Figuring Out Your Basic Self-Care Needs

I was never any good at self-care. I was a typical teenager who ate and drank whatever and skimped on sleep. Soon after I was a young mother putting her kids first. That continued about 14 years until about four years ago when things had to change. At around the same time my depression and anxiety got worse and I started suffering from inflammatory arthritis and fibromyalgia. Self care had to become my priority. So how did I figure out what I needed? Mostly I just started with the basics.

Hydration

I’ve always tried to keep my hydration at least at a bare minimum. When it gets too low I get a very bad headaches. Now, I’ve been diagnosed with low blood volume and dysautonomia which require me to hydrate more than the typical 8 cups a day. For most people though, drinking until your pee is light yellow is plenty. This may be more or less than 8 cups. The liquid in food helps too, so if you struggle to drink enough, remember that high water fruits and soups can help.

Eating

If I go too long without food, my blood sugar dips and my depression takes hold. I need to eat every 3-4 hours usually. Not everyone needs to eat as often, but be sure you eat regularly for your body. Don’t skip meals, and snack if you need it. Food is fuel, and your body requires plenty.

I’ve also learned what type of foods make me feel better and what doesn’t. I know I need the right mix of protein and carbs to feel good. Other people feel better with their own mix. Whatever kind of foods that make you feel best is your right way to eat.

Sleep enough

This one is still hard for me. I need plenty of sleep to help manage multiple conditions. I’m also a night owl, and those two don’t always mesh well. I try to make it a priority to get to bed at a reasonable hour most of the time. I’m lucky enough to be able to nap on the days I need it. Sleep is important, so I don’t let myself feel guilty if I need more.

Find out how much sleep you need and make it a priority. Take a look here and see if you can improve your sleep hygiene any. A longer and deeper sleep will be better for you.

Quiet time by myself

I’m married with four kids; quiet time is hard to come by, and it’s even rarer to get it by myself. Not everyone finds this necessary, but as an introvert, I find it vital. My anxiety goes up if I don’t get enough alone time. If I can get even 10-30 minutes alone in my room, it helps a ton. The rare days that I can get an hour or more, I make sure to take it, no guilt involved. The wasn’t always the case, but I’m a better person all around if I get my alone time.

Past the common self-care basics

Like my quiet time, not everyone’s necessities are the same. Sit down and think about what makes you function best. What makes you feel off if it is left out? That is how I figured out I need to be sure to shower every other day. I’ve learned that I’m likely to want to skip a shower when my depression is acting up. As part of my self-care when it comes to depression, I make sure I don’t let myself skip a shower if at all possible. If I find myself dreading shower time, I know I need to get one anyway and then do some extra self-care to help fight the depression.

Once you have your basics figured out and are able to take care of them regularly, then you can expand and add more into your self-care routines. Start small though so you don’t get overwhelmed and burned out right away.

If you have any questions or requests for more on self-care and working out your routines, leave a comment or feel free to email me!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

How Can I Find Self-Acceptance With Chronic or Mental Illness?

I’ve previously been covering self-acceptance from a very general direction. I want to focus in a little more now. Personally, I have found self-acceptance extra hard due to my chronic illnesses and mental illnesses. It only makes sense that other people have the same problems, so I want to share my thoughts and solutions.

Accepting Limits

One struggle I have is accepting my limits. Whether you compare yourself to what society expects, or to what you could do “before”, it is hard to accept that you can’t just do whatever you “set your mind to”. Before I got sick, I knew that if I decided I was going to do something, it was going to happen. Now I find myself limited by pain and fatigue; if not by depression and anxiety.

I have found it important to accept that these things will happen. It isn’t my fault, and there is no reason for, or benefit to, me to blame myself. Just like the weather can mess with your outdoor plans, my illnesses and mental health can interrupt my daily plans. In accepting this, I can “go with the flow” more and not simply give up.

