It’s that time of year when the calendar fills up and I get overwhelmed and, invariably, rundown or unwell. I’ve already found myself getting more short-tempered, forgetful and exhausted as my weekends fill up and my stress levels start to increase. I spoke to a couple of friends about it but they have bought into this whole wellness, self-care movement which, frankly, gives me the ick. Do you have any advice about how to navigate this very socially demanding and busy period without resorting to the benefits of Tibetan chanting?
Somewhere in her mansion in Montecito, Gwyneth Paltrow just let out a primal scream and dropped a vagina-scented candle onto her very expensive but ethically sourced llama fur rug. One can only hope it wasn’t lit.
Your Aunt fully understands your aversion to the self-care industry, my dear. One doesn’t give a Goop about the cult of Gwyneth and her quest to ensure we all have tight pelvic floor muscles, a steam-cleaned you-know-what and a biological dentist on speed dial.
And don’t ask One what the heck Tig means or why anyone would want to take health and wellbeing advice from Gwynnie’s neighbour Meghan Markle, even if she did go on to score the prince and the title. One would wager it had a little less to do with manifesting and interplanetary alignment than a fair deal of strategic manoeuvring.
But we shouldn’t confuse self-care the industry with self-care the practice. The practice of self-care is something people have been doing long before the influx of Instagram influencers arrived to plug rose quartz facial massage tools at exorbitant prices, while secretly using slightly more “toxic” ways to achieve their own youthful complexions.
Personally, your Aunt has always found the best kind of self-care to be found in the simplest things: a well-made cup of tea (that has preferably been made for you, not by you), a soak in a warm tub, some hearty belly laughs and spot of exuberant cancan dancing always raise One’s spirits and help counteract all the calamity that comes with life, especially as things kick into speed-drive around this time of year.
Your Aunt sometimes wishes One had the patience for yoga or the calmness of mind for meditation but maybe these are the exact reasons why One should try them rather than reasons to avoid them. But One has always worried about passing gas or falling asleep and snoring loudly while also drooling unattractively. Yet if you feel these things are for you, give them a go. Even a simple walk along the beach can do wonders to improve your mood and alleviate stress, however. Just do what works best for you.
Saying no is another empowering way to take control over your life. We all suffer from FOMO from time to time but is the world really going to stop turning if you decide to only go to two events this weekend rather than four? Letting your body rest and mind unwind is impossible when you are always dashing from one thing to the next and never give yourself a chance to relax.
And while even Gwynnie admits we all want to “squeeze the most that we can out of life”, that’s far easier to do when you have a personal assistant, a chef, a nanny, a personal trainer and all the rest of it. For us mere mortals, finding balance is about learning our limits, not pushing ourselves to the limit.