Skip to contentSkip to footer

Lessons On Self Care

Share this

The Violet Files

Filed under




The pleasures and benefits of doing nothing—glamorously so.

Written By:
Sandra Ballentine
Illustration by:
Donald Robertson

If ever there was an ideal time to slow down, catch one’s breath and reflect, it’s this week: that slim window when most of the gifting and gathering is a wrap, work is quiet and the party-pooped can trade satin and sequins for a sleep mask and slippers. It’s literally the only time of year when no one will judge you for turning off your phone at noon, cuddling up to your cats and watching The Holiday for the fortieth time. 

So, while practically everyone I know is baking on a beach, carving turns in Courchevel or detoxing at a lakeside medispa somewhere in Germany, I’ll be doing something far more exotic: staying home. While seven solid days of homespun hygge, meditative “me time” and peaceful pampering may seem a frivolous way to cap off a crazy and disturbing year, sometimes it’s okay to make sure we’re, well… okay. 

On the more cerebral side of my staycation, I’m crafting a calendar of nature walks, cooking, reading, stretch class, Scrabble marathons, virtual sessions with my breath coach, and dreamy, candlelit soaks with delicious-smelling salts and oils. I used to detest baths (too time-consuming; that prune-y situation), but I had an aquatic epiphany during a recent stay at Hotel Borgo Santo Pietro in Tuscany when the spa staff surprised me one evening by filling my deep marble tub with hundreds of floating flowers—gorgeous detritus from the on-site floral designer’s studio. I can’t quite replicate the ethereal bliss of bathing in a billion blooms, but a few roses recycled from my holiday tablescape will do fine in a pinch. 

Sadly, all the petal-strewn water in the world won’t help ease the effects of epic inflation in the last quarter. And I’m not talking economics. Let’s just say my coupe, and caviar bowl, runneth over, and my face looks puffier than my new parka. Luckily, I keep a couple of Georgia Louise’s cryo tools in the freezer, next to the vodka, and I will use them around my eyes before donning Dr. Dennis Gross’s LED-powered DrX Spectralite Eye Mask (pair it with a Stella McCartney cape dress for serious superhero vibes) or applying a cooling hydrogel sheet mask packed with actives, like 111Skin’s Cryo De-Puffing Energy Facial Mask. Since I’m on the slow-beauty train this week, even my product application is intentional. I will bask in each mask, and smooth on my serums as languidly as I like, stopping for an occasional centering sigh. 

After so much self-service, I feel it’s only fair to bring the concept to bed, where (shhhh!) a brand-new suitor is waiting. Taking Secret Santa to a whole new level, a dear and soon-to-be divorced friend gave me what could be my favorite stocking stuffer of all time: Smile Makers’ The Artist, which she, a connoisseur, swears is the best vibrator ever made. I will have to let you know later, though, because all this attention I’m paying to myself is making me blush. But never mind. Thanks to the last several days, and now a very promising personal massage device, it’s over for ‘23 and me, and I’m refreshed and ready for whatever ‘24 has in store.