Self-Care for The End of the World

Sep 18, 2020
Misty mountains reflected in a lake water with title Reflections on Inner Peace, Outer Peace

by Kirsten Cowan

I can never resist a catchy title - and in some ways, I hope it’s the end of the world - a world shaped on injustice, inequity and alienation - and the beginning of a new one. But here we are, at the end, and at the beginning.

How are you doing?

If you’re like me, you’re not doing that great. Anxiety about the U.S. election, grief and anger at the murders of Black people by police, fear and uncertainty about the global pandemic and climate change, not to mention life routines, work, home, school, community life, all upended for the foreseeable future. So yeah, not feeling that great.

Two or three months ago, my body started to rebel against the constant emotional turmoil, the disruption to all my routines, and the absence of physical and mental health supporting practices like holiday and spiritual gatherings, acupuncture and bodywork, live music, potlucks with friends, the gym, or going to a movie theater alone in the afternoon during a heatwave. I didn’t know if I was going to explode or implode.

This was the same time I was reviving Angelica & Peony, and I begrudgingly took up my evening skin care routine, neglected since the turmoil of the early days of shelter in place (which followed shortly after I had moved and before I’d really unpacked). “At least I’ll have something to put on Instagram,” I thought to myself, dragging my face roller over my puffy cheeks.

After a couple of days, my minimal skin care routine was having an effect. My skin was looking a little happier, but more noticeably, my sleep had improved, and I found I looked forward to those few minutes of quiet at the end of the day, massaging my face and neck with care, the pleasant, calming scents of natural oils a balm to my nervous system and a signal to my body to move into rest. I had to laugh at myself - who knew that taking my own advice would be so helpful!

It is not self-indulgent or a waste of time to add in body-based practices that offer calm and respite to your body and soul right now. The effects of stress and disruption are constant, and relentless. Off-loading some of those impacts can make a difference in your physical and mental health.

I don’t do my skin care routine every single night, but I do it most nights. And it’s there for me, ready to go in my bathroom, when I need it. Bonus: my face mask related dermatitis is almost gone!

Read about my skin care routine, and other soothing beauty rituals to offer loving care and support to yourself. If you have your own routines bringing some tranquility into your day, please share!

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