This week began with World Gratitude Day on Monday and it got us thinking. Although there is a lot going on out there that feels overwhelming, when you really think about it, there’s so much to be grateful for in our lives. The sunrise and the sunset. Dog kisses and cat purrs. Bunnies jumping binkies across the floor, a cool breeze on a hot day, and the simple pleasure of giving yourself permission to choose fries as your side. Ah, little things that remind us the planet keeps turning and gravity still holds us in place so we don’t fly off into the stratosphere.
Probably the biggest little thing we forget to be grateful for, however, is ourselves. You. That’s right. Being thankful for you is something many of us aren’t so good at doing. We look outward, not giving ourselves the acknowledgement we deserve. After all, you wake up everyday and do what you have to do to keep the wheels in your life turning. Give yourself some props by indulging in these 8 self-care secrets we love — one for every day of the week plus twice on Sunday… or Monday or any other day… your choice.
Take back some time for you
Whether it’s laying in bed and listening to the morning before you step out into the day or stopping in the afternoon to walk outside for a breath of fresh air, give time back to you. Everyone needs a minute now and again away from the treadmill of the day-to-day. It gives us a chance to release the tensions in our bodies and minds. We not only need but we deserve little breaks, tiny moments of just breathing without someone or something needing our attention. Whatever it is that’s wholly and solely for you at some point in the day, take back that time for yourself to help you get centered and joyful. You’re doing a lot. Reward yourself with the gift of time.
A warm drink to soothe your mind, body and soul
There’s something about a hot or warm drink that just seems to relax and ease the stress. Well, not just “something.” There’s actual science behind it — heat enhances taste, a warm drink on a hot day can be cooling and if on a cold day it can be warming, someone holding a mug seems friendlier — but in the end? You can’t guzzle a hot drink, right? By definition, you have to stop and take your time to sip it and it fills you with a gentle, calming warmth — as long as you’re not driving with a fresh hot brew sitting in your lap that spills all over you. But, when you pour yourself a cuppa tea or a mug of coffee, even indulge in the tradition of having your friend fill your sake cup and you reciprocate, it slows you down and helps you go easy. Some of the best conversations are shared over hot cups of whatever, and anything that helps you slow your roll and give yourself a moment is worthwhile.
Laugh out loud
At one point in the 1981 version of the movie ARTHUR, Dudley Moore joyfully says, “Isn’t this fun? Isn’t fun the best thing to have?” When’s the last time you had fun? Real fun that made your whole body feel alive and delighted laughter just spill out of you? Enjoying something fully is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. It’s such an amazing release and wonderful way of pampering ourselves. Yep, we wrote a whole article on the wonder and benefit of laughter a few weeks ago and here we are again, espousing the benefits of letting yourself just laugh out loud at the funny, at the joy of the moment, in contentment. Doing so really is a stress reliever and makes us feel alive on the planet. Isn’t that the best?
Treat yourself to a great meal
Once in a while, show your gratitude for all you go through in a day, a week, a month, by giving yourself over to that thing your tastebuds and tummy are clamoring for. Take your time to relish bites of something you really love but don’t always have the chance to indulge in. It’s a wonderful way to pamper yourself and it's deliciously satisfying. There’s such a delight also in actually sitting down and dining, really tasting the food, especially when you’re by yourself. I know a lot of people have a hard time eating alone, but try it done up in style. Set the table, put on some great music, light a candle and dine. You can even share your gratitude meal with friends by sending out an elegant invitation to virtually break bread, drink wine, and show off your favorite dishes while enjoying each other’s company from afar. Eat, drink and enjoy.
Turn off everything
No television. No phones. No tablets. No computers. Close your eyes, sit somewhere comfortable, and just relax. Don’t go anywhere, don’t do anything, just be. If you want, go outside and be in the sun or enjoy the moonlight. Read a book, knit, meditate, whatever you want to do but do it without any of the blue light invasions. It’s a little thing but it gives your body, mind, and soul a much needed break to rejuvenate and recuperate.
Lead yourself to water
Whether you prefer showers or baths, have a pool you can float or swim in, or are willing to travel to a river, lake or ocean near you, enjoy the healing properties of water. It takes so many different forms and our bodies are drawn to it, welcome it, and we thrive on it. So simple, really, and naturally soothing. Hot baths, cool showers, languid swims in rolling seas — whatever way you choose to dive into your fluid side, let the wet relax you, free your mind, and just float.
Get dressed up and go nowhere
Raise your hand if you’ve seen the videos online of people getting completely decked out to take the trash out or join a Zoom meeting or simply sit on the couch and watch their favorite movie. Ya know what? It feels good. Not just the end product, but the whole process — picking the right outfit, choosing the makeup, shaving your pandemic beard, bathing, shampooing, doing your hair, and on and on. Getting ready to go out makes us feel beautiful, handsome, and special. Give yourself that. No, you may not actually be going anywhere, but a few hours of self-attention is never a waste and it's well-deserved. It gives you something to look forward to, puts a little spring in your step, and brings a giddy smile to your perfectly lined lips.
Ask for help when you need it
No joke here. Too often we brush off any sort of assistance with an “I’ve got this, thanks” then run ourselves ragged. Stop. Step back and let someone help you when you need it. Show how much you thank yourself for all of your hard work by taking the burden off of yourself. It’s not weakness but wisdom. It’s self-care of the highest order in its simplest form. No one can do everything nor should they. If someone demands that you do, don’t let them. That’s what leads to burnout, bitterness and a whole load of toxic stuff. Reach out your hand when you need a hand. Balancing your life begins with shifting the weight.
Enjoy being thankful for you
You always do a lot. We know. Lately, you’ve probably been bearing even more than you thought possible. Give yourself the really good "thank you" that you deserve or so often overlook as you pass that gratitude on to others without giving back to yourself. Because, when all is said and done, do you know how you can really, truly show how grateful you are to anyone who cares enough about you to be there for you, do things for you, reciprocate your giving with their own?
Take care of yourself.