If I continue to define myself by what I can't do, or what normal people do, I will destroy myself." Quote from LauraChamberlain.co.uk

Self-Worth

I used to base my worth on what I could do. My grades, my work, my housework, my caring for the kids, etc., all affected my self-esteem. Then I couldn’t do any of it. Brain fog took my “smarts”, and pain and fatigue took my ability to do housework and mother the way I had been. Anxiety never allowed me to work outside of the house for very long. I was left with nothing and felt I was worthless. My husband and kids showed me I was wrong.

They showed me, but this is true even without them. I am worthy, just by being me. The fact that I exist makes me worthy and valuable. This applies to everyone! You too are valuable and worthy just by existing. You don’t need to earn the right to like yourself.

Taking a Second Look at Limits

So, if we are worthy, just by being alive, our limits don’t take anything away from our value. Physical limits are just a line drawn by our body telling us where we need to stop. Respecting those limits are a part of self-care. Rather than fight them and suffering the consequences, most of the time we need to listen to our bodies.

Your value isn't in your doing or saying. It's in your being.

Now, that isn’t to say never push the limits. Some things we may find “worth it”. An occasional special outing with friends or family can be worth feeling worse for a week or two. Repeatedly pushing ourselves will only worsen our health long-term though. You deserve to be treated better than that.

Our ideal may be being able to do everything for everyone each time, and then we feel guilt, anger, failure, etc when we can’t do it. Changing our outlook and seeing it as a way our loved ones can be there for us is helpful. We have a different situation that does not lead to the “typical” expectations. It is fine to expect a change from others, rather than them expect the same or “normal” from us.

Boundaries are a function of self-respect and self-love. -quote by Brene Brown

Boundaries

This is where boundaries come in handy. Boundaries show others how to treat us. They are a line drawn in the sand. By setting boundaries, we let others know who we are, what we allow, and what is not tolerated.

Chronically ill people and those with mental health issues may have to be extra tough when it comes to boundaries. Healthy people do not always understand our limits and may forcefully push us to surpass them. We must be stubborn at enforcing those boundaries to care for ourselves. People in our life must understand that we mean business, and crossing our boundaries is not okay. They are just as valid as anyone else’s. So many times, people think that just because they don’t understand our various struggles, the struggles are not legitimate when that is the furthest thing from the truth.

Boundaries can be hard to set. If you need some help figuring out which ones to set, and how to do so, I prepared a free “Setting Boundaries Workbook” for you to download.

It is not your responsibility to convince anyone to respect your boundaries. You set the boundary, it is their place to accept it. Be firm, and your loved ones will catch on.

Rethinking Goals and Dreams

The last way I want to talk about limits has to do with goals and dreams. Having a chronic or mental illness can affect what dreams and goals are possible. That doesn’t mean you should give up on them though. you have a few possibilities. First it is possible that you can find a way to use modifications to make it happen. For instance, someone who wants to be an author, but loses the ability to type, can use voice recognition software to write still. If your dream job seems un-achievable, perhaps there is still something in the same or similar field that you can do.

I didn’t think there was any career available for me. Between high pain days, bad fatigue, and my depression or anxiety acting up, I’m not exactly the epitome of a reliable employee. This limits job/career choices quite a lot. Now, I didn’t have any certain job in mind to begin with. In fact, I chose to not go to college (and use my scholarship), because I didn’t have any goal in mind. Nothing has ever grabbed my attention.

After being diagnosed, it didn’t seem likely I would ever be employable. Well, maybe I’m not, but I’ve found a way to employ myself. Being a blogger allows me to work within my limits, and it is a way for me to help people, which I’ve always felt a pull toward. I share this personal bit to show how limits don’t have to limit you, but can actually open up previously unseen chances. To see how I work with my limits as a blogger, check out my monthly series, Confessions of a Chronically Ill Blogger.

There are a variety of ways that someone with either a chronic illness or mental health issues will find their journey to self-acceptance a different challenge than a healthy person. I’m going to stop here, but I’ll address other points soon.

Are there any particular concerns you would like me to write about? Let me know in the comments! You can email me anytime also at leighbryant@flawedmessylife.com .

