Bubble Baths & Self-Care

So it’s almost the end of 2019, & we are still riding the self-care wave. When I first started writing about self-care back in 2016, I was hoping taking care of yourSELF would become more than just a trend–deep down, I wanted to start a movement. I wanted to inspire others to end self-neglect and start taking care of their “Star Player.”

I’m not sure where we have landed, but I feel like an update on my self-care sentiments is necessary.

Before we start to dig deep though, let’s clear one thing up—self care is anything that you do to take care of yourSELF. It is that simple, beloved. Whatever refuels you, makes you feel good, tends to your needs, is self-care. Self-care is, quite simply, what you make it.

With that being said, it is also important to note that self-care is not always going to look the same. Think of self-care as a journey and not a specific destination. On Monday you might need one thing, and by the end of the week you might need something else. That is okay. The only “finish line” is to maintain a healthy self-care routine–you should always be well taken care of.

I have an issue with posts that tell people that self-care is not “this” or “that”, when whatever aforementioned activity actually could be self-care for that person, at that time.

For example, I always see quotes, memes, etc. on social media that say “self-care is not bubble baths, massages, shopping trips…” Who came up with that rule? Why are bubble baths not self-care? You mean to tell me a massage is not taking care of myself? A shopping trip cannot make me feel better? Eh, I have to disagree with that one.

I recently became a homeowner and have spent the last few weeks moving items from my apartment to my new home. Eek! Outside of the mental stress I experienced during the home buying process, my body has been under a lot of physical stress from the move. I have been lifting heavy objects, organizing, spending a lot of time sitting down or on my feet, etc. My body is tired. Since I am in a brand new home, where no one has ever been in the bathtubs, I decided that I would take a bubble bath for the first time in years. Here’s what that bubble bath taught me:

Bubble baths are, in fact, self-care.

1. There are mental + physical benefits of taking a bubble bath.

Bubble baths are a great way to relax. Studies show that bubble baths promote muscle relaxation, release tension, and increase blood flow. This relaxation combined with the warm water is a recipe for a great night’s sleep. Because our bodies decrease in temperature while we sleep, a warm bath helps increase that drop in temperature. This helps produce melatonin and should make resting a lot easier. Speaking of warm water, bubble baths can make you sweat. If you need a detox, why not use your body’s own natural process? If you soak in hot enough water, your body will begin to sweat, which happens to be great for your lymphatic system. Bubble baths produce serotonin, which is the brain chemical associated with happiness. A nice soak allows your brain to decompress and relax after a long, thought-filled day.

If you’re looking for more information on the health benefits a bubble bath can provide, check out this article I read from Shape here.

2. You only get one body + eventually she will get tired.

I did not realize how depleted I was until I laid back in that bathtub. My body was aching and I had little to no energy. All I could do was just sit there. When I first started the moving process, I thought I was Super Woman. I was lifting + carrying some of the heaviest items, making multiple trips up and down the hallway and stairs (multiple flights of stairs, and multiple trips thanks to the crappy elevator at the apartment complex where I lived. That’s another story for a different day though), and sleeping on an air mattress (I wanted to move all of the small things first and then had to wait two weeks to move my bed, thanks to that same crappy elevator). Eventually, all of this caught up to my body. My back was hurting, my legs + arms were sore, and I was exhausted. In hind sight, I should have taken more time to rest. I should have soaked in the bathtub more and allowed my body to recuperate after putting so much pressure on it. I am happy that I was able to physically do all that I did though, my body really made me proud.

3. Just breathe.

While taking the first bubble bath in my new bathtub, I almost passed out…I am being a bit dramatic, but the water was literally so hot that I could not breathe. I had to get out of the tub and grab my water bottle just to be able to enjoy the bubble bath.

If I could count how many melt downs and crying spells I had during the home buying + moving process, I would not have enough fingers to count on. This was an extremely emotional, stressful, nerve-wrecking process. There were so many moments where I felt defeated, was angry, and wanted to give up. I literally had to tell myself to breathe just to move through whatever challenge I was facing. This experience served as a lesson that I just need to breathe + trust God. It all works out in the end.

Still think bubble baths are not self-care? Then don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself. My bubble bath recipe includes my favorite bubble bath soap/body wash + epsom salt + a candle lit bathroom + a glass of water + some meditative music. Combine all of that and you will have the ultimate self-care practice.

What is your favorite self-care practice? I challenge you to spend some time doing that today. Think about whatever makes you feel the best, and do it. Simple as that. Take care!

