sometimes i feel that gwyneth paltrow gets too much criticism for the articles that goop churns out. yoni eggs? vaginal steams? crystal healings? i've heard of them all, and i don't even read goop. i know many criticise the psuedoscience of it all, but part of me wonders whether some people are also just against the great 'self care movement'.
i'll raise my hand - i absolutely buy into the practice of self care or pursuit of wellness. and if i had millions to spend on taking care of me, i would. if someone were to pay for my vaginal steams, i'd try one too. i would love to embark on all things expensive, weird and wonderful.
i buy sun potions. i shop at erewhon. i take probiotics and triphala before bed. i have a massage every month and a facial every six weeks. i am not a stranger to wellness routines and buying into the 'woo-woo'. this is some of what i do:
yoga. i've practiced on-and-off for five years now, breaking the habit to toy with other forms of exercise during my ED days. i now fit in a regular practice at bodyscape yoga. not for fitness, but just for me. there is no question - 2017 has been the year of truly discovering my practice. a 200hr YTT is on my to-do list.
crystals. i used to collect rocks and crystals as a kid, a long forgotten hobby that i resurrected twenty years later whilst in los angeles. my favourite is my rose quartz egg necklace (not a yoni egg. but it is the exact same size and shape, i've noticed) which i occasionally wear around my neck or tuck into my bag/pants pocket. rose quartz is known to be the crystal for self love, which i know i definitely need. truth time: i don't actually believe that crystals have spiritual powers, although i am open to the idea of it. but i do believe in grounding touchstones, and that is what my crystals are for me. reminders to pause. my rose quartz is a self love stone because i believe that it is. that is, i stop and remind me to hold space for myself whenever i hold it.
work wellness kit. during the working hours of monday to friday, i work a corporate job. i effervescently talk about the space in which i inhibit, and trick everyone into thinking i'm the classic public relations extrovert. i have done many myers-brigg personality tests and am a solid INFP. except when we do the test as part of corporate training, when i come up an ENFP. i am not surprised. i have, for now, chosen a career in which extroversion is rewarded. seamless networking is expected. at work, i am a classic extrovert. it is my yang.
but although it can be fun and glamorous and is a job i enjoy, it is also a job. and when i tiptoe through the door late at night after a press dinner, i shed my clothes and head to the kettle. a mug of tea. deep breaths. a book and my open journal. i need a solid hour to unwind before my mind is ready for bed. i am very guilty of forgetting myself when i am at work, and very guilty of never mentally leaving the office at the office. of forgetting to breathe, of taking things too quickly and of being completely unaware of my true self and my body. my career and job overwhelm me sometimes, and i am guilty of taking it all too seriously, and of letting the mood or energy at work dictate my life and my health. something that became blatantly obvious when i started getting anxiety attacks at work, necessitating a week off work and a prescription for six months on anxiety meds.
so now i bring a little wellness kit to work every single day. each morning i sit in my chair and unpack: my journal, a thermos of herbal tea, spare teabags, a crystal and an essential oil. they sit on my desk all day as a reminder of who i am and what i love, and of what is more important. most days, i just drink the tea. most days the objects sit on my desk, untouched. but they are a reminder that i have a life, and passions and hobbies. and that when home time comes around, it's time to get back to those things. and i put them back into my bag, and bring them home with me.
loads of baths. i am a bath girl. one of my favourite things about our apartment is the large, deep tub. i average two or three baths a week, and leave a stack of books and bath toys on the edge: bath oils, masks and scrubs. i step out and do an oil massage - abhyanga - with a handful of lovely smelling oils, and wrap myself in a fluffy robe. it is my failsafe, feel-better mood reliever.
podcasts. and walking to work. i have grown to love the hour i spend walking to work each morning during non-rainy weather. a form of exercise that is made more productive by also calling it 'podcast time'. the time of the day i get to catch up with my favourite wellness peeps. i listen solely to wellness and yoga podcasts, my favourites being well aware and that's so retrograde. i also love a few things with claire and erica. i listen to my favourite episodes again and again, as reminders of a bigger life outside of my own, and that everyone is different but also somehow all the same.
hanging out on my mat. literally. i don't mean 'doing yoga on my mat', although that does happen. but i hang out there. i read books on my mat, watch shows on my mat, meditate on my mat, and do stretches on my mat. as a firm rule, we don't wear shoes in the house. as a preference, i spend a lot of time on the floor. it is potentially why i have such open hips, and also potentially comes from my years of dancing. i have 'my spot' in the house where the yoga mat is permanently rolled out, with blankets, a yoga bolster and a tray of leather coasters, crystals, lavender and some greenery nearby. when i'm having a bad day, jacob offers to either run me a bath or start the kettle for a mug of tea that i can take to 'my spot'. sometimes i sit quietly with a book, and other times i rewatch downton abbey on my tummy while stretching out my back. but some of my favourite weekend afternoons are spent here, doing life on my mat.
brewing an elixir. my new favourite brew was inspired by cap beauty: 1 cup of warmed almond milk, blended with 1 tbsp tocos, 1 tsp he shou wu and 1 tsp coconut butter. it is delicious, warming and grounding all at once.
i have traded cocktails for crystals, a gym membership for an unlimited yoga pass. i spend all my health insurance extras cover on monthly remedial massages to deal with the physical symptoms of anxiety (manifesting in stress and the craziest shoulder and back ailments). and i have an army of wellness professionals as part of my arsenal: nutritionist, ayurvedic practitioner, remedial therapists, personal trainer, facialist, yoga teacher...
yes, maybe i have drunk the kool aid. but i once spent $600 a month on a therapist for two and a half years, treating my depression and anxiety. i spent four years with depression and another three with an eating disorder. i am in month five of my six month anxiety medication prescription, and in the slow recovery phase of my disordered eating. i have learnt that i am susceptible to mental health disorders and the benefits of self love and going slowly. but really, i believe that one does not have to reach rock bottom - or anywhere close - to learn that they can be the priority in their own lives. and so i go.