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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Self Care: 5 DIY Spa Day Recipes

Sometimes it’s fun to have a spa day at home. You get to pamper yourself in the comfort of your own space. It may be the introvert in me that prefers that, I’m not sure. Anyway, when you plan a spa day, you either make sure you have stocked up on your favorite products, or plan to make some yourself.

Personally, I enjoy making them myself if it is cheap and easy to do. I have a Pinterest board filled with DIY recipes that are, for the most part, simple and use ingredients you can find at your local store.  Most are untried by us, so my daughter and I tried five recipes to share with you.

The Recipes

DIY Exfoliating Honey Sugar Scrub

Honey Sugar Scrub in a small mason jar

We found the optional olive oil in this recipe didn’t mix in well, so we recommend leaving it out. It did a great job exfoliating in the shower, and my daughter gave it two thumbs up. She chose lavender E.O. to add to it, but there are a few to choose from at Walmart, Walgreens, etc.

Raspberry Lemonade Sugar Lip Scrub

I couldn’t find raspberry lemonade, so we used pink lemonade. This turned out very sour, so I wonder if you are meant to use the “sugar added” type. According to C, this DIY version works even better than my store bought lip scrubs. She gives it two big thumbs up, so I plan on figuring out how to lessen the pucker level.

Oatmeal Coconut Cookie Scrub

Unrefined coconut oil gives you the coconut scent, but you can go with the refined type if you would rather scent it with essential oils. Although it doesn’t affect the scrub any, I’m not thrilled that this separates out as it sits. You aren’t going to want to make it too far ahead of when you plan on using it, or give it as a gift. That said, it did a lovely job as a scrub and left C’s skin very soft.

Lemon Vanilla Bath Bombs

C was most excited to make and try this one. She was frustrated to read they have to sit at least 6-8 hours (overnight is even better).

I almost didn’t include it because of the dried lemon rind ingredient. It cost more than I wanted to spend at the store. Instead, I bought three lemons to zest myself, but ended up not having near enough once we dried it in the oven. We estimate we had maybe a 1/2 T compared to the 3-4 T it called for. To make up for it, we chose to add a couple extra drops of E.O.

We haven’t been able to use them in a bath yet, but I can already report that they are sorta a flop. When I tried to get them out of the molds this morning, they crumbled all over. They aren’t holding together at all. 🙁 (UPDATE: Most of the bath bombs actually did pop out ok, and my kids had fun using them in baths. This was a bigger win than expected, but we plan on searching for another recipe we like better.)

Oatmeal Milk Bath

We haven’t had a chance to test this one. It was very simple to mix up, and should store well in an airtight container.

We just used the non-fat that is found at the store, since I couldn’t find “whole fat dried milk”. Whole oatmeal can possibly clog your drain, and that isn’t very relaxing, so I like using ground up oatmeal for this.

My daughter and I had so much fun making these up to test out. If you would like us to do this again with some more recipes, let us know in the comments. Feel free to share your favorite recipes too! I’d be happy to pass those on to my other readers.

Leigh

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Did You Know There Is More Value To Selfies Than Many People Think?

You see people all over social media decrying the value of selfies. Claims of them being a symptom of narcissism, a sign of self involvement, or being a self indulgence are prevalent.  But are they?

Woman taking a selfie with a red and silver iphone

What is a selfie?

From the Oxford Dictionary, a selfie is, “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.

So, all it is, is a picture you took of yourself. Seems pretty harmless, right? Maybe it’s the purpose of a selfie that people find so objectionable.

What is the purpose of a selfie?

A selfie is all about you. In most selfies, you are the center of attention. You might highlight something else in the background also, or do a joint selfie with friends, but the whole point is that you are in the picture. Hmmm… I still don’t see a problem, but this seems to be what the critics have an issue with.

Woman up against a mirror taking a selfie

Selfies don’t really have to have a point. They are a great way to share with the world what is going on in your life that day. They say, hey, I’m here, and I take up space on this planet. That’s a good thing! Posting selfies challenges the idea that you have to justify yourself, and your wish to be seen, to others. You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone though. It is perfectly fine to take notice of yourself and share that with others, if you want.

