In a lot of ways this is the year of self care. Skin care routines are considered political acts. Self care suggestions are everywhere. In a continuing effort to moderate my anxiety and OCD, as well as feel better physically I’ve tried a number of new things I’ve seen recommended all over the internet.
1. Essential Oils
After reading article after article about essential oils and their effects on mood, pain, and sleep, I ordered a trial pack of individual oils on Amazon and a diffuser.
I struggle a lot with insomnia, made worse by pain and anxiety, and have for decades. So I figured, it was a small financial investment compared to the touted benefits.
For the last couple of months I’ve experimented with mixing these oils, like lavender and eucalyptus for good health during peak flu season, or sticking to one at a time, like lemongrass to get that I’m at a spa feeling.
So far I really like them especially in winter when the air gets so stale and dry, but I don’t know if it’s making that much of a difference in how quickly I fall asleep or my anxiety and pain levels. They do help if bad smells are circulating in the recycled apartment building air that can trigger my migraines.
My mother-in-law get me a bottle of magnesium spray for my birthday a few months ago on the recommendation of her massage therapist. It’s also touted all over the wellness focused part of the internet. Apparently, many people are low in magnesium even if they eat healthy and this can cause pain and tiredness.
I started by spraying it on my lower back around my hips, where I get especially stiff and achy in the winter (freezing temperatures are kryptonite to my hips, especially my right hip where a bone graft was taken for my spine).
So far I’ve noticed a small reduction in stiffness and achiness, so I’m going to continue using it.
3. Lavender Based Heating Pad
My mom actually originally made me a small homemade heating pad—about 5” x 12” and filled it with lavender. I loved it…expect it was too small so I went online and got one from Nordstrom’s that is around 3’ by 1’.
I heat it up in the microwave for two minutes and I have a warm and kind of moist heat that I can lay on or lay over me for half an hour before I need to heat it up again. The whole time it smells like lavender. It has a plush cover that I can wash every so often in the washing machine.
I prefer this to electrical heating blankets, which you cannot lay on and which can get really hot without you realizing it. I used one for cramps in high school and gave myself second degree burns without noticing because I was distracted by the cramps.
And often I could use the excuse to walk fifteen feet across my apartment instead of laying inert on my couch for hours.
4. Face masks
Believe it or not, but until a few months ago I had never used a face mask of any kind. I somehow missed the boat on it, but now they are everywhere, so I gave it a try. I battle with spotty acne as well as really dry skin (particularly in winter—seeing a trend?).
To begin with I bought several different ones from CVS. I got sheet masks, clay masks, and other gel based masks. I even tried the clay mask that is super popular on Amazon and felt the tingly sensation while looking like a swamp thing.
I admit, I felt pretty goofy, but it was also kinda fun trying different scents and textures. And my skin felt a lot less dry afterwards. My acne wasn’t as long lasting and generally less painful and inflamed.
I was impressed by the results and it encouraged me to seek out a more systematic approach to skin care.
5. My First Facial (related to number 4!)
As a result of number 4, I decided to get professional advice and took advantage of a local company’s promotion. They do nothing but facials so I figured they were a good place to start.
Not only was my technician really amazing and cleaned my face thoroughly, but she also helped me to get a skin care routine started. My routine until then had been to wash my face and use a simple, cheap lotion.
With her help, I have a routine that doesn’t take too long (and doesn’t cost the earth) that I can use each day. It’s actually really relaxing to do each step each night before bed, it’s now part of my unwinding process.
(And the facial itself was incredibly relaxing, while different products were setting my technician gave me a head and shoulders massage. I felt embodied in the best way!)
1. CBD anything
I’ve actually never smoked or eaten pot eatables, because the smoke alone gives me virulent migraines and makes me nauseated, so I’ve stayed away.
But I’ve been reading so much about CBD and its effects on anxiety and pain with putatively no side effects, that I’m really interested to try it. However, I’m on anti-anxiety meds, so I have to ask my doctor her thoughts.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear if anyone has tried teas, pills, or foodstuffs with CBD and what they thought!
Additionally, I’d love to hear your experiences with self care!
(I am not a medical practitioner of any kind and these are solely my personal experiences, not recommendations)