image by @ky_nips
The more Leo Oil takes off the less time I have to do, well, everything else. And while I miss writing, this seemed a perfect time to start introducing you to some of the people who constantly inspire me. Meet Meghan, she's a writer, living my dream life in a lush garden, with sunlight beaming on her wherever she steps**. She's sweet, brilliant, funny and sumptuous. I just had to look that word up to make sure it meant what I thought it does, and it does (splendid, luxurious) so I stand by my previous statement. Anyways, I was having a lot of amazing conversations about this ephemeral line between self-care as a benefit, and turning it into one more thing we all stress out about. If one more person asks me if they "need" a luxury skincare item I am going to lose my mind. You don't need any of this stuff. Pick what makes you feel good, and make sure that you're taking care of your whole self, which includes the ability to learn, feed, and cloth yourself. That said, I think we all need more Meghan in our lives. 

**or so I imagine her. 

When Dena asked on her Instagram story if people felt like they needed to add or subtract things from their lives to find a better balance, I was torn. I told her, “I am right in the middle. I think I need more movement and more joy, but need to pare ‘tasks’ and noise down a lot.” 

I also told her, “I think sometime this week I’m going to write a list of all the things in my life that are bringing me joy/health/energy/sustenance (or that could if I’d give them more time) and a second list of all the stuff that feels like garbage, and see where I can do some trading out the bad stuff for the good stuff.” 

Then Dena told me she was going to post what I said on her blog, so I felt compelled to actually do what I said I’d do and make those lists. Here’s what I came up with: 

More: joyful movement, consistent bedtime, plants in my food, laughter, sparkling water, books, sunshine, simple skincare, vitamins, travel balanced with time at home, cooking, dog cuddles, generosity with my time and attention, meditation, looking at the ocean, rock ‘n’ roll, quiet time. 

Less: alcohol, late nights, Diet Coke, exercise that feels like a chore or punishment, dairy, taking myself too seriously, endless to-do lists, lengthy convoluted skincare, takeout, and pizza, stressing out, wasteful spending, sad mopey music, television, talking just to hear myself talk. 

I’ll be honest—my lists surprised me! I wasn’t conscious of how much I love sparkling water, how much I was missing reading a lot, how much joy I get out of just looking at the ocean. And I didn’t realize I was getting bummed out by convoluted skincare routines or emo music or not being mindful of my budget. 

I realized that I could take action on a lot of this super-easily. It’s not hard to cut alcohol out of my routine, and I sleep better when I don’t drink—so I could trade my evening wine for a more consistent early bedtime. I don’t mind cutting back steps (and ingredients) in my skincare routine, so I stopped with all the masks and tonics and fancy stuff and just started using a gentle cleanser, Glossier Solution, some hyaluronic acid, my trusty Leo Oil, and some Glossier sunscreen. I have other stuff I can add in when my skin needs a little extra love—moisture or clarity or acne help—but the basic building blocks can stay simple. 

I’m traveling right now so I couldn’t start cooking again right away, but I’ve been investing in learning more about meal prep to simplify the process when I do get back home. And I’m deleting most of my daily tasks from the Reminders app on my phone so that only the absolute essentials are still there. Getting rid of the myriad ways I’ve crammed my day full of mindless accomplishments leaves more time for meditation, dancing in the living room, cooking, reading, and cuddling my dog. 

Self-care doesn’t have to be all bubble baths and yoga retreats and expensive products. Self-care can be cutting a handful of unnecessary tasks from your task list, and ordering yourself an omelet from room service for breakfast. 

What do you need more of in your life? What do you need less of? Tell me here or on my Instagram—@realmeghankrogh