Selfies are a great confidence booster and a simple, fast way of promoting positive self talk. Having a great hair day? Maybe you are really loving your outfit of the day (OOTD). Perhaps you finally did something you have been meaning to for a long time, and you are really proud? Selfies are a fantastic way to project your awesomeness to the world in a still subtle way. You are allowed to take up space in this world, both online and in real life.

Arguments against selfies

Some people fight back with an indignant “how dare you, who do you think you are??” attitude, and appear in the comments with some awful words. Ignore them, and block them if necessary. There is a deeply ingrained stigma toward having any positivity about yourself. Moving against this stigma makes people uncomfortable, and they try to police your “rebellion” with accusations of narcissism and being superficial.

Selfies Are:

Claims of selfies being a “cry for attention”  get tossed around too. First off, so what if they are? It’s perfectly ok to want attention! What these accusations really boil down to though, is that many are threatened by girls/women/femmes using selfies as an expression of independence. If we are proud of ourselves, if we are already confident and drawing our confidence from inside, we can’t be controlled as easily. Creating our own positive image of ourselves, rather than depending on the media and other outside opinions for our validation, puts us in a wonderful position of power. That confidence the naysayers deride is healthy!

Take yourself out to eat. Don't share your popcorn at the movies with anyone. Stroll around an art museum alone. Fall in love with canvases. Fall in love with yourself.

This applies only if you are not basing your self-worth and confidence solely on the internet’s opinion of your selfies. That is not healthy. If you are struggling with this, here is a self care/self love exercise to try. Put on a favorite outfit, try a new hairstyle, or do something else that makes you feel confident. Now take a picture, and write down 5 compliments about your appearance. If you struggle with this, pretend it’s a picture of a stranger, and try again.  Hopefully you wouldn’t insult a stranger, so treat yourself just as well and find some kind things to say about your picture.

It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes. -by Sally Field

I’ve got a couple of links for you to check out also. Here you can find 5 Reasons Why You Should Never Apologize For Your Selfies. I love their take on the subject. Also, please check out 35 Artists Who Were Unashamed of Their Selfies. If artists can do it, why can’t we? 🙂

Never Apologize For Selfies

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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Self Care: The Importance of Sleep Hygiene

In the U.S., the week before Daylight Savings Time, in March, is National Sleep Awareness Week. Proper sleep is extremely important to self care, so I thought I’d touch on proper sleep hygiene today.

What is sleep hygiene?

According to sleepfoundation.org, “Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness.

Why is it important?

Good quality sleep is vital to good physical and mental health. Adults and children both sleep better when good sleep hygiene practices are used.

The most important part of sleep hygiene is to spend the right amount of time asleep in bed. Too much sleep can be just as disruptive to your health as too little. The right amount varies by the individual, but here is a chart that gives some age guidelines.

Some other elements to sleep hygiene include:

Limit daytime naps to 30 mins. Obviously this doesn’t apply to children. Naps are an important part of an infant’s sleep. For adults although, naps don’t make up for a crappy night’s sleep, a short cat nap may help you be more alert and improve your mood enough to get through the day.

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Avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine right before bedtime. Some sources recommend stopping caffeine at least 6 (and up to 12) hours before bed, if you are especially sensitive to it. Alcohol before bed can be disruptive to your sleep also. It is known for helping a person to relax and fall asleep, but too much right before bedtime is not good. It can interrupt the sleep cycle the second half of the night as the body begins to process the alcohol.

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Another way food can mess with your sleep is by giving you indigestion. This can lead to painful heartburn at bedtime. Heavy, rich foods; fatty or fried meals; spicy foods, citrus foods, and carbonated beverages can all have this result. Of course, not everyone has this reaction. If you do find yourself struggling with it, keep a food diary for a couple weeks, and see if you can find the culprit.

Regular exercise should help promote better quality sleep. Even as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise a day, such as walking or cycling, can drastically improve nighttime sleep quality. Even so, you should avoid strenuous workouts right before bed, since that can make for a restless night. If the only time you have for exercise is right before bedtime, make it a leisurely walk or bike ride as opposed to Zumba.

