Vintage Self-Care Tips
Jul 22, 2020 | by Becky Oeltjenbruns
We find ourselves in a challenging time. While I’ve seen many examples of humanity and beauty, I feel like I’m still viewing things from a place of stress. There is definitely an undercurrent of anxiety flowing through our nation & world right now. I often wonder how people dealt with the pandemic of 1918. These folks were navigating tragedy and isolation long before the era of technological connectivity. As tough as things are now, we can replicate some of our normal experiences via Zoom or Skype. If we want to check in on a loved one, they are only a text or phone call away. For our ancestors facing an invisible threat during WWI, the phone was still a luxury item.
To pull myself out of this funk I often catch myself singing Bing Crosby’s “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep).” The lyrics soothe my soul and help me re-center. As I was thinking about this week’s article I decided to review the Cause A Frockus archives. We’ve talked about a great many topics before from tips for vintage stress relief, to beauty advice & beloved brands that can help you make an at-home spa day spectacular. Let’s dig a bit deeper and talk about some vintage self-care tips that can help us all view things from a place of peaceful clarity, rather than worry.
Pay attention to what you feed your mind
Dear reader, I bet you can identify with this scenario: Netflix asking you if you’re sure you want to continue watching the series you are binging. When this happens to me I usually let out a little grumble as I click the “yes” button. But recently I’ve tried to channel something my sweet Victorian sisters appreciated. I am turning off the television and picking up a book. There is something really precious about having your timeline defined by chapters read, rather than episodes consumed. The solitude when it’s just you, a book and a snack takes you out of reactive mode. Rather than being a bystander, you are in the driver’s seat, choosing how quickly you consume a plot. This kind of oversight can feel luxurious. (Especially at a time when the news cycle is forever beckoning.) Women in the Victorian era read to improve their minds, to learn about far-flung places that they may never be able to visit in person. Life in quarantine brings their experience back into focus. I invite you to transport yourself to a world of imagination and see how reading can boost your mood.
If you’re worried,
And you can’t sleep,
Just count your blessings instead of sheep,
And you’ll fall asleep,
Counting your blessings.
Befriend your rubber duckie
A nice, long soak in a hot tub is a wonderful way to let the cares of the world float away. My personal go-to is to add some lavender epsom salt as I’m drawing the bath. Epsom salt was first discovered in a small town in Surrey, England. You guessed it, the name of the town is called Epsom. All of this happened in the early 17th century, at a time when Mother Nature had been particularly unkind to the area. But in the midst of a horrible drought, one farmer started to notice a trend. His cows refused to drink from some of the watering holes on his land. This naturally struck him as odd since water was not abundant, but he soon discovered the reason the cows were not partaking. Turns out cattle are not too keen on salty drinks! But one cow’s dislike became the starting point for a self-care industry. Soon people all over the continent were flocking to Epsom to heal all manner of afflictions. Throughout the centuries beauty mavens have touted the benefits of soaking with epsom salts, so embrace the past and don’t forget your duckie!
Smell the roses
If you have dogs you have the opportunity to learn this last tried & true self-care technique from a master. Slowing down to really see your surroundings is something our animal friends are particularly gifted at. But there was a time when us humans were more in touch with our settings. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution that all changed. People started to worry about this newfangled quick pace of life. They also were concerned about the shift from a lifestyle solely focused on the environment (agrarian) to one that was confined to smelly factories. The invention of holidays like Labor Day started to more formally address these concerns. Modern artists have examined this notion in songs such as Mac Davis’ “Stop and Smell the Roses” or Billy Joel’s “Vienna.” While these songs first hit the air waves 40 years ago, their message still rings true. I imagine these songs could have even found a place during the 19th century.
Dear reader, I think we can all agree that this pandemic has forced us to adjust our daily habits. As social engagements disappeared into the ether, many of us found more time on our hands. When is the last time you’ve just stared out your window to take in the view? Sat in the quiet and allowed your mind to rest during the daylight hours? On the surface vintage lifestyles seem very different from our own, yet I would argue that many similarities exist just beyond the facade. This world will always be home to some manner of chaos and we must take care. Tending to ourselves helps us take care of our neighbors. Community is something that doesn’t have a time limit, so please join me in trying out these vintage self-care tips…