I have to admit that I have a hard time slowing down and taking as good care of myself as I do of my family…even my dog! Productivity defined my worth for longer than I care to admit, so for me it’s a process, not a light switch, to slow down and ease into self-care. I aspire to one day meditate, but for now this is what works for me.
When I feel anxious, I’ve found the best thing for me to do is move my body. Getting outside, breathing in fresh air, and walking can be soul soothing. If I can’t go outside, I put one hand on my stomach and one on my heart and remind myself: I am safe. I am okay. I am loved. Mel Robbins suggests this in her book, The High Five Habit, and it really works!
As I mentioned, I have a hard time sitting still and doing something that’s just for me. So, while the following might not be typical self-care activities, they have a meditative effect on me. They are the things that allow me to empty my mind and just be.
Jigsaw puzzles: I find that sitting quietly and focusing on sorting edge pieces, looking for specific colors, and building out smaller sections that eventually become the whole is very calming. It’s a great activity to set up and come back to as time allows.
Reading: Reading is a simple way to escape, get out of my head and go somewhere else for a while. It also doesn’t hurt that when I’m reading, I’m usually tucked into my comfy and cozy bed!
Projects: I really enjoy home projects, the mental escape they provide, and the feeling of accomplishment when I’m finished. During Covid shutdowns I “won” an old antique table at an online auction and spent hours sanding and staining it under a big shade tree in my backyard. It was so relaxing being outside and making something old new again. The sanding, repair, and creativity of reimagining and reinventing the piece was fulfilling, especially at that time when the world felt upside down.
Gardening: I love being outside and experiencing the feeling of mental margin. Planting flowers in my yard and pots around my yard every spring brings me so much joy! I love the planning and design, going to a garden store and selecting the flowers, planting them, and even watering them throughout the season. Technically I’m caring for my flowers, but somehow, I feel tended and nurtured as well.
I’d love to know about your journey to self-care and your favorite way to practice it.
Take care of you!