I have spent a majority of my life, not unlike most other young women, being obsessed with the actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The glamour of their lives always inciting me to imagine an impossibly frivolous and over-the-top lifestyle but it wasn’t until recently when I saw (for the 1000th time) the picture of Marilyn Monroe enjoying a very bubbly bubble bath that I had one of those in-front-of-your-nose-the-whole-time realizations. The realization was that many of their practices were not frivolous and in fact are commonplace in today’s culture – I believe the term is #selfcaresunday.
During a time when it was a woman’s job to forsake her own well-being for that of her husband and kids, women like Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor were seen as vain, selfish and self-indulgent (those words considered negative back then). Today, “self-care” is a buzz word, but beyond that we are also beginning to recognize that a ‘dose of pleasure’ is essential to our overall well-being. This got me thinking: did modern day self-care for women emerge out of the radical philosophies of Golden Era starlets?
Self care tips float over to us from all different venues on a daily basis and they range from meditation to spending thousands of dollars on retreats. And although I absolutely condone emptying out your bank account on the latest method to find inner peace, I think there’s something we can learn from those delightfully frivolous ladies:
1. Marilyn: “I restore myself when I am alone”
If there is only one self care habit that you should commit to, this should be the one. Marilyn credited her alone time as being the time that she recuperated after long periods of being in intense social situations. Even though most of us aren’t wildly famous, we still have to deal with large amounts of human contact. At the end of the day, there is nothing better than having free range to wear the comfiest clothing possible while you Netflix and Chill with yourself.
2. Audrey: Dedicate two days in the week to your skin
Although most of us have a daily skincare routine, taking at least two days out of the week to pamper your skin by exfoliating or doing a mask is essential as well. Audrey’s go-to to keep her signature glowing complexion was a steam facial. Twice a week, she would fill up a boiling tub of water and hover her face over it with a towel covering her head. Not only is this method free (love that for us), it’s also extremely effective in cleansing your pores of dirt – and bad decisions.
3. Sophia: Take lots of baths! (and put olive oil in them?)
We’re all very aware that baths are heavenly, but according to Sophia adding a bit of olive oil to your bath makes it even better (and yes i did google if it’s safe to do so – it is). A few drops of oil in your bath makes your skin softer and I don’t know about you but from looking at 84 year old Sophia Loren, I fully trust it works.
4. Elizabeth: Prioritize your sleep!
There is a reason it’s called beauty rest, but aside from physical health, sleep is a crucial help for your mental health. Elizabeth was famously quoted saying “honey, you’ll look like hell if you don’t get a good night’s slee.” I’m here to take a page out of Liz’s book and not stay up binge watching Gossip Girl for the 3rd time.
5. Grace: Spend some time in nature.
Although it is always easy to come up with a million excuses to stay inside (being busy, the cold, bugs) nature is undeniably a large reliever of stress. Grace Kelly regarded walking along trails and in the forest was her form of therapy. Even if it is only 10 minutes out of your day, find the time to surround yourself with nature (and vitamin D) and let go of all of the tensions of your day.
The leading ladies of Hollywood’s Golden age are still referenced for their glamour, beauty and charm but I argue that it wasn’t their physical attributes that made them legendary. It was their confidence and courage to put themselves first. So before you go back to your work, whatever that may be, make sure to steal back a couple of minutes for yourself – and let me know how it feels.