“How often do you take time out and treat yourself well?”
I ask this question of all my new clients. It is not superfluous. Really, we all should be asking ourselves:
When did I last feed my body nourishing and energizing food, give it fresh air, and sweat out its toxins in a workout that made me feel fiercely strong? When did I last make art, sing, paint my nails the perfect shade of red and think, without guilt or arrogance:
“Well, shoot. I am one beautiful spirit.”
This is what I consider self-care – time that you spend truly caring for and about yourself. If you have a job, have responsibilities, have a husband or children, chances are you don’t get enough self-care. But many of us grew up thinking that it’s indulgent, for the wealthy, or for “one day” in the future that never seems to come.
These thoughts cause more people every day to work themselves sick, to fall into depression, and to give up on the dreams of their one wild and precious life. Changing these thoughts can start a revolution – in your own life and for all those who watch you.
I’ve seen the change in my own life, and I recommend to all my friends, colleagues, and clients to have a self-care practice based not around the yoga class, the gym, if the new baby is quiet, or how much money is in the bank that month – but based on yourself, that you can do from anywhere, for free, and under almost any circumstances.
Many of us want to have a regular self care practice – but what more can we really cram into already overfull days? The trick is to sneak it in.
The best ideas are those that won’t cost you much extra time or money – just creativity and drive. How can you transform the things you already do into a “sneaky” self-care practice? What hidden self-care practice is lurking in your daily commute, your coffee break, your kids’ homework hour or your Friday night outing? Here are some real practices by real people (not real names) to get you brainstorming:
– Jen sneaks over to a donation based yoga class over her lunch break, storing her yoga mat at the studio for easy access.
– Sage goes jogging at 5am each morning, sneaking past her child and husband before they wake up, and sneaking through city streets (still dark!) before they get congested with pedestrians.
– Carl keeps a giant bottle of water (at times flavored with lemon, cucumber or peppermint) on his desk and challenges himself to finish it before the end of each day. He stays hydrated, thus sneakily avoiding hunger or thirst pangs that would drive him to the vending machine or office cookie jar.
– Tianna sneaks in one minute meditations and writes poetry with expletives to relieve stress while on the train and or on bathroom breaks at work.
– Nkechi transformed all the meetups she used to have with friends or colleagues over coffee or meals. Now she asks them to sneak over and meet her in the park for an energizing walk followed by a stop at the nearby salad or juice bar.
– When Alicia’s boyfriend goes out of town, she takes the night off and turns her bathroom into her own private spa, dresses in her sexiest garb and sneaks into the back of the movie theater… via Netflix app on her phone.
No one has to know. But it could mean the world to you.
What daily routines could you transform?
What’s your (newest) sneaky self-care practice?