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If you don’t already have one, develop a bedtime routine. Routines are  a recommendation for children and adults alike. A regular routine helps your body and mind recognize what is coming next and helps it ease toward bedtime. It can be as complex or as simple as you like.

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Some things you might include are: brushing teeth, a relaxing bath, reading, some mindfulness or breathing exercises, yoga stretching, journaling, listening to soothing music, or having a relaxing drink or light snack.

Check your sleep environment. Comfort is the overall plan here. A good pillow and mattress are very important. Make sure you have the right amount and weight of blankets. Some people sleep better feeling the weight of the blankets, but if it overheats you, you aren’t going to sleep well. A cool room, between 60-67 degrees, is optimal for sleep. Make your room as dark as possible, and limit blue light. Consider blackout curtains or an eye mask if you can’t darken the room enough otherwise. Ear plugs, white noise machines, humidifiers, fans, etc can all increase your comfort also.

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Finally, check your natural light exposure. People who get more natural light during the day have been found to sleep better. If you can’t get out more throughout the day, or open windows to increase your exposure, try to find time first thing in the morning to get that sunlight.

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Hopefully, a combination of these tips can help you to improve your sleep quality. If you don’t find yourself sleeping better after a good amount of time, be sure to talk to your doctor. They will want to help you figure out better sleep so you can be as healthy as possible.

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“A” to “Z” of Self Care

An overview of self care and many of it’s aspects.

A Alone time – This is very important. Alone time gives us quite a few benefits. You can read about some here.

B Bath – Baths are a great way to practice self care. They are great for relaxing, relieving sore muscles, and some quiet alone time.

C – Chocolate – Chocolate, or any treat you enjoy, should always be a part of your self care routine.

D – Daily – Self care is not a special treat. It should be something you do daily. Setting up a small routine during the day, or before bed, helps it to become a habit.

E – Exercise – I’m not talking about something done as punishment here. Exercise is something that should be rewarding. Some gentle, daily movement does wonders for your mind and body. Take a walk, dance around to your favorite music, etc. Make it fun!

F – Facial – A facial can be a fun thing to pamper yourself with now and again.

G – Groove – Get your groove on with some music! Music is simply a great thing.

H – Hydration – Keep hydrated. Everything falls apart if you try to function at a constant level of dehydration.

I – Important – Self care is important. In fact, it is vital. It reduces the negative effects of stress, and helps prevent burnout. It helps to maintain good mental and physical health.

J – Journaling – Journaling has been shown to have many benefits. It doesn’t have to be in a “dear diary” way, there are many journaling methods. I plan on revisiting this topic another day.

K – Kit – Making a self care kit can be extra helpful for someone who has anxiety or otherwise has trouble taking a moment for themselves. Having soothing items already gathered takes the guess work out of it.

L – Laughter – Laughing is so healing. It has been shown to reduce pain, and it is a fantastic method of stress relief.

M – Medication – Medication is vital to some people’s self care. Not everyone can deal with mental or physical illness with only good food and exercise. If your body requires medication to function at its best, make sure you take it as directed.

N – Nest – A nest made up of your most comfy, soft pillows and blankets is a great spot for a self care session.

O – Outside Time – Spending time outside is important for more than a dose of vitamin D. It has also been shown to improve your creativity and cognitive function.

P – Pedicure – A pedicure/manicure is another way to use self care time to pamper yourself.

Q – Quiet Time – We spend so much of the day surrounded by noise. Silence can be hard to come by, but some scheduled quiet time can do much for our health and mind.

R – Relaxation – I think everyone knows the benefits of relaxation. Many times self care and relaxation are a perfect fit.

S – Social – Self care is not only a solo event. There is a social element to it. We need love, affection, and a feeling of belonging to maintain our mental health. Make sure your social needs are getting filled by planning a get together with a good friend, lunch with your mom, a date with a loved one, etc.

T – Therapy – Therapy is not only for the “crazy”. Anyone can benefit from it, so don’t tell yourself you aren’t “bad enough” or think that it says something bad about you.

