My self-care kit, for when I need looking after

My self-care kit

Self-care is a phrase that’s been bandied around a lot recently and for good reason. Despite sounding a bit hokey and gimmicky, all it’s used to mean, in a non-medical sense, is taking care of yourself. A huge number of people have had a truly terrible 12 months, and the events of this weekend are only increasing our unease, anxiety, and fear about the future. Obviously having a bubble bath isn’t going to magically change the result of the American election, but remembering to make time for yourself and do things that you know lift your spirits, even temporarily, is so important.

My self-care kit

In this cold weather, self-care for me is about feeling cosseted and comforted, so I reach for all of the moisture. I love a hot bath and always turn to the same kind of scents when I’m feeling down, either citrus or anything that basically smells like Vicks. My current picks are MOA Green Bath Potion or too much of a Lush Bubble Bar – this one is a Brightside. The MOA is a super strongly-scented and moisturising bath oil, with peppermint, fennel, and fir needle, which is brilliant if you’re feeling under the weather, have achey muscles, or just need a nostalgic hug. It’s spendy, at £27.50, but you only need a capful or so each time. The bubble bars are one of the only things from Lush that I regularly buy but I love the colours and bubbles, and that they mix well with other products without losing the suds. Brightside is scented with bergamot, tangerine, and Sicilian mandarin – it’s (almost) impossible to stay miserable with that much citrus.

Stress tends to make my skin even more dehydrated than usual so I douse myself in the completely fabulous MV Organics Rose Hydrating Mist before slathering on the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. Not only does the Rose Mist smell incredible, I find it actually moisturising and soothing. The Origins mask is a bit of a classic; I’m not a huge fan of the mango scent but, despite the directions saying to ’tissue off the excess’, it usually just sinks straight in to my skin, leaving it plumper and more comfortable. When I’m out of the bath, I cover myself in  body cream, like the Clarins Moisture-Rich Body Lotion which is a lot more hydrating that it texture would suggest. A scented candle is essential for lifting my mood; this one is a Byredo Tree House Mini Candle, which is both stupidly expensive and bloody brilliant – warm and fresh at the same time.

The bits that I carry with me are the Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Rollerball and a lip balm (this one is a Crazy Rumours Amaretto one, which smells amazing). I don’t really care if aromatherapy works or just has a placebo effect, to be honest – just as long as it makes me feel happier/sleepy/relaxed (delete as appropriate). These rollerballs are great for keeping in my bag and just rolling on when I need a sniff, and the Inner Strength scent is one of my favourites, with clary sage, frankincense and cardamom. I always have about 4 lip products on me and at least one is a lip balm – I chew my lips when I’m stressed, so I need to have something soothing ready to whack on them.

Finally, we have chocolate and books, both of which are essential parts of any self-care kit of mine. My current favourite sweet treat are the Mon Cheri Cherry Liqueurs, which we have every Christmas in France and which I always bring home too many of. I usually ration myself to one an evening, but this weekend may see the box disappearing rather more quickly. Books have always been a source of comfort to me (except for when this happened), and when things are bad I usually turn to either Harry Potter or an Agatha Christie, for their familiarity and reassuring way of dealing with evil. Everything always turns out ok, and the bad guy always gets his comeuppance – even if life isn’t that simple, it’s ok to retreat into a world that is, occasionally.

What do you turn to when you need to look after yourself?

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