A dozen easy, cheap (or free) tips to give you a little “Me Time”
by Diane Letchworth CTNC, CGP, Reiki Master
1. Adopt a positive attitude. This won’t cost a cent. It may be tough sometimes, but remember: within every challenge lies an opportunity. I’ve found that my most useful lessons have been the hardest ones. So now I don’t let negative expectations bog down my energy.
2. Stop complaining. Also free, and a nice corollary to #1. You can even take it a step further: Refuse to surround yourself with other complainers. Don’t allow yourself to fall into that negative vibe.
3. Smile at a stranger. I do this all the time. Especially if I happen to make eye contact with someone who looks blue. You might just turn someone’s day around – and it makes you feel better too!
4. Give yourself permission. Permission for what? Anything! Whatever you want to do, whatever you want to be. If you feel sad, let yourself cry. If you laugh “too loud,” let loose your belly laugh! Don’t worry about being ladylike; give yourself leave to be who you are. And if you are ladylike, that’s okay too. Own it!
5. Forgive yourself. And anyone else. You’re not condoning bad behavior; you’re freeing yourself from the hold others have on your emotions. I don’t remember who said it, but “Holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Let it go. It’s for your benefit, not anyone else’s.
6. Start a gratitude journal. If you don’t think you have anything for which to be grateful, start small. For instance, I recently had to be awake at 4 am for an early morning flight. I was grateful that I managed to use the bathroom and get dressed – and arrive home nearly 12 hours later, safe and sound. I was also grateful to have had a dependable cat sitter. Be grateful for a functioning bladder and kidneys every time you need to pee, even if the timing is inconvenient.
7. Say “I love you.” To yourself. (You knew there’d be a hard one, didn’t you?) Remember to love your body. I’ve been experiencing “body image” issues lately, and I know how easy it is to fall into “body shame” and get angry with our bodies when they “fail” us: when we can’t lose weight or we’re not as healthy as we think we should be. Instead, we need to “tune in” to what our bodies need, and give them love and support instead of criticism. My body recently got me through my first ever 3-day fast. She told me she was strong enough, and she was! Maybe because I kept telling her I loved her, and how grateful I was to her? Especially during the tough moments.
8. Stop watching TV. No, really. I don’t even own a TV anymore. I haven’t for years. I don’t miss it either….
9. Drink some herbal tea. Fruity, floral – it doesn’t matter. Whatever calms your mind, or tickles your taste buds. Just curl up with a hot cuppa and….
10. Read a children’s book. That’s right. I have a handful of charming, beautiful and/or whimsical children’s books. Mostly on the subject of cats. Some are picture books, some are “graphic novels,” and some are just stories. Coloring books are great for relaxation too, and there are several available that are appealing to grown-ups who need to nourish their inner children. And there are some delightfully complex dot-to-dot books….
11. Buy yourself flowers. Why wait for someone else to do it? You can find flowers at your grocery store, your local farmers’ market…if you have time, you can grow your own instead.
12. Get a bird feeder. Nothing gives me joy like the ephemeral beauty of a hummingbird…. If you aren’t watching at just the right moment, it’s come and gone, and you missed it. But if you glance out the window just in time to see one? Is there anything more beautiful? Seeing one dart into view causes my heart to leap up in a spontaneous burst of joy!
And here’s a bonus:
Buy yourself some expensive, high-quality dark chocolate. Don’t just scarf it down though. Savor it. Eat it slowly, mindfully…sensuously. Chocolate isn’t just food – it can be an experience to indulge all of your senses.
And if chocolate isn’t your thing, search out that one treat that really makes your mouth water. Don’t make it a habit, but save it for those moments when you really need some extreme self-care. Because then it will mean something.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. As a matter of fact, true radical self-care does require time and effort. These tips and hints are simply quick and easy ways to help you start getting into that deeper space.
If you aren’t feeling 100%, you can’t show up 100% for your friends, your family…even your job.
Radical self-care isn’t selfish. In fact, it just may be the most selfless act you can perform.
If you’re not sure, start small. Begin with one of these suggestions, or something else that speaks to your soul: prayer, meditation, or a 10-minute walk after supper.
I promise you, the dishes will still be there patiently awaiting your attention.
And you might even enjoy the chore more, if you’ve taken a few minutes to nourish yourself first….
Diane Letchworth is a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach, Certified Gluten Practitioner and Reiki Master/Teacher. She is currently studying Nutritional Endocrinology and Aromatherapy. She resides in the mountains of North Carolina, where she works to help people take charge of their health and improve their lives.