Taking a ride on the Self-Love Bandwagon

The Internet seems to have declared this week a week of self-love.  I am well and truly a part of the Internet now, so I thought I would put my thoughts into the ether to mingle with everyone else’s.

Self-love is an interesting concept.  To me it always feels a little too close to indulgence.  I am, however, a guilt ridden-self-critical-masochist so it’s probably best not to look to me for guidance in these matters.  I am trying to improve though, so maybe at least give me a shot.  My search for self-love self-improvement made me ask just where IS that line, anyway? That line between self-indulgence and self-love?  It is hugely relevant to the beauty and wellness space.  Are you only ‘worth it’ if you buy that product?  Are you only practicing self-love if you have that 49 step k-beauty skincare routine?  A  monthly facial?

I came across an an article by Jenna Wortham a few weeks back and I thought it handled these very questions very elegantly.  It seems like a natural place to start, doing things TO yourself, or swathing yourself IN something (I mean who doesn’t like some La Mer and a cashmere blanket scarf?), but take those things off and if you felt like crap when you woke up, you’ll still feel like crap when you go to sleep.  Even if you sleep in silk pyjamas.

My beauty, wellness and fitness routines are all ‘designed’ to enhance and compliment an inner wellness that I am constantly working on, they aren’t there to GIVE ME that wellness.  I never have tried to label it before but I suppose it really sits well within the mindfulness space.  Surely that is what self-love is about: mindfulness.

Inspired by Jenna to really consider this, here are a few ways in which I practice self-loving mindfulness:

Always Exercise

People think I’m a fitness freak.  I’m not.  I’m a feeling good freak.  Exercising makes me feel good.  Even if it’s a brief self-directed session in the morning with my toddler hanging off of me at times – it helps. Also I love the athleisure look (don’t judge me) – that fits squarely into the mindless self-indulgence category though.  Anyway.  I digress.

Don’t Cut Shit Out of Your Diet if You Don’t Want To

I really try to listen to my body here, and not be judgemental about it.  In the winter I want things like bread, milk, butter and cream.  In the summer I don’t.  To me that makes perfect sense.  I also always keep almond and/or coconut milk in the house, I don’t like milk chocolate and I LOVE The Hardihood raw cakes.  I also love Victoria Yum.  What I’m getting at here is balance.  Love thyself.  Feed thyself a croissant, or not, whatever – just do what you feel good doing, that doesn’t stress you or your system out, and do it mindfully.

Have a Routine (Beauty or Otherwise)

My Other Half will always say it takes longer but don’t listen to him.  Remember, most of the time he’s wrong.  Ten minutes in the evening is all it takes for me to unwind.  The most luxurious thing I can do is put on and take off my make up, and once a week or so do my nails.  I don’t go over board with products. While I’ve tried my fair share of crazy expensive things I feel very strongly that one should use only those products which are effective and enhance one’s experience.  Of course – try things out – but be mindful of your edit.  Is Kondo-ise a verb yet? Do that.

Fantasy Shop

I love fantasy shopping.  From Net-a-Porter to Zara I trawl websites, fill up carts, take screen shots as if I’ll totally need to reference them later, and then close the computer.  It’s awesome.  It’s free.  It also helps me to distill what I really do want.

Closely related – Shop Seasonally, Clear Out Seasonally 

This is so important to me, and really gives that ‘going back to school’ excitement I used to get buying stationary and ugly shoes (but without the school, and twice a year!)

I use fashion mags A/W and S/S issues as my basic research then go from there.  I use the death throes of the winter or summer months to edit down to a few pieces – those items which will really enhance my wardrobe. The ritual of purchasing the mags twice a year, the ritual of list writing, making choices about what you want but also what you NEED is really cathartic and a hugely enjoyable way to shop.  Of course every now and again I purchase things out of season, mostly fitness kit, but this is the way to go.  Try it one year.  You won’t be disappointed.

We can all fall into the mindless self-indulgence trap here and there; to me, even that is part of having balance – it’s about getting out and reaching your equilibrium again that matters.

What do you folks out in the Internet do everyday to practice some self-loving mindfulness?  As you can see above, it doesn’t have to be paradigm shifting cerebral stuff; even a modicum of thought goes a long way.  Take a leaf out of Jenna’s book and have a think.

~MSC

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