For Jessamyn Stanley, Self-Care is a $6 Bath Soak and Giving Herself Permission to be ‘Selfish’

Self-care is evolving from a “that’s nice” kind of privilege to a vital part of our wellbeing in 2020. Jessamyn Stanley, author of Every Body Yoga and founder of The Underbelly, was way ahead of the curve. “All of that yoga practice prior to this was all preparation for now. Everything we do in terms of tapping into the self and breathing and trying to find the present moment—it's not for the moments when things are going right, it's all for the moments when life is not going right,” she says. “Before I was kind of like, ‘Oh, this feels great.’ Now I'm at this place where it's like, ‘No, I have to do this.’”

Every Body Yoga

For Stanley, self-care is the obvious—yoga, meditation, a little pampering—but it also involves deeper work. “A lot of what that functionally looks like is just accepting that I'm not okay. I think that there's this fear of admitting vulnerability and sensitivity,” she says. “I’ve found so much power through just being like, yeah, no, I'm not okay and this is not okay. Because when I'm able to accept that, I'm able to stand up for what I actually need.”

Self-care often gets a bad rep as being overly indulgent—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, says Stanley. “Self-care practices are seen as being really selfish, but ultimately I don't know how I can show up for my businesses or how I can show up for my family or my friends if I'm not really tapping into myself,” she says. “How can you give to others from an empty cup?”

We asked Jessamyn about being “selfish,” the beauty routine that makes her feel grounded, and what she’s doing to fill her own cup.

I keep essential oil diffusers around my house to keep the energy toned, and sage the fuck out of everything constantly—starting with myself.

Saje Aroma Carve Diffuser

But the most important act of self-care for me is just letting whatever I need be the most important thing. And that seems like a simple concept, but it gets me into trouble with other people, because I'm really introverted. Spending time around negative people is just very spiritually taxing for me, so my biggest thing is just being careful about who I'm around. It's been an interesting thing to be conscious of during a pandemic quarantine, because it's like there's already a limitation on the people that I'm able to be around. It’s really clarified my understanding that sometimes there are friends of mine that I don't want to spend time with the way I did in the past. I just don't want to spend my time having my energy drained.

I love pampering myself as energy drains around me. I'm a big bath person—I’ve often thought that there's nothing a hot bath and a good cup of tea can't fix. I also feel the time that has become low key my most sacred time is my skincare time. I used to do this in the bathroom, but now it feels better to sit in front of this window in my bedroom—I have all my skincare products lined up on the window sill—so I can just look out the window. I have become really familiar with the squirrels that live on my neighbor's roof and for a moment, I just appreciate that. Like, I live in a space of such privilege that I can take my skincare products and these things that feel good on my skin and really just let it feel good. It’s not to make my skin look good, I just want to take this time to heal my body at this stage of my life and appreciate the bounty of my life. That, for me, just feels really, really necessary.

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I’m a Dr. Teal's stan. I definitely like Dr. Teal's Pink Himalayan Mineral Soak. I do a lot with almond oil, shea butter and tea tree oil. I was in a scooter accident last year and I had some pretty bad scarring on my face and my facialist recommended that I use tea tree oil. I had been apprehensive about it in the past because it's such a strong sensation on the skin, but I have lots of different dilution methods. I really can't say enough about it. Those are things that are pretty much necessities of my whole beauty routine.

Dr. Teal's Pink Himalayan Mineral Soak

Organic Tea Tree Oil

Almond Face Oil

And in addition to that, since quarantine started I’ve been using this Farmacy Beauty toner it’s called Deep Sweep. There's so many pollutants in the air and my skin just takes it in—my cotton pads are filthy when I tone my skin. Having a really good toner, it's everything to me.

Deep Sweep Toner

I find that I am most spiritually disconnected from the world around me when I'm not spending any time outside. And it's been really easy for that to happen during quarantine. So I have to be very intentional about going outside and putting my feet in the dirt, even hands in the dirt.

Ingesting so much media just creates so much profoundly negative energy. There is a necessity for that I think—there's an importance in staying woke and knowing what's going on in the world—but at the same time, there has to be a restoration of spirit. So I try to limit the amount of media that I'm consuming or at least try to limit the times of the day when I'm consuming it. Like, my phone is away from my bed. I try to use my regular alarm clock so that I'm not looking at my phone for an alarm and being immediately inundated with notifications when I wake up. It's like there is nothing, truly nothing, that it's so important that it needs to get in the way of that first moment of waking up and remembering that I'm a human being.

Somneo Sleep and Wake-Up Light

I'm pretty much constantly reading and rereading The Four Agreements. And then I recently read The Fifth Agreement. Those books are like my spiritual touch points. They're a reminder of how I can show up in this world.

The Four Agreements

The Fifth Agreement

I also just listened to a podcast called 1619 [about the origins of slavery in America]. I loved it so much. It was very moving for me and really has brought on a lot of what feels like important self-reflection. I also just started reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I'm really enjoying that. And there’s a book my editor recommended to me by Maggie Nelson. It’s called The Argonauts. The style of it is so jarring—it’s really provoking a lot for me right now. Books and podcasts are definitely crucial to my self-care.

The Bluest Eye

The Argonauts

I'm just trying to tell the people that I love, that I love them when I have the opportunity. And really appreciate that each day is a gift and an opportunity. I think that there's so much positivity in the volatility right now. And I think there's so much needed expression that is finally coming forth. I feel honestly really grateful to be alive at this point in time. To see so much change happening and to be a part of that change is really magnificent. And so I’m trying to really acknowledge that and know that the energy that is being forced upon me is not the only option—it's possible, even in the immense darkness, to really allow the light to shine forth.

Macaela MacKenzie is the senior wellness editor at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @MacaelaMack. 

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