On Skin Care Routines and Emotional Well-Being

I stumbled upon an article in the New York Times on ‘How to Build a Skincare Routine’ a couple of months ago. It made me think, hey, I’m an adult now. Maybe a skin care routine is exactly what I need to introduce into my life. I’m always enviously admiring my friends, colleagues and acquaintances who have flawless skin and wondering what about my genetic make-up predisposed me to constantly have an attack of unsightly pimples and subsequent perpetual scarring on my face. This article made me wonder if perhaps my going to sleep night after night with all the dirt, dust, oil and whatever greasy coat their combination forms on my face to wholly block my pores might be more to blame than my genetic make-up, so I ventured to try out having a skin care routine.

As with all things that I am so studiously inspired to begin, I started off really excited, consistent, feeling oh so organised and grown up. Even managed to be brushing my teeth before bed as well!

Yes, go ahead, judge me all you want, but I am the kind of person who washes clean only in the morning, when I am about to face the world. Why would I be getting all cleaned up and nice smelling to go to bed again? Is there someone special I am going to meet in my dreams that I need to look and smell nice for? That’s right, I don’t think so. My stand is therefore justified. But then again, this is the world of adulthood. When in Rome…

Long story short(more like long intro because the story is only beginning), hygiene before bed has always been beyond me but the article inspired me. I felt like I could become a really responsible and organised adult in control of my life if I could just stick to this skin care routine business.

My skin loved it. I know, I know, so cliché, this skin care routine supposedly came and solved all my problems. Well, for a spell it did. My skin was at some point completely free of unsightly bumps, pimples and wounds. It was great! Skin glowing, radiant, barely recognized myself!

This did not last long though. Soon enough, I was back to my old pimply self.

Why?

Why did the pimples come back eventually?
Simple…I fell off the wagon.

The initial steam died off and first it was one night that I did not stick to routine and wash my face. ‘Not too much harm to be done,’ I thought to myself. It was just one night. Before I knew it, one night had turned into 2 or 3 times a week and soon enough my skin was back to square one, back to what it looked like pre-(what I now term) my adult tendencies.

Le sigh. Looking like a pubescent again, waiting to start being carded at all the clubs like I am not a day over 16.

The way I see it, I fell off the wagon with the skin care routine and the outward representation of this was troubled skin.

***

As I write this, it is 2.08am on a Tuesday. I haven’t slept a wink since 7am Monday morning. In a few hours, I have to go to work.
Why am I awake?
I myself, am trying to deconstruct precisely that.

This previous Sunday, I literally spent the whole day in bed, sleeping. It was such a haze, sleep, wake up, sleep, grumbling of my stomach convinces me to make my way downstairs and in the least get some drinking water, some fruit, so I go downstairs and come back up with a piece of cake and a glass of some ice cold Fanta Orange. I get back to my room, eat, place the utensils on the floor by my bed and go back to sleep. I wake up a few hours later, sleep momentarily exhausted but unwilling to part with my bed. I reach for my current read and read. And read. And read. And fall asleep. And wake up. And go to the toilet. And get back to my room. And go downstairs to get more food. And eat. And add the utensils to the now growing pile by my bedside(Why didn’t I take them downstairs when I had the chance?) And sleep. And sleep. And sleep. And wake up at about 6pm from a 3 hour nap. Thinking about the fact that tomorrow is Monday starts to make me anxious.

I think of all the ways I had hoped to make this Sunday productive, think about the fact that I have instead done nothing but eat, sleep, read, repeat. The daze of the day starts to wear off and I start to think about all the things I have to do, all the things waiting for me on the other side of this wasted Sunday. If I hadn’t left Felicity, my laptop, in the office, (because of course I had planned to swing by the office and clock a few solid hours of productivity), I am sure at this point I would have taken her out and frantically tried to get as much as I could off my to-do list. But alas, unwilling to care at the moment, I decided the best use of my time would be to wash my hair. So I did. And then I went to sleep.

You’d think that after all that sleep on Sunday, I would be able to wake up when my alarm rang, 5am, on Monday morning. I did wake up. I got out of bed and went to the toilet and took a photo of the toilet, this is the only way to shut my alarm up. It makes sure I get out of bed as opposed to immediately snoozing and then falling back asleep.
So, I successfully made it out of bed, yes, and then I let my mind give in to the very first challenge of the day. I told myself I would sleep for just half an hour more then wake up and run 2.5k as opposed to running my usual 5k. Lies I tell myself. When the alarm rang after 30 minutes, I just put it off. Didn’t even set another alarm, and slept. I woke up at 7.30am.

Despite all the sleep, I woke up still tired.

And now, here I am, 2.30am now, and I cannot sleep.

Here’s the part where I tie these two seemingly independent stories together.

Just as “I fell off the wagon with the skin care routine and the outward representation of that was troubled skin”, I have fallen off my well-being routine and the outward representation of this is a troubled mind, body and soul. I am constantly busy but not at all productive. Too busy to write, too busy to run, too busy to plan, too busy to think. Buoyed by life and the seemingly endless, seemingly urgent demands, and not anchored by anything.

I hope this is the beginning of me starting to find my way back to sanity, peace of mind. To good, restful sleep as well. To more productive days.

Pay attention to what your body is telling you, to how you feel. What does it say about how you are living your life? Are you grounded and working towards what is important or are you busy enough to not realise you haven’t made any meaningful moves in a while? The small and gradual meaningful moves that add up. The washing your skin every night before bed for a smooth and radiant glow. The taking care of yourself, mind and body, for a much happier, more meaningful and conscious experience of life.
You have to take care of yourself, it’s part of this being an adult thing.

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2 Comments

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  1. 2
    Victor

    I liked this. “Buoyed by life and the seemingly endless, seemingly urgent demands, and not anchored by anything”

    On the story, not only is physical and mental grooming an adult thing I’ve found that it has immense economic value.

    Looking and feeling your best makes you confident which consequently has a direct impact on how you interact with people and the level of attention they give to you. As attention is the currency of this age, ditto.

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