I’m waiting for the second coat of my nail polish to dry as I sit here and stare at my mom’s fully yellow urine bag dangling from her hospital bed. And I can’t help but think to myself; there’s literally nobody who’s having it worse than me! Just hold your horses for a sec, will you? Obviously, I’m going somewhere with this.
My mom, who just got out of a spinal surgery where they inserted screws into her spine, is dealing with post-op complications. She’s going to have trouble walking and she’s not fully aware of that fact at the moment.
Because of COVID-19, nobody’s allowed in the hospital. I’m all she’s got. Me, the anxious party! So I’m the one who has to tell her and the rest of the family what the heck happened in here. My anxiety levels are through the roof!
I go 4 stories down only to get a few puffs from a cigarette. I slept for 2 hours for the last 40 hours. My eyes are puffy and baggy AF! I don’t have a pillow.
And the worst part is I have a huge crush on my mom’s surgeon, who, if life has taught me anything, is very likely to be happily married. Not just happily married, but like, annoyingly married. I bet he cooks and says stuff like “you go ahead honey, I’ve got these”. What a jerk!
I am SO off my game that the last time he came in to check on my mom, I just stared at the back pockets of his jeans sitting from my couch completely zoned out.
So, if I need 5 minutes for a skincare routine and want to do my little song and dance, it’s not because I’m the worst daughter anybody’s ever had. It’s because I need to and I have to be helpful.
The hospital, the bed, the people, the things that are happening are all too new and too chaotic. And everything moves too fast for me to process properly.
And I need a pick me up. I need something familiar to remind me that I’ll go home and we’re going to be OKAY. And that this is just another day that needs to be lived.
I need to get on the ball because she needs someone supportive right now, not someone who’s having a continuous anxiety attack! So this is what I did.
I went into the bathroom and put away my mom’s pee bucket with my foot. And I let my skin absorb Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery as I stood there and stared at the drops of pee, which clearly couldn’t make it to the bucket. I couldn’t care less.
I’m relying on coffee to stay awake but nothing opened up my eyes like the scent of this serum. This is why I don’t mind fragrance in skincare. It’s the sensory association that helps with my mood. It’s the same fragrance I remember from multiple occasions where I was mostly happy.
Just like that, I get a glimpse of normalcy. That’s why, no matter how unlikely it sounds, a skincare routine is probably the best thing you can do for yourself in your darkest times.
I’ve never used this beauty routine for an occasion like this. But I did this beauty routine several times to calm myself and manage my anxiety. It’s going to get you on the ball so fast that it’s going to make your head spin.
Keeping your routine simple is important. The less stuff you need, the easier it is to do it. This 5-minute beauty routine involves 3 skincare products, one underwear, and 1 hair tie. And this is how you do it.
1. Apply eye cream
This is still up for debate; is eye cream an essential step in a skincare routine? I think yes. But some people think that a simple moisturizer will do the same. That’s why you need an eye cream for this anti-anxiety routine, even if you don’t use it on the daily. Because you need all the “luxury” you can get during an anxiety attack!
2. Enjoy a serum
Apply a face serum whether it’s a vitamin C serum or a hyaluronic acid one. Just go for it. It’s the same logic, it’s all about the feeling of self-indulgence. It’s an act of self-compassion to remind yourself that you deserve better than a single-step routine.
3. Slather on the moisturizer
Seal everything in and remember; you might be terrified and screaming from the inside, but you’ll die before you let anyone see you like that! Mostly because you hate to explain why you look as miserable as you look. So you’re going to go ahead and pamper. Deciding when to look miserable, now that’s the feeling of control you need during an anxiety attack!
4. Change your undies
There’s something crazy refreshing about changing your underwear for no reason. If you haven’t experienced this, it’s like butterflies in your bowel. Because it feels like you’re getting a bowel movement right when you’re about to hop in the shower. It’s a sense of coherence, a sign that everything is exactly how it’s supposed to be, not the other way around!
5. Put your hair up
Not everyone’s blessed with a perfect volume of hair that shapes up instantly. But that’s what high buns are for! After you do your routine and change your undies, use a hair tie or a scrunchie, and do a high bun. It lifts your eyes, your face, and always looks good!
As creatures of habit, humans tend to look for patterns in anything and everything. There are things you do daily. These become patterns that define your normal. And your skincare is one of them. A routine ignites a sense of familiarity and comfort. When there’s no familiarity to find comfort in, you create one.
And a skincare routine is the simplest of all! So, take a few minutes to do this beauty and self-care routine whenever you’re overwhelmed with anxiety. Just like that, you’re renewed, in control, and on top of things! At least for the next 12 hours. FYI, I was right about the jerk.