Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Baths, Baking, and Binge-Watching: Self-Care, Elia-Style


I’m a busy person. I don’t say this as a complaint; I actually enjoy being busy, and after a lifetime treating busyness as something that happens to me, I eventually came to terms with the fact that I deliberately choose busyness. I like having many hobbies alongside my full-time teaching job and writing career. In the last few years, I’ve focused on being more selective about what I choose to say “yes” to, forgoing tasks that bring me no joy and focusing instead on those I love and/or that serve the community. But that doesn’t mean my plate got emptier: it stayed full, but with a more appetizing selection.

As a busy person, I have learned to prioritize self-care. Keeping my emotional well full, instead of depleted, gives me the resources to work when it’s time to work and play when it’s time to play. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and even the tasks I enjoy take time and energy. Here’s how I take care of myself in the middle of my busy schedule.

Baths
I take baths almost every day during the winter, and throughout most of the fall and spring as well. Lush should name a bath bomb after me, since I buy enough of them. Here’s my preferred bath setup: very, very hot water; a dark bathroom, lit only by a jar candle or two; a glass of ice wine; a face mask, maybe by Toly Moly or Skin Food; and a bath bomb. My favorite bath bombs are actually from a tiny shop called Zeb’s in New Hampshire, but I am partial to Lush, and I’ve also bought bulk bath bombs from Amazon as well as made my own. Sitting in the dark, with lush scents surrounding me, I don’t have anything to do but relax.

Baking
When I began watching The Great British Baking Show last year, I got the urge to start baking again. I used to bake all the time, but slowly drifted away from it. Pulling out the stand mixer again reminded me that baking isn’t just a fun hobby: for me, it’s also self-care. I like the meditative action of kneading bread, the specificity of exact measurements, the satisfaction of creating something delicious from raw ingredients. I recently started making croissants, and the precision required for a full puff pastry has inspired me to make even more complicated baked goods in the future. Plus, I get to eat them afterward.

Binge-Watching
It’s the era of Netflix, and while I don’t watch a lot of TV, I like the mindless relaxation of binge-watching a show. I don’t want to add anxiety to my life, so I avoid intense shows -- except Game of Thrones, since I’ve been committed to that for years. Instead, I binge lighter fare: the aforementioned Great British Baking Show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and Queer Eye are frequently on in this house, even when we’ve finished a series and started circling back. I’ve also been ravenously devouring Schitt’s Creek, which has some of the best writing on television. In a pinch, though, I’ll return to an old classic like The Office or That 70s Show. It’s comfort media, and I’m all here for comfort media.

We’re all busy. In our go-go-go world, making time to fill your soul is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. I love being busy, and I love taking time to relax with simple indulgences.

JUST PAST TWO

Nothing is forbidden…

Abby Burke put her wild days behind her, determined to be the adult she thought she needed to be. It was just a phase, right? But when her college reunion reveals her…adventurous…past to her straitlaced gentleman of a husband, Abby is terrified he’ll reject her.

But Sam is more than intrigued by what has his normally bold wife flushing with embarrassment…and desire. So when he and Abby stumble onto an especially hot scene that takes them over the edge, he proposes a challenge: confess their deepest fantasies and fulfill them together.

As their playful explorations escalate, their forays into exhibitionism and kink shift the way they see each other and their relationship—for the better. But when Sam finds himself longing to see her pleasured by other men, and Abby’s all in, they wonder if this will make their marriage stronger or end up tearing them apart.

ENTANGLED | AMAZON | IBOOKS | B&N



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