In many ways, my self-care philosophy can be boiled down to this – “Slow Down.” While there are many parts of long-ago society that I have no desire to go back to (hobble skirts and gross inequality, for instance), other aspects are quite appealing to me, like fountain pens and mail that isn’t junk. I notice this more around the holidays and we’re smack-dab in the middle of that just now, which probably explains why I find myself pondering on the topic.
For that reason, I’m also listing this post as an “Essential” – remember, you can always find all the “Essential” posts by entering that as a search term in the bar on the upper right. While I can list all sorts of things as “Essentials” that help with slowing down, I’m going to focus on just a few here that I’ve been adding to my life since I last posted. And you know I’m going to talk about saving money while living well – it’s what I do. (Proof is found in this long-ago post.)
Let’s start with catalogs. You might have warm memories of leafing through the old Sears “Wish Book” and, while it’s true that nearly everything can be found online, I have a fondness for physical catalogs. It soothes my Material Girl to page through catalogs filled with pretty, interesting things. My approach is to act as if I can buy anything I want to, circle those items with abandon and joy, then put the catalog aside. Usually, in a couple of weeks, I don’t care as much about the item, but if I still do – well, it’s time to start looking for the sales. I particularly like the J. Peterman catalog for its watercolor drawings and fanciful descriptions. It’s simply wonderful for daydreaming and they’ll send you one for free. I also found fun, fun things in the Victorian Trading Company catalog – again, ask and ye shall receive (at least the catalog). If you want to go big with your daydreaming, contact the Cunard company and request brochures detailing round-the-world cruises with a fleet that includes the Queen Mary 2 – and a butler in the Very Nice Suites. Try this list as a starting place for catalogs and make going to the mailbox enjoyable again! Oh, and when you’re done, be sure to recycle them if possible or drop them off at a hospital waiting room or other place where people need something to pass the time.
Small indulgences for your “my day” plans. The holidays can be stressful and you know how much I swear by the 12-Hour Vacation. When those days come, you want to have a fully-stocked “goody bag” to help you unwind, de-stress, and just remember how wonderful you are to keep the plates spinning the way you do. The secret is to stock the “goody bag” as you go along. At this time of year, nearly everyone is handing out samples, so keep your eyes open. You want to stock your bag with something wonderful to read (by the way, it’s the right time of year to look at subscribing to a magazine devoted to your interests, be that birds, flowers, or politics), something delicious to nibble, and something fantastic to use. I store my filled goody bag on top of two good magazines in a drawer in the bathroom cabinet so it’s always in the same place. My latest “find” has been tiny samples of Penhaligon’s perfumes. I was attracted by their whimsical, circus-style ads and, when I found out I could take a “quiz” to match me with some of their scents, I gave it a try – two free samples, although you do have to pay for shipping.
Now, I’m not totally against online browsing and shopping. Examine Quince for quality clothing at ridiculous prices from a company that puts sustainability at the forefront of their mission. And, being determined to only have clothing that fits me well and that I enjoy wearing, I watched Black Friday deals and ordered what I hope will be two perfect white cotton blouses from Lands’ End. (Another great free catalog!)
There are many, many more, but that’s a plentiful start. Be kind to yourselves, Divas. Much is expected of us in the next four or so weeks and it’s important to pace ourselves.