December has been deemed the month of restoration, here at the ATPB HQ. The end-of-year fatigue really starts to settle in from around October, no matter what you do. Thus it’s on our to-do to make space and time for the body to rejuvenate. There’s a difference between taking some time out and having intentional restorative rest that mends the soul. We’ve put together a quick self-care guide sharing what we’ll all be doing (around the globe) to get it together and feel like ourselves again.
Self-Care Guide to Restoring
- Reading: I’ve got a ton of books to catch up on, mainly my friend Mohale Mashigo’s collection of short stories called Intruders. I’m trying to prioritize more time off my phone, simply because my job demands a lot of it. I used to be able to read books so easily and now I struggle to finish one sometimes. But like any skill or hobby, you’ve got to practice and allocate time to something you love.
- Swimming: I used to be an avid swimmer and it’s one of the things I’ve let slide in my 9 to 5 life. Now that I’m freelancing and able to make my own schedule – I’ve got way more time to hit the pool and get some laps in. Cape Town is home to some really lovely public pools, namely the Sea Point Pavilion pool which has views of the coast and the gorgeous mountain.
- Reading: After putting together my very first photography exhibition I cannot wait to spend more time reading. I feel like this is the best time of year to indulge in reading in my favorite cafes with a Spanish Latte and much less on the to-do list.
- Swimming: I’ve also recently joined a new gym because it has a swimming pool – being in the water is my favorite thing so I plan on some early morning laps to clear my head and prepare for whatever’s next.
- Reading: I always feel so good after reading a good book. While I’m waiting for some authors I love to release their new books, I’ll be rereading some old favorites and possibly exploring a new genre for me, historical fiction.
- Language Practice: I’ve been practicing Italian for years now and I promised myself at the beginning of the year that I’d take it more seriously as I have in the past. I haven’t kept to that promise, so I’m starting again with new intentions to keep me motivated like listening to an Italian music playlist of songs I like once a week and watching a TV show or film in Italian on the weekends.
- Painting: I’m not a visual artist and I wouldn’t describe myself as creative but I’ve felt the urge to start painting this past year. I’ve always heard that it’s very relaxing. I want to attempt to create something beautiful for myself and hopefully with practice I’ll be able to keep something and hang it up in my home one day.
- Meditation & Journaling: I’ve been meditating for a decade and journaling since I could hold a pen, but only in the past year was I inspired to pair these daily practices each morning. I usually meditate first to check in with my body and breath for 10-20 minutes then write at least one page focusing my intentions for the day ahead, detailing dreams from the night before, or unfolding something that’s frustrating or simply amusing me lately. These are not static morning rituals, as I sometimes journal in the evenings or participate in group meditations. A new friend invited me to participate in a 21-Day Meditation Challenge on Creating Abundance, which was a welcome change of pace and great way to restore my sense of abundance.
- Hammam Scrub: Once a week I take a relaxing shower and restore my skin with a DIY hammam. I cleanse my skin with a eucalyptus black soap (this scent alone is a welcome relaxation trigger for me), let it sit for about 10 minutes in the steam of the shower, then scrub away dead skin from head to toe with a rough hammam glove. Tie a fresh bouquet of eucalyptus to the shower for added fragrance and revitalization.
- Get back into staying fit. I have taken a serious hiatus on working out due to a plethora of reasons, but now the excuses are starting to be incredible even to myself. I want to slowly start adding workouts to my week, finding any time that I can.
- Start cooking at home more often. With such a hectic schedule I have found myself getting ready-made food for myself and family. Not only is it important to cook at home from a nutritious standpoint, but also for the love that you put into your food. So I am going to start with restorative soups to keep our bodies warm and keep the colds and flu out of our household.
- Massages: I need a serious release of tension from the stress that I hold in my shoulders. As we are nearing the end of the year, I need to let go all that I am holding on to, physically and mentally.
- Pole Dancing and Pilates: For the past month, I’ve been attending Pilates and Pole Dancing Classes twice a week. It’s been a great way to get to know my body, not for what it looks like, but what it can do. Every week I’m amazed.
- Cleaning Out My Closet: This year I’ve been very strategic and thoughtful about (most of) the things I buy. Buying things I loved and plan to wear for a long time has made it easier for me to let go of the things that are just taking up space in my closet.
- Spending Time With Friends: I’ve been hanging out and having some very real conversations with my friends. It’s made me very grateful to have them in my life, and it’s also inspired me to be better to the people that I love.