U – Understanding Yourself – With regular practice, self care helps you to understand more about yourself. Making sure I have eaten regularly, am hydrated, and am rested has helped me to better pinpoint when I need any of those things, for example.

V – Voluntary – Participating in voluntary self care now will help to ward off possible illnesses and other health problems in the future, which will then force you to slow down and take care of yourself.

W – Waking – I know, I already mentioned walking up at “E”, but there is more to it than just the exercise you get. There are mental benefits also.

X – Xanadu – Xanadu, ˈza-nə-ˌdü , is described as a place of great beauty, luxury, and contentment. Finding such a place to spend some time in would be well worth the effort.

Y – Yoga – Many people use yoga as a way to exercise, relax, spend time alone, etc.

Z – Zen – Zen is defined as a Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation. Many people use “Zen” to refer to being very calm and relaxed. I hope you are able to find a sense of being so calm and relaxed by practicing some daily self care.

You can click here for a free Self Care Worksheet to get started with your own self care.

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10 Self Date Ideas

You don’t need to wait for a partner to go on a date. Treat yourself, and try some of these ideas for a self date.

1) Go to a bookstore and roam around. Buy yourself a book or a nice journal to write in.

2) Visit an animal shelter and spend time with the critters. Adopt one if you connect, and have the means to provide a good home.

3) Take a favorite book to a coffee shop and hang out. Time with a choice drink, great book and maybe a treat feels very special to me.

4) Take a class. Search your local area for one day classes. You may find classes for art, cooking, spirituality, career help and more. Google is a great place to start. An adult education program, community college, museum, or county park may have something to offer, or be able to tell you where to look.

5) Join a wine and painting night. Similar to the last one, these give you a chance to drink wine while they lead you in painting a pretty picture. These are pretty popular around the country. This is a great self date for someone who doesn’t necessarily want to be alone, or maybe wants to find a new friend.

6) Have dinner and a movie at home. Treat yourself however you want. That might include ordering take out, cooking an old favorite, or learning a new recipe. Top it off with a yummy dessert and a great movie, and you have a fabulous night.

7) See a live performance. Nobody with the same taste as you? No problem! You will see lots of people there who share it! This is a great chance to go to that concert you heard about, or see a play you’ve been dying to catch.

8) Check something off your bucket list. Do something you have always wanted to do. Get your adrenaline fix and go sky diving, bungee jumping, drive a go cart, do a zip line, learn to rock climb, etc.

9) Have a spa day. Book yourself a full day of indulgence, or just get your nails done or a massage. Either way, pamper yourself like you deserve.

If you don’t feel like going out, or want to save some money, have a spa day at home! A nice soak in the tub or taking extra care with your nails can have an uplifting effect on your mood.

10) Get dressed up and take yourself out to a nice restaurant. There is no reason you can’t enjoy the fun of getting all beautiful and eating delicious food on your own. I know it is common to worry about what people might think, but most people won’t give you a second thought. Believe me, people are more worried about themselves than you.

I hope these suggestions inspire you to spend some time with yourself either this Valentine’s Day or sometime soon. There are various other ways to date yourself. I hope this post was able to give you some great starting points, and show you self dates can be fun! Please share this with your friends and spread the self love.

Do you have any other suggestions to add? Please leave them in the comments below! I’d love to see them!

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Do You Ipsy? 

For a long time I did not. I didn’t have the money for one thing. It felt extravagant to spend $10 on myself every month. Also, I’m not much of a makeup person.

Then my husband convinced me we could spare the $10, and I decided I’d like to play around with makeup some, so I looked into just what Ipsy is.

From the Ipsy site:

“Each month, subscribers will receive a beautiful Glam Bag with deluxe samples and full-sized beauty products. Members can watch and play along with the stylists with the same products that they are using. All for only $10 a month.”

I’ve had so much fun with Ipsy over the past year. It’s a form of self care for me. Beyond the makeup and skin and hair products, the bags are so freaking cute, and usable for an assortment of things. Here are a few of my favorites.

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A few of my favorite Glam Bags from Ipsy

This is what I got this month. So excited!

