Self Care That Is Less Marketing Bullshit And More Actually Applicable To My Life
I am notoriously bad about taking care of myself.
I still have the same dumpster eating habits I did when I was 15 (four Mentos and a tall latte is not a lunch), I spend way too much time in front of screens and and honestly, I have been so angry about political and social issues for so fucking long that I feel the next time I open my mouth, a swarm of wasps is just going to come out and devour every goddamn thing in sight.
This shit is not healthy.
But don't you fret, Millennial Girl Who Likes Avocado Toast, Ride-Sharing Apps and Making Lists!
Because there's Self Care™! Brought to you by People Selling Shit You Don't Need!
Self Care has become a big deal recently and like all big deals, it's become marketed and monetized to women in particular.
It's Nordic concept of hygge - how to lead a cozier, happier life - but with a decidedly capitalistic bent.
Feeling overwhelmed? Use this $35 Green Tea Ashwagandha face mask and you will feel as zen as a Buddhist monk who is like, six seconds from achieving enlightenment.
Here's the thing. You know what I'm doing while smearing $35 clay on my face?
I'm waiting for it to dry while scrolling through Twitter and experiencing rage blackouts induced by some asshole in Volgograd who is getting paid 5,000 rubles a day for being a dick online.
While I appreciate the temporary shrinkage of my pores, let's be real - it's not doing much for my emotional state and even less for my wallet.
So, I started thinking about what actually constitute as an act of self care in my life.
Self Care That Is Less Marketing Bullshit And More Actually Applicable To My Life
Washing Your Damn Face
Having an auto-immune disorder means I'm tired literally ALL the time. The fact that I get up at 5:30am to walk dogs doesn't help and when 10:30pm rolls around, all I want to do is drag myself to the bedroom and pass out.
And I have. So many times with like, 47 coats of mascara on my lashes and make-up still on my face.
Before you go to bed, wash your damn face. Use that rosewater toner shit that makes you smell like an English garden or some oil that make you glow like Rihanna.
Stop half-assedly swiping away your mascara with a cleaning wipe, take a moment, take a breath and wash your damn face.
Cook More, Eat Well
I fell in love with vegetable soup when we were in Ireland. I think I ate it for 75% of my meals and looked forward to it every time.
Yes, I'm Indian and love the complicated layering of spices and flavors but I'm also English and really love simple food that's warm, cheap, cozy and carb-centric.
And that's exactly what this is. It's a hug in a bowl.
Irish Vegetable Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large potato, diced
1 cup of carrots, diced
1 cup of peas
1 cup of rutabaga, diced
1 quart vegetable stock
Splash of cream
Salt and pepper to taste
White pepper to taste
Thyme to taste
With the exception of the potatoes and rutabaga, I used frozen vegetables and it turned out fine.
The first couple of times I made this soup, I used thyme that I grew in my backyard and I gotta tell you, the smugness of doing so really makes it taste better. Last night, I used dried thyme and it was still pretty good.
Melt the butter in a large stockpot.
Add chopped onions and let them hang out until they go translucent. Season with white pepper and thyme.
Drop in your veggies and stir them around a bit.
Add your stock.
Season again with salt, pepper and a wee bit more thyme.
Cover and let simmer on medium-low heat until the rutabaga is soft and your house smells cozy and delicious. For me, this took about 45 minutes, so like...two episodes of Big Mouth? The new season is really good, guys.
Everything all soft and smooshy? Cool.
Blend it up using an immersion blender or a regular blender. Be careful not to overfill the latter because that shit will explode.
Return the blended soup to your pot.
Add cream to taste.
Season once more.
Serve with buttered brown bread and a good beer.
I communicate through food and there's something nourishing about making soup. Chopping vegetables, standing at the stove, slowly stirring and finally - the act of feeding yourself or someone else.
I've been doing yoga since January and while I don't look a damn thing like Gisele Bundchen, I do feel much stronger.
