Thursday, August 20, 2009

12 Ways to Pamper Yourself, On the Cheap!

It's summer. I thought things would be slower and less hectic. But no, I'm a mom, and being such calls me into place repeatedly to taxi, feed, kiss, referee, manage, juggle and supervise. Finding that little slice of 'me' time is still challenging, without the full time job (I'm off for the month of August). So I set out to find little things that aim to pamper oneself, inexpensively, and in small amounts of time - just right for a busy mom, professional, or all around too-busy-to-take-care-of-myself kind o' gal.
  1. Take a bath. These days it is a cool bath for me with the humidity in the stratosphere. Strew fresh herbs and flowers under the tap as it fills your tub. The scents will fill you with happy and relaxing, invigorating thoughts. Light candles. Play soft music. Read something light and enjoyable (or nothing at all). Soak as long as you like, or are able to - after about 20 minutes I'm a bit prune-ish.
  2. Make a smoothie. Check here for a great recipe. I try to keep a variety of frozen fruits in the freezer just for this purpose. Typically, when the kids hear the blender, they have this Pavlovian response and come running, so when I want something all to myself, I have to make it quick or make it when they are outside ;). (Not that I don't love sharing with my boys - but the point here is to have an individual experience.
  3. Clean out a drawer. I know - weird, huh?? Who would think that to pamper might mean actually cleaning? But hey - try it. Stop putting it off and actually clear out that junk drawer. It is surprising how wonderful it feels afterward. The sense of pride that fills my heart after I do this is tremendous.
  4. Take a walk. How well do you know your neighbors? Have you noticed what's been going on in your neighborhood lately? What are the trees doing this time of year? Are there any animals running about? Get outdoors and clear your head. I walk around my neighborhood and find things I never knew were there - after living here for 10 years!
  5. Swim. Do you have a local pool or pond/lake nearby? We are lucky to have a town pool where we can swim for no cost. We also live on a river - we can't swim in it, but we can be down by it and enjoy the wildlife there. How about a beach? I'm an hour away from the coast, but with a little planning, I can take a drive and spend some time there. The water is so refreshing and renewing. Even a gym membership, if you already have one, will work for this - if they have a pool. You don't always have to swim laps in a gym pool, especially if the pool isn't busy. Splash around and cool down. Float. Sink to the bottom. Feel your body suspended.
  6. Sit. Ask any busy woman. She'll concur with you how little time we all get to sit and think. Or not think. Just sit to breathe and rejuvenate. What a treat not be talked to for a few minutes. Ahhhhhhh...
  7. Go ahead. Eat a cookie. Sugar does something to us. Chocolate too. I know it's supposedly scientific with endorphins and all, but the truth at the bottom of the barrel is... we like it. Sweets make us smile. Perhaps some key to a door closed during childhood - sugar opens us like a good book. Grab one and enjoy.
  8. Spend time with a friend. This is one of my favorites. I especially love calling my sister and chatting for long minutes about all sorts of things. We can be in any kind of foul or frustrating mood, and know exactly what to say to the other to help boost things. The unconditional love felt between two individuals is more powerful than steel in my book.
  9. Garden. Whether you have an acre or windowbox, you can take some time to connect with the seasons through gardening. Planting herbs for the kitchen, planting flowers for the bees and butterflies, or planting the family garden plot at the community garden. These are all ways you can spend some time communing with Mother Nature, connecting with her cycles of germination, pollination, fruiting and finally, death.
  10. Sleep. Or, if you can't sleep, meditate. Can you spare 10 minutes to close your eyes? Past studies have shown that just a few moments of peace and quiet will restart your motor. Any longer than 20 minutes might make it more challenging to rest later on, so you would want to keep this to a little catnap.
  11. Enjoy some time with animals. We have so many little beings at my house. When things get a little rough, I love pulling a cat into my lap to chill out for a few minutes. There is a reason pets are used for therapeutic sessions. Talk about unconditional loving - wow! When you need a moment to be reminded that touch is sometimes the most important thing in the world, find a pet and enjoy.
  12. Be creative. I spent many, many years not creating. Making music for other people left my own bank empty. Recently, I started crafting, beading, collaging, dreaming. I wake up in the night, sometimes, thinking over a plan to create something when I next get the chance. Crafting fills me with excitement - as the energy I feel inside has somehow become tangible. I can hold the product, rework it, hang it up, throw it out. I'm in charge of it, and I like how that feels. The possibilities are endless and I like that as well.
It is so important to find time to pamper yourself. In fact it really is TAKING CARE of ourselves - not so much pampering. Pampering brings to mind luxuries that we could do without, and such is not the case here. Finding a way to recharge is a necessary part of each day. Can you make time for it?

I am curious what you might come up with as additional ideas for pampering. What do you do to relax?


Dogwood said...

Oh, thank you so much. It is so important for us to remember to PAMPER ourselves. Great ideas! And, to think how simple they are at no cost!

goldenbird said...

Thanks for the reminder about taking the time to take care of myself. They are all such great ideas. And it's so easy to make excuses or put it off. I love to pamper myself with a pedicure, but more simply I love to sit on my lounge chair out on the patio and just look at the trees. I really want to carve out more time to enjoy where I live instead of always rushing off some place.

5 orange potatoes said...

I LOVE creating too. Lately my mind has been overstimulated with ideas; you know that creative hypermode I'm talking about!

Love the kitty pic!
Lisa :)

Michelle said...

I've been thinking a lot about this lately! I tend to go way too long without any alone time, and then I get cranky! Steve & I decided that it's time for this mama to get back to weekly yoga class :-) I am so excited!! It really helps me to stay present with the monkeys when I know I have that one regular time carved out for me!

PS I accidentally gave you the wrong zip code, and just got the necklace that you made. It's BEAUTIFUL!!! Thank you so much :-)

Angela said...

I don't need much reminding, but thanks for the ideas!

Some of my favorites:
1)Reading a good book in my Poang chair
2)Taking a neighborhood walk
3)Driving by the ocean, and taking a walk, especially in the winter when there are no crowds
4)Sitting outside on our front patio and watching people walk by
5)Water- a bath, a pool, a spa, a lake- any way I can get submerged
6)Sit and listen to music, not as background, but really listen
7)Candle night with my husband
8)Ice cream