It's a beautiful day in New England, and as always, I've been doing some soul searching this week. Something I tend to reflect on now and then is what I am doing to love myself. By love myself, I mean, what am I doing to make sure I am taking the best care of myself that I can? This goes for my mental, physical, and emotional health. Below are some things I do to show myself love. Some of them come naturally because I have made these things a habit, but some of them I find I have to push myself or schedule in for me to actually get around to. Either way, I think as a woman, I tend to think that loving myself is something I should feel guilty about. There are so many things calling my attention elsewhere that spending time on just me seems so contradictory to the nature of my everyday and the culture I live in. But when I have a week where I realize - wow, I haven't done anything for myself, besides eat and sleep I guess - that's when I need to step back and just give love to yours truly.
Creative Ways to Love Yourself
1. Do something you never do. Trying or treating yourself to something new can help you make yourself feel special. Do you always pass up that little bakery you've always wanted to try? Go in and grab a croissant! Have you wanted to be more adventurous, but didn't know how? Look up a place you can go hiking alone or with a friend. Do something different to give yourself a new experience and maybe even a new hobby.
2. You know that thing you've really been wanting to do but always come up with some excuse not to do it? DO IT. For me, this is taking the time to read or buy my favorite dessert. I always find an excuse (aka I busy myself too much) to read and I usually look onto those favorite desserts of mine with a guilty feeling inside. No, I am not advocating you give in to every whim you have about dessert, but if it's something you always want - why not give it to yourself once in a while? Often I find myself at the end of a busy day thinking, If I had all the time/resources in the world tomorrow, I would do (fill in the blank with something you really want to do). And yet, if I have the chance, I don't take it! Be good to yourself and do what you want to do without excuse or reason.
3. Do nothing! This is so incredibly hard for me! I am such a go-go-go person that the thought of doing nothing is baffling to me sometimes. I see every minute as time to be used well. But sitting in silence, just chilling out, for even three minutes is calming to the mind and body. When I start to feel overwhelmed, it's nice to take a personal time out and do nothing.
4. Save your money. I don't know about you, but saving money for my own personal use (shopping spree, something I've really been wanting) is just not happening for me these days. I usually find myself spending money without giving it much thought, like on coffee or buying Beans new toys/treats. It's nice to want to treat yourself to some thing, but if you don't have to money to do it - well, there goes that idea. Simply knowing that I have money saved gives me a peace of mind. When I find that "something" that I really want, the savings will allow me to buy it. You deserve to treat yourself to the things you want, within reason of course, and saving money is the first step toward making it happen.
5. Exercise. This one is a no brain-er, but if you rarely exercise, you're robbing your body of some serious physical and mental benefits. I don't have to tout off all the benefits of exercise, but exercising just makes me feel and look my best. When I don't exercise, I feel slow, unmotivated, unattractive, and I have less energy. I often don't want to exercise, but when I do, I am always happy when I'm done.
6. Take some time off of technology. I like to give myself periods of time or even whole days where I choose to unplug from technology. Sometimes, I'll give myself an hour or so with my phone in the other room so I can actually read or focus on something else. On the weekends, I tend to "check out" and not really pay attention to my phone or email as much. The more I realize that I am allowed to be away from technology, the more I tend to give myself the "treat" of some Facebook-less and email-less downtime.
7. Be in nature. I have a favorite pond that I run or walk around with Beans. There's a lot of trees and the pond is always shimmering. It's beautiful and it reminds me that this world is out there to be seen. Being in nature reminds me that the world is not all about me and that there is so much beauty to be taken in. Nature centers me, refreshes me, and renews my mind. If you haven't found a favorite outdoor spot yet, I encourage you to look for one! Having that special place that is "yours" is so nice to go to when you just need a breath of fresh air.
8. Slack up on your [fill in the blank]. What are you working towards? A new exercise routine? Incorporating more fresh foods into your diet? Being a more positive person? Whatever you are working towards, I'm sure you've made progress. But just because you're working toward something doesn't mean it has to be perfect all day, every day. And in fact, it won't ever be perfect. For me, I tend to get perfectionistic with how healthy I'm eating. And if I'm not eating "healthy enough," feelings of guilt or shame tend to surface and then I start bashing myself for not being perfect. When I look back on my progress and realize that one day or even one meal is not going to throw away a stretch of hard work, I can chill out. Cut yourself slack where you need it most. This is probably the single most important gift I can give myself lately.
Well, that's all I've got for now. What do you do to show yourself love? Do you have trouble making "me time" a priority?