I remember literally cringing when my therapist first told me that I have to practice “self -care”. For one thing, I have never heard of that term and it didn’t sound like a medical term to me. Somehow it didn’t have the same razzle-dazzle as other medical terms I had recently come across like “cognitive behavior therapy”.
“What is self care, anyway” I remember asking.
“It is really just taking the time out to take care of yourself. Debbie, give yourself permission to relax, to play, to watch grass grow….whatever you want.”
Well, fast forward to present day…I must admit it is the best prescription I have ever received. In fact, I will share my 5 favourite ways I practice self-care.
1. Wear comfortable clothes
Gone are my days of high heels and tight shirts/skirts for work, as well as those skinny bootie jeans that always made me rethink whenever I want to sit down. Of course, this required a cold and heartless examination of my wardrobe. Items that I know I haven’t worn in the past year (ok, 2 years–I’m not exactly made of money) or those that makes me itch after 5 minutes go on the donation pile. I am also ruthless when deciding on new clothes. I have to very honest with myself that I will be comfortable in them and that I am going to end up wearing it for a long time. A classic and elegant look never goes out of style.
Try it. You’d be surprised how good you feel afterwards–both mentally and physically!
Not all of us are made of money, but sometimes, just sometimes, it is nice to actually have someone else do the cleaning. I’m talking about having a cleaning person come once in a while to actually clean your house from top to bottom. I still have to do most of the cleaning but once a month or once every two months is just enough for me to have a break and it doesn’t break the bank.
The feeling of walking into a clean house after the cleaners have left is ….indescribable.
3. Take a “mental health” day off
Most companies nowadays offer personal days off as part of their compensation package–two or three days to deal with personal obligations, dentist appointments, or waiting for that errant cable guy to finally come. I know that I used to just take them when I needed to do something during normal business hours like taking my car in for an appointment or renewing my passport. Then, forget about using the remaining days.
I have learned that taking a day off for no apparent reason other than for “just chillin” (as my daughter always says), really helps me refocus and rebalance…again, both mentally and physically! Don’t let those personal obligation days go to waste!
4. Buy something small and inexpensive.
Remember when I said that I was going to learn how to play the ukulele ? (see my previous post here A New Year’s Resolution…?). Well, I got past “You Are My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine” and now I am learning “Riptide” by Vince Joy. I bring this up since I’ve been mulling that perhaps something like a guitar pick could help improve my strumming abilities ( check it out! ). I am by no means ready for “Canada’s Got Talent” (in fact, I don’t think I can call myself a musician anytime soon!) but my point is, if you have something you are interested in, buying yourself something small and inexpensive (and hopefully, useful!) to help in your quest for greatness, may be just the ticket to bringing that little smile to your face.
5. Play tourist
Did you know that I have lived in Toronto, Canada for almost all of my life but have never gone up the CN Tower? I pass the CN Tower almost everyday while riding on the train to Union Station, but have never gone up it.
There was once a time when my family decided to have a “staycation” and we played tourist in Toronto. We stayed overnight at a downtown hotel and did the normal touristy route (ok, except for the CN Tower!). It was so much fun! I decided then and there that I would do it again. So, to that end, I have visited the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Ontario Science Centre…all on my own and at my own pace. I do relish the fact that I can stand in front of a painting for 5 minutes and not care….
So, there you have it, some of my favourite ways of taking care of myself. How about you? Do you have any other tips for practicing self-care?
Have a good weekend, everyone!