Between the Hygge and “self care” movements, I think most of us have given a little thought to making our lives and environments more nurturing and comfortable. When Brooke was little, I needed regular “time outs” but didn’t get them. If I didn’t keep everything going, I knew that no one else in my household would. My husband was one who believed that my job was to keep everything going and that I should be able to do it without extra help and if I did need help, I should not call upon him or spend much money paying for help. Naturally I ran myself down, and got sick.
My therapist was always on me to take time out for myself and even gave me an exercise to figure out my own signature indulgences, little things I could do that made me feel amazing, if only for a short period of time.
Early on, my greatest indulgence was just sitting somewhere quiet, doing nothing. I kept looking and thinking about what made me happy, and what I could do even for a small amount of time that would shift my energy and focus. For a while, I couldn’t think of anything, but now I have plenty of ideas.
Here are 8 super simple, free or almost free things you can do to up your self-care game:
- Sit outside, or beside a window, especially where there is a good view. If you happen to be looking at a parking lot or something less than pastoral, look up to the sky for a few minutes. Soak it in, and just be. I love to grab my lap top and work outside, or eat lunch outside with Roger. The out of doors has a way of cutting though all kinds of icky energy and gunk.
- Color, sketch, or do a simple hand craft. Sometimes I just play with markers, and take notes in different colors. Sometimes I color in a coloring book. The brain works differently when coloring, knitting, or doing a simple, repetitive task. This is not to be a “do it perfectly” thing, it’s a soothing thing. If it turns out that you make something amazing, great, but that shouldn’t be the goal.
- Get together with a friend. I’ve been making a point to have lunch or coffee with a friend once a week just to shoot the breeze. My friends happen to be amazing, and we always come away inspiring one another. I am so very grateful for the wonderful friends I have. I love getting dolled up, and going somewhere nice, especially if I’ve never been there before.
- And, speaking of gratitude: I love to take a few minutes to write in my gratitude journal. It’s also nice to look through it from time to time to remember all of the wonderful things that I’ve experienced in my life.
- Declutter something: I set the timer for 25 minutes and declutter a drawer, a cupboard, or a pile on my desk. I’ve been making a point of decluttering a little every day both in my space and in my soul. To declutter my mind, I do “brain dumps” where I list all the stuff that builds up so I can see it, prioritize it and get it done.
- Wear something comfy: Last year, I lived in soft fleace athleisure wear at home. I like looking pulled together, but I still wanted soft clothing. I especially love soft warm socks. Summer of winter, I’m always wearing soft socks at home.
- Change your bed and enjoy clean sheet night. Oh how I love clean sheet night! We invested in “good” sheets that feel amazing against my skin. We fluff our pillows and duvet in the dryer so they are extra fluffy, and oh, how wonderful it is to go to bed!
- Listen to music, hum a few bars or let your inner Diva come rolling out…but if you have a singing voice like me, it’s better that I sing by myself in the car, but do love to dance around a little. What ever you prefer, music has a way of lifting your spirits, shifting your energy or mood and if you can sing or move a bit, all the better!
I’ve also found that doing an unsolicited, anonymous act of kindness is another great way of making my heart soar, and of course finding unique things that make you feel wonderful (Brooke likes to play with magnetic sand and watch soap cutting—how’s that for unique?) Taking a little self care break once a day, even if you can only do it for a few minutes, it can really make a difference in how energized and inspired you feel each day. Got any favorites? Please share in the comments!