As I grow older and busier, I realized that I tend to prioritize obligations so much that I forget about myself. I skip lunch because I want to finish up an assignment. I eschew a fun board game night or table tennis meet-up because I think I should be taking pictures of products. I bought a bento cookbook, an introduction guide to calligraphy, and printed out Japanese hiragana and katakana lists to refamiliarize myself with the language, but I haven't touched a single one.
The next day, I finally read an article that's been an open tab on my browser for a week (about Edward Albee, I think) and again, happiness. I realized that I can't fight having more stress and obligation throughout the years, but I can learn to love myself and feel beautiful through little actions that I can slot in throughout my day.
I can't recall where, but I remember reading an article claiming that women who have a regular skincare routine are happier compared to those without because they are constantly touching, and thus pampering and giving attention to, their faces. I don't know if that can ever be scientifically proven, but for a split second after reading that, I thought makes sense.
This one is pure vanity, but my day is always better when I take the extra ten minutes out of my day to make my hair look impeccable. Now that I actually have to style my short hair to look like a respectable human being, it's twice as important.
As much as I'd like to draw a toasty bath every night, I can barely find time to do it once a weekend. What's worse, I used to play music during my shower to keep time so I know by the end of the second song, I have to get out. Now, I go in sans phone and relish the water running down my neck. You'll be surprised how long a short shower actually feels if you don't worry about the time.
I grew up holding books - at the restaurant, in the car, just before going to bed. I actually believe the reason I have such deep lines on my neck at my age is because of the horrible posture I get into after hours of reading. I still read a lot, but now they're for work, usually short magazine pieces about frivolous things, and while fun, it's not fulfilling. I'm trying to pick up this habit again by subscribing to and surrounding myself with reading that stimulates me. Current loves are Interview magazine, Business of Fashion , and NY magazine.
Growing up, I used to envy my elder sister because I thought she's easier to love at first sight. I still think it's true, but I realized it's because my sister has naturally upturned lips. It's amazing how much happier I am throughout the day when someone smiles at me. It really doesn't take much, perhaps a Starbucks barrista who's just extra nice. I don't know if everyone else feels the same, but at the off chance that people do, I decided I'll smile more too.
I'm writing these daily self-care actions down as a reminder to myself, and I hope you'll share some of the things you do for yourself too!
This post is part of BlogHer's My Beautiful Moment editorial series, made possible by Olay.