Do you give so much of yourself to others that you don’t have time to treat yourself well? I tend to run into this myself, and the results are not good. To treat others well and without resentment, anger, or stress, you must be in a state of kindness. And the way to get to that state is to treat yourself with compassion first. Self-care is necessary; when we prioritize it, our lives flow better.
So, where do you begin? You may want to write down a list of all of the things you enjoy. Then add to the list the things that make you feel good. And if you are still struggling, hopefully, the list below will get you started.
- Get a massage. According to the Mayo Clinic, massages reduce stress, increase relaxation, reduce pain, tension, and soreness, and improve circulation, energy, and alertness. Massages can also help lower heart rate and blood pressure. This is an act of kindness that I can get behind; what about you?
- Take a walk. There are so many health benefits to walking, from improving the strength of bones and muscles to reducing the risk of many diseases. But sometimes, the weather doesn’t permit a good walk outside. That is OK. Think indoors, such as a shopping mall or a large big box store (I tend to go to Ikea when I need a walk.) Many malls even have clubs where you can walk with others.
- Read a book. Today, we are glued to our screens and do much of our reading online. But escaping into a good story and relaxing with a book is a way to treat yourself. Reading strengthens the brain, helps to build vocabulary, and increases empathy. There’s nothing like some quiet time and the escape of a good story.
- Take your pet on a date. We said what may sound absurd, but taking your pet somewhere can be a real treat. Occasionally, I will go to brunch at an outdoor café by myself and bring along my dog. I get an extra plate and give him some of my food. It’s a way to be offbeat and allow yourself to do something out of the ordinary. We are not saying it is the perfect experience, but it helps shake up the routine and let some creativity flow.
- Pick some flowers and create a floral arrangement. If flowers are blooming outside, bring a canvas bag with you and collect your favorites. Take the time to smell the blooms and relax with the fragrance. After you have your collection, come home and arrange them in a vase. Now you have something that will bring you pleasure to look at.
- Write a list of your accomplishments. Sometimes, we forget how special we are, and writing down our accomplishments helps us connect with the things we did that brought us joy. Your list may include: finished in the top three of my third-grade spelling bee, made the volleyball team in high school, sang at church, got a promotion at work, or learned a new skill. We all accomplish many things in our lives- sometimes, we don’t take enough time to recognize them.
- Do nothing. Yes, absolutely to nothing. Block out some time to yourself and chill. You know you deserve the break. Close a door if you have to let others know that it is your time and you are enjoying the nothingness.
- Give your skin some love. If you neglect your skin, then this is a must. I love using facial serums and finishing my face routine with a luminous moisturizer. I’ve neglected my skin for the past few years, and reconnecting with my skincare routine has connected me with self-confidence and joy.
- Listen to music and drink your favorite beverage. Break out those guilty pleasure songs, sing at the top of your lungs, and dance in your living room. Music has a way of awakening our senses and bringing forth good feelings. Top that with a tall glass of ice tea or wine, and you have the makings of fun.
- Say yes to your wants. Often, we will say yes to others but not to ourselves. Do you want a new piece of jewelry, an outfit, or a hairstyle? Say yes. Do you want to take a trip? Say yes. If you are saying and doing for others but not yourself, it is time to put you at the top of the list. When I was in marriage counseling, I had stated that my ex never let me do anything. The counselor asked me why I was asking him for permission. I was taken aback. But I will tell you; it is the best question anyone has ever asked me.
This is just a small list of ways to treat yourself with kindness. Let this be that little nudge for you to put you as your priority. You deserve it.
About the author: Theresa Touhey owns Nature Reflections, an online jewelry store specializing in handcrafted Angel Callers and Harmony Ball Jewelry. She is also an artist, a writer, a grandmother, a caregiver to a rescued Havanese dog, and a nature lover. She has practiced various forms of meditation and yoga for over 30 years.