To think that it all started with a supposedly simple question: “What do you do when you are stressed or down and need a pick me up?”
Why, when I’m stressed or I am down, I talk things through with M, maybe write about what’s troubling me, coming to some kind of resolution in the process.
“Hmm. Do you have anything less brain-heavy? Like exercising, or taking a walk in the park?”
About this, I had to think for a longer time. Exercise? No, thanks. Just walking? Uh, seems boring.
So finally I said: “Well, last time I felt really, really miserable, really sick, and I thought I couldn’t take it any more, in my head, I was looking for my ‘happy place’ for the first time in my life, and it’s a small stone pool filled with clear, hot spring water under a grey, open sky and vivid autumn foliage. My ‘happy place,’ in short, is a traditional Japanese hot spring onsen in the mountains. Does that help maybe?”
“That’s good!” My midwife clapped her hands. “That’s a good place to start.” And then she’d ask if I had a bath tub? No? In this case, how about going to a spa? They’re nothing like Japanese onsen here, but they’d have whirlpools and hot water, and anyway, it is worth a try!
And it was! I tried out a number of different spas in and around Berlin. But then I also thought, heck, hot water is hot water. Maybe my shower routine could be tweaked in such a way it is a tiny bit like an at home spa. Besides, it’s always nice to just pamper yourself in any which way that’s possible.
My happy place
Because before, I hopped in and out of the shower in an exercise of efficiency. I treated moisturizing afterwards as a chore to be over and done with in as little time as I could. All of it merely felt like a disruption of my day when all I wanted was get on. But then I went through a phase of extreme and constant discomfort that lasted months but felt more like forever. During those long days, any disruption or distraction was welcome.
Now, I consciously and deliberately take my time when I shower and go through each and every single step with purpose. I love stepping out of the hot, Lush scented steam of the shower, then pampering myself with fragrant oils and butters on the skin. I will sit on our bed, let the balms sink in, the smells linger, and feel sorry I don’t allow myself to shower more often.
And finally, I feel a lot better these days, almost good even. It had nothing to do with Lush or taking better care of myself, yet on the other hand it did. Because when you’re down and have not much else to look forward to, and when you actually suffer and barely feel like you can stand it anymore, you have to create your own highlights to break through that. And Lush, it took my mind off things, it made me feel less miserable for a while because it was something I could do for and with myself. Browsing through its website, pondering what I, specifically and in particular I, needed to feel better, picking the products, sniffing them at the store, trying them out, and using them in exactly the way I saw fit and fun – all that gave me something to do, something to busy myself with. And I immersed in that experience completely.
Before you’re wondering: No, I am not affiliated with Lush in any what way. I mean, I wish. Because last time I checked, stuff there is still expensive! No, why I’m really writing this is because the whole thing taught me how vital self-care is. Like make up or shopping or skin care it’s a pursuit of vanity. It’s not heavy on the brain. The process and the results are of no significance in the big scheme of things. But, it’s the small things in life that count. And the small things they add up. If switching up my shower gel or using a massage bar instead of lotion is what it takes to make me feel even the slightest bit better, then that’s what I will do. If I feel better smelling of vanilla and mangoes than of soap, then what gives. It’s not an onsen, but it’s definitely something.