Charm School: Taking Care of You

I shared that I had a spa morning this past week.  I spent a good two or three hours Friday morning on pampering myself and I want to assure you it was worth every minute.  I felt so refreshed and my skin felt so silky that I was amazed I'd avoided spending that sort of quality time on my own self-care because I felt I was too busy for too many weeks now.

As I've read these books of mine, most of which were published along about 1935, I realize that some of the advice given is outdated and occasionally off, but so much of it makes good sense and is really sound thinking.  One of the recommendations across each book is that a girl/woman should have an evening that she devotes to full self care. 

I'd like to share my routine on Friday morning and while there are areas we'll address more fully a little later, you'll have a pretty good idea of the amount of detail involved overall.

My first step was to go through my closet.  Does that sound odd?  I'd noted that I was wearing the same few items over and over again and that several new items weren't being worn at all.  My first task was to pull out those items I hadn't worn and try them on.  I noted that they all fit.  I felt they were comfortable.  In thinking over why I hadn't worn them, I realized that it came down to accessories.  I simply had nothing that set off those particular items.  I made a few mental notes of things I might purchase to help to make outfits with these pieces.

I hung the clothes back in the closet and sorted my clothes by color as I did so.   Then I pulled out five shirts and set them up with accessories.  I draped necklaces and/or bracelets over the top of hanger and if I had a purse I especially wanted to use with something, I draped that over the hanger as well, then hung them at the end of the rod with the pants I meant to wear with them.    I then pulled five more tops and set them up in the same way, hanging them with the pants I meant to wear with them. 

At this point, I was done with the clothing. 

You know you really should be going over your wardrobe at least once a week.  I'd noted that a pair of jeans I wore this past week had threads dangling from the hem.  I trimmed those. It was at that point I discovered a whole section of hem had come out.  It's on my list to be done this coming week when I sit down at the sewing machine again.

I removed my nail polish.  It was time for a full manicure and pedicure.  I'd been giving a nod to it these past few weeks.  I started by removing the polish and I do mean all of the polish.  I say this because I was looking at various photos online about manicures and pedicures and in one the girl simply didn't remove all of the polish.  She'd had on a bright red, changed to a pale pink and there she was on a major website with her pale pink toes rimmed in bright red.  That is NOT good grooming!

I used my Amope Pedi Perfect file to smooth rough places and calluses.  My machine is not made for wet skin, so I have to do it on dry skin.  I used a nail clipper and files to even up nails on both hands and feet.  I cleaned under my nails.  I used a cuticle remover product ( I like Sally Hansen).

I took a break here and mixed up some sugar and olive oil.  I didn't measure but I had about a quarter cup of sugar and just used enough oil to slightly moisten the whole of it.  It does not cause the sugar to dissolve. While doing this I ran some warm water in the tub  and  I applied a face mask and used a lip mask, too.  Both are Mary Kay products that I've been using up. 

I sat on the edge of the tub and soaked my feet.  I let my feet soak for about ten minutes.  While my feet were soaking, I used the sugar scrub on my hands and rinsed off.  I used the nail brush on my nails to be sure I removed all the cuticle debris and got rid of dry skin about my nails. 

I then applied sugar scrub to each of my feet in turn.  Warning, this will make your feet slippery, so be careful.  The sugar is abrasive enough to really take off dead skin and the oil will replenish the moisture in your skin.  I used the nail brush to be sure to remove any dead skin and cuticle debris that might remain.  I rinsed my feet well.  I put a towel down to stand on to keep from slipping.

Then I started my shower.  I used hot water just at first.  Remember we want that hot water to open the hair cuticles.   I brushed my hair vigorously as I waited on the shower to heat.  I stepped in and let the warm water run over my hair, rinsed off the face and lip mask and then shut off the water.  I applied a deep conditioning product to my hair.  Then I used the sugar scrub to go over all my skin.  This stuff is more abrasive than you might think so don't get too carried away if you use it.

