It sounds, smells, and feels like December!
Since I moved to North India my winters have been very different compared to the ones in Mumbai. Firstly, despite my love for the beautiful city of Mumbai, I must acknowledge that the city hardly experiences any winter. Delhi/Gurgaon has been a completely different experience, which I’ll discuss at some other point as I don’t want to get distracted from my December cheer. It is my favourite time of the year and I know a lot of people, in general, enjoy this time of the year regardless of the weather. There is a nice Christmasy holiday vibe to it and people are generally pumped about the idea of a fresh new start. I am one of them.
My winters have been pretty brutal in Gurgaon. A few cardigans and a good pair of socks were enough to pass the winters in Mumbai, but now I actually go shopping every year to stack my wardrobe with winter-wear. Nothing that I wear generally to the office or even at home works. I love pastel colours or extremely dark colours so I ensure a mix of both in my wardrobe. My recent winter shopping was the best one as Ershad helped me a lot in picking up the right winter wear from his London visit. Right from getting basic medicines which by the way are of the best quality to warm clothes, coats, sweaters, jackets, and gloves, the list is really long. This just made it so much easy for me and I can’t thank him enough. However, this is just one part of the winters for me. There is so much more to winters than shopping.
I would, in general, make a DIY face and body packs once in a while in Bombay to pamper myself. I am super allergic to a lot of things and hence DIY packs always work for me. Now I make it a ritual to prep for my winters and summers since both are extreme over here. Also, not to forget, but the heightened pollution scene in Delhi NCR is just the worse. Change in cities and weather has been really hard on my health, and especially my skin. I am talking about severe allergies and reactions that directly punctured my self-confidence to an extent that I was tempted to move back to Mumbai. I had someone or the other asking me every day if my face is ok, or if I am going through some stress.
I was losing patience waiting for the prescribed medication to work without any reactions. To keep up with my habit of reading, I happened to read a short story by Maya Angelou an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist, this month. I remember one strong quote in her write-up that struck me so hard - “I got my own back”. It just made me feel like I am not going to take the self-pity route anymore. You need to love yourselves first, be happy with who you are, and what you have become.
I decided I will take this treatment into self-care love. My allergies haven’t gone completely and they do get worse with the change in weather and pollution frequently but now it doesn’t affect me so much. I’ve just decided on one small thing. I take one day out of my schedule which is Sunday and made into Self-care Sundays, that sometimes pans out as Self-care weekends.
What does my self-care weekends or Sundays involve? It’s an exciting list of everything I look forward to. It makes me feel great about myself and leaves me energised for the coming week. Here is the list in no particular order :
1. Skin-scare? No. Skin-care!
I absolutely love the idea of DIY face packs and with a condition of sensitive skin, it’s the only option one I am left with. I make different face gels, moisturisers, scrubs from aloe vera, oats, honey, coffee, olive and so many more ingredients, depending on the season. I stock them only for a week because I love making fresh ones. I will be doing a dedicated post on each of these for different seasons very soon. But while I am making them I put on my music, sing-along and enjoy this process a lot. There are a few organic brands in India that are completely natural and are a part of my skincare routine and some really great ones like “Lush” that I can totally vouch for but are not available in India currently. Now that I have been visiting my dermatologist and following skincare routine religiously I can assure you one thing that our skincare routine should include as much natural or sourced ingredients and cut down on any chemical processing.
2. Bake your cake and eat it too
To feed your tummy, you might want to order in to take a break but have you considered cooking? Sometimes I love cooking and it is a whole lot of fun to just cook together with a friend or family. The process of cooking that begins with setting aside the ingredients, to preparing the food and to finally eating is highly engaging and interactive. Make sure you cook food with a partner who loves doing it together. And during this process having a glass of wine or a simple sherbet during hot summer days adds to the fun. You can also bake a cake without any reason, or make a hot soup for cold evenings. I do all of these to satiate my soul.
3. Mani-Pedi & Movies
This might feel like a pointer from a chick-flick movie, but trust me a good mani-pedi can do wonders for everyone. You can simply cut and file your nails, scrub your feet and get rid of the dead cells. Do a regular cleansing at home or go to a salon. Whatever suits you. But pampering your hands and feet is not gender-biased. Do what makes you feel good. A small tip, if you are doing it at home and don't want this process to be boring, you can do it while watching movies.
4. Champi Master
I call this a magic champi for me. Right from my Aaji (grandmother) to my mom, both were champi masters. It was a ritual we would do every Sundays followed by a hair wash. I still make it a point to get the champi done, whenever my mom is here or I visit her. Now my routine of a good champi is followed by a nice rose oolong tea and it is my secret magic therapy. You can follow it with any herbal/green tea and share your experience with me. For me, it is a feeling of a good meal that ended with even brilliant dessert. I also do a complete herbal hair spa at home which works like a dream for me.
5. Beauty Sleep
Ahh, my favourite part of the everyday schedule - sleep. Especially when the temperature has dropped to 7-8 degrees in Delhi NCR, to curl up inside a couple of blankets is the best thing. We all know the benefits of good sleep. It helps in keeping your blood sugar levels in control, helping you concentrate better and to build your immune system. Sleep brings a glow to your face, it reflects freshness and like they say don’t let anybody dim your sparkle so don’t compromise on your beauty sleep. Remember to hover instead of hustle at times.
6. Watch a good show or read a book, articles, blogs that bring a smile on your face.
Watch and read stuff that makes you feel good about life in general, something easy and refreshing. I do watch shows that are on serious, disturbing, criminal issues with history and facts but sometimes we need to go easy on the content we want to consume. You don’t want to be hard on yourself all the time.
7. Call Me Maybe - your long-distance bestie and catch up on all the gossip
Okay, chill now…everyone gossips. Some people call it a conference call and some call it gossip. There is no harm in gossip until it's just for laughs and not filled with negativity and hate.
8. Prep up and step up
I learnt this one from my mom. From my school days till today, I have a habit where, every Sunday, I pack my clothes and accessories to wear for a week, write down the books I plan to finish reading and create the weekly tasks list. It just makes me feel so much more organised and helps me focus on the work at hand. Like my mom always says “prep up to step up” in whatever you do.
I enjoy my Self-care Sundays a lot now. It’s my time to just do the things that make me feel good. Taking a little extra care to fight against these allergies and reactions. This is my therapy for a winter-loving soul. Don’t be too hard on yourself, sometimes all you can do is nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just relax, breathe a little fresh air, cuddle in the blanket or simply enjoy the soup or eat your cake without watching your calories. After all, we all deserve some love.
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