“If you’re committed to being your best self, being in tune with your body, your mind, & your spirit, then it’s time you start your own self-care journey.” x Anaston Jeni

Pack Light

Listen to Pack Light

*cues Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady”*

I have been working on a self-care activity for my coaching clients called “the emotional suitcase.” I was first introduced to this concept by Alex Elle and decided to adapt it not only for my clients, but also for myself.

If you were unaware, I am here to tell you: life can be challenging. As we journey through our own personal experiences, trauma and emotions tend to follow. We start to carry “things” around with us that shape who we are, how we feel, and how we navigate being. These emotions get stuffed into our emotional suitcase and start to take up room. Unless we intentionally unpack and evaluate what we are carrying around, we end up not having room for other emotions that we may need to carry. Before you know it, your suitcase is full. Maybe you have added another suitcase, and another suitcase, and now you are carrying around all this “stuff.”

Think of this concept like this–when you travel, you pack items according to where you are going and maybe who you are going with. When you return from your trip, you unpack so your suitcase is ready for the next adventure. So why not unpack emotions the same way? In order to live life as the best version of yourself, you have to consistently unpack & pack the suitcase.

While working on this activity and reflecting on my own suitcase, I realized that sometimes other people try to pack my suitcase for me. This is not healthy, by the way. If you let someone else pack for you before you go on a trip, is it not likely that they will forget something you need or pack the wrong items altogether?

In life, when other people try to pack your suitcase for you this often looks like someone trying to influence how you feel. They may try to explicitly tell you how you should feel or express how they feel so much that now their energy has spilled over into yours.

For example, there may be a shared experience that I am not stressed or worried about, but after talking to a person about the same experience, I am now stressed and worried just because they are. They have now packed an emotion in my suitcase, and I am stuck carrying it.

Moment of transparency: I have opened my emotional suitcase and am looking at all the emotions I have been carrying around. The biggest, and heaviest, is resentment. Resentment is defined as “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.” Now, do not get me wrong, I am not a bitter person; however, I do recognize that there are some bitter feelings regarding some of the relationships in my life. This prevents me from moving forward with people at times, despite having worked through whatever issues we had previously faced. It also makes it hard for me to see them in a different light, because I am reminded of how I was treated. I recognize that I need to work on this, though, because I do not want anyone harboring resentment against me. But more importantly, I do not want to be bitter in any form or fashion.

Not every emotion in your suitcase has to be negative. There are positive emotions that can be packed, and it is imperative that you make room for these as well. That is why the consistent unpacking process is so valuable. Once you unpack everything you need to be able to pack emotions that will better serve you.

Personally, peace is an example of a positive emotion that has been tucked away in my suitcase. I say tucked away because it is not something that I have always packed and it took me time to recognize that it was even there. Even though I still experience anxiety and stress, it is a lot easier for me to have peace because I am making an effort to remain calm. Things always work out according to God’s plan in the end, so it does help the journey if I am not as worried or fearful.

What is in your emotional suitcase? Stress, anxiety, grief, or anger may be taking up space. You might be surprised and find love, joy, and understanding in there too. If this concept is new to you, it is time to do some work. Set some time in your schedule so that you can truly pay attention to this activity. You owe it to yourself. Life will always have ups and downs, but if you pack what you need, you will always be prepared for the ride.

“Bag lady, you gon’ hurt your back, dragging all them bags like that…One day, all them bags gon’ get in your way.” x Erykah Badu

A Lil’ Self-Care in the Morning

Listen to A Lil’ Self-Care in the Morning (5:06)

I have been working on my morning routine for at least the last three years. Why? Because I loathe having a routine, and I am absolutely not a morning person.

Sure, we do the same, basic tasks every morning–wash our face, brush our teeth, get dressed, etc. This is, at the most basic level, a morning routine. So, I figured it would be easy to create a morning routine for myself; however, I wanted to choose activities that would actually make an impact on my day. For most of us, our day starts bright and early, so it is important to spend those first couple of hours after you wake to set the tone for a quality day.

To keep my morning routine simple, I have chosen three activities that I need to practice in order to start my day the right way.

1. Make my bed

I am sure you have heard that completing this simple task can have a positive affect on your day. Our parents made sure we made our beds daily as children, but I wonder did they know how beneficial this task truly is. Naval Admiral William McRaven gave a speech at The University of Texas at Austin back in 2014 where he explained that making your bed sets the tone for your day. Accomplishing the first task of the day allows you to enter into a space of productivity and makes it easier to accomplish other tasks throughout the day. When I make my bed in the morning it gives me confidence that I can tackle whatever else comes at me during the day, and it also gives me a peace of mind from my OCD. If my bed is made my room feels that much more clean and organized. This starts my day off calmly, and I feel grounded in the space where I spend much of my time. This small act, which only takes a minimal amount of time, is critical in my commitment to taking care of myself.

