Finding peace and calm in daily rituals and purposeful pampering

Published October 2, 2020, 6:31 AM

by Kim Reyes Palanca

Rituals fulfill a higher purpose, believe it or not—to give complete attention to oneself, to shift the focus on you. Whether for brief or extended periods, these breaks remind us to be fully present—a chance to have that (internal) “talk.” 

Self-care is self-love manifested. These mindful routines serve as regular self-checks, giving an opportunity to create calmness and awareness. It is instinctive for most of us to think of others first, but when the reality of physical, mental, and emotional fatigue sets in, we realize we can only do and give as much. 

Now more than ever in this season of Covid-coping, living in the new (ab)normal, the importance of carving out time for ourselves becomes clear. And the notion of self-care as something done only on occasion is unacceptable, if not harmful. Self-care is part of daily life and should be done regularly!

Purposeful pampering 

It’s easy to dismiss beauty matters as being superficial, even frivolous, at a time of a pandemic. But the truth is, self-care is not a new concept in beauty. In fact, in the beauty world, all roads lead to that. All this primping and pampering was meant to make people feel good about themselves, which is why beauty and wellness are so closely tied to each other. 

Quarantine beauty isn’t entirely about vanity. Working on beauty from the outside in, or vice versa, is also not the only point here. Like preparing a long bath, applying skincare, or putting on a mask and having tea, these rituals can be traced back in history as part of ancient beauty practices. It’s not just about the preening. The act itself—that moment of stillness—is a mindful ritual rooted in a much more meaningful, deeper purpose. 

In Centro Holistico’s webinar, “Are We Ready?: Out into the Covid+ World,” professional yoga therapist, Bea Gomez-Dey, shared simple ways on how to navigate emotions within this new normal. She mentions the importance of doing at least one thing for yourself a day. An act of love that is directed toward you, and benefits you and only you alone. Such acts that involve helping others are not allowed such as cleaning your house, booking a family vacation, fixing a common, or shared closet and the like. 

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing things that serve others too, the idea is to shift the focus solely on you—with the single purpose of serving only your personal needs. It could be as simple as fixing your desk, giving yourself a mani-pedi, or just proper grooming. 

A simple skincare ritual is the easiest way to start. Your alone time in your vanity, or bathroom, in complete silence every day will nourish your skin and your soul. Take as little or as much time as your day permits.

Many are now discovering the benefits of quarantine beauty. iFace Inc. general manager, Angelina Goyena, who has recently brought to the country Bioten, a vegan-friendly, naturally-derived, and sustainable skincare from Europe, says there’s been a significant increase in demand for skincare products during this pandemic. “Sales of skincare has risen in the past few months. Most people are wearing masks, they don’t go out, so people are buying less color cosmetics,” she says. “In fact, Bioten was launched last July and is doing very well.”  The new beauty brand is now one of the top sellers at Watsons. 

Take it from Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, who subscribes to the skincare-is-self-care philosophy too. “I’ve become obsessed with skincare. I have all of these gua sha, jade rollers, essential oils, facial masks, and this gadget with electromagnetic pulses from Japan—all of the extra things that I wouldn’t normally use every day,” the beauty queen says. “But now I make an active effort to kind of give myself some space to relax and pamper myself, and that really helps.” Doing this and regularly calling friends and family help her deal with stress and anxiety during the pandemic. 

Bea also recommends regular “bathroom checks,” which is helpful, especially during those very busy days. When you take your bathroom break, she encourages you to consider it as part of your regular “check-in” time with yourself. Just be aware of what you’re feeling. This is a way to ask yourself how you’re doing at that exact moment. This self-awareness practice helps you manage feelings or emotions throughout the day, aside from reminding you to be fully present. 

‘Self-care is your relationship with yourself—how much you love, trust, and direct yourself toward the best possible version of you.’

