Now that the holidays are behind us, I’d like to ask…did you give yourself a gift or two during this past season of celebrations? I posed this question to some of my friends and clients, and responses have included everything from upgrading to the latest laptop, to buying an electric pressure cooker for speedier family meal prep, to snagging a new stick vacuum cleaner at a year-end sale. While I understand that these gifts to yourself are time saving and useful, I’m more interested in hearing about gifts that are time spending on just you. As we move forward into 2018, how can you spend more quality time on and with yourself…how can you give yourself gifts of “you-time” all year long in between all of the doing for everyone else?
By now, the airplane analogy is a familiar one – if you don’t put the oxygen on yourself first, you’re not going to be the best you can be for others. With that in mind, I recommend sitting down with a pad of paper, or the ‘Notes’ app on your phone, and recording some ideas for how you can be better with self-care in 2018. Here are five suggestions to help get the wheels turning:
1. Make An Appointment With Yourself – Even if it means setting aside thirty minutes of uninterrupted time to read, meditate, do yoga or take a bath, you’ll be taking a big step towards your own self-care. Providing some kind of self-care on a daily basis is ideal. If that’s not realistic to start – every other day, or even once a week, is better than no time at all.
2. Find Your “No” – We hear it time and again about maintaining boundaries and not overloading your plate. Make 2018 the year you rid yourself of the “disease to please” – the desire to “be all things to all people.” As I have discovered, first-hand – staying chronically busy is not physically, mentally or spiritually sustainable. It’s vital to build in some type of down time on a regular basis. Your health, overall equilibrium and, more than likely, your family will thank you for it.
3. Incorporate More “Play” Into Your Life – I’ve been taking a tap dancing class and it has done so much for my spirit! I’ve found a sense of fun and play that I didn’t realize I’d been missing, and the benefits are rippling into every area of my life. Research has found that learning anything in a spirit of play stimulates imagination and, in turn, problem-solving abilities. Connecting with the child-like wonder of play puts you in a more relaxed open-to-learning mode, and is especially helpful when it comes to taming the inner perfectionist. I highly recommend taking a class that sounds like pure fun, or even keeping toys close-at-hand, such as an Etch-a-Sketch or slinky, for “play-breaks.”
4. Get Creative – Like the soulful boost that “play” can provide, creating something on a regular basis can help revive and replenish your spirit as well. Doing art of any kind is great for self-nurturing – helping to get you in the zone or flow. In the “flow” state, the inner critic is quieted, you’re completely absorbed in creating, and time seems to stand still. Whether painting, cooking, knitting, singing, playing an instrument or filling in adult coloring books – whatever speaks to you – engaging in a creative endeavor can help fill the well.
5. Let Go of Guilt and Worry – Known as the two most useless emotions, guilt is fear about what’s happened in the past, and worry is fear about what might happen in the future – neither of which you have any control over right now. If you can take time out to leave guilt and worry outside the door and just “be” in the present moment, even if just for ten minutes during your day, you’ll be going a long way towards nurturing yourself.
In these times, the need for spreading love and kindness is more important than ever. My wish for you, in 2018, is that you’ll start with yourself.