A Little Pampering Goes a Long Way
We all need a little pampering now and then. In fact, you should try to make sure you do something nice for you and you alone on a regular basis. This is hard for women, especially Moms. We’re so focused on spending all of our time and energy on work, the kids, our homes, our mates and everything else that all we can spare for ourselves is whatever is left over.
The problem with that thinking is that in order to do and be our best at work, as mothers, as wives and girlfriends, we have to nurture ourselves as well. I’ve already talked about how we need to eat healthy, work out and get enough rest, but nurturing yourself is also about those things that we do simply because they feel good or make us happy.
The Importance of Focusing on You
You wouldn’t fill your car up with one tank of gas and expect it to run forever. Why should you expect to keep working so hard and giving your best if you never refuel your own tank? When you replenish your energy, motivation and happiness, you’re not only doing something for your family, career or significant other, but for you as well. It is not selfish to do the small things that make you a happier and more content person.
In fact, if you keep running yourself into the ground with no pampering, you’ll be crabby and impatient with your kids, too tired and resentful to be a good mate and too unmotivated and exhausted to be your best at work. By nurturing yourself, you help the people who depend on you.
There are so many ways to pamper yourself and they don’t have to be expensive. In fact, many things are absolutely free. For some women, comfort foods and favorite snacks are a real treat. Other women like physical pampering like spa treatments. For other women, time to do what they love is true pampering. Most of us love some of all of these.
Here are some great ideas (and recipes) for giving yourself a little pampering, no matter how you define the word. I’ve even pulled together a few ideas for your busiest days, when you seriously only have ten or fifteen minutes for yourself.
The Way to a Woman’s Heart
I don’t know why people always say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. While it may be true, real women love good food! Most of the women I know, including myself, definitely count their favorite treats and comfort foods among their favorite ideas for pampering.
When it comes to food as a source of pleasure, there are two important things to remember. First, if you’re eating a really healthy diet 95% of the time, it’s perfectly okay to indulge in a few less-healthy treats during the other 5%. Of course, this really does only apply if you’re eating very consciously on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean that if you had a salad on Tuesday, you’re good to go on the mac and cheese this weekend. It means that if 20 of the 21 meals you eat this week are full of fresh vegetables, lean proteins and other healthy foods, then having Key Lime Pie for your 21st meal won’t kill you.
In fact, I strongly recommend that you do give yourself that kind of reward, even if you’re on a fat-loss diet. Total deprivation will knock your progress right off the tracks in a very short time.
The other thing you need to remember about using food for pampering is that you really can feel indulgent while eating healthy foods. Just as healthy meals can be flavorful and filling, they can also be comforting and decadent. All you need to do is find the right recipe and you can make a delicious snack or dessert, with all the gooeyness, crunch or creaminess that you love.
For instance, kale chips taste amazing and are so much better for you than potato chips or French fries. Throw some olive oil, sea salt or maybe some cayenne on kale leaves and roast them in the oven for a wonderful salty snack to have along with your favorite chick flick.
If ice cream and sorbets are your things, you’ve got to try making your own with almond or coconut milk. Coconut milk is awesome with fruity flavors and almond is great if you’re thinking about nuts or chocolate.
Here’s one of my favorite ways to whip up a cold, fruity, creamy treat in just a few minutes:
Creamy Fruit Sorbet
Pour 1 cup of coconut milk (unsweetened or vanilla are fine) into a blender. Add 2 cups of cut tropical fruits, like mangoes, kiwi, pineapple or some combination. Blend on high speed until creamy and smooth. Taste for sweetness (mainly if you’re using unsweetened coconut milk) and add a touch of honey if you feel it needs it. Blend until well-mixed. Pour into a shallow glass/ceramic casserole dish or plastic storage container. Cover and put in the freezer on a flat surface. Every 30 minutes, give everything a gentle stir to keep ice crystals from forming as it hardens. In 2-3 hours, you’ll have about three cups of incredible sorbet.
Pampering Yourself from the Outside In
Sometimes what you really need is a little something that just physically feels good or even indulgent. That doesn’t mean it has to be frivolous or costly, though. Why not give yourself a little spa-style pampering at home? It’s free, it’s easy to get to when you have the time, and you don’t need a babysitter. Carve out a little time on a weekend afternoon or wait until the kids go to bed, then do something that feels luxurious and is also good for your body.
Two things that I love are a soothing facial and a good body scrub. While spas and expensive products are nice, they’re totally optional. Some of the best things you’ll ever use on your skin are right in your fridge or pantry. Here are two of my favorite recipes:
Moisturizing Face Mask
Combine one 6-ounce container (or ¾ cup) of plain Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons honey, 2 fresh sage leaves and 4 thick slices of peeled cucumber in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Smooth all over your face and neck and relax for about ten minutes with your eyes closed. You’ll probably want to wrap yourself in a towel or at least spread one over your chest, as it may drip. Rinse with warm water, then cool water.
Silky Smooth Body Scrub
This is one of the most eco-friendly body scrubs you can make since it uses leftover coffee grounds. Just pop a couple of days’ worth of grounds into a sealed jar or bag in the fridge. Espresso grounds work best, as coarse grounds can be a little rough.
In a small jar or bowl, combine 8 tablespoons leftover fine coffee grounds (espresso grind works best) with ½ – ¾ cup olive or grapeseed oil. How much you need will depend on how dry your coffee grounds are. You want it to be a little too thick to be easily pourable. Hop in a warm shower and spread all over your skin in a gentle, circular motion. A little bit goes a long way. This is awesome for your whole body. Rinse with warm water and you’ll be loved with glowing, silky, slightly “tanned” skin that smells amazing.
Quick Pampering Ideas for Busy Days
I know. Some days we’re lucky to have fifteen minutes for ourselves. That might make it a little harder to get some pampering in, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
* Grab a frozen fruit bar or pop and sit outside in the grass to eat it, day or night.
* Have a glass of wine or cup of hot tea – in the shower.
* Download the Kindle app onto your phone and then download tons of free books. Read a chapter in a cozy chair at home or during your coffee break at work.
* Nuke or boil two cups of water. Place some fresh sage, rosemary or chamomile in the bottom of a large bowl and pour the water over. Place a towel over your head and lean in for a soothing, calming facial sauna.
* Put a few drops of your favorite essential oil into a small spray bottle of water and spray your sheets and pillows (from about six inches away) about 15 minutes before bed.
* Download a free nature sounds app and curl up in a chair with some headphones and listen the ocean, the rain or a waterfall for ten minutes.
These are just a few things you can do to give yourself a little pampering even on your busiest days. Get creative. Think outside of the typical stuff and focus on small things that make you feel cozy, comforted or just plain happy. You’ll be amazed at the difference just a few minutes each day or a few times per week can make in your life.
And really, you deserve that much, don’t you?