Self-love is the ultimate self-care 

In an e-conference entitled “Wellness Starts Within: What is Real Self-care” recently held at the Mommy Mundo online expo, wellbeing experts offered a more holistic perspective on self-care. 

Anne Espiritu, chief international officer of The Contentment Foundation, shares how we must allow emotions to flow through. She mentions Netflix as the proverbial example, that we now use as a way to distract and disconnect. “Emotion is energy in motion,” she says. “When we distract ourselves from it, it gets stuck in our bodies and will continue to nag us until we allow it to fully pass.” 

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Sharing a powerful practice on self-love I’ve been cultivating lately. Before I do that, I want to acknowledge that #selflove has become quite a loaded topic! There’s no cookie-cutter model, loves. It is personal, dynamic & ever-evolving. What is self-love in one situation can look differently a second later. Self-love for one person can be a different practice for another. Whatever you are exploring, just go for it. Test drive it. If it makes you feel genuinely loved by you, bingo! If it doesn’t, great — it has still likely helped you evolve. Trust yourself & the process. OK on to my tip…it came as an exploratory question: What would it look like if I did things only when love was present for both me and the people I’m serving? I was curious about whether or not it was possible. I grew up believing in the idea of sacrificial love — but lately, I’m realizing how depleting that feels to me. I wanted to see if it was possible to have love present all the time. Turns out: IT IS possible. When love is not present for us — and it’s present for others, it can often mean we are doing things out of obligation. I know for myself, I have done selfless service in the past for validation and appreciation from others. When love has conditions, it can feel depleting too. How do you put the strategy into practice? Training! In all that you do, widen the story you tell yourself and find all the ways in which doing something for others also benefits you. Know when you are living inside of fear, guilt or shame — & give yourself permission not to respond from that place. Instead, let love shine first on both ends. Often, the work is managing our perspective so that the act itself feels good. And during times when love doesn’t feel like it can go both ways, ask yourself how you can tenderly express a boundary? Often, we don’t even try & it doesn’t serve us or our loved ones. No one likes to deal with a cranky us, friends! Let it start as an honest convo & take it from there. BTW, I’m speaking at a @mommymundo event so I’ve been reflecting on the topic. Founder, @janicecvillanueva, & I are doing an IGLive on Wed @ 8pm PH/Bali time — join! #annechronicle

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According to Anne, a Harvard study has proven that the chemical process, the physiological lifespan of an emotion lasts only 90 seconds in our bodies. Which is why if we are emotionally activated, Anne highly recommends tuning in and feeling it completely. 

“When we have an emotional activation, or ‘triggered,’ we tend to judge emotions as good, bad, or ugly. When I feel this way, it’s important that I bring my thoughts away from it, and fully focus on the sensation,” she says. “Emotions are expressed as sensations in the body, and we have to fully honor the emotions so they can come and go.” 

Dr. Lia Bernardo, happiness doctor and founding partner of Atma Prema Wellbeing Group, shares, “Self-care is your relationship with yourself—how much you love, trust, and direct yourself toward the best possible version of you. Self-love is the true way to happiness. There is no other way. Self-care is the first step.”

Lia warns about “false positives” that people are espousing, especially nowadays. She says we must be self-directed and not allow others to tell us what feels good or not. “You have to calibrate toward what feels good to you. No one has the right to tell you what you should feel,” she says. “People need to understand you have the absolute right to feel what you want to feel, be where you want to be, and do what you want to do. When you become that unapologetically, you live your life according to what works for you. You don’t let anything into your space that doesn’t make you feel good.”  

What’s her happiness Rx? Lia recommends this formula: Raise your frequency—do whatever you can to feel good about yourself. Raise your vibrations: Move (walk, do your preferred exercise), learn one new thing a day (a life skill, something useful for work, take up a hobby), grow in spiritual practice (your relationship with the Divine in you), and create (create your own heaven on earth).

“It is the little things you do every day, what you integrate in your life that makes a difference. It is next to impossible not to be happy if you do this every day,” she says.