I was talking to a friend yesterday…and we were laughing about the ridiculousness of the new “self-care” trend (read this as the working out all the time trend).
This friend (who totally rocks, BTW) had posted a rant on Facebook (I mean, isn’t that what Facebook is for?) calling out the self-care trend that is dominant on the internet lately.
I get it. I have a literal gym in my basement, complete with trampoline, rowing machine (review coming soon!), a Pilates tower, weights, a BodyBoss (I’m going to have a lot of stuff to talk about, aren’t I?!), and more. I even have a FitDesk (best.invention.ever.).
Yet, I struggle to find time to exercise, not because I don’t want to (I mean, I don’t, but this is BreaGettingFit…so I kind of have to, right?), but because my kids are up at the crack of dawn, and by the time I get them both in bed, I’m totally wiped.
I’m sure that the fitness gurus and Beachbody coaches would label this fact as an excuse, but Y’all. I am freaking tired at the end of the day, and if I were to get up before my children, I’d be up at 4:00 in the morning.
Now, before we moved it was easier to get moving, to practice that all-important thing called self-care. I mean, in Texas it would be 80 degrees right now, and I could put the kids on their bikes and skate the neighborhood with them. Or I could kick them outside for an hour (we had a fenced yard and lots of fun stuff to play with) and do an exercise video.
But in Michigan? With 18 inches of snow and a 41-degree day with rain? Outside just wasn’t going to happen for us.
This got me thinking. What if I redefined self-care to include other things that would give me a mental break (and help us all survive Christmas break)?
So this past week, that’s exactly what I did. I looked for activities that I could do while we’re stuck inside (or at least don’t want to be out riding bikes). I found some awesome non-traditional self-care practices that I think you’ll love.
I love shopping. I mean, LOVE it. But my bank account can’t hack a spending spree right now, so I’ve been using Amazon and Sephora and a few other sites to window shop. Instead of filling my cart and checking out, I make a new wishlist that I can send to Ish when he asks what I want for my birthday.
Window shopping is free, which means you don’t have to blow your budget, and you get to have fun and dream a little.
Try Dry Brushing
Have you ever used a dry brush before? Y’all. Dry brushing (especially in wintertime) is magical. Plus, at less than $10.00, a dry brush is super cheap (and they totally fit in stockings!).
This year, my skin feels so dry that it feels like it’s going to crack, so since I’m slathering myself in lotion, I wanted to get the most out of my Bum Bum Cream (yes, that’s a thing, and it’s totally magical).
If you suffer from dry skin during the winter months, you are going to love this. Dry brushing is a great way to keep your skin looking and feeling its best, and it helps to expedite cell turn over through gentle exfoliation. If you do it right (with broad upward strokes), you can even help to detox your lymphatic system.
I only recommend using a dry brush on your body. If you want to try some serious facial exfoliation, I highly recommend something called the Dermaflash (looks scary, but definitely is not) followed by a high-quality moisturizer or facial oil, like BeautyCounter’s No. 3 Balancing Oil.
Get Some Rest
To say that it gets dark earlier is an understatement. It’s pitch black by 5:00 at night here.
Add the cold temps, and it just seems natural to need more sleep. Maybe it’s our body’s way of hibernating and recuperating…
We all know how important it is to get adequate sleep…but most of us don’t get near enough. Use these dark nights (or days) to get some extra shut-eye. Take a nap (I seriously love the Sleep Genius app-it will make sure that you get high-quality sleep and wake up refreshed. Plus it’s less than $5.00!
And, if you want to get geeky with me, going to bed earlier helps to offset the tired feeling that the increase of melatonin causes, so you’ll actually sleep better and wake up more rested.
Did you know that many of us don’t create enough Vitamin D on our own? I’m one of those people. My doctor is always telling me to take a Vitamin D supplement because I don’t make enough on my own-not even when I lived in sunny Texas.
I never realized that a vitamin D deficiency could cause chronic illness, fatigue, depression, joint pain, or hair loss…but it can. And most of us who are deficient don’t even realize it.
And when you’re dealing with shortened days and lots of time indoors…you get the picture.
This winter, I’ve been very careful to take my vitamins every morning. The kids actually take a supplement, too, since they’re inside so much more now.
If you suspect that you may be Vitamin D deficient, make sure that you talk to your doctor and get some labs to check your levels.
Tea has a whole host of benefits, depending on the kind of tea you choose to drink. One of my favorite things about our new house is the instant how water that we have in our basement.
It makes brewing a cup of tea so easy, but it’s just as easy to plug in an electric tea kettle on. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can try a number of teas, but my favorite for winter is green tea with a little bit of honey.
It’s funny how we allow ourselves a free pass from Thanksgiving to Christmas, isn’t it? Suddenly we are “allowed” to pig out-it’s like we’ve been through a famine and suddenly we’re stuffing ourselves with foods that we would otherwise limit or avoid.
I get it. It’s so incredibly easy to be tempted away from a healthy diet during the holidays, and winter in general.
I almost made twice baked potatoes last week because they sounded good…even though I know eating nightshades like potatoes makes my joints ache like no tomorrow.
Instead of giving yourself a free pass, allow yourself to have some treats, but be mindful to not overdo it. Limit yourself to one dessert, or have leftovers for breakfast instead of having seconds.
Get a Hobby
So many people tend to just “get through” Winter…myself included. If you identify with this, then you need a hobby.
Our first winter in Michigan I took up knitting. My dad got a pair of socks (NEVER AGAIN), my mom got a hat and matching scarf, some Smalls and friends got hand knit slippers, and my brothers each got hats.
Seriously, my hands kept knitting clear until the spring thaw…and you know what? It wasn’t so bad about being stuck inside.
If knitting isn’t for you, consider finding an online book club, crochet, become a better cook or even take a local dance class.
Or workout. That is probably one that I should work on this winter…
Become a Member
Not a fan of hobbies? Then support your local museum. Here in Michigan, we have some AMAZING options to do things as a family! Some of our favorites are the completely kid-friendly and hands-on science museum in Lansing, an awesome children’s museum in Ann Arbor, and of course The Henry Ford in Dearborn.
We also have some amazing zoos and nature centers, but I’m trying to avoid freezing to death.
A membership isn’t terribly expensive, and if you gift it (Santa brings the boys a zoo membership every Christmas) then all the better.
I bet if you do some preliminary research you’ll find at least one place that you can frequent that is indoors during the winter months.
No museums near you? Look for a local library and check out their events. Our library is hosting a Santa reading this winter, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Get a Pedicure
Now I know your feet are likely hidden inside of your favorite boots and slippers all winter, but you’re going to feel so much better if you focus on caring for your feet (they work hard, too!).
Schedule a monthly pedicure appointment at your nail salon, or make a habit of soaking your feet in warm water and Epsom salts once a week, then gently exfoliate any dead and dry skin using a simple pumice stone.
Doing this will keep dry winter feet at bay. If you can, ask your partner for a foot massage while you’re at it.
Regardless of how you define self-care, it’s definitely not something we can afford to skip. Even if our kids are heathens and up at 5:00 in the morning every morning, DON’T SKIP!
So take some time, and a deep breath and choose something. Most of these ideas don’t even require you to leave your house! Remember, though, that a change of scenery even for a short time is a good thing.
What non-traditional self-care practice do you love?