The Art of Pampering Yourself
What is it about someone else being kind to us that makes us feel so comforted? A smile, a touch, a meaningful look or even a kind comment can go so far in this world of distance that has grown amongst us.
We used to so naturally look out for someone needing assistance without questioning ‘Am I doing the right thing’ or ‘Should I ..........?’ Consequently, we have created, through fear, what feels like a non caring society, not so much because people don’t care, but more because they daren’t. As a result you can and often do miss out on feeling cared for in so many situations, so it’s vital that you learn how to pamper yourself.
As a trainer in Personal Development I often talk about the word ‘selfish’. For me it feels more comfortable to say ‘self care’ because that’s what it often is. So many people, particularly women, have an issue with ‘spoiling’ themselves due to the huge guilt feelings which they have mostly inherited from their mothers, it seems.
I have learnt that pampering myself in whatever way I can adds to my confidence, self esteem and I hasten to add energy levels. As I felt healthier I soon became aware of how those close to me benefited from my inner glow.
How can we pamper ourselves? This depends mostly on how much money and time is available to us. Of course I don’t think many of us would have a difficulty in thinking of ways of treating ourselves if funds would allow and we had plenty of time on our hands.
Let me share with you how I learned to start valuing myself when funds and time were limited.
Having lived in a manic household where personal space was not in abundance, I was desperate at times to find some ‘time out’ just for me and began to realise that if I didn’t the rest of the family would really suffer. It was no good constantly ignoring my needs as they cried out for attention, as it would only back fire on the family as it often had in the past.
So I decided to take stock, partly because well meaning friends gently advised me to but it was very difficult when a family was pulling me in all directions.
Firstly I had to be realistic and plan around my essential commitments. Create a space when I didn’t have to put others first. Maybe I didn’t need to clean the kitchen floor, iron the shirts or cook meals in advance. Next I had to take a look at my finances as it would have been no benefit to me if I had spent outside my means as this would only have added to the guilt I was already struggling with.
There are so many ways you can pamper yourself which will also give you a quick fix enabling you to continue with the dutiful roles you play every day as a mother, wife, dishwasher, domestic, gardener, carer, business woman etc ..................... oh yes, the numerous roles you play. Even more reason to pamper yourself!
So where exactly did I start?
One of the first treats I introduced for myself was one hour in the evening of sheer indulgence. I carefully chose the least hectic time so that it would not interfere too much with the demands of the household and soon discovered once I slotted that time in, the family learned to accept it and gradually resisted against it less and less.
My hour would be spent having a long soak in the bath, enhanced with relaxing herbal essences. This would be accompanied with a glass of perfectly chilled dry white wine, some carefully chosen favourite music, which would allay my thoughts that may drift into mundane check lists and sometimes a special treat like some Belgium chocolate saved specially for such occasions. Did I feel guilty for hiding special chocolates that had actually been bought for me anyway? No, not at all, as I believe that you have to reach a certain age in order to appreciate such delicacies. For this reason, eating a Belgium chocolate alone in the privacy of my given space tasted even more yummy.
Soaking in the beautifully fragrant water, sipping the perfect temperature wine and listening to the dulcet tones of a favourite singer telling me he loves me, begins to have a wonderful de-stressing effect. Of course the chocolate added to the flavour of the occasion.
Now that is just one way of pampering yourself, but it may not be yours............
Another way I found to assist me amongst the day’s fury of fraught children, anxious husband and forever barking dog would be to find a window of opportunity which could be opened wide enough without once again spending too much money or take up too much time.............Each Monday I would endeavour to visit the supermarket to embark on the weekly shop. Having three children, a husband, two dogs, one cat plus three elderly ladies who lived with us, (I ran a small Residential Home, amongst other ventures I was determined to pursue) meant the shopping trolley was always grossly overloaded.
My dear mother would plant herself at our house and resume responsibility of the entire household, minus the children who were at school, while I escaped to compete with other harassed mothers rushing round the aisles trying to beat the clock before their offspring demanded their time again.
You might wander what was so special and pampering about going to the supermarket. Well, I introduced something into that errand especially for me. Before pursuing the forever rebellious wheels of a trolley I’d take myself off to the coffee shop for a cappuccino and toasted teacake. Even the service mattered as it was all part of the pamper me moment. I would collect a newspaper left out for those who obviously did have time to read and proceeded to enjoy my moment of pure indulgence. Now this might not sound much to those who are not constantly surrounded by other people but I know it will make sense to those who find it hard to allow any time in the day just for them.
The importance of planning a pampering moment is to be realistic about when to slot it in..
Before a supermarket shop made complete sense to me if I was disciplined about my timing. I would arrange for mother to arrive early enough to allow me to be able to spend thirty minutes on my indulgence. The great bonus about this pampering was that it buoyed me up to confront the mega shop, which spilled into being in a better mood when I collected the manic monsters (little darlings really) from school.
As I’m sure you parents out there already appreciate, after school can be one of the most stressful times of the entire day. It’s as if someone had taken a cork out of their bottled up bodies and all the energy both verbal and physical that they had probably had to control all day was now heading right in my direction. So thirty minutes of ‘me’ time before having to deal with this used to really boost me, even if it was only once a week.
How else can you pamper yourself...................
Taking up a hobby is a good idea because you will meet like minded people who will naturally encourage you to expand your horizons and hopefully your conversation which will make a positive change from getting caught up in daily moans about household chores, the family or maybe work issues and worse still feeling life just isn’t fair............
For me dancing was the answer. After bumping into a friend I hadn’t seen for a very long time, I recognised a sparkle in her eye and she soon shared her new hobby, dancing classes. ‘You should come along, you always enjoyed dancing.’ I didn’t need to be told twice, she tweaked a forgotten desire I’d had all my life. Through the years I had dipped in and out of various dance classes and always enjoyed them. However I now realised that it had been a very long time since I had allowed myself that joy, so decided to venture forth, much to the amusement of the family.
As soon as I stepped onto the dance floor I felt a pang of nostalgia. I had always felt a buzz from dancing and luckily it was still alive in my body, obviously waiting to be awoken. The fact it was jive dancing made it even more uplifting as the music invited me to let go of the thoughts of the day and now focus on what I was being taught. It was so invigorating and I have to admit quite challenging, though not too much pressure as the emphasise was definitely on having fun. It was quite evident that people came with different agendas. The majority were there to learn a new skill, while others, I suspect were there to meet new faces. I realised that dancing wasn’t as important to some as it was to me and I came to this conclusion when I observed certain people, dare I say mostly men, propping up the bar and not venturing onto the dance floor. I guess they viewed this as an opportunity to meet a member of the opposite sex and have a good look at how she moves before approaching for the kill. I think there were others who would find this very disappointing and even irritating, especially if they had gone along hoping possibly to find a partner who shared their passion for the dance floor.
However for me this was a wonderful escapism from daily chores and life in general. Once again it spilled into my work as the morning after my dancing session the elderly ladies would always be keen to know how it went and what new steps I had learnt. I was also a happier mum and wife so it was to everyone’s benefit that I pursued my interest. So when you consider approaching a hobby just for you, take time to consider the effects it may have on others around you. This will help those of you who suffer from the ‘guilt syndrome’ when daring to enjoy something.
When we encourage our bodies to get physical we energise them which in turn will energise our mind. Never forget how attached your mind and body are. If you neglect one it will affect the other and likewise if you work at improving one the other will reap the benefit also.
By pampering yourself you will also be pampering others close to you in an indirect way.