A quiet moment of ritualistic contentment. A simple pleasure. A wee moment of unadulterated peace and quiet. I firmly believe we all need them. Those moments in which you breathe deeply, straighten out the kinks in your spine, remind yourself just how fierce you are, and calm your centre. They’re the moments that re-energise and re-fresh you, re-centre and re-set. They are an introvert’s daily haven and a luxury extroverts often take for granted. And they make the world go around.
As an ambivert (or, more specifically, an ENFP/Campaigner – the most introverted of the extroverted personality types) I am all too familiar with how quickly life can get away with us. I fill my time with friends and hobbies and noise. I book my weekends weeks in advance and surround myself with music and the hustle and bustle of life. And then one day, in a quiet moment, I wonder why I’m so tired.
I’m tired because I’ve lost those little moments of sanity. And I am so tired. After months of moving, burglaries, money problems, job hunting and career uncertainty, study, new routines, new friends, a new relationship, travel, late nights, homesickness and germs I am exhausted. On Thursday, midway through date night with my wonderful boyfriend, I developed flu-like symptoms. I have barely left bed since. Two pairs of pyjamas, a duvet, two blankets, two hot wheat bags and the aforementioned boyfriend snuggling me weren’t enough to keep my teeth from chattering so hard I almost chipped one. It was the last straw.
Some people walk or run. Some listen to music. Some paint or write. Some knit. Some cuddle their pets. Some, like my boyfriend, play computer games. Some find their peace in that first morning coffee 10 minutes before the house rises. Some in their early morning walk to work. I enjoy and value all these things. But my true sanity lies in literal self-care. Most specifically, in the ritual of bathing. The hot water, the steam, the aromatics and the soft and rough sensations of scrubs and moisturisers on my body. In those small moments of routine and cleanliness I find my centre.
Today, after an amazing (and exhausting) lunch with a good friend, I wandered into Lush and bought a cacophony of peace and deliciousness. Bath bombs, shower scrubs, body butter, face masks and exfoliants. I stocked up. I spent the princely sum of $100 for what will amount to months of happiness and sanity. Aromas of rose, lavender, peppermint, lemon and sandalwood fill my bathroom now, tempting me every time I walk in. And tonight, finally, after dinner and chores and further exhaustion brought on by basic tasks, I let myself seek my solace.
My bath was heaven. Peace. Quiet. Solitude. Heaven. I lathered on a face mask, filled the tub with marshmallow scented pink water, scrubbed myself down with green sugar and rubbed cocoa body butter into my skin. I read my book and let my concerns leak from my mind with every line on the page. I lit a candle and closed my eyes and drifted. And slowly but surely every broken piece of my core glued itself back together.
You see, you don’t need to fork out a tonne of money or go somewhere exotic to relax. You don’t need trained practitioners, expensive treatments or complicated detoxes. You just need to take a few moments, however brief or stolen, entirely for yourself. Regularly. You owe it to you to be calm and content. No one else will look out for you first, however much they may love you. No one else can see your true exhaustion or how lost you may feel inside. That’s all you. Only you can ease that confusion. Only you can dim that noise.
A friend recently told me a secret. She said that no one really knows what they’re doing or where they’re going; that everyone is just faking it and hoping for the best. And she’s right. But in moments like these, in my little pieces of sanity, I feel like I can put the puzzle of the world back together.