Having RA steals your body away from you. At my lowest point, I couldn't pick up a pencil and write a sentence because my fingers hurt so badly but now thanks to medication and regular-ish yoga classes, I'm stronger than I've ever been in my life.
Last Sunday, I actually managed One Legged Garland Pose.
Granted, it was only for like, two seconds before I fell on my ass, but still! This is a thing I did!
Being on the mat is hard. I don't think that I'll ever do a headstand or Crow Pose but that's not the point. The point is to show up and do what you can. Some days, you push yourself and other days, you pull back a little. It's about knowing your body, clearing your mind and breathing through it all.
If you're in West Palm and looking for a place to practice, check out Yoga Path Palm Beach. They have talented, patient and kind teachers who are dedicated to making everyone who walks in a better yogi.
Step Away From Twitter/Facebook
Initially, my plan was to burn down Twitter and salt the earth so nothing ever grew again, but then I remembered that the following things exist:
So, burning it down? Probably not the best idea.
BUT you can edit who and what you engage with. You don't need to engage with morons intent on inciting ire - you'll never change their minds - and the block button is your friend.
Step away or just recalibrate your focus and go check out We Rate Dogs. I mean, they're all good dogs, Brent.
(Sidebar: Look, I realize it's poison but I will never stop referring to Donnie Trump Jr. as 'Fredo' or commenting on how he will never earn his dad's love or respect. Fuck that guy. He kills animals for fun)
Nivea is like, $6 for a big ass jug at Target. It will last forever, smells like your childhood and it is emollient as fuck.
Pick some up and slather some on. You deserve better than ashy skin.
Talk to Someone
I talk a lot. I text, I tweet, I write screeds on Facebook, I blog and I'm currently working on a novel.
You know what I don't do?
Talk as honestly and openly as I should about my feelings.
In addition to a fervent love of carb on carb sandwiches, being English means you don't talk about your feelings ever. You keep calm, carry on, bury your emotions deep inside and one day, have a massive heart attack while taking the 105 bus to Ruislip Road.
That's a lousy plan.
You've gotta talk to someone - your best friend, your mom, your therapist.
I'm working on being a better communicator and being less scared of vulnerability. It's hard. Really hard. But you've gotta remember that it's OK to say that you're frightened or anxious or upset. It's OK to put it out there into the real world. It's OK to ask for help.
Thanks to being in a much more emotionally healthy place now, I don't cry as much as I used to.
Now, my tears are typically limited to when the dogs do super cute things (like when Indiana wants to hold hands) or when I'm really tired. When I'm really tired, anything will set me off on a crying jag.
Let that shit out. Grab the Kleenex, put on your favorite tearjerker or Adele album and just have at it.
Think of it as a detox cleanse for your soul....only not total bullshit. Seriously - those overpriced juices don’t detox anything. That’s what your liver and kidneys are for.
DO something tangible.
There are arguments to be made for slactivism but I'm not the girl to make them.
When I start feeling overwhelmed and impotent by the state of the world, the only thing that really helps me is helping someone else.
If you have the capacity to do so, donate.
Food to your local food pantry, clothes to your local homeless shelter, books to a community center or money to an organization whose work you trust and support.
Turning your Facebook profile picture black or pink ultimately doesn't do shit but that jar of peanut butter is keeping a kid fed this evening, that sweater is keeping someone warm and that $10 is helping a woman get a cancer screening.
If you don't have the means to donate - read a book to someone, volunteer your time at the local soup kitchen or hell, just reach out and write to someone. Tell them the good shit about themselves.
The last few weeks have been wretched and I've been feeling awful, so I've been doing the things I can do - I took Indiana and Roxy to the dog park, I watched The Good Place, I re-upped my membership to the ACLU, I made lentil curry and rice and soup and I re-read Harry Potter.
I'm trying to take care of myself and that’s all you can do - try.
So, you should.
It's a tough world out there. Be kind to yourself.