3 self-care rituals for workdays
At some point over the past few years, I developed a habit that has since become a routine I use to keep my weeks riddled with positivity. What used to be spontaneous daydreaming has now become a dedicated ritual that I take very seriously.
Every Monday at work, I make a mental list of simple pleasures- a new herb plant I'd like to pick up for my kitchen, a nail polish color I want to try, a recipe that looks good, an outfit I'd like to recreate, etc. Nothing too large scale (we're not talking vacations or $300 shoes), just inexpensive treats and small things I'd like to make time for.
After I've listed these things I'm interested in, I sprinkle them throughout my schedule. That way tomorrow, my Tuesday feels a little less drone. I'm not just getting up, working 10-6, coming home, exercising and heading to bed.
Nope- between work and other obligations I'm also: trying that incredible prairie skirt look I saw. I'm getting a Beach Peach mani on my way home from work. I'm cooking that cabbage lasagna recipe I saw on Facebook. You get the picture.
My days feel so much less mundane this way, and it's the easiest antidote for that uninspired "I'm in a rut" feeling that comes from following an unflinching workday routine. I thought it would be fun to start sharing my weekly lists, and I'm curious to hear what little things others look forward to themselves.
Here are 3 examples from this week:
1. Finding a way to style the incredible yellow pants I snagged last week (I did this already so let's chat about it). The pants are Zara. I have some issues with Zara in terms of social irresponsibility so I would never buy from them directly- but I found these at one of my favorite vintage stores in Grammercy. They're high waisted and have that breezy-light linen look to them. They're a perfect pop of color in my summer wardrobe. I paired these with a Diane von Furstenberg blouse (a hand me down from my extremely stylish mom), a simple tawny belt and tortilla-colored Lucky Brand sandals. The bag is Calvin Klein and I use it almost every single day.
2. Trying a new neighborhood spot. I absolutely love New York. I've wanted to live here since I was little. And after years of living in Manhattan, it still has that charm that I always loved it for. I used to live in East Village (7th street), but relocated to the Upper East Side last September.
I think in such a massive city, it's important to foster a close-knit neighborhood connection for yourself if you're able. When I return to my old neighborhood in East Village for example, it's such a treat to go back to that brunch spot where I love the sangria, or the cafe on the corner of 7th where the waiter remembers me and asks about my mom. Or to run into the older lady who lived next door. To feel like this wasn't just some bustling, anonymous metropolis - it was my home.
Exploring local spots in favor of chains can get expensive, but it's one of the best ways to get to know your neighborhood. I try to consciously pick a neighborhood spot to check out about once a week- whether I'm grabbing a slice of cake from that cute mom+pop diner with my boyfriend after a late-night movie or walking through the gallery a few blocks east of me, and chatting with the artist who's always sitting inside it when I jog past. Neil's (above) has always caught my eye. I love the old school feel of their brick exterior and neon sign. So on my list this week: grab a coffee here at some point instead of hitting Starbucks or making my own.
3. Getting my fix of brain food. Thought Gallery has to be one of the most fantastic resources I've discovered since moving to New York. About 11,000 New Yorkers subscribe to this gem. I cannot believe that number isn't higher. Thought Gallery calls itself the 'only site dedicated to the mind of New York City,' and is essentially an incredibly organized resource for educational events, many of which are completely free. From lectures and walks to screenings and special events, Thought Gallery provides New Yorkers with a full calendar of daily events focused on academics, awareness and general education.
One of these talks is on my list for this week. A man named Edward Tenner, distinguished scholar for the Study of Invention and Innovation, will be joined by Angela Chen, science journalist at The Verge, for a conversation and Q&A to follow. The topic? The relationship between modern technology and genuine efficiency.
Today's tech supposedly helps us to do more, faster. We should be able to do so many more things, so much quicker with all the aide right at our fingertips. So what's the catch? And how can we best capitalize? I'm excited to find out, and I love when a great Thought Gallery lecture pops up on their itinerary and I can add it to my weekly self-care schedule. I used to look for talks that applied directly to my interests and career, but I've found that attending lectures about things I don't usually think about- like outer space or psychology- has been a great way to relax, engage in open mindedness and grow.
So that's my week, made a little less mundane by a few simple things worth looking forward to. I'm planning to start sharing these a few times a month, so be sure to stay tuned or share your feedback on how you prioritize self-care in your routine.