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Glam Bag From January 2017


Slanted Tweezers from The Vintage Cosmetic Company

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Slanted Tweezers from The Vintage Cosmetic Company


I love the tweezers. First off, they are gorgeous. Beautiful rose gold color. More importantly, they work well. I tend to have a problem with tweezers either not working or breaking off hair rather than plucking it. These do neither. I was easily able to isolate each hair and pluck it. 5 out of 5

Coffee + Coconut Lip Scrub from Jelly Pong Pong

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Lip Scrub from Jelly Pong Pong


I am not a fan of this lip scrub. I love lip scrubs, but this one didn’t do it’s job as a scrub. My lips were left feeling moisturized, but none of the dry skin was scrubbed off. I used my other lip scrub afterward and there was a big difference. My other issue was with the coconut flavor/scent. This scrub smells delicious. You can’t really pick up the coffee scent until you apply it, but the coconut scent is yummy. After I applied it though, I could taste the coconut down my throat and it tasted of sunscreen. Not yummy. I won’t be using this product again. 1 out of 5

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream with SPF 35

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Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream with SPF 35


I ended up trying this twice. The first time I loved how it performed. It goes on very easily, and feels fantastic on my skin. It is very light. It also is easy to smooth out and doesn’t ball up. I loved how it smoothed out my skin. It is just too dark for me even though they sent me the “light” shade. I read a bit more about it and decided to give it one more shot by using it as a primer. This time I really liked it. It works well as a thin layer underneath my regular foundation. I don’t know if I’ll buy it, but this sample will get used up. 4 out of 5 

Star Crushed Minerals Metallic Eyeshadow in Aged to Perfection Champagne 

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Star Crushed Minerals Eyeshadow
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Start Crushed Minerals Eyeshadow

This is a loose powder instead of a little cake, and so gets everywhere. Not being very schooled in makeup I wasn’t too sure what to do with it, so first I just put it on like regular eyeshadow. I really like it. It is a nice amount of sparkle/glimmer/shine. Reading more about it, you can also put some on a tissue, dampen your brush, and then apply it as a liner or shadow. Using it this way, it gives a more foil look.  I just used it alone and another time over another color. I’m very fond of the glimmer it adds. I’ll use this one a lot. 5 out of 5 
Cianté London Gelology Top Coat 

Review
Cianté London Gelology Top Coat

I put No Filter from Trust Fund Beauty on both hands, two coats, and the top coat on one hand but not the other. No complaints about the application. It went on very smoothly. It dried nicely also. Typically, my nail polish alone lasts two days. I’m thrilled if I make it through the first day with no chipping. At the end of two days I had zero chipping on the hand with this top coat. My other hand , polish only, had the start of wear showing at the edges.  Two more day later, four days after I polished, my hand with the top coat still showed no sign of wear. I’m thrilled! I’ll be using this top coat for sure. 5 out of 5

Review
Left hand with nail polish and top coat.


Review
Right hand with nail polish only.

The pics above show the slight difference in glossiness with the top coat.

 

So, that’s all for this Glam Bag from Ipsy. What did you think? Do you have any experience with these products? Tips for me? Would you like to see this type of post again? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

How I De-stress

Everyone has their own ways to de-stress. There are numerous ways to go about it, and none of them work for everyone. These are the ways I relax:

1) Games on my phoneStress relief ideas

This works fantastically for me. I can distract myself from any intrusive thoughts with games. I have both mindless and more brainy types so I’m set no matter what I need. Some people might actually find this stressful, but it is a great diversion for me. Puzzle games and word games are my favorite.

2) Colouring

Unless you live under a rock, you have heard about adult coloring books. Some are elaborate, beautiful scenes, some are based on favorite shows and movies, others have swear words. I promise there is an adult coloring book out there for everyone. There is an actual study out there that shows how effective this method of stress relief is.

3) Music

Listening to my favorite music does an amazing job to help reduce stress. The more I know the lyrics the better. It distracts me and helps me to think about something else. There is some scientific backing on this one too. I tend to listen to my favorites instead of soothing music though. I suppose I’m looking for more of an uplifting experience, or an energy outlet.

