Life is pretty rough right now, even though things are gradually getting better. The semester is coming to an end, so we’re all getting more assignments, and it’s really hard to take the time for yourself when it seems like everything else should be of higher priority. These are small things that I used to find very hard to do and still struggle with from time to time, but even when I can’t take the time for myself that I want to, these tasks make me feel so much better.
The first thing I do is make sure that I brush my teeth every night. It might seem like a no-brainer, but since starting college, I was surprised to learn how little people actually brush their teeth. I had braces and wear a retainer, and I hate putting it on with dirty teeth (also the feel of dirty teeth just really bothers me) so that definitely helped me get better at brushing every night. I now have a whole routine, and while it’s a really simple process, it has started to feel like a nice little ritual I get to do to wind down before bed. I brush my teeth, floss (yes, I actually floss, and your gums adjust so no bleeding) and use mouthwash. The only specifically branded thing I use is the TheraBreath mouthwash in Mild Mint. Like the title, it has a really mild flavor so you can actually swish it around your mouth without it burning any layers of skin off. Since I’ve been at home, I just use whatever toothpaste my family has, and I get my toothbrushes from the dentist every time I have an appointment.
The second thing I do is shower every night, which is another habit I picked up from being in college and then stuck to when we had to go back home. Before college, I took really long showers every other day, but that doesn’t really work well in communal bathrooms. I started taking shorter showers every day, and since I shave, I would alternate between shaving and washing my hair to cut down on time. Now, I only wash my hair like once or twice a week and shave less than that (growing the winter leg carpet), but I still shower every night. Like brushing my teeth, it’s a way for me to wind down before bed and relax a bit, and at this point I actually feel weird trying to go to bed without showering. I have very, very dry skin, but also would never moisturize when I got out of the shower, so I LOVE in-shower lotions. I switch between a Jergens one and a Nivea one, but both are fantastic and take less than a minute to cover my whole body.
The third and last thing I do is moisturize my face and put on a thick lip balm. I wash my face in the shower and put on toner while I brush my teeth, but I don’t put on my moisturizer and everything else until right before I go to sleep. I’ve been using the First Aid Beauty Hydra-Firm Night Cream recently and while it’s kind of pricey, I found it for half price at TJ Maxx, so I would definitely check there first if you have one around. Over the winter I used the Nivea Soft Moisturizing Creme, which is very thick, but saved my dry skin. I also occasionally mix a rose hip oil from The Ordinary into my moisturizer for an extra boost of hydration. If I have a breakout, I just put whatever generic version of benzoyl peroxide gel is available onto the spots, although be careful if you have darker colored sheets because it can, and will, bleach your pillowcase. Lastly, after I put my retainer in, I slather on some of the eos The Hero lip balm and I’m good to go to bed!
I know I only wrote about things I do at night, but I wanted to focus on the nighttime especially, because a lot of us can only take time for ourselves right before bed. In the mornings we have to get up and get ready for whatever classes we have and amp ourselves up, which certainly has value, but being able to go through these small rituals just for yourself before bed is really valuable. When you get up during the day and prepare for what you have to do, it’s mostly so that you feel good and look presentable for other people. When you’re taking that time for yourself before bed, you have no one you need to impress and so it’s self care that is wholly your own. I hope you all are doing well, and take care of yourselves in whichever small ways you can.
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