I get up really early. First I *get ready and then go directly to work, cooking breakfast, preparing homemade lunches, putting away clean dishes - and dirtying others. I prod my kids along their own morning routines and I get everyone out the door on time. I do other odd jobs like bake granola, put in a load or laundry, mix up muffins, take out the compost and harvest from the garden. I'm up for 4 hours before I sit down. (**Jump down in the post if you want to know what my coffee break looks like). And it's alright. *But I don't think I could do it so willingly, and with such positivity, if it wasn't for my slow-beauty-style morning ritual. It's all about how I begin my day. I need some moments to collect myself and set a foundation: physically, emotionally, spiritually.
What is slow beauty? I’m going to explain slow beauty and suggest ways to bring this into your morning.
Slow beauty is about being present as you care for your physical appearance. Also know as personal hygiene. Grooming. In Ayurveda, this is an important aspect of of the daylong Dinacharya. I think I like the French term best: faire sa toilette.
No matter what you call it, in the case of slow beauty, its a wholly intentional moment.
Slow beauty also encompasses the deliberate choices you make about what you put on your body - the products you use to make your toilet. (This is English for faire sa toilette).
Slow beauty involves nurturing yourself.
Slow beauty is body as temple.
Every morning you must care for yourself. So, practical as I am, I say, "Why not make the most of it?" I say "Turn your humdrum routine into a new slow beauty morning ritual!"
Rituals are a lot like routines. Like routine, ritual involves habits. But these habits are all dressed up and loaded with meaning.
It's like the difference between grabbing a generic drip coffee in a styrofoam cup, quick on the run - and - **sipping a steamy latte out of your favorite hand-thrown ceramic mug, brewed from freshly roasted coffee beans, while you take a pause and curl up under a hand-woven wool blanket.
See the difference?
I want you feel the difference, too!
To that purpose, I give you 7 ideas to create a new slow beauty morning ritual for life changing results:
1) Start with a Beautiful Space
Make an altar-like space with your skincare and beauty products. Perhaps by laying them out on a special tray.
I have a vintage plate that’s sterling silver. (I was really excited to bring it out after years spent in a cardboard box in storage). Find something that expresses values that are important to you. For me, I love old fashion pieces with a history of their own. I appreciate unique objects I won't see elsewhere. I'm into quality. I like the romance of a different era. This tray says it all. (Check out my blog post Is Your Home Your Sanctuary?)
For the products, themselves, choose those that come in bottles, jars and containers that make you feel good. Remove price tags. Keep everything dusted. Keep your products in alignment with your values.
Why not place another special memento among your products, too? - a token reminding you of how you want your day to unfold. Special jewelry works, too. I have a couple paper-covered boxes I brought back from Florence. I’ve had them for decades. Every day, they lift the finest of my spirits.
Slow beauty isn't just about your spirit and it's definitely not an aesthetic. Remember how I mentioned treating your body like a temple? The products you place on your morning ritual altar are best if they nourish your body and don't contain substances that harm you. Just like slow food, slow beauty products are thoughtfully made.
Make clear choices. Bring inspiration to the start of your day.
2) Take Pleasure in Quiet To quiet your mind and pause the chatter, close your eyes, breathe deep into your chest, and feel your heart expand both on your inhales and exhales. You can place your hands over your heart, too. At the same time, put your attention into who you want to be today: -what emotional gifts do you want to give to those close to you - what are two workday goals? Take as much time with this as you can. It’s worth setting your alarm clock a few minutes early, to ensure you make time for this. Slow living and slow beauty are all about purposefully choosing what you say yes to - this exercise gets you clear on what you want to include.
3) Notice the Right Now Moment Put your attention into everything you’re feeling. Notice if you feel tired or rested and identify how you know the difference. Feel the cool morning air on your feet. Take stock of how your eyes feel. Where is your energy level at?
4) Cleanse Your Face As you wash your face, become aware on how your skin feels as you're splashing on water. Listen to the sound of the running water. Take note of any scents that surround you. Face washing can be for more than cleansing - it feels great to massage your face with your soapy hands. As you do so, feel the sensations in the muscles of your face. Be fully aware again, as you towel off.
5) Smooth on Skin Cream As you smooth on skin cream and other products, focus on how it feels to be nourishing your skin. Physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment. Choose products that nurture you. Decide you’re important enough to eliminate the products that harm. This is a way to make your skin and body healthy. It's also a declaration of love to your spirit and your psyche that you’re worth it, that you matter immensely. As you rub in moisturizer, look into your own eyes, admire your face and give thanks for all its beauty. This is a moment for self-love. This is not the time to be critical. This is your time to appreciate you.
6) Do Your Hair Do your hair with the same love and awareness. Note how your hair feels as you stroke it. See how it catches the light. Say thank you for the self-care.
7) Adorn Yourself If you apply makeup, choose carefully. Again, pick what is healthy. It's important to let your embellishment express who you are - not who you imagine you should be. The same goes for what you dress in. Your makeup, your hairstyle, your clothes: they're symbolic. They represent you to the world. The symbols you choose are a language to attract and repel (repelling is an important gesture, too, embrace it!) An important method for bringing who’s good, bringing the people who see and understand you, into your life. In this step of your morning ritual, look closely at how you look and ask yourself: “Is this really me?” Listen carefully for your answer. Keep on asking this question each and every day. As you move deeper into your essence, the answer might change and transform. Congratulations.
You’ve laid down your morning foundation! You’ve celebrated yourself. You’re calm and prepared. Your slow beauty morning ritual is complete. You’re still feeling the pleasure. Go out into your world-you’re ready to meet it now! If you love these ideas for your own slow beauty morning ritual, I’ve put together a download for you to print and place in your bathroom. I think this will make it easier to remember and help you create your own new morning ritual. A kind of guidance until you've got your own thing going on with regularity.
(You could keep the download on your phone, but I recommend you leave your phone put until after you've gone through your daily morning ritual).
If you want to more tangible tips for slow living, Listen in on this thoughtful conversation on YouTube.