Pampering yourself is an important part of the healing journey. Believe it or not, pampering yourself is a part of self-care. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we will have nothing to give to others. Giving your energy to others is like handing someone a glass of water, and you can’t pour from an empty glass. No matter what you are going through, or how busy you find yourself on a day-to-day basis, make time to take care of yourself when you need it.
I did some research on this article before writing it, and found the following tips to be very helpful in feeling peaceful and getting my mind focused on what I need to do after completion:
Give yourself a manicure and a pedicure.
Even if you only have time to cut your nails. Even if you don’t have the funds to go to a spa. Even if you are stretched thin for time. No matter what: take care of your nails. I love painting my nails. I make time every other week to do my nails. I love all the different colors of nail polish that there are to choose from. There is a product out now that claims to “dry like gel,” and I highly recommend it. Brightening and cleaning up your nails will make you feel pretty. Don’t overlook the value in feeling pretty. It births confidence when you feel that you look your best. I used to think it was vain, but there is nothing like a stranger’s compliment, “Oh! I love your nails!”
Take a bath with lavender or bubbles.
Even if your tub is filled with toys and hasn’t been scrubbed in a week, get on your knees and clean that tub and hop in! A lavender bath, with a candle, the door shut, and some music playing can be incredibly therapeutic. Not only is it relaxing to take a bath, but the ambience may even bring you a sense of peace. Every day you take a shower to get clean, but what about taking a bath to wash your soul? Everyone needs a break from time to time, and a bath is one of the best ways to take a break.
Let yourself cry for a few minutes.
I do not like crying in front of other people. It makes me feel vulnerable, and I hate that feeling like many people do. However, did you know that crying has been scientifically proven to be good for you? The tears you produce when you cry are different than your eyes’ natural lubrication and your sweat. When you cry, toxins from your brain are expelled, and it cleans out your tear ducts. The result of a good cry is that your brain gets to reset itself. Maybe you haven’t cried in a long time. Maybe you cry all the time. Whatever your natural crying pattern is, make sure that you set aside time to allow yourself to cry. It can be a good cry on a friend’s shoulder or one of those ugly cries you reserve for when you are alone. Just let yourself cry. Check out this article on “5 Reasons Crying is Good for You” from the Huffington Post.
Turn up the bass.
Music therapy is some of the best therapy that exists. You can turn on a song from any genre, and it will invoke different feelings and emotions. When we are sad, we tend to listen to sad music. When we are angry, we tend to listen to angry music. When we are excited, we tend to listen to upbeat music. As a grieving birth mother, I found listening to sad music the most comfortable, but not the most comforting. Choose to listen to happy music, whether you are feeling positive or not. Experience the beat as you go from down in the dumps to excited to be alive. Give it a try with some Britney Spears, Deadmau5 or Bob Marley. Even if you don’t want to feel better, make it a point to put some happy music and just see what happens. You might be surprised at a result.
Go out with your friends and be social.
The last thing you should be doing when you are walking a healing path is to isolate. When we isolate, we lose touch with ourselves and the people we care about. Small problems seem bigger when we are facing them alone without anyone to talk to. Regardless of how many or few friends you have, reach out to them and set up some girl time. Remember that relationships are like plants and that you must water them to make them grow. They also need sun exposure like people do with their friendships. Wanting to isolate is common when you are grieving as a birth mother. It feels like you are all alone and that no one understands what you are going through. Instead of looking to your friends for understanding, look to them for compassion. They may not understand exactly what you are going through, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be there for you.
Those are just a few ideas for pampering yourself and practicing self-care. Everyone has different activities they like to participate in, and different things that bring us a sense of peace. What are you doing to promote self-care in your life to gain a sense of peace from time to time?
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.