Thursday, May 13, 2010

Like a Natural Woman

Yesterday, I spent a good part of my morning cleaning the bathroom attached to my bedroom. Cleaning is putting it lightly; I scrubbed that room. It needed it more than I'd like to admit. Of course, I was armed with the world's best bathroom-cleaning weapons: baking soda and vinegar (with a little bit of elbow grease). And then I did something that made my sparkling bathroom exquisite. I cut some of my lilacs from my yard, stuck them in a glass jar with some water, and put them next to the sink. Suddenly, my bathroom felt like a day spa.

Lately, I've been thinking a bit about the importance of taking care of oneself.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets so caught up in the routines of life (as wonderful as they can be) that she can forget about taking care of herself. Sure, I take the time to cultivate my interests and hobbies, but I still neglect the need to take care of myself on a very personal level, in a way that relaxes and rejuvenates not only my body, but my mind and spirit. I'd call it an attention to wellness. More and more I'm realizing that I need to take better care of myself in this way, to pay attention to the simple things that make me feel relaxed and content.  Like lilacs in the bathroom.

There are a ton of ways to do this simply and frugally. Don't get me wrong here - last year for my birthday, my husband totally splurged on a day spa package for me so I understand the merits of spending a good sum of money when taking care of yourself; sometimes it's worth the splurge to have a massage expert rub salt from the Dead Sea into your skin. BUT, it's not really an option all the time.  Most of the time, you have to get creative and come up with inexpensive ways to soothe your body, mind, and soul.  It's totally doable, not to mention usually all-natural (which goes along way in my book!). Here's a few things you can do to get started on quest toward wellness...
  • Take a bath.  Yes, this is the super-obvious idea, but there are lots of things you can do to make it awesome. 
    • Tonight, I added a couple handfuls of sea salt to the water.  From what I've read, the minerals in sea salt nourish your skin and help to draw out toxins in your body. I buy my sea salt in the bulk section of the health food store (it only cost 65 cents a pound).  Epsom salt is also nice for a tired body.
    • Make your own bath salts!  Read here for the how-to. Super easy and inexpensive.
    • Add a few drops of essential oils to your bathwater. Tonight, I used lavender oil.  Choose the right kind of oil for the kind of effect you want your bath to have. For example, lavender is famous for its relaxing effect; citrus and mint scents are great for energizing and invigorating; rose is uplifting.  For a good overview of essential oils, check out this article.
  • Turn your bathroom into a sauna. Run a really hot bath with doors and windows shut to trap in all the steam. You can either soak in it (to really create the sauna effect, drape a towel over yourself) or just hang out in the bathroom's steamy air.  Then just sweat it out.  I went to an acupuncturist once (interesting experience, let me tell you) who told me the benefits of heat and sweating.
  • Try a homemade facial mask.
    • One simple one: Grind up about a cup of oatmeal in a food processor or blender.  In a bowl, mix the oat flour with some lukewarm water (or milk, if you have dry skin) to make a paste.  Apply to your face, let it dry, and then rinse it off with warm water. 
    • Or, you could try an egg white mask. I used to do this one all the time when I was in college. Spread egg white all over your face, let it dry, and then rinse off with warm water. It sounds weird, I don't know exactly why it works or what it does, but all I know that it always made my skin look all glowy and soft.  I think I'll do one of those tomorrow...
    • You can find tons of recipes and concoctions for facial masks, using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. This link was one of the most comprehensive lists of recipes I found. I'm going to have fun testing them all out!
  • Try the oil-cleansing method (OCM) for your face. It takes only a couple minutes, but it feels like a mini-facial. This method for cleaning your face only requires olive oil and castor oil, mixed to a certain ratio depending on your skin type. I know it sounds like a horrible idea to clean your face with oils, but it works better than anything I've tried.  Seriously. Trust me on this one. Click here and here for my experience with OCM; click here for a more in-depth discussion of the reasons behind the method.
  • Use your homemade warmer pack! One great way to use it that I just read about: rub castor oil (you'll have some since you're going to try the OCM, right?) on spots of your body that are always tight.  Lay your warmer pack on that area for 15 minutes. Apparently, castor oil is amazing for aches because it pulls the lactic acid from your body.  (If you missed the post on how to make one a warmer, click here. It's crazy-easy.)
I don't profess to be a beauty or wellness guru. In fact, I feel a little hypocritical typing all of these ideas because I don't do them regularly. But I know how I do.  When I take care of myself, it's a lot easier to take care of everyone else.

Do you have any simple, homemade, inexpensive beauty/wellness things you do for yourself?  Do you do these types of things regularly?

1 comment:

Nisha said...

First of all, I want lilacs in my yard, secondly, I want them in my bathroom. That sounds lovely!

The most inexpensive wellness thing I do for myself is run and lift weights at home. It's free and I feel so great when I'm in a regular routine.

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