The Surprising Barrier to Self-Care


For the first time in a year, I can see the floor of my closet and the bottoms of my bathroom drawers. It was a year spent throwing/donating/giving away stuff and as a result, I am being extra picky about what I allow back into my space. Quite frankly it’s probably what lead to my 1-year no-shopping challenge.

Living on this end of the spectrum, not buying any new clothes ever, is something I’ve gotten used to. Back when I inhabited the other end of the spectrum and was online shopping daily, that felt comfortable and normal.

I went from shopping habits of “yes, yes, yes” to staunchly saying “no, no, no” with surprisingly little difficulty. What I struggle with is the “maybe,” and the “yes to some things, no to others.” Finding a balance is so much harder to navigate.

Each time I go to make a purchase, a dialogue between yes and no plays in my head:

“can you justify spending that much on yourself?”

“what will you throw out so you can have that?”

“if you don’t buy it, will you have forgotten about it in a couple of weeks?” 

This line of questioning isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’m positive it has helped me avoid some unnecessary purchases over the years, but it has also put a negative connotation around spending. The truth is, not all spending is bad. Not all shopping is wrong.

I don’t practice minimalism in the sense that I don’t want to have any things, so the best way I know how to manage is to identify my values and what’s most important to me, and then focus my home and my belongings there.

The best part of waking up

One of my favorite parts of my day is putting on makeup. Sometimes I feel bad about that, like I should feel more confident going out in public without makeup, or that maybe it’s a vain way to spend my morning. But where I’ve settled is if I love it then I should feel empowered to do it. To me, putting on makeup is a creative act, it can be new and different every day, it’s art – with a 1-day expiration date. What’s more, it’s on your face, and can alter how the whole world perceives you. When I’m laying in bed, tempted to hit snooze and stay in bed for a few minutes more, sometimes it’s the thought of “I want to try putting that lavender liquid eyeliner on my bottom lashes today” that makes me excited to hop out of bed.

It’s an act of self care to make time for myself and the activities I enjoy. So when Follain approached me to be a brand ambassador I was thrilled! I couldn’t think of a better partner to pursue my own self care journey. One quote from Follain that really resonates with me is “love starts within, stoked with self care.”

Love starts within, stoked with self care.

As it turns out, I’m my own biggest barrier to self care. While I was shopping, the old refrain came up again “Do you really need that? Do you deserve it? Is that silly?” All of that, and I wasn’t even paying for them!

As it turns out, I’m my own biggest barrier to self care.

To me, the idea that love starts within, stoked with self care means not putting myself down for enjoying makeup, not feeling shame and actually embracing that part of me. That is self-love. Allowing myself the time and tools for that hobby and prioritizing it is an act of self care.

I’ve been using the same scratchy makeup brushes every morning for over 6 years and while it took a lot of mental back and forth I eventually chose to try new makeup brushes.

I have problematic acne-prone skin that veers from desert-like dryness and flaking in the morning to extremely oily in the afternoon. This means that when I applied foundation in the morning, my old makeup brushes would agitate my skin, making my flakiness more pronounced and causing some redness. The new RMS brushes are baby soft, and my morning ritual is even more enjoyable now. I like to diffuse some tea tree oil while I listen to music or a podcast and really take my time putting on my makeup. This morning was extra fulfilling because I made it to an early morning yoga class (one of my March Small Goals), so by the time I was showering and getting ready for the day I felt like I had really earned it. Not every morning goes so smoothly, (like the two other times this week I went to morning yoga and JUST missed it by 2 minutes) but when I make my morning ritual a top priority, then by 9am I feel like I’ve made a point to love myself, stoked with self care.



This post is sponsored by Follain. I have a code for readers that will give you 10% off your purchase at Follain through March 31, FOLLAINFRIENDS. 

Brushes pictured: RMS Beauty Skin2Skin Foundation Brush, Skin2Skin Blush Brush, and Powder Eyeshadow Brush


Cristina V. Cleveland

Cristina V. Cleveland is a senior beauty editor based in Austin, TX. She has been exploring personal style and decor on Fuji Files since 2009. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, To&From Magazine, Coco+Kelley, CamilleStyles and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.

SHOWHIDE Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Rather than pushing up-to-the-minute trends and products, Fuji Files is about discovering a lasting, personal aesthetic and the journey to feeling your personal best. 

Fuji Files was started by Cristina Cleveland, the Managing Editor of NaturallyCurly, the largest hair and beauty content platform. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Teen Vogue, CamilleStyles, Blavity, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, Coco+Kelley, and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.