2. Meditate + Pray

Before I even place my feet on the carpet, I thank God for waking me up and blessing me with a new day. I ask Him to cover me, my loved ones and others, as we travel to and from different destinations and interact with different people. I talk to Him about my worries and the challenges I might encounter that day. I also read a devotional to ensure I am getting some time to interact with His Word. I really try to be intentional about spending time with God at the beginning of each day, because I know it is important to both Him and me. If I give my day to Him, I know He will be there with me every step of the way.

Meditating is always great after a good prayer! I discuss the benefits of meditation in a previous post, and you can read it here: Self Care ’17. Honestly, I am still working on being consistent with this part of my practice, so I aim for at least five minutes in the morning before I leave my apartment. As someone who experiences anxiety, this really helps me feel grounded as well, and gives me a sense of calmness before my day fully begins.

3. Journaling

This is a new morning activity for me that has been challenging to implement. I have been reading this workbook called The Artist’s Way, and it talks about developing a “morning pages” practice. It suggests that you spend a little time every morning and write three pages of whatever comes to mind. This is supposed to free up space in your mind for all of the important things you have to spend mental energy on, and it is supposed to help spark creativity. It is hard to be consistent with this practice when I wake up late or do not have a lot of time to get ready, but I am dedicated to making the commitment to myself. As a creative and someone who expresses herself through writing, I know it can be beneficial for me daily and long term.

I also talk about the benefits of journaling in general in the post linked above.

What do you need to do in the morning to start your day? A quick, hot shower, a face mask or a facial massage, or listening to a podcast are a few suggestions that you may want to try. Hitting the gym, doing yoga, or talking to a loved one are great activities, too. Like I always say, do what works best for you! Ask yourself what you need and implement activities that will help you put your best foot forward.

Whatever the day is for, the foundation is laid in the morning. x Anaston Jeni

21 Days With Self: #TheWritingChallenge

21 Days With Self

This Writing Challenge was curated by Anaston to use as a tool for self-discovery. Writing can be a vital part to any self-care practice and can be used to get to know one's self and needs more intimately. Over the course of three weeks, you will dig deep and peel back the layers of your authentic self.

$6.00

The With Self Self-Care Toolkit

Self-Care Toolkit PDF

This is a printable PDF guide created by Anaston J. Scott, J.D. for those interested in self-care. Your copy will be emailed to you within twenty four (24) hours of purchase.

$13.00

Anaston J. Scott J.D. created this toolkit with you in mind. This printable PDF guide is for anyone who values taking care of themselves. If you are ready to start doing the work, you have taken the first step! Spend some time “with self” and make self-care a part of your lifestyle.

WHAT’S INSIDE?

The Toolkit defines what self•care is, provides detailed steps on building your self•care practice, and includes exercises/activities to aid you in doing the work.

Bloom Blog Collaboration

“Journaling has been a staple in my self-care routine before I knew that “self-care” was a concept. As my self-care practices have changed over the years, it has become more of a necessary and cherished activity. I have always enjoyed writing, in general, but using writing as a tool of emotional expression has allowed me to reach a level of intimacy with myself that I have always yearned for. Writing has allowed me to dig deep and really get to know who I am.”

Want more? Click here to read the rest of this article in collaboration with Atiya Bloom of The Bloom Blog.

Self-Care, Skin-Care

My skin care routine has changed so much over the years! I’ve taken prescription pills, used commercial brands such as Clinique or other dermatologist-recommended brands, & the list goes on. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am actually happy with my skin! My goals within the last year or so have been to minimize my skincare routine and find natural products to replace the commercial brands I had been using. Finally, I have done just that.

Developing a solid skincare routine is a great form of self-care that is often undervalued. Doing masks and steam treatments not only allow you to take care of your skin, but also give you time to love on yourself a little, too!

Here’s my simple skincare routine:

Weekly: Detox + Moisturize 

Using the Detox/Cleanse/Heal Mask from The Natural Root and the Sweet Honey 2N1 Deep Conditioner.

You can purchase this product here: Detox Mask . If you’d like to receive 15% off of your purchase, use my coupon code: anaston15.

I have switched from using this product every other day to using it weekly. I spot treat problem areas multiple times during the week if necessary, but I only do a full mask once a week. If I am indulging in a little extra self-care, I do a steam treatment first to open up my pores before putting on the mask. The packaging comes with instructions regarding how long the mask should be left on, depending on your personal skin type. I rinse off the mask with cool water.

