Self-care is a trigger word for me. It's that guilty feeling I get when I don't put on sunscreen. It feels judgy, like if I'm not pursuing self-care, I'm being bad.
The truth is for those of us who have reached the age of 50, self-care is more important than ever. At this point, you may notice that things are starting to change. You can no longer eat the same portions, drink the same amount, or get enough sleep. Your bones are more brittle, your hair turns gray, and your skin becomes crepe paper. At some point, you'll enter menopause, and all hell breaks loose.
But there is good news. By the time you reach this age, you can stop caring about what other people think (if you haven't already). If don't like coloring your hair or dressing like a TikTok influencer, you can stop. Or if you want to try something new, you can start! Basically, you get to do more of what you want and less of what others want, no matter what is expected of "a woman at your age." At some point in my 50s, I realized that if I feel good, I look good, and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Instead of letting self-care trigger a shame spiral, I think about it as doing things that make me feel good, which makes me look good, which makes me feel even better, and voila! I've turned self-care into a virtuous cycle where I don't have to be virtuous!
Here are a few of my "self-care hacks" that help me feel good without pressure to be good. Self-care happens when I manage my stress, simplify my life, and connect with friends who lift me up.
Find ways to reduce your stress
Stress is the most important thing on my list because it is such a killer. Stress makes us fatter, grumpier, and overall less fun. Chronic stress leads to all kinds of aches and pains and dreadful diseases. Women often internalize stress without realizing it. Even if you don't think you are stressed out, you probably are. Many people turn to yoga or meditation because they are pretty good ways to reduce stress. It is a pleasant way to make time for yourself, and you can sneak in a little nap while you are at it. [Side note: If you don't already have a "go to," you can find some excellent classes on YouTube. My favorites are the "Pure YogaTV" classes and the "Chopra" meditation playlists.]
If yoga and meditation are a little too "woo-woo" for you, there are other ways to take your mind off the things stressing you out. A little exercise is always a good option. My favorite exercise is swimming because it combines movement with meditation: try to put your head underwater and not focus on your breathing. It is also a great way to escape because it is so hard for anyone to interrupt you.
If exercise only adds to your frustration, then you can try a little "stay home pampering." Here’s all you need for a deluxe home spa experience:
- Your phone and a Bluetooth speaker for listening to your favorite jams
- A lock on the door to keep interruptions at bay
- A long, hot bath, preferably with some nice bath salts
- Clippers, a sandstone, a fingernail file, and nail polish for a mani/pedi
- A good face scrub, rich lotion or serum, and gua sha for a DIY facelift
Check out our skincare products for a sublime experience. Plus a big shout out for a tool I just discovered: the Gua Sha. I am OBSESSED. This ancient tool helps reduce stress and gives you a facelift at the same time! Here is an excellent tutorial about how to use one. Grab one of ours while they are in stock. I promise you won't regret it!
The Gua Sha Facial Massage Tool
The main point is to make time for something you enjoy where you can decompress and put yourself first. You'll know when you've found your thing because you will make time to do it regularly.
Simplify your life
Simplifying your life is another form of self-care. I realized I could apply decluttering principles and minimalism to improve my mental and physical health. Just clearing all the books and bills off the table gives me a boost. I try to give gift experiences for birthdays and holidays instead of buying knickknacks that might become someone else's clutter.
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle also helps. Buy less, reuse more. I have significantly reduced the number of things that I buy. When I want or need something, I usually spend more and ensure it is high quality and well-made. Finding things that bring you joy is much more satisfying than buying things to satisfy a craving.
You can also declutter your mind and apply minimalism to your schedule with these tips:
- Slow down
- Commit to doing fewer things
- Take time to waste time
- Stare into space
Eventually, you will reach a point where less is more. Fewer things lead to more meaningful things. It also leads to less time spent on housework, giving you more time to do nothing at all.
Connect with friends who lift you up
Nurturing connections with others can do wonders for your mental and physical well-being. Whenever possible, surround yourself with a crew of positive people who lift you up and don't tear you down. If you realize that you are in a relationship or have a work situation that drains all of your energy, it might be time for a change. At least seek out people you can add to your life who let you be you and leave you feeling energized. Look for honest, supportive people who genuinely want the best for you. Avoid people who are gossipy, rude, or have ulterior motives. It is also a good time to look at how you treat others. Be sure you are the friend you want others to be for you. If you need to add one or two positive friends, a great way to do this can be to join a club or volunteer for things you are passionate about. Your common interests will make it easier to get to know others.
Self-care doesn't have to be "all or nothing." There is no reason to feel judged about your efforts. Small and consistent steps can lead to significant progress in self-care. Choose things that work for you and your lifestyle. Remember: it looks good to feel good. And, darling, you look marvelous.
What are your go-to self-care tips? Share your experiences in the comments.