Turning 40 plus being in a near-constant state of crisis the past 18 months means that my self-care rituals and routines have reached level 100. I always wished I had this kind of commitment and consistency to my self-care and if that’s the only gift 2020 and 2021 have given me, then I am grateful.
Here is my (almost) daily 5-step routine for youth, beauty, spirit & mental health. On a ‘perfect’ day in this order, on an ‘imperfect’ day in a scrabbled version of this from morning to evening.
I am a morning person as long as I don’t have to speak to anyone before 10 am. As in, I love mornings… slow, quiet, and alone. I know this is a luxury that many don’t have, so if this self-care routine seems inaccessible, take what you can and leave the rest. Don’t worry, I am enjoying it singularly on your behalf.
1. Check In
I only know I’m awake because my body starts stretching its limbs out. As soon as I do Danger comes for a morning kiss and cuddle while I wrestle him out of the way to reach for my Daysy and take my temperature. I could really just track my cycle using my cervical fluid and moods/body symptoms but after 4 years it’s an ingrained habit now. Then I close my eyes again, take a few long breaths and check in. How do I feel? What’s arising for me? How are my energy levels? What am I feeling drawn to? (I teach this process in greater depth in INSTINCT.) It allows me to connect to my intuition and body before I connect to anything outside of me. Some mornings I journal things of note in my Plannher. I have this free guided 28 Day Journaling Challenge you can try if journaling doesn’t come naturally for you.
A few years ago I noticed that my lower teeth were beginning to crowd and in a panic purchased retainers to wear at night to keep them straight. Once awake, I always have to go to the bathroom, then take my retainers out and clean them, and scrape my tongue with a copper tongue scraper to remove bad bacteria and toxins that accumulate in the mouth, improving oral and digestive health. At the start of this year when I decided I wanted to do something about the frown lines that were gathering between my brows, also known as mimic lines. I noticed that I could train my face to stop frowning during that day but not at night. And for whatever reason, I seem to frown a lot in my sleep. So I started taping the area taut with small strips of sports tape before I go sleep each night to retrain the muscles (unless I have company) and it’s working! So every morning I peel the tape off and then wash my face with a gentle cleanser.
Ageing is literally your body dehydrating. Just like a fresh, juicy plum turning into a shrivelled prune, that’s what happens to us too, so we have to do two things. One: hydrate and two; make sure that the waters of our body keep moving through the muscles and cells and in particular the lymphatic system through exercise, stretching and massage. I always joke about my morning drink line-up but it’s a very serious thing. When I’ve just spent 8-9 hours asleep I wake up thirsty. I start with 1/2 Litre of lemon water: half a fresh lemon squeezed, two parts room temperature water and one part hot water from the kettle. Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach improves digestion, boost metabolism and helps maintain overall health by cleansing internal waste and removing toxins from the system especially the liver. Followed by herbal tea or dandelion latte. Or both. And sometimes coffee (which yes, is dehydrating but the bitter is good for the liver, and also, life balance).
The yoga mat gets rolled out next and I start with my face and do some lymphatic drainage massage and 10 minutes of Face Yoga with Glow In Face. I’ve been doing it for 6 months now and can see and feel a noticeable difference. My eyes are more open and the area around my eyes is stronger and less creased, my lips have become fuller and more relaxed. I viscerally miss it when I don’t do it. Followed by vigorous yoga from this YouTube playlist or Pilates with Lottie Murphy. And then a shower! If I haven’t sweated too much I dry brush first, 3 upward strokes per area, it takes 2 minutes, again to rehydrate the cells, and help flush out the lymphatic system. If my journaling didn’t happen earlier, this is often when I pull my Plannher out and get organised for the day ahead as well as write my thoughts and feelings to clear them out of my mind before I begin the rest of my day.
I turn my phone on aeroplane mode at 9.30 pm and start to wind down for the evening. I wash any makeup off my face using a magic makeup eraser and then use a gentle cleanser to make sure it’s really clean and sit on my sofa, sometimes with the end of a film or show playing and take 15 minutes to do a face massage that a lovely Russian friend with the most beautiful skin taught me. If I get her permission I’ll do an IGTV video of it for you one day. I use organic Rosehip oil and start from my neck and move upwards. It’s the most enjoyable thing and has done wonders for my hormonal acne. I wash it all off with a face cloth first and then use a cleanser again because my pores don’t like it when I leave the oil on my skin.
Most nights at this point I spend 10 minutes under my The Light Salon LED infrared light mask while doing either Yoga Nidra, or yin yoga because relaxation of the body and mind is everything. The mask naturally activates the production of collagen which declines as we age and helps skin heal. I have melasma from spending my 20’s in the sun without a care and it’s helping heal that a lot. So is potentially cutting a fringe again soon.
Things can get really unsexy hereon out: teeth brushed, retainers in, a strip of sports tape above each eyebrow hold the space between my brows taut, eye mask and bed. I’m not sure how I’m going to navigate that next time I’m in a relationship… If I’m still awake by 10.30 pm, I drop lavender oil on my pulse points and read by candlelight until my eyes get sleepy.
I maintain that those are all external things I do and that mindset, internal habits and belief systems impact youth, beauty and mental health equally as much that I have practices around not addressed in this article. Would you like me to?
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