Beautiful Things to Do, Because…. is my way to catalogue all the lovely things happening in the world and to share ideas for having a delightful week. Enjoy and hop on Twitter to share your beautiful things with me.
I believe in self-care. I know there are plenty of contrarians who don’t love the concept, and I think they’re right too! Because often self-care gets mixed up. It’s really not about the aspirational or indulgent. Real self-care isn’t photoshopped or Pinterest-or a performance.
You don’t need a new body or more money. You don’t even really need more time.
Real self-care is about honoring yourself, and acknowledging that you are innately precious. Just as you are. Sometimes this care is messy. Sometimes it doesn’t look like much. That can actually be a relief. Real self-care means getting present with yourself, listening to yourself and then bringing a tiny bit more kindness to that moment.
Here are a handful of things you could do right now to support your self-care:
1.Honor your schedule.
Do you feel overscheduled a lot? Are you rushing places often? It might be time to do a check on your capacity. I’ll never tell you not to get a 2-hour massage, but if you’re scheduling it at a time when you know you’ll be harried, better to skip it. Honestly evaluating your schedule and what’s in it is a great first self-care step. Often, self-care doesn’t require that we put more in our schedules; it requires that we subtract.
2. Meditate or engage in mindful movement.
In order to offer yourself good self-care, you may need to do some research first. And by research, I mean: get down with yourself. Sit in meditation for 10 or 20 minutes and see what comes up. Get on your yoga mat (or do your own form of intuitive wriggling around) and observe what arises. Don’t try to wrangle your mind into submission; don’t follow a strict prescription. Be curious. You are the true expert in your experience.
3. Keep yourself hydrated.
A glass of water with lemon first thing in the morning, sipping water at my desk during the day, a cup of tea after dinner. It adds up. Offering your body good hydration is a simple way of creating vibrant health. When I have a headache, dehydration is often the culprit. And since I’m working to do a lot of healing work, water is essential for keeping my organs and tissues healthy and happy.
4. Get some good rest.
Even if you can’t take a nap, try to get to bed twenty minutes earlier. Create a simple bedtime ritual that sends a message to your brain (through repetition) that it’s time to start powering down. Giving yourself some quality sleep allows your body the downtime it needs to do important healing work. I became bored of telling everyone that I was “exhausted” all the time. Now I get eight hours a night, and I’m much more pleasant.
5. Take a technology break.
This is highly connected to high-quality sleep. Put your phone on airplane mode. Ban screens from the bedroom. In my house, screens are off at 9pm, and then we read or chat or hang out with the cats. There’s no need to keep refreshing social media or checking email. Ditching your phone or other tech devices for part of the day can support a healthy circadian rhythm and mindful calm.
6. Stay connected.
One of the greatest misconceptions about self-care is that we’re doing this alone. We’re not; we all need support. Healing can feel isolating from time to time. I’ve recently picked up the habit of writing cards to people I’m thinking about. It can be super simple: “You were on my mind and it made me smile.” You can deepen your connection with loved ones, without needing to chat on the phone, which can be draining, or obsess over social media. In my experience, amazing healing can take place in the context of supportive community. And everyone loves to get mail.
How do you bring self-care into your life? How will you honor yourself today?
I’m totally rooting for you.
Christy Tennery-Spalding is a yoga teacher, activist and healing arts practitioner. She works with caregivers and change-makers to develop self-care practices that are custom, intuitive & feasible. She lives in Oakland, California, where she enjoys frolicking in redwoods and soaking in hot springs. She makes her online home at www.christytending.com. She would love to mingle over on Twitter and Instagram.