Hello wonderful peoples!
It’s Sunday! I just love Sundays-a time to take it slow and cozy before the week starts. I know that the Sunday sadness is a real thing (it happens to me too sometimes) but I find the peace right before the chaos to be my most favorite moment of the week. It’s like the deep breath you take right before you say “I love you” for the first time to someone, or the smell of cookies cooling on a rack before you can take a bite- it’s a fleeting moment but it is worth treasuring with all you have.
As I said before, I often spend Sundays on our couch in the ‘comfy spot’ in my coziest clothes and a blanket completely covered in cats. I drink coffee and watch cooking shows before I start a slow progression into any chores or other things I may want to accomplish. My newest addition to Sunday Funday is yoga and writing J These things fill up my emotional cup and help me practice self-care so that I can give my all to the week to come.
There is so much research on the benefits of slowing down and ‘self-care’ is something we all preach (#cantpourfromanemptycup#treatyoself). Yet as I’ve mentioned before, I am painfully aware of the difficulty that comes with actually practicing it (especially more than one day a year. When is Treat Yo’ Self Day this year anyway…I need a new crystal beetle…). One way I’ve found to help me achieve this seemingly unattainable yet totally necessary task is to be really mindful of all the small ways that I practice self-care every day. Here are some uncomplicated things I’ve done this week to build in some elusive self-care:
- I picked up a fun coffee drink at my favorite coffee shop. (I drink probably 2-3 non-black coffee drinks a year and today was one of those days.)
- I went to bed ridiculously early on a Friday night because I wanted to. (And I didn’t call myself lame for it.)
- Every morning before I got out of bed, I spent a minute or two snuggling one of the cats. (Purrs are worth slowing down for.)
- I went to lunch with one of my most favorite people, and made plans for lunch with another. (It can be difficult to break away from the grind, but I always feel refreshed after stepping away.)
- I worked on my 2019 financials so I have a clear plan of what’s in my wallet (and savings accounts!) This saves me a lot of stress (and makes me feel accomplished for reaching financial goals!)
- I read a couple cookbooks to spark some creativity in my cooking. (I usually have 1-2 on my night stand.)
- I had a fantastic dinner with Derek and we played a new board game together (nourishing our relationship and our tummies.)
- I bought tulips for the house (…and then Derek surprised me with tulips for Valentine’s Day!)
- I cleaned off my desk at work every night before I went home (it’s nice to walk into work and see a clear space for the day.)
- I downloaded a new meditation app and I meditated 3 times this week for a few minutes. (I’m working on this, it still feels incredibly weird/difficult.)
For me, the biggest part of self-care is actually acknowledging what you’re doing as self-care. Sure, grabbing a cup of coffee is pretty normal for me, but kicking it up a notch made it feel even more special. An added bonus? I didn’t do it because I ‘needed’ it or ‘deserved’ it-I did it because I love myself. I saw a post to Instagram today that said something along the lines of, “practicing self-care only when you’re struggling is like watering plants only when it’s raining”. If we only stop to think of ourselves when we’re already in the red we’ll be perpetually running ourselves ragged-and it took 30 some years to finally figure that out for myself. So now I try to stop and really think about the things I’m doing so I can acknowledge them as kindness to myself. Mindfulness has made all the difference in my self-care success rate. I am no longer constantly searching for time to do something ‘for myself’ because I don’t need extravagant acts to fill my cup up-I’m just topping off now (usually). Even bigger, I don’t make myself feel guilty if I do take care of myself-and I used to be terrible at that.
This doesn’t mean I’m perfect at all this, and it sure the hell doesn’t mean that my cup doesn’t hit bone dry sometimes. But being kind to myself, even when I’ve let the self-care run out, helps me pick back up and saunter on (I don’t beat myself up for falling off the self-care train. Once I notice what’s going on I have a pretty frank discussion with myself so I can get back on track).
Much like meditation isn’t this grandiose idea of clearing your mind for 60 years and just being completely Zen 100% of the time, self-care isn’t about always doing it perfectly. It’s about being able to acknowledge when you’re getting low (and hopefully, you can notice it quicker every time) and being mindful of all the little ways you can show yourself just how much you love you.
And if you’re not to a point yet where you can say you love yourself, you’re not alone. If you are struggling with showing yourself some care and compassion, it’s okay. Just keep trying- take it moment to moment-and don’t give up. I can hold space until you’re ready, friend.