This post was updated on January 24, 2022.
Yesterday was Beauty Day. A day of quiet personal pamperings, meditation, and contemplation. I took a lovely shower and used an extra dollop of hair conditioner, moisturizer, and skin treatment. After, I lay on the couch wearing a sheet mask containing gold, which is said to firm and revitalize skin. I meditated a bit and listened to an inspirational podcast. I began to reflect on how Beauty Day came to be in our household. I noticed that it had become more about quiet time and inspiration than exotic beauty regimens.
Beauty Day started when I was a frazzled mom trying to be perfect at everything she touched. I was exhausted, and miserable. I worked nonstop most days and often got up in the middle of the night to do more. I developed anxiety and poor health. It wasn’t a new thing, my perfectionism, I had a long history of saying “yes” to everyone but myself.
During that period, I was in therapy for a myriad of reasons, exhaustion being among them. One day, my therapist asked how much alone time I had. What about pamper time? Date night with your husband? Time with girlfriends? That answer was easy: none. She gave me a seemingly simple assignment: I was to schedule one personal thing a week for myself-just 20 minutes to start. At first, I was at a total loss as to what to do with my 20 minutes. I no longer knew what I liked, how I would spend my time if I weren’t “doing” for other people, and had no idea how to relax and enjoy myself or my surroundings.
The simple and cliche thing was to go to the spa, so after some weeks of trying to figure out what I wanted or needed to do, I scheduled a half-day “experience”. The Safety Harbor Spa was just down the street and ran specials for residents. I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful that first trip to the spa was. I had a massage, facial, pedicure, and lunch. I languished in the hot tub, steam room and even worked out a bit in the gym. I floated home renewed and relaxed.
After the lovely spa experience, I decided to set time out for spa treatments at home once a week. During the early years, my daughter and I did it together, usually doing simple pedicures and facials–I’d buy various items at the beauty supply, and we’d lay on the couch in our bathrobes pretending to be at the spa. When money was tight, we’d make our own concoctions. Sometimes we’d watch a movie, read books, or lay beside the pool.
Then, my daughter was invited to a nearby yoga studio and suggested we go together. The yoga class and studio were amazing–so we added yoga and meditation to our Beauty Day. I purchased a beautiful journal and pen and found that writing seemed to soothe my soul as well. What started as just twenty minutes squeezed into a frenetic week morphed into a full day of pampering, doing yoga and bonding for my daughter and me.
Yesterday’s beauty day was different again. My daughter slept through the morning, as she has in recent years. While time for Beauty Day has expanded, quality time with my teenage daughter seems to have vanished. She sleeps in, goes out with friends, or is in a mood. My friends tell me this will pass, and soon the relationship between my daughter and me will morph yet again. I am hopeful yet a bit lonely.
I do Beauty Day on my own. Moving into relaxation and quiet comes pretty easily for me, though I do miss sharing the day with my daughter. Like everything, Beauty Day continues to evolve. I still love a good facial and massage at the spa, don’t get me wrong, but cultivating joy and serenity from within is what I had been looking for all along.
As time has gone by, I’ve found walking in nature, spending time reading or writing, taking things more slowly, and really appreciating and savoring what is going on around me has been so fulfilling. If I were to give my past self advice, I would say, “slow down” “listen to your heart” and “you are so much more than you realize.”.
Do you need to schedule quiet time for yourself? Make a list of things you would like to do during your quiet time. When I started, I had no idea what to do–sometimes just looking out the window for a few minutes is enough to charge my batteries. Blocking time on the calendar is a great way to ensure you will actually take time for yourself.
If you are having some empty nest or almost empty nest pains, try to remember this too shall pass. I wrote this post when my daughter was in high school. She’s twenty-three now, and we are closer than ever. Our relationship has changed. She’s an independent young woman now, and we have new activities to share with one another.