As the dial cranked up this week on the Stress-o-Meter, I activated my Self-Care Strategy. Just as any good plan thrives on a dependable map, I continued working on laying out the possible stops along the journey to a more calm existence. I had originally thought I might just develop the list, but when the dream of peace started to look like it might be closer in reach, I just decided to go for it. Some of the strategies have been put in place, and they work.
A continuation of the Say Yes to Me Self-Care Strategy…
11. Take rejuvenation breaks at work. This meant taking a few minutes to read an inspiring quote or tuning into my favorite Pandora station (Rasa).
12. Indulge the senses. I live by a large body of water, but this week instead of driving by mindlessly, I rolled down the window, felt the wind on my skin, took in the smell of the fresh Gulf breeze, and watched the light dance on the waves. I felt alive.
13. Engage in independent study. Just because I am not in school, I have not given up on being a student of life. My mind enjoys playing connect the dots between my favorite interests. I feel like a treasure hunter; finding myself is often the prize.
14. When the work day is over, stop working. How often do I find myself staying an extra 15 minutes, 30 minutes, hour or more? This week I challenged myself to lay down the super hero cape. When I take care of me, I am more capable of helping others.
15. Ask for help. I am an expert at trying to do things on my own. Sometimes I am successful, sometimes not. And often, either way, I am resentful that no one else is helping. This week, I asked for help. It was amazing how eager others were to join in. And how much more peaceful I found in the doing.
16. Be creative….just because. Several years ago, I started a journey to work on my creativity. Now, it is second nature. But often, I spin my creative wheels for this project or that without utilizing the gift of creativity for myself. Creating is a great way to express what is inside, organize complex feelings, or just lose oneself in the world of imagination for a bit.
17. Practice re-framing. Re-framing is a way of looking at something with fresh eyes. This is a great tool to use when I am feeling judgmental of myself. If I can simply find understanding and empathy for my situation, the judgment often dissipates.
18. Make time to be alone. Being busy can sometimes be a way of keeping myself from feeling what I am afraid to feel. When I can create a few hours or an evening to myself to wind down, my true feelings will sometimes float to the top. If I know I have this window of time set aside, I can deal with my feelings in small bundles so that they don’t fester up or explode when I least expect it.
19. Make time for friends. Even though the strategy is about making time for me, putting myself first does not mean always being alone. In fact, sometimes I am more fully myself when in the company of others. Connecting in nurturing, authentic ways feeds me.
20. Make space for love. Whether with a mate, a child, a parent, a friend, a stranger in need, or with myself, helping the heart give and recieve is essential to the thriving human condition. This week I became curious about when I was holding back. And if I found it was out of an old habit or a long over-due resentment, I considered opening up to new possibility. When I let love in, it never let me down.