I never knew you could “double-mask”, until I watched a skincare video from one of the influencers I follow on Instagram, Jade Kendle (LipstickNCurls). I started using the 2NI Honey as a mask after using the Detox mask to ensure that my skin is moisturized, and this has honestly been a game changer for me, because there are days when my skin is very dry and flaky. I either use it right after the Detox or use it the next day. I put the honey straight on my skin and get in the shower and let the steam from the shower open my pores.

Daily: Cleanse +Exfoliate, Tone, Hydrate, Moisturize, Sunscreen

I came across a skincare coach via either a Tweet or an IG post and decided to visit her website–I spent the day reading all the different posts she had on skincare and made a list of the products that I needed to purchase. Her post Guide to an Effective Skin Care Routine yielded the most information for me, and you can read it here.

Although my goal in the past was to have the most simple skincare routine equipped with natural products. I have since learned that I was missing a few steps and there are some chemicals that are good for your skin. I did maintain having a few natural products in my arsenal and have only added a couple more steps.  

  • Step 3: Tone your skin using Dickinson’s 100% All Natural Witch Hazel.

I purchase this particular witch hazel from Walgreens and use it daily. I pour it on a cotton pad and wipe my face to make sure I close my pores and remove any leftover dirt/product, etc. This cleans my skin without over drying it, and it is all I use if I am not using the Detox mask.

  • Step 4. Moisturize using Trader Joe’s 100% Organic Argan Oil.

I purchase this particular argan oil from Trader Joe’s and use it daily. It is lightweight and allows my skin to be moisturized without feeling sticky or weighed down.

On days when my skin is feeling itchy, I will use aloe vera as a moisturizer instead of the Argan Oil.

What is your skincare routine? When developing your own skincare routine, be sure to find what works for you! Different products will work for your skin depending on your skin type–mine is primarily oily, especially in the t-zone. These are staples in my routine, but it took a lot of trial and error to find these products and to see how they worked with my skin. Aim for natural/organic products that will not be harsh on your skin and that can be used for other parts of your body. For example, I also use the Detox mask on wash day for my hair as a part of my deep-condition routine, and I also use Argan Oil to moisturize my hair. Remember, less is more!

Conversations with Anaston Ep. 2 | My Depression Story

I’m back with Episode 2 of Conversations with Anaston! In this episode I am sharing a piece of my story regarding my experience with depression. Often times we shy away from telling our stories and being honest about the challenges we face with our mental health, so I am sharing my story in hopes that I can continue to encourage others to do the same. So in honor of #TakeCareOfYourSELFTuesday and #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth here is my depression story.

Peaceful(l)

IMG_2315

Photographer: Josh Garrett (@itsdannygphoto)

 

 

So, honestly I have not been feeling much peace for the last few weeks or so. Really, 2018 has been off to an interesting start…and for a while I was worried. 

When I wrote Because I’m Happy! back in June of 2017, I was in a really great place. I was so excited about the work I had done on myself, the progress I had made, and the happiness I was blessed with. For the most part everything was going right, and I was dealing with the things that were less than desirable in a healthy way. So I am sure you can imagine my frustration when life started throwing its challenges at me toward the end of February. Now that I feel like I am on the other side of the storm, a few things have been put into perspective for me:

  1. God never said the weapons would not form. He said they will not prosper. 

I think I got so comfortable in my “happy place” that I felt like I was untouchable. So when challenges started presenting themselves, it threw me completely off of my game. I began to question a lot of things and wondered why God was putting me through what felt like so many tests. I kept asking a lot of the “why me” questions, feeling like I did not deserve any of what was happening to me. This “level” of happiness I was experiencing made me think that I would no longer have to suffer through drama, disfunction, and negativity anymore. Boy, was I wrong. However, in the midst of each challenge, I have come out victorious on the other side. Every situation or outcome has not been ideal, honestly, but each was necessary for my growth. Though I was very uncomfortable, experiencing frequent anxiety, and very stressed, I am good. I have not suffered any losses. I wish I could keep this mindset while I am in “it”, but it is refreshing to have this perspective now that the dust has settled. 

