Did I just hear a groan? Yes, YOU, the one who just muttered under your breath, “Great, one more thing on my damn to-do list, which won’t get done either.”
Yeah, I heard you…because it is what clients and potential clients and friends have been saying when the conversation turns to self-care. Everyone’s been talking about how much they need it; how they don’t have any time for it; and how it feels like a big-hairy chore.
CHORE. Self-care goes on the already long list. And feels like a chore. WTF?!
Turns out, for the women I’ve been talking to, the word “self-care” has been interpreted to be a big, luxurious, indulgent act, which if you barely have enough time to brush your teeth in the morning, seems ludicrous and impossible.
I here-by declare February the Itty-Bitty, Easy-Peasy Self-Care month.
Essentially, self-care are those acts of kindness, to and for yourself, which demonstrate a level of caring. Just like in any relationship, it is the little things which ultimately make the biggest impact: like the reassuring squeeze of the hand; a kind, listening ear; a friendly text hello. While bouquets of flowers are fantastic, and trips and spa-weekends are wonderful luxuries, ultimately, it is the everyday, ordinary things our friends and lovers do which keep us feeling connected and deeply loved. Same goes for our own self-care.
Here are SIX (of my favorite) easy ways to experience self-care in less than 20 minutes:
Savor your morning coffee. I set my kitchen timer in the morning for 10 minutes and then I do nothing but sit on a pile of favorite cushions and enjoy my cup of warm, fragrant coffee.
Delight in your shower. We all gotta bathe sometime, so why not turn it into a self-care moment? I periodically treat myself to a delicious smelling bar of home-made soap from Willy Street Co-Op. The scent of the soap reminds me to slow down, inhale – exhale, and simply be with the suds and warm water; a mindfulness moment of self-care.
Stand up and stretch. A super easy self-care act is standing and stretching during the day. I like to give my body a break from the “computer-keyboard-hunch” and simply stretch and breathe. Since sitting for eight hours is the newest health danger, standing up and moving around is actually a beautiful, indulgent act of self-care.
Straighten the house for 15 minutes. Setting the timer (I’m a timer addict) and simply organizing some small area – clearing off the kitchen island, loading the dishwasher, folding laundry – can all qualify as self-care (instead of being relegated to a hateful task). For me, these small moments of organization help ground and center me as much as they eliminate some of the chaos.
Call a friend. The simple act of reaching out and connecting with someone else is often just what our soul craves; it reminds us we aren’t alone on this big planet. Excellent, if you multitask by sorting through a pile of mail, while chatting. Bonus points if you sit with your feet up allow yourself to enjoy the conversation completely.
Walk around the block. Monday night a friend and I went out for a 20-minute walk around the block, bundled up for the 6 degrees temps which greeted us. It was just what we needed – a little fresh air, a chance to witness the moon rising and the sun setting, and a little bit of movement to get the blood flowing, warming our cores – and we came back feeling refreshed.
I think we’ve taken the idea of self-care and blown it out of proportion. As much as I love me-time and self-care in the form of a massage, a concert, a fun workshop, a long invigorating run, or a leisurely dinner with a friend, those acts of kindness are a little further apart in my schedule.
The reality is self-care doesn’t have to be this mysterious, complex thing we can’t find time for or don’t feel like we can afford. In fact, it is accessible to us in every waking moment if we let it be.
So next time you reach for a glass of water on your way to the 68 oz of H2O you are aiming for, know you are actively in the midst of self-care. Ditto for when you balance your check-book, meditate for five minutes, or kick your feet up and read a book, or when you simply stop for a moment and breathe a deep, luxurious breath.
I’d love to hear your favorite, easy-peasy self-care moments. Please share!