4) T.V.

Well, Netflix and YouTube actually. It’s just another way to use distraction. Sometimes it’s nice to lose yourself in another world, and make their troubles yours, or to find something funny and laugh until your stomach hurts.  Too much T.V. may backfire, but an hour or two is nice.

5) Reading

It’s a classic. If I can actually get some uninturrupted time to myself, this works great. If not, I’ll just get more stressed with each interruption. It’s so nice to curl up with a good book and get lost in it’s pages.

6) Lists

Okay maybe I’m a weirdo, but making lists is rather soothing to me. I’m not sure if it is organizing my thoughts, or just the act of writing. Whatever it is, it works.

7) Getting out of the house

Some days, after one too many days of staying home with the kids, I just have to leave. I grab my purse and keys, and start driving into town. It doesn’t matter if I go to Walmart, the library, or grab a snack, just a change of scenery and a chance to have my brain to myself makes a big difference.
Do any of these methods work for you? Do you have different ways to reduce stress? Please share in a comment below, or send me an email at leighbryant@flawedmessylife.com . I’d love to hear from you!

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6 Tips for When You are Feeling Down

We all have down days. Whether you are diagnosed with depression, or just having a down day, some of these suggestions will help you care for yourself.

1) Practice Self-care and Nurture Yourself

I think top priority should be making sure you are clean and dressed. You just feel better if you have that covered. So, pamper yourself with a long soak in the tub, or at least grab a quick shower. Then get dressed in some comfy clothes. Psychologically, it helps to wear real clothes, so lose the PJs if you can.

Now do something you enjoy, and makes you feel pampered. Have a cup of hot tea. Get a massage or a manicure. Take time to read that book or magazine you’ve been wanting to dive into. Listen to some music, or just take a nap.

2) Engage Your Brain

Do something that really makes you think. It can help you to interrupt those negative thoughts. You might do a crossword, word search, or Sudoku. Perhaps you might want to learn a new skill. Try a new recipe with a cooking technique you haven’t used before. Learn how to knit or crochet. Try your hand at a new sport.

Journaling is another great activity for engaging your brain. You can write about what’s bothering you, focus on more positive things, or look up writing prompts to use.

If you enjoy it, planning can be great way to distract yourself. Plan a dream trip (even if you might not take it), what you want to do this weekend, a party for a fun event coming up, or anything else you would like to plan.

3) Get Moving

It can be tempting to hang out in bed, or on the couch, all day, but you are much more likely to feel better if you get up and get moving.

I think everyone knows that exercising can help your mood due to the endorphins it releases. Give it a shot, and go on a walk or for a bike ride. How about dancing to your favorite music? If you aren’t up for that, just try some gentle stretching. If you can bring yourself to do it, doing some dishes, or a load of laundry, will get you going and also give you a feeling of accomplishment!

4) Be Social

When you are depressed, or feeling down, it is easy to isolate yourself. That isn’t very helpful though, so try to get out of your head and have some outside contact.

One if the most obvious ways to do this is to call a friend to talk. Bonus if you can invite that friend over or out for lunch.

If you don’t have someone you want to call, try chatting online or texting. Maybe now is a good time to write someone a letter.

Another way to get some social interaction is to bake some cookies, and deliver them to someone. Perhaps you have a friend or neighbor who would appreciate them, or maybe a local nursing home would like a visitor.

5) Get Creative

There are so many ways to cover this one. We have already covered some of them (journaling, knitting, crocheting, baking/cooking, planning something, etc). You can keep it simple with coloring, drawing or just doodling even. There are many types of crafts out there to try, but if you are short on ideas, visiting a craft store might give you inspiration. If you aren’t up to creating something yourself, try visiting an art museum.

6) Be Spiritual

I, personally, am an atheist, but if you aren’t, and feel better when you pray, then do it.

Other activities that I feel can fall into this category include getting outside, deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness.

If you find any of these suggestions helpful, please let me know in the comments, and feel free to add in your own ideas! Perhaps I’ll make a later post detailing what my readers find helpful on their down days.

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