2. Always be the bigger person. 

We all have those moments when we get tired of being the “bigger” person, always having to rise above, “go high”, etc. If you’re reading/listening to this and telling yourself you do not have those moments, you are lying, beloved. I had quite a few of these moments over the last few weeks. I felt like I was being put in situations where I had to be the bigger person, when everything inside of me wanted to be mean and petty…but I am not a mean and petty person. So why would I even waste my energy resorting to that type of behavior? I am not perfect, by any means, but I know that I have done the work to be sure that I no longer intentionally cut people with my actions or my words. So changing the very nature of who I am for a temporary game of tit for tat is not worth it to me anymore. I had to remind myself that getting even, proving a point, etc. could potentially do more damage than what was already done. Regardless of whether I was right or wrong, what matters most is that I can go to sleep each night with a clean conscience. And I do not want to sacrifice my peace of mind gambling in a game of revenge. At the end of the day, I can only control myself. I have the right to feel how I feel and even express how I feel, but the goal is to do so with tact. This can be easier said than done sometimes though. There are moments where I still yell, curse, and say things out of frustration, but thankfully those moments are few and far in between. When I am feeling the pressure to act out of character, I literally just close my mouth or stop myself from typing a message. Hopefully, once I have given myself a moment to calm down, I can handle things the right way. 

3. Never give up. 

Sounds cliche, but it is the truth. Here I am about to graduate from law school, and it seems like life is challenging me the same way it was when I was preparing to graduate from college. The part I have to remind myself, though, is that I made it through those experiences. They were also uncomfortable, stressful, and caused anxiety. However, they were conquered. I try not to spend too much time reflecting on my past, but it can be quite the teacher. Your past shows your strength. When you think about all that God carried you through, you ought to be able to keep pushing and stay the course. So I try to remind myself that if I “just keep swimming” everything will be okay. I will come out on the other side, I will get through whatever it is, and life will continue. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. There will always be things that will come to steal your joy, but if you keep seeking the light, happiness will always be there. 

So I am continuing to do the work. I wish I could tell you the many ways I put my self-care routine to use during this time, but in the midst of the chaos all I could do was call my parents a thousand times a day, do a lot of deep breathing, shed a lot of tears, pray a lot, and try to have a few YOLO moments along the way…but now that I have typed this, I am realizing that all of those things are self-care, too. 

How do you find the balance within yourself during difficult times? Think about the last time that you were faced with a challenge, and how you handled it. Think about how you felt, the things you said, and the things you did. Was there a sense of peace within you regardless of what you were being faced with? Were you able to return to that sense of peace after you freaked out or got upset? Try to figure out at least one thing that will be your go-to when you start to lose the balance within yourself. My goal is to be more intentional about meditating and breathing through things and to trust God and the capabilities He gave me. 

 

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” x Unknown

 

 

 

The Blues in Your Left Thigh…

“And right now…I’m the blues in your left thigh, trying to become the funk in your right.” 

It’s amazing how many people think that romance only exists between two people, that it is something that only couples can share…but I am here to tell you that romance should start with you. Because when you truly know how to romance yourself, then you can give romance to somebody else. Your Star Player is waiting on you to romance her/him. S/he’s waiting for you…trying to become the funk in your right. 

So today’s #TakeCareofYourSELFTuesday question is tough, but as usual it is a necessary one.

IMG_1905

In April of this year, I will turn 25. For the first time in my adult life I can answer confidently that yes, I love myself. If you had asked me this question a couple of years ago, my answer probably would have been some variation of “I think so”.  Honestly, I believe I started on this journey of learning to love myself in high school, when I first started seeking love in other people. I can tell from old Facebook statuses that I was standing at the end of the aisle waiting for the love of my life to commit herself to me. And after a couple of failed relationships and disappointments over the years, I finally realized that love has to start with me. 

And now I’m so in love with myself that it no longer troubles me when I do not receive the same amount or kind of love from another person. I’ve recognized that if I truly love myself wholly, that I will always be enough. 

I show love to myself in many ways, one of which is discussed in L is for Love, Pt. II. To put it simply, I do all of the things for myself that I was previously looking for other people to do for me. So this means that I send myself flowers (just because and for special occasions), I take myself out on dates, I overload myself on self-care when I am feeling down, I remind myself of how special and beautiful I am, I look at myself in the mirror. & I mean, really look at myself in the mirror. I enjoy my own company. I know how to make myself laugh, I know what makes me smile. I know what makes me cry. I know what I like, what I dislike…I know who I am.

I recognize that even though I am far from perfect and will continue to grow and evolve through life, that I’m lit. However interested I am in someone else, I make sure I am just as interested in myself. The things I want for someone else to love or appreciate about me, I love and appreciate about myself. From my smile, to my laugh, to the way I give and how my mind works. I focus on building myself up. I do the work, even when it is tough. Every day is not pretty, and some days I am a mess. There are still days where I second guess myself, and allow myself to be swayed by the opinions of others, but I am 100% committed to making sure that I stand up and show up for me. 

 Don’t get me wrong, this is not an overnight, instant thing. Loving myself is a journey, and I walk through it every day. It has probably taken me the better part of two and a half years to get to this place, and I am excited about how much more in love with myself I will be in the years to come.