I then rinsed off my skin only, being careful not to rinse my hair and then shut the water off again.  This time I smoothed hair conditioner over my underarms and legs and shaved well.  Wet skin is the best for shaving.  The conditioner softens skin further and insures you get a closer shave as it helps the razor glide.  You can use shaving gel if you'd like.  I didn't have any on hand except John's which has a man sort of smell and I do have plenty of conditioner on hand.  Be sure to rinse your razor often as you work, because a clogged razor does not do it's job properly.  I went over my legs twice.   I might do a quick shave here and there through out the week but I wanted a good close shave this time. 

I turned the shower water back on.  I rinsed my hair and washed it twice with my regular shampoo, then soaped up my skin and bathed well all over.  I rinsed in warm water and then lowered the temperature to lukewarm, then a little cooler and rinsed again.  This firms skin, closes facial pores and closes the hair cuticles. 

When I stepped out of the shower, I wrapped a towel turban style about my wet hair and dried off.  I immediately applied the Phytoplex lotion I shared in my April products post.  There is also a Phytoplex-Z Guard product that I have from that hospital stay.  I used a dab of that in areas prone to moisture.  Under breasts and anywhere else where folds of skin might cause chafing or a build up of moisture. 

Then I used the Cetaphil moisturizer on my face, neck, ears and décolletage.  I try to remember to smooth a little on the back of my neck as well.

I applied deodorant.  I know deodorants are personal but I will share something I've learned.  I personally prefer a liquid roller deodorant now but used a gel deodorant in the past.  I found they stung freshly saved underarms.  A friend shared that she always used a solid deodorant on the day she shaved.  It doesn't contain any alcohol and doesn't sting.

I dried and styled my hair since it was morning and I planned to go out later that morning.

I didn't apply nail polish until later that afternoon but I used nail polish remover on my nails first because I'd used lotion on my feet and hands earlier in the day.  This is an important step to remember if you are going to go ahead with your manicure and pedicure. 

I felt so wonderful all day long, indeed all through the weekend.  I'd noted this before when I took the time to do this for myself.  Why have I put it off for so many weeks?  I've thought this over many times and I'll tell you.  I tend to do as others have suggested and 'do a little at a time' which is all fine and well but a little at a time usually means I'm in a hurry.  I'm not thorough.  I don't have that sense of really taking care of myself as much as hurrying through a task that I want to get done. 

Here's something I've discovered during the past week.  I know what to do, and how to dress and how I ought to carry myself and how to take care of my skin, etc.  I can't get the results I want if I don't do it.  It's the same as any other thing I hope to accomplish.  My house won't be completely clean if I give it a promise of a better job later on but never do a thorough job at any time.  It would never be half so cute if I sat about looking at Pinterest and getting inspired but never pushing myself to make the inspiration reality.

I think I often feel I'm not worth the investment of time it takes to do things properly in this way.

Too, I felt I was a bit past my prime so why bother?  I am gray.  I am over weight.  I limp a bit when I'm tired and have done too much.  I'm a grandmother. I'm closer to 60 than 50.  I'll never be an ingénue or a model. When I pamper myself, it doesn't matter that I am any of those things.  I feel lovely.  My skin feels lovely.  I carry myself with more confidence.  Carrying myself with more confidence makes me more sure of the things I do right.  It makes it easier for me to know I can continue to improve myself if I will make the effort.  I remind myself that I am worth it.  I don't have to earn this time.  I've earned it all ready.

So if you find yourself hesitating at spending a block of time upon yourself instead of giving self-care in dibs and dabs here and there, remember that you yourself are worth an investment of your own time as much as your home or garden or husband or family.  It isn't selfish to make yourself feel lovely.  You'll be far nicer to be around and less stressed and everyone will appreciate the change in your attitude.


Anonymous said...

Though it will be a challenge..and what isn't that is worth doing?...I will work to do better for myself. My pledge. God has blessed you with writing talent and you DO IT don't you! :-) You sure do !! I am past 70 now but this is the body God gave me and it is up to me to take care of it. Also we represent Him when around people and should look our best. I have to forgive myself for the things I didn't do in the past to keep myself as fit and pretty and start to do the best I can Now. I have been accessorizing better and dressing smarter thanks to you and now on to this part. Thank you for putting together this comprehensive post Terri. Sarah

Debby in KS said...

