My first foray into the notion of “self-care” was one of confusion. I mistakenly assumed there was something I had to add to my already extensive list of daily care: brush teeth twice, floss once (oops), shower, brush hair, tweeze, put on deodorant, eat, drink (more) water (than coffee), eat meals, snack regularly, clip nails (when necessary), wash face, sleep… When I write out my physical care list it feels daunting to add another thing. What does “self-care” mean? Is there another thing I am missing? If so, what could it possibly be, and how I am going to add another thing?
Self-care, to me, is a delicious thing. It is when I allow myself some moments to step out of the crazy and to enjoy something that feels luxurious. Sometimes it is being truly present in a moment with my breath, or it is a slow walk, other times it is a few minutes with a really enjoyable book I am reading, or it is just sitting with a phrase and meditating on it. Always, though, it is a break and a pause where I am most present in an activity that feeds me on a soul level. When I am most present in a self-care activity, I am able to check in with myself and to unfurl into the moment.
I have started my self-care small, with a walk around the block to clear my head, burning incense when I sit at my computer to grade papers, take a 20 minute nap, stand in the sun for five minutes, walk around my front yard with my shoes off, and the list goes on. The main thing is that I find things that bring me joy and in doing so I am able to center myself with ease. I can land in my heartspace without any effort.
Here are some other ideas that may resonate with you:
~ take a photo walk
~ take a bath with bath salts, bubbles, or Epsom salts
~ hike with a friend or alone or your dog
~ take a bike ride
~ do a guided meditation or lectio divina
~ mentally decorate your heartspace
~ eat your favorite meal and light candles
~ art journal or zendoodle
~ go on an artist date (Julia Cameron’s concept where you do something alone that will feed your creative spirit)
~ craft, knit, or paint outside
~ take a weekend away either on a retreat (writing, yoga, meditation, a monastery) or to a hotel
~ unplug from your phone, text, computer, Internet
~ have a quiet cup of coffee or tea at a coffee shop and notice what is going on around you
~ be a tourist in your own town
~ join a book club or a writing circle
The possibilities are endless. I find new self-care practices nearly every day. Currently, I am exploring ways to care for myself through creative outlets. I have a list that I keep adding to and I get excited just thinking about what I am going to try next. So when there are days that feel heavy, I go to my list and pull out something that I know will help me feel lighter. Sometimes it is just being still in the quiet, and that is enough to fill me.
Check out this blog post at Womanspace where I offer a self-care measurement to see where you are with your current self-care practices. Hopefully this is a helpful spring board to get you thinking about how you can open your life to incorporate more enjoyable moments into your day.
I’d love to hear your approach and your self-care practices!
Photo credit: *~Dawn~* / Foter / CC BY