“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”Jean Shinoda Bolen
Full disclosure, I’m a sucker for “self-help”, “self-care”, a little luxury (for a bargain!), you name it. Through the years, I’ve had a couple of epiphanies that I’m wondering if you share? Since retirement, I’m working on my definition of what self-care is. And, maybe that’s the only way it’s really “self-care”… if it’s tailored to what your sweet self needs.
When I was younger, I thought that self-care was something luxurious: expensive lotions, a massage or facial, a special trip to “get away from it all”. However, I always noticed that these things left me a little wanting. Rarely did I finish the bottle of expensive face cream, (we’ve talked about my laziness in the beauty/glam department!). Sometimes when I had the facial, my face broke out afterwards (who needs that?). On that special trip I’d find myself longing for home. Curious.
As I’ve gotten older, I’m realizing that self-care (for me, at least), is just paying attention to what I need, whether it be some time alone, eating a healthier diet, going to the dentist regularly (not necessarily what I want, but what I need), taking my adorable dog on a longer than average walk in a beautiful local park, or sitting down in the middle of the day and reading a book with no guilt. And most importantly, not just realizing what I need, but arranging my life so that it can happen.
Arranging my life so that it can happen… what a concept! So many times I have allowed things to “just happen”, and then felt “put upon” because they did. Learning to identify what makes you happy, what ticks you off, who or what brings you joy – I’m finding that these are the building blocks of making a happy life.
Self-care also means eliminating toxic situations and people (as much as you can) from the constant landscape (I say constant because there is no way you can completely eliminate annoying situations and people from your life on an occasional basis) . In my life I have “tall doses” and “small doses” people. “Tall doses” are the people I love being around and relate to the best, and with few exceptions, I don’t tire of them. Or, if we tire of each other, we tend to do it at the same time, and everyone takes their time to re-charge, and then we’re back to the fun.
The “small doses” category is more complicated, and we all have it. These are people we love, but maybe don’t always like. Or, they’re friends of a mutual friend, so we’re occasionally thrown together. Or, they might be a family member or a person that’s excessively needy and they just exhaust you. You know the drill.
I’ve found that if I identify the people that need to be “small doses” in my life, it tends to immediately help. Once I’ve identified that they are not a good “fit” after a limited amount of time spent together, I can structure things (usually) to help me tolerate the limited time I have with them, and in fact, knowing that the time is almost over really helps improve the time at hand. This also means that you might have to buck up and decide what your boundaries are going to be. As Dr. Phil always says, “we teach people how to treat us”. (Being a grown-up is hard work). Also, knowing we don’t have much time with them might even allow us the possibility of meeting them “where they are”, finding a place of compassion in dealing with them, and coming to a new understanding of why they are the way they are (they might be doing the same with us!).
So, what I’d like to know from you is: what are your self-care rituals? How do you handle the “small doses” people in your life? What things do you use as rewards to brighten up an average day? Obviously, this is a HUGE topic, one that I hope to regularly re-visit.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend… on Monday, we’re going to explore the power of HABIT! Don’t worry… I’ll tell you all about it!