"Self-care for me started as a means to deal with bullying. As a teenager when I was beginning to care about how I looked, I had a lot of acne, bad teeth (five years of train-tracks) and the general gawkiness of a too tall, terrible at sports, shy teenage girl shrinking in my skin. I gradually discovered a skincare routine that helped get rid of my spots and over the years through work, yoga, running and general positive energy I’ve learned to back myself and my self-care and beauty rituals have helped me to build my confidence.
I started working in the tech industry in my early twenties, initially as a creative producer and gradually working my way into more technical environments. I’m now working for one of the tech giants as a consultant producer, working with their top clients helping them to understand how they can make the most of technology in their campaigns and products. I’m often travelling at a moments notice and working with very senior clients from some of the worlds biggest brands, coaching people from different backgrounds and presenting on the fly.
My work keeps me pretty busy, but I’ve always had a strong opinion about maintaining balance. As a freelancer I’ve been lucky enough to take a couple of long breaks for travel, adventuring, attempting to run a yoga retreat, eco fashion business and bio glitter range. Ultimately all of these things have fallen flat because I realised what an intense time requirement and uphill battle it is running a product business from scratch but so intensely rewarding. Taking time out to work on your creative projects is important to test your passion and appreciate what goes into something like that. And it’s been a valuable experience for me, I respect the people that have the drive to do this, and they deserve to reap the rewards, so remember to support small businesses! They are full of brave souls breaking away from the 9-5!
Aside from taking time off to do more work, my physical self-care routine starts from within. This became something I got really passionate about as a way to beat a real depression that I felt kicking in a couple of years ago. I found myself in a bit of a rut in life after a tricky breakup, hitting 30 and finding myself on gardening leave after quitting a job in unsavoury circumstances. I gradually got myself out of it with small rewards and tuning into the things that made me feel good.
Getting up without snoozing, doing a tiny lap of the park, cold showers, and healthy breakfasts give you so much energy and zip in the morning. I’m a pretty strict morning routine person, but by 4 pm if I’m ready for a glass of wine, I’ll probably have one. Life is all about balance after all!
I’ve continued tuning in to the things that feel good, what I eat, how much I sleep, exercise and drink water are all paramount to my overall happiness so I keep this up as much as I can. I also take magnesium supplements which have turned out to be a miracle cure for my malaise and tiredness.
Regarding exterior self-care, the number one thing I couldn’t live without is exfoliating gloves! With the history of acne and oily skin, I can be prone to breakouts, but I’ve managed to rid myself of it by having a good scrub twice a day! It may seem excessive, but for me, this has worked and not created any negative impact due to the natural oiliness of my skin.
I also have exchanged body wash for a bar of clay based soap, after travelling to India and trying some ayurvedic soaps for the treatment of acne, all natural herbal products which were instantly effective after about seven years of constant problems. I do the occasional clay mask to keep my pores clear. Superdrug does a cheap and cheerful green clay, tea tree and lemon mask, I use this on my T Zone and my back to keep my skin looking fresh. I also have been trialling Verdant Alchemy's new clay masks which have been amazing for my skin.
I love Cowshed’s lavender cleanser mainly for the calming scent and use this to remove my make-up along with Kiehl's calendula facial wash. It’s sensitive but cleanses deeply without over-drying, and for someone with that wonderfully convenient mix of combination, sensitive and spot prone skin it’s been a long journey for me to find a face wash that suits! I generally defer to Kiehl’s for my facial skin-care; mainly because they let you try before you buy, which is so important. Due to some gradually increasing wrinkles, I tried their Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate recently. Happily, I’ve found that this product works and leaves my skin plumped, fresh and not greasy.
Self-care to me is more than what you look like; it’s all about how you feel. Develop a routine that makes you feel good, if you can crack your mornings, then that great feeling will last for the entire day. Try and test different things until you find what’s right for you and if you tune in to what feels good on the inside too you’ll be more likely to get away with the odd night on the town! I intend to continue building and adapting my rituals as my body and mind are changing as I get older, so my routine is too. "