Outfit Post: Going easy on myself

I am hard on my body.

I spend countless hours hunched over my laptop, eyes squinting and straining long into the night. I jam my feet into constricting pointy-toed flats and spindly high heels. I nurse blisters while logging miles on the treadmill. Tight skinny jeans are an integral part of my wardrobe. I toss and turn so much when I sleep that I wake with some fantastic kinks in my neck and back. And I was downright sadomasochistic when I was in the throes of my eating disorder.

For years I believed that pampering was selfish and self-indulgent. I refused to participate in anything I considered luxurious and unnecessary, including taking baths, shopping (I know, can you believe it?) napping, and even taking an Advil when I had a headache. I prided myself on my ability to push through exhaustion and deprive myself. Ultimately, this was about staying disconnected from my body. I was so uncomfortable with feeling that I did everything possible to prevent it. The goal was to keep myself as numb as possible.

Over the past few years I've learned how important self-compassion is. People who neglect their own needs and forget to nurture themselves are more susceptible to low self-esteem and feelings of resentment. Also, those who spend the majority of their time focusing on others while ignoring their own needs can be at risk of burning out. The NY Times recently featured an article expounding on the importance of self-compassion. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. Preliminary data also suggests that self-compassion can even influence how much we eat, and may help some people lose weight.

Thankfully, being nice to yourself doesn't require a ton of money or big investment. It can be as simple as taking a walk, grabbing a cup of coffee, or listening to music. I don't go for expensive indulgences or anything complicated...actually, the simpler the better. Here are my favorite ways to pamper myself:

1. Fresh flowers: I think I can count the number of times I've bought myself flowers on one hand. Which is really a shame, because they make me feel so good. Whether they're a $5 bunch of daisies from the supermarket or a $60 arrangement of roses and lilies, flowers remind me that I'm feminine and sensual. And they smell nice too.

2. Good wine: It can be tough to rationalize spending more than $10 on a bottle of wine. But having a glass at the end of the day is such a delicious treat. I always feel very grown-up and sophisticated when pouring myself a glass of wine. But, then again, I'm a dork.

3. Baths and bubble baths: Baths are my universal cure-all. Feeling cold? Depressed? Exhausted? There is no more effective cure than sinking into scalding hot water and zoning out. A rich, aromatic bubble bath makes the experience that much better. I'm partial to those from TokyoMilk and Bath and Body Works, though any old kind of bubble bath does the trick. Thick shower gels and lotions make me feel pampered and girlish and remind me to take better care of my skin.

4. Candles: I was never really into candles. I know women who have so many around that their houses resemble monasteries. But in the last two years I've been burning candles more often. They instantly relax me, and they smell so good. My favorite is the Baltic Amber candle from Voluspa - it smells like vanilla, cedar and sandalwood.

5. Time with friends: This one seems silly - being with friends hardly seems luxurious, right? But it's so easy to get caught up in the responsibilities of work, parenting, housekeeping, boyfriends and spouses that we lose track of connecting with others. I've gone through periods where I lived a hermit-like existence, forgetting to return phone calls and emails and neglecting to make time for dinner and drinks with my friends. But I always, always feel better after meeting up with them. Last night I met up with Tina of T Minus T Plus and Erin of Work With What You've Got. I had a great time and feel more confident and connected today as a result.

What are some ways you pamper and take care of yourself? How do you reduce stress? Do you ever find it challenging to take care of yourself?

Forever 21 silk top; Gap Outlet jeggings; thrifted Justin vintage boots; thrifted J Crew denim shirt; thrifted vintage western belt; Forever 21 necklaces; Forever 21 bracelets


  1. Beautiful post, full of wisdom. I'm glad you're spreading such good ideas and attitudes.

  2. Yay for bubble baths! I love them too. I'm so much better about enjoying them when traveling for some reason. Maybe because I don't have to clean the bathtub ;).

    I love the patterned top!

    - Angela


  3. What an open and honest post! Indulging in my opinio isn't about spending ridiculous amounts of money on stuff. It's more about the little things in life. My favourite would have to be drinking coffee and reading my favourite blogs, web sites,... it's a quite time of the day dedicated solely to myself.

  4. That article on self-compassion really struck me too. I would never be as mean to anyone else as I am to myself!

  5. i used to be the same way as far as pampering myself went! but as i've gotten older, i think i've slowly come around. i LOVE candles as well and will have to check out the Voluspa one you recommend.

    and i love the animal print shirt! it looks great with the tall boots.

    cute and little


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