Hello my little apricot tarts. It’s been quite a week and the “fun” isn’t over yet, so while I will never-ever-ever pretend to have all the answers, I want to share my list of 20-plus ways you can take good care of yourself. When you and I take care of ourselves, we’re a bit better able to extend compassion, patience, empathy, kindness and cookies to others.
You’re so smart, you’re probably practicing all of these right now. But just in case . . .
- Keep something beautiful in plain sight. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A photograph or even a rock that reminds you of your trip to Lake Michigan can work wonders.
- Encourage someone else. Too much navel-gazing can do a number on your mind, not to mention your neck. Think of something you can do to lift up someone else, you’ll be helping yourself at the same time. Look at you, double-lifting. Impressive!
- Practice self-discipline. Specifically, I mean, when you are over-the-top tempted to engage in a conversation you know will go nowhere fast, don’t go there. Save your words for someone who will truly listen and for when you’re able to listen too. Otherwise, you get wound up, say things you regret and feel crappier than you already do. Don’t be self-defeating. Be self-replenishing.
- Clear your counters. Living in a messy, cluttered environment can really mess with your head. Set a timer for 15 minutes and do what you can each day to make things a bit less chaotic. You don’t have to aim for pristine, just try for more serene.
- Read. Get lost in a story. Reread a classic you adore. Pick up a pile of beloved children’s picture books and enjoy the rhythm of the words coupled with the elegance of the art.
- Watch funny movies. Make some popcorn and invite someone to watch and giggle along with you.
- Create something. Doodle. Write a poem. Bake a pie. Do origami. Knit.
- Nurture yourself in nature. Hit the local hiking trail or bike path. Take your camera. Notice the glory that’s all around you. (And say hello to the squirrels. It’s fun to see their reactions.)
- Let it leak. Ever noticed how you feel different after shedding tears of sorrow (versus tears of joy)? Giving into that need to cry when you feel sad or overwhelmed really can make you feel better physically and emotionally. So what if you have a leaky face.
- Be a picky eater. It’s easy to turn to fatty, sugary foods when you feel stressed (trust me–I know!) Go ahead and indulge in comfort foods once in a while, but know that eating healthier foods will help you feel better in the long run. So, keep good stuff on hand to make it easier to eat well.
- Let music soothe your savage beast. Isn’t it remarkable how a song can lift your whole outlook?
- Come out of your cave. Have lunch with an encouraging friend. Go for a walk with your sweetheart. Interacting with others helps to get you out of your own head and adjust your perspective.
- Be thankful. Keep a daily log of at least one thing you’re grateful for each day.
- Sleep. Can’t sleep? Limit screen time at least 30 minutes before bed. Watch your caffeine intake. Make a your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep (okay, and maybe a little somethin’-somethin’) only. Keep it dark, cool and screen-free. Aromatherapy helps too–lavender is a good choice.
- Seek help. Wise people seek the counsel of others when they are in distress. If you need the guidance of a professional, make that call.
- Pray. Remembering you are not the center of the universe and that the future of all humankind does not rest on your shoulders alone can be a good thing.
- Breathe. Take in long slow breaths and release slowly. Allow your shoulders to relax too (they may be around your ears and you don’t even realize it!)
- Get a massage. Let a professional undo those knots in your neck, shoulders and back.
- Avoid the suck. For a lot of us, spending too much time on social media or watching the news can pull us down to a sorrowful place. Stay informed, but do what you need to do to limit your media consumption.
- Get a pet. Having a furry friend to come home to can make such a difference. Already have critters at your house? Be sure to do more than feed and water them while you’re in a slump. Take time to truly enjoy their company.
- Move. Go for a walk daily. Swim laps. Shoot hoops. Practice yoga. Get your bod in motion.
- Plan something fun for the future. Get tickets for a musical you love. Sign up for a conference. Plan a trip. Heck, make a lunch date. It’s uplifting to have something good to look forward to.
- Give yourself some grace. You’re going to have some bad days. You’re going to say things you wish you hadn’t. You’re going to not do things you wish you had. Apologize to those you hurt and move on, knowing you’re going to do better tomorrow.
Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others. – Christopher Germer