Monday: A Gentle Solution // with Kristen Dempsey

Winter is hard. Monday is hard. As part of our Tender Touch campaign, we're asking LAP babes to write about what it means to give themselves a tender touch. Our third post comes from Kristen Dempsey :) 

Self-care is a recent buzzword that seems to be on the tip of many tongues. I’m all for clean-eating, drinking more water, and ritual baths; but I’ve also been implementing this mantra on a more philosophical level. A good friend of mine started making 'Accountability Lists' a couple of years ago. I’ve found it to be a powerful way to keep myself focused on the bigger life goals that encompass the types of behaviors we’re cultivating when we talk about self-care. I keep my hand written list hanging in my wardrobe as a reminder to approach each day with a tender touch.

Here's my list for 2018: 

1. Trust in my self-worth - This has taken a lot of work. - I’m a perfectionist and constantly doubt myself. I’m working on this through therapy, books (How to be a Leader, Wabi-Sabi, and The Artist’s Way), and some of Free + Native’s digital workshops. Building up my self-worth is so important for bringing in the things I want and the way I want to be received.

2. See love in others - My critical lens affects other people too. I’m relearning how to see the good intentions of others and to approach my relationships with gentleness. Letting my guard down a little, being less controlling, and tapping into compassion and understanding can make a huge difference in making the people in my life feel valued. Bonus: it makes me feel great too! (photo of lichens)  

3. Communicate with an open heart - Self-reflection through meditation and journaling has brought me some huge self-discoveries. Being able to unpack my feelings and finding my truth helps me be a better friend, partner, and co-worker. When I’m clear on what I want and what I need, it makes everything fall into place with a lot less work. Honest, open communication can be hard and even painful but any time I try to avoid it I never get the desired outcome and it usually spells out more time and trouble in the end.

4. Embrace the power of ‘NO’ - Why is it so hard to say no? Finding my ‘no’ can be incredibly challenging. As a woman, my subconscious brain is constantly trying to please others. This is both a behavioral exercise for me, but also can be about arming myself with information; the right to choose. As I learn more about ideas surrounding feminism and dismantling white supremacy, I discover where my hard boundaries and ethics are, what makes me uncomfortable, and why. Understanding why I want to say ‘no’ is just as important to me as having the power to say it. (Woman and White Cat by Will Barnet)

5. Invest in self-care - My skin is super important to me. As someone who suffered from cystic acne for many years, my skin plays a huge role in my self confidence. When I need some extra self-love, a skin related treat is my go-to without fail. I love giving myself a facial massage or using a gua sha tool in the mornings to assist in lymphatic drainage. LAPS is great on my face for either treatment and gives the right amount of slip. I massage the excess into my cuticles because I’m also very into my nails. I follow up my massage with an oil serum that I blended myself - it’s a mix of passion fruit seed, prickly pear, red raspberry, sea buckthorn, black currant seed, and evening primrose oils.

6. Consume technology with intention - It’s hard when your job revolves around social media, so I set aside time at home, usually in the bath, where I read or listen to records and let my brain relax. I also love a good podcast - I’m a devout follower of The Last Podcast on The Left, I can’t help cackling to myself whenever I tune in.

7. Eat intuitively - My diet is plant-forward but I enjoy seafood or meat from time to time when my body craves it. It’s important to me to view meat as a treat rather than a necessity, and if my body isn’t asking for it, I’ll gladly pass. I use the same practice with most foods; every once and a while I find myself only wanting to eat fruit, for every meal, and I just go with the flow until the impulse has settled. Listening to your body.

8. It’s not about me. - My perfectionism means often I find myself trying to emotionally manage people, or that I feel responsible for other people’s happiness. I internalize that I'm to blame whenever anyone is upset, regardless of what it’s about! This is a public service to both myself and others. The world does not revolve around me!


Kristen is Brand Director at Heroine, a community marketplace for womenswear enthusiasts.

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