I do a few things really well and ignore a few others really well!!
*I'm a faithful nightly flosser.
*I strip and paint my nails every Sat. night- been doing that for over 10 yrs.
*I have applied facial moisturizer twice a day for my whole life.
*I put lotion on my feet any day that I put socks on. That usually means all of winter and a few other cold days, as well.
*I wear body lotion every day.

Now, that said....hehehe....I love a good facial mask and maybe do one per year and wonder why I don't indulge more often. Same with deep conditioning my hair. Despite being very good about winter foot lotion, my feet need more summer sloughing!

Also, you mentioned using nail polish remover to remove any lotion/oil residue before applying polish. I have always used witch hazel. Smells better, isn't so harsh, & I also use it as an occasional summer toner or for bug bites. That's my tip.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

Just the other day, maybe the days and days of rain caused me to feel a little down in the dumps, I caught myself thinking why bother with makeup, or what I was going to be wearing. I have been using a cane because of unreliability of one of my knees, so I was feeling like an old crone that day. Thankfully, I was able to snap myself out of it, and close the door on my little pity party, and make myself put on makeup, fix my hair and put on some nice clothes and a pretty bright scarf and get going. I was so glad I snapped out of it and got myself up, fixed up, and out of the house and didn't just hang around like Poor Pitiful Pearl all that day. It ended up being a very enjoyable, busy day with a lot accomplished.

We have had such an invasion of ants here at our house. Maybe because of all of the rain. It was like an ant farm in here for two or three days. One teeny tiny variety of ant in the bathroom, and just regular sized sidewalk ants on the kitchen counter. Finally, the rain stopped and it dried up enough outside that my husband could spray all around the foundation and under an addition to our house. Two days later the ants were gone. Thank goodness. I can imagine if I were to have used a sugar scrub anywhere on my body during that time that I may have been completely carried off by rampaging ants, though it would have taken all of the ant reinforcements that they could muster.

Anonymous said...

That's so funny about the ants carrying you off, Susie! We've had a few try to invade us, but have been able to get rid of them easily, so far. Hopefully, that continues.

I cannot even imagine having an entire morning to give myself a beauty treatment. It sounds fun, though. I counted it up the other day--I've had kids for 30 years now, straight, and many of them have a lot of special needs. I keep thinking I'm in a season of life that will pass, but am starting to wonder "will it ever?" I finally decided to do a few more things for myself than I used to when there were so many young ones at home.

I am taking more time for exercising these days. I've always regretted that I stopped my exercise classes with the first 2 kids that we got, but they occurred during the dinner hour and that was a priority for us with our new little family. We only had one car back then, so I could not go during the day. We had no money for babysitters or another vehicle for several years, so...I let it go. Bad choice, but the only solution I could see at the time.

I do paint my toenails regularly--something I did not do for years and years. Still, I've never had a professional pedicure. I gave up on the fingernails, due to the amount of dishes and yard work and gardening, canning etc. that I do--they just didn't last for more than 1 day and I needed that time for other things.

I've had my hair cut professionally and for the last few years, highlighted, which is a big change from my younger days.

So, as the years pass, I am putting more self-care into my routine. Hopefully, I will continue that trend.

Terri Cheney said...

I know that my three hours of self-care was a real luxury and I don't expect to give myself that much time every single time, but an hour is doable and lovely for most of us. We'll waste an hour doing something we like less and doesn't make us feel half so well, agreed?

Becky, I too was an active on hands parent for 30 odd years. I very much enjoyed that phase of my life and I floundered a little when it was done but I'm learning to enjoy my life as it is at this time.

Susie, I'm so glad you perked yourself up and felt better. And honey, I know all about ants. I haven't had an invasion in a little while and I don't miss them!

Sarah, you're right. I did not write for many years but wanted to. One day I decided it was time. I'd rather come to the end of my days knowing I did a little something than nothing at all. I don't think makeup is the be and end all but I do believe it enhances my looks somewhat and I know I can look brighter and fresher if not younger. Sometimes it's what we see in the mirror, as Susie discovered the other day, that turns our whole day around. So if it helps and it makes you feel better then do it. Your attitude will improve and people will respond to that change and it's just positive from there.

Time Out

Notice her obvious confusion?  It's kinda how I feel at present.  I'm not just sure what I should be doing to fix something tha...