It's that time of the year when typically, as a born-and-raised Northerner, I'd be yearning for spring. That yearning isn't quite so pronounced here in Austin, but nonetheless, February is a month of almosts. Winter is almost over, spring is almost here, etc. And so it has been timely for me to indulge in a few self-care practices (and treats) while we're living in the almosts.
Here are my favorite things right now:
- Hand cream. I am a sucker for small packages and good scents. I've mostly used up my special Aveda hand relief lotion, and so most recently, I bought some Burt's Bees Almond and Milk hand cream. A friend gave me a tin of this hand salve which I keep in my knitting bag for dry spots. The lavender scent is amazing.
- Naps. I've been taking a nap nearly every day I'm off work, and sleeping in when I can. Even though I feel much less fatigue, I'm still finding I require more than my usual seven-hours-a-night. And that's okay! :)
- Walks outside and fresh air. More than anything, I'm enjoying a little extra Vitamin D in these winter months. Most of our weather is walk-appropriate (in fact, this time of year might be the most "walkable" of any, in Texas!) and it feels good to get my legs moving and fresh air in my lungs. Nicholas and I have even been opting for fresh air at outdoor tables at restaurants, when we can.
- Sweet creative projects. Whether I'm knitting something for myself or for the baby, I'm working on projects that suit my mood and bring me joy. Most notably, a tiny pumpkin-colored sweater and a blanket made with sheep fabric. As my mom pointed out, I don't need to go crazy making things for the baby before he gets here. He has a creative grandma who's already made some things for him. ;)
- Making good food at home. I'm back to cooking and baking and it feels so good. If I'm feeling in a rut, chopping veggies or stirring batter always helps my mood and to get my eyes off myself. And I find myself more prone to pray during rhythmic/repetitive activities. Not to mention, we feel better when we eat healthier. I'd rather make occasional, homemade treats than spend money on sometimes questionable ones outside the home. We've been snacking on my gluten-free zucchini bread the last few days as we sip on tea. Two favorite suppers lately are these carnitas and this creamy sausage and kale soup.
- Reading. I love that it's a single task (apart from drinking tea, etc., I don't multitask when I read). Currently perusing Cozy Minimalist Home, Reading to Walk , and my Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth.
- Foot baths. We use basic rubbermaid dishtubs I bought on amazon and hot tap water with either epsom salts or essential oils. They're easy to clean and can be repurposed elsewhere if we ever want to.
- Simple dates with Nicholas. Self-care for our marriage is good for my heart too! And we're soaking up as much time together as we can before baby boy arrives. Yesterday, we did our little occasional weekend date where I sip on a latte at Houndstooth while he goes to the barber. And then, we went window shopping for the baby and stopped for tacos for lunch. Little things, together, feeling extra special. Even today, after church, we stopped at Sprouts for a few items, including clementines. I looked over to the kitchen table and saw that he had arranged them in a bowl. I love him so much.
P.S.—I've never had a professional massage before, and Nicholas said I could book an extra special prenatal massage in the next few weeks, so I'm very much looking forward to that! That's definitely special, luxury self-care. All the other things are more manageable in the day-to-day. How do you take care of yourself this time of year?
There's a lot of heaviness in the world right now.
Now that we're well into January, I'm sitting down to write and glance back at the last year. I'm not much of a resolution-maker (not fundamentally opposed, just not for me), but I do find it's healthiest for my heart and mind to reflect and then continue on into the next year. Like every single year, there are good, hard, and in-between snippets and seasons.
I did it. I hopped aboard the sourdough train. I've made exactly one loaf of sourdough in my life, once last year, just a few months before we moved across the country from Texas to Indiana. I've long been interested in fermented foods, and tried my hand at a few, namely, kombucha, yogurt, and sauerkraut. And sourdough has been one on the want to try again list. Necessity is the mother of invention, right?