10 Affordable Japanese Goods to Elevate Your Self-Care Sunday
For Your Body, Mind And Taste Buds That Need Pampering
Whether your idea of taking time for yourself involves a home spa, journaling with some new stationery, or indulging in a snacking ritual, these products will maximize your self-care day (or hour as the case may be!).
A few years into this pandemic, there has been a rejuvenated focus on maintaining our physical and mental health. And honestly, after reading the news, who doesn’t feel like they need a little extra self-care?
Luckily, Japan’s got us covered for products that can make the time we carve out for ourselves that much more comfortable. Indeed, the vast consumer landscape offers many items to help us soothe our minds with understanding and compassion, repair and comfort our aching bodies, and nourish our stomachs with healthy and delicious food and drink. Give yourself some you-time and read on to discover a world of self-care, Japan-style.
There’s no denying that we work hard: at the daily grind, running after little ones and picking up the extra shift at home after everyone has gone to bed. These goods help soothe your body.
1. Bath salts
The popularity of onsen (hot springs) and the enjoyment of bathing culture in Japan ensure an abundance of bath salts can be found in virtually any home goods store across the country. At the top of the list for me though are Muji’s classic bath salts, featuring scents like lavender, lemongrass and my personal favorite, milk. The epitome of relaxation includes soaking in their sweet aroma and silky smooth texture.
2. Fuzzy robe
Whether it’s for winter nights in your mansion with little insulation or for snuggling up after being chilled all day by strong air conditioning, not much can beat the soft and fuzzy support of your favorite robe. To treat myself, I cannot say no to Gelato Pique’s ultra-plush yet somehow breathable cardigan robes, which helped me through the postpartum period and any evening when I feel like some cozy tenderness, love and care.
3. Heating patches
When walking through the aisles of your local drugstore, you have probably come upon the well-stocked shelves of heating patches touting their ability to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. These patches are applied directly to the skin and soothe tense joints and muscles. The benefit of my favorite, Salonpas by Hisamitsu, is that their patches are yawarakai (gentle), meaning they do not irritate the skin like other brands but work well to ease stiff necks and shoulders.
4. Heel care
After caring for my house and the kids all day, I’ve been looking for ways to pamper my tired feet. If like me, your heels are particularly sensitive and can crack or dry out even with socks, perhaps you have been discouraged by many other foot care creams. This Namerakakato balm stick won’t let you down though! It made a noticeable difference overnight. Another benefit of the stick is that you don’t have to get your hands greasy to apply it.
If you’re looking for a “time out” from present-day responsibilities to relax, or a “time in” to sit mindfully with yourself, the products below will help you make the most of your moment of calm.
5. Colorful pens
Maybe you write a journal focusing on mental health, maybe you like memorializing your days in a diary or maybe you dream of being an artist famous for your doodles. Regardless, these Emott water-based pens have you covered. With a lovely range of colors and styles and a sleek stand for your desk or coffee table, these pens always put a smile on my face when I put them to use.
6. Adult coloring book
Coloring books can be relaxing and creatively stimulating for adults as well as children. The act of coloring can also encourage mindfulness as you focus on the page, colors and negative space. And if you’re looking for one that pays homage to the country you call home, check out this beautiful art coloring book filled with rich and seasonal Japanese imagery to inspire you.
Another way to reduce mental stress is by tapping into your five senses. Japan has a long history with incense and many native scents that can help you stay grounded in the present and in your home environment. Why not try the fresh and woody fragrance of hinoki or Japanese cypress? Nippon Kodo has lots of traditional and modern scents to choose from, from sandalwood to rose.
One of the ways to the heart is through the stomach and that is no less true on your own self-care days. Offer your taste buds flavors native to Japan to ground you in your home space.
8. Gaba chocolates
Before living in Japan, I had never heard of Gaba-infused chocolates, but now they are a must-have in my house. Gaba is a naturally occurring amino acid and neurotransmitter in the brain that research suggests may have a relaxing effect on the nervous system. While it may all be a placebo, I feel that these sweet treats bring some calm to my hectic days and help me sleep on restless nights.
9. Japanese herbal tea
When I sit down for snack time, especially if I’m on my own, I always reach for a cup of tea. And, if your self-care time comes late at night when the kids are sleeping (I see you, Mamas!), herbal tea is a great way to take the edge off the day and help you slip into slumber all the more easily. For times like these, lean into Japanese flavors with a shiso hibiscus herbal tea with complementing notes of rose hip and chamomile.
10. Japanese pickled vegetables
And if you’re in the mood for savory, why not have it be healing for your insides as well? Research has shown that consuming fermented foods regularly can help promote the production of healthy gut bacteria. Of course, Japan is a leader in multiple kinds of fermented foods, such as miso, but for snack time, I can’t get enough of these Chiisana Daisyu tsukemono (Japanese pickled vegetables), which are abundant in vitamins and produced using a wide range of seasonings.
Whether you regularly pamper yourself or are a novice when it comes to taking time to relax, there are always new ways to treat yourself. With this list of Japanese mind, body and stomach-soothing products, you’re well on the way to making Sundays all about you and your self-care.
What products help you relax in Japan? Let us know in the comments.