June 1, 2012 by lytlejoc
Being a mother is the best job I’ve ever had. It’s immensely rewarding. It’s hugely fulfilling. It’s…
The first advice most new parents hear is “Sleep when your baby sleeps”. Sound advice. I took it and ran with it in the beginning when I was so sleep deprived that I would alternately burst into tears or bite my poor, sainted husband’s head off for no apparent reason. Now that Toby is past the six month mark and sleeping way, way more and I am no longer shuffling around like an extra on The Walking Dead, I tend to use Nap Time as High-Powered, Super-Speed Cleaning and Chore Time. Especially since I am scheduled to fly out of the province to our seaside retreat in T minus 25 days… I can’t keep up with how much I still have to do. I’m trying not to think about it which has the unfortunate side effect of causing me to be terribly unprepared.
This means, of course, that my stress levels are high. I keep catching myself with my teeth welded together and ready to snap at innocent standers-by. This does not make for a very nice mommy. And I don’t want to be a mean mommy.
So yesterday when Toby went down for nap number one, I decided that I needed to take a time out, just for relaxing, just for me. When I find myself ready to pull my eyeballs out, my standard fantasy is me running away to the spa and getting completely and utterly spoiled. Since neither time nor cash flow will permit that fantasy to become a reality, I decided I could achieve the same results using 15 minutes and some stuff from my kitchen.
You, dear reader, should do it too. Regardless of whether or not you have kids. We all work way too hard and need a break, every day. Yes, every single day.
The most crucial thing you need is 15 minutes and somewhere quiet to lay down. (Those of you who have more than one child, may you be blessed. I don’t know how you’re still standing. Enlist a little help for this.) None of the other elements I am about to suggest matter at all; they’re just the proverbial gravy. If you have 15 minutes and somewhere quiet, you can just stretch out, close your eyes and think about soft and gentle things while concentrating on breathing and relaxing all your muscles. Based on the yoga principle of Shavasana (my very favorite part of any yoga practice), this will let you center, rest and regroup. Doing this every day for even just 10 minutes will change your life. I promise.
Now. On to the gravy.
My mini spa experience over the last few days has included a facial and an eye compress. Just a little dribble of gravy, but it is such scrumptious, guilt-free gravy indeed.
I’ve already posted a recipe for a facial using yogurt which is a lovely one for any kind of skin but yesterday and today, I used Crunchy Betty’s Egg White Firming Mask (and once again, props to Leslie over at CB – this recipe was my time-out inspiration since you should lie down when using this mask). The recipe makes a fair amount, so I’ll be doing it again tomorrow and then I’ll probably toss it for safety’s sake. That being said, if neither of these particular facials appeal to you, just keep cruising around Crunchy Betty’s site. There are more delicious concoctions than I can count over there, and I’ve tried a ton and loved them all.
My eye compress yesterday was two slices of cucumber. Doesn’t get much easier than that. This is an ancient trick – I remember wondering why the heck Mrs. Roper was wearing cucumber slices like spectacles – but there’s a reason it’s still around. Who doesn’t have dark circles and puffy eyes that they want to cure? I know I do. Plus, if you keep your cucumber in your fridge where it belongs, they will cool the tired right out of your eyeballs.
Today I amped it up a bit. During yesterday’s mini spa, I dreamed up a pattern for two knitted “rounds” that I could soak in the tea of my choice.
(You could also use cotton rounds or even just tea bags for this part… until I post the pattern for you. Then you have no excuse.) Green tea and black tea would be ideal for puffy/dark eyes – caffeine helps constrict swollen blood vessels. There’s a reason that a lot of commercial foundations and eye creams boast caffeine content, but you don’t need to pay exorbitant amounts of money for it. I bet it’s already in your kitchen.
Since I am low on toner, however, I made a chamomile and lavender infusion. (It didn’t hurt that I recently got myself a nice-sized bag of each flower from Mountain Rose Herbs and I’ve been itching to use them.) Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic. Lots of antis in there. Lavender is also germicidal and, you know, it smells nice. Combined, they are lovely and soothing and are great stress relievers on an aromatherapeutic level and so they are perfect for your mini spa experience.
If you want to make it, here’s how:
1 Tbsp dried chamomile flowers
1 Tbsp dried lavender flowers
3 cups boiling water
Pour the boiling water over the flowers and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain out the herbs and let cool. Store in a sealed jar in your refrigerator.
Now you also have a nice toner to use. Toner is important, friends. It will remove any traces of makeup and dirt left behind from your face wash and will clarify your skin to a lovely glow. It also primes your skin for moisturizing (equally important).
Some other things that I lazily imagined today to really turn up the volume on your you time:
1. Light a scented candle or spray some lavender hydrosol in your room.
2. Play some relaxing music. Or nature sounds. Or turn on a fan for a little bit of white noise to help drown out the screaming of your child.
3. Slather your hands in shea butter and coconut oil and pop on some cotton gloves. Do your feet too. What the heck. (Here you will put on socks. I don’t think gloves would be as comfy.)
4. Heat up a magic bag and put it on your neck/stomach/thighs. Wherever a little warmth would be welcome. (Future post will tell you how to make your own magic bag! Stay tuned!)
5. If you have time afterwards, hop in the shower to wash off the mask and seal the deal on the tranquility factor.
Now go. Even if you’re not a parent, enjoy 15 minutes to yourself. And when you’re done, tell me what you did to personalize your spa experience or what you like to do with your time-outs!
As they say in Yogaland,