2020 was supposed to be my year of self-care. When I became a mom, I passionately leaned into the idea that I had to take care of myself first in order to be the best version of myself for my son. But my usual monthly self-care activities of getting my hair, nails, or waxing done were abruptly halted once COVID-19 disrupted life as we knew it. After a few months of struggling to figure out how to make time for myself if I couldn’t go to the salon for pampering, I’ve come up with a few free ways to practice self care at home.
Although baking and cooking were fun activities at the beginning of lockdown, I’ve definitely gotten over them and have gone back to rushed dinners and lunches while trying to simultaneously do work. However, in recent weeks, I’ve found that eating intentionally can be an extremely rewarding act of self-care. What eating intentionally means for me is enjoying my meals slowly, at the dining table or even on the balcony, and without looking at my phone, computer, or the TV. I’ve come up with some of the most interesting ideas and had the deepest conversations with Jonathan while eating without the usual distractions.
Suggestion: Try having a picnic lunch of cheese, crackers, berries, and nuts. There’s something satisfying about taking lots of small bites of foods with different flavors and textures.
Read a Book in Your Favorite Chair
I recently finished Toni Morrison’s last novel God Help the Child in less two days (started in Friday night and finished on Sunday morning). I spent much of that Saturday curled up on our chaise lounge with a cup of green tea and when I finished the book (which was incredibly moving, but trigger warning for childhood sexual abuse) I felt so accomplished because I’d done something with absolutely no benefit except for my own well-being.
Looking for book recommendations? Here are my favorites!
Take a Hot Bath
If you’re lucky enough to have a bathtub in your living space, fill it up with hot water, add bath soak salts or a bath bomb, light a candle, turn on some soothing music, and relax. If you want to drink wine or tea to increase the relaxation, go for it! Bonus points for doing a face mask and deep conditioning your hair at the same time, and extra bonus if you can get your partner to give you a deep tissue massage after!
Do Yoga or Meditation
It’s a well known fact that exercising reduces cortisol levels, making you feel less stressed. But you don’t have to sweat to get the stress-reducing benefits of exercise – gentle yoga or mindful meditation can elicit the same effect. Mornings when I squeeze in just 20 minutes of yoga and a 5 minute savasana (laying down on my back) while TKB naps or is eating breakfast with Jonathan or our nanny often lead to a much more relaxed day. Similarly, when I go through the story feature in the Bible app and take a few moments to meditate on God’s word, I rejuvenate my spirit the same way yoga rejuvenates my body.
Looking for some at home workout suggestions? Check out what I’ve been doing here.
Deep Condition Your Hair
Even though you might still be avoiding salons, you can pamper your hair with a deep condition session on your next wash day. If you don’t have a soft bonnet dryer attachment, recreate the vibe with a thermal heat cap, or just place a hand towel in a bowl of hot water and wrap it (carefully!) around your shower-cap covered hair.
If you don’t have conditioner on hand, make your own using yogurt, honey, and avocado!