activities that I enjoy.
1. Audiobooks/reading – I used to love to read, but once I got pregnant I needed something to do while on my nightly walks. That is when I discovered audiobooks. Since then, they have become a huge source of peace and calm for me, and I will put on my headphones and escape into another world.
2. Putting on makeup – This should come as no surprise, but putting on makeup is one of my favorite things to do. I started working in the beauty industry more than 15 years ago, and getting ready in the morning became a ritual for me since I needed to have a full face on each day. After years of doing it, I would look forward to that time each morning where I could zone out and apply my makeup without worrying about the tasks, meetings or stressors I may be facing that day. And one of my first things I did coming home from the hospital was put on a bit of makeup. I felt like a new woman!
3. Watching my favorites series on repeat – Yes, I have seen every single episode of Law and Order: SVU but I will still put it on and watch a marathon on Sundays. Or put on You’ve Got Mail for the millionth time and recite almost every line in the movie as they say it. There is something very comforting to me about watching shows that I love and know how they will unfold. I don’t have to really pay attention but can allow my mind to rest and just watch.
4. Exercise – When I discovered yoga years ago, I initially did not like it. In fact, I hated my first class. But people were so crazy about it that I wanted to understand why. So I stuck with it for months before I ever enjoyed it. Then one night I was doing a difficult pose and my body finally eased into it stretching like it had never done before. I felt amazed, strong and so peaceful in that moment as I held the pose for what felt like an eternity. From that night on, I got better and better and it became a place I ran to after work instead of dreading. Now I am adding in other types of exercises into my routine (read more about that here), and still crave the feeling of a good workout and a strong body.
5. Showers – I am always cold. Even in the dead of summer, I am typically not that hot (and if indoors, I’m probably freezing from the A/C). Because of that I LOVE to take showers. And over the years, they have become very therapeutic for me especially when I am stressed or anxious. They also help soothe and ease my chronic pain, and I find that I feel so much more clear headed and focused after a shower.
6. Skincare routine – I was a makeup junkie before I was a skincare one. But once I began blogging, I really loved doing my skincare routine especially at night. And now once Miles goes to bed, it’s the first thing I do. He goes to bed around 7:15-7:30 so I can take my time and not rush. I typically change into my pajamas (I have amassed quite a fun selection of matching sets) and then spend 10-15 minutes applying all my products. Even on nights when I am exhausted or have something to do that evening, I will at least cleanse, tone and add a serum which I can do in under 2 minutes.
7. Trying new things – A new meditation app, a cycling class, a new coffee shop – I love constantly exploring and experiencing new things. It makes me feel like I am moving forward and helps me feel less stagnant. That is why I enjoy blogging and following bloggers, I love seeing a new protein bar, a new book recommendation or a new pair of leggings that quickly become a staple for me when others share what they are using. 
8. Going for a walk – I began this while pregnant and have continued it now. There is something so therapeutic about just walking with no real agenda or goal in mind. That is one of the reasons why I loved living in NYC for so many years – I really loved to walk. Obviously I can do it at a faster pace to get athletic benefits, but I find that walking clears my mind, allows me to not think and I can focus on the outdoors and things surrounding me. Now that it is winter, I haven’t been going as much as I used to, and I miss it so much. I definitely want to pick up my nightly walks as soon as the weather warms up a bit.
9. Keeping my diet healthy but allowing for splurges – Diet to me is one of the highest forms of self-care. Both in terms of a predominantly healthy diet, but also allowing myself to enjoy an unhealthy treat now and again. Keeping my diet balanced and never having it shift one way or the other makes me feel less deprived and more content.
I know none of these practices are revolutionary or even unique, but they are things I enjoy which is the ultimate form of self-care. Seeking out what I enjoy regardless of anyone’s opinions, thoughts or judgments – that to me is essential in preserving myself and caring for myself. Once I am content (I don’t often use the word happy which can be a fleeting feeling often) and putting time aside for the things that I enjoy, I can be a better person for those around me. 

What are some of your favorite self-